- Olam Haba
- Rabbi Reuven Mann
Rabbi, Rinat Yisrael, Plainview, NY
Dean, Masoret Institute
- I was learning the Ramban about Olam Haba, and I have a couple of
questions. I was hoping that you could help.
- In learning your tape on this subject, you said that since the
Ramban says that we will return to the state of Adam HaRishon, that
means that our mind will naturally dominate over our instincts.
- How does this work with the other parts of the Ramban's explanation.
- In Devarim Chapter 30 Pasuk 6, the Ramban says "the heart will
not desire the improper and it will have no craving whatever for
it." "This is a reference to the annulment of the
evil instincts..." "... for in the days of the Messiah there
will be no evil desire in man, but he will naturally perform the
proper deeds and therefore there will be neither merit nor guilt in
them, for merit and guilt are dependent upon desire."
- If there are no instincts, how are we similar to Adam? In that
state, will we still sin?
- Thanks for your help.
- You ask a good question. I would say that the Ramban holds that Olam
Haba is analogous to the state of Adam, however it is not identical in
every respect. For it is clear that Adam had bechira and was therefore
given commandments for whose violation he was punished. However he was
different than we are in the structure of his instincts - his
"yetzer hara", required external stimulation. For the
natural flow of his instinctual energy was toward truth. In terms of
his natural state one could say he lacked a yetzer hara. Thus the
Ramban uses that state as the analogy to provide a model for Olam
Haba. However it need not mean that Olam Haba is identical to Gan Eden
in every particular. In Olam Haba the structure of his soul will be
such that he will not be subject to a desire for evil even regarding
those things which are external. His energies will be such that his
love of truth will always be superior to any physical desire. In
general this was the state of Adam in Gan Eden, and the Ramban refers
to this only by way of analogy.
In summation, Adam's natural energies were in line with the good but he
had within him the potential for an emotional attraction which would be
powerful enough to overcome his reason. Thus, Adam can be summarized as a
natural state of good with possibility of sin ( ie. if external stimulus
occurs which attracts sufficient energy to create a conflict between
reason and emotion) Olam Haba is analogous to Gan Eden only regarding the
first idea. However it is different regarding the second, because the
possibility of a conflict in which emotion will contain the potential to
overpower reason will not exist.
I assume that sin would then be impossible in Olam Haba. Will this
change the system of Mitzvos? Will we still have Yom Kippur?
It would seem that since there will be no sin there will be no reward
and punishment, hence there will be no need to repent and hence no Yom
Kippur. Bear in mind that the key point is that the Ramban identifies
Yemos Hamashiach with Olam Haba. which means the perfected State of the
soul--the ultimate reward. Thus everything which we posit about Olam Haba.
ie. "The world that is koolo Aruch, the world that is koolo tov
etc." means that it will be qualitatively different than the world we
are in now. The Ramban accepts all the statements about Olam Haba which
indicate that it is a state of absolute good with no evil. The only
difference is that he maintains it will take place in the physical
universe and man will have a physical form. However, he will be a
perfected being , not subject to conflict, and incapable of sin. As such,
there will be no need for Torah and mitzvos which were given to man in his
imperfected state as a means of perfecting him and bringing him to his
perfected state. Once in that state there is no longer any need for the
system which brought him to perfection. Once you are on the moon, you do
not need the space ship which got you there.