Laying Down The Law Forever
These are the judgments which you will place before them. (Shemos 21:1)
Okay, the party's over. The initiation has passed. The sound-and-light
show is completed, and now it's time to get down to business and learn a
little, rather, a lot of halachah. Philosophy is great and the mystical
exciting, but let's face it, one of the things that makes us unique as a
nation is all the mitzvos that we MUST do.
And do. And do.
But hey, who's complaining? Well, in case you are, you might be interested
to know that mitzvos won't always be applicable, because in Yemos
HaMoshiach we won't have to do them anymore. Or will we? That too is a
discussion in the Sha'arei Leshem . . .
The doing of mitzvos and all their rectifications affect every world,
according to their relevancy.
[That is, Asiyah, Yetzirah, Beriyah, and Atzilus. These represent four
levels of spiritual reality and correspond to the bottom nine sefiros of
Malchus to Chochmah, the first being the lowest and the "place" of our
quite physical reality. Even though all four levels are intimately
connected we don't always sense their impact on us, or our impact on them,
but it is an automatic reality decreed and designed by G-d. It is well
known in Kabbalah, that the Ten Sefiros have been set up in a way that
resembles a human being, or more accurately, we have been created to
mirror the way the Sefiros were set up, creating the possibility for a
spiritual link between our body parts and the corresponding levels in the
Sefiros. Thus, just as specific mitzvos or sins are performed with
specific parts of the anatomy they also affect the corresponding level in
the Sefiros, bringing either rectification - or damage, G-d forbid, to
that part of the Sefiros.]
It is the same for all prohibitions, as the Arizal wrote:
That which is pure in Beriyah is impure in Atzilus; there is a concept of
k'lipos in all the worlds. What is considered to be the k'lipah in an
upper world is considered to be pure in the lower world; that which is
base and refuse in an upper world is pure and clean in a lower world.
Likewise, that which is considered opaque and material in an upper world
is considered to be transparent and spiritual in a lower world.
[In order for free-will to be possible, hester panim must also exist. How
can evil exist if everything about Creation screams, "G-d!" Therefore, a
device was created by G-d that can, upon the fulfillment of certain
conditions, block the reality of an Omniscient and Omnipotent G-d from the
minds of men. That device is called the K'lipos, which literally
means "peel" since it acts as a barrier between man and G-d. However, like
evil, K'lipos are not an absolute reality but a relative one. For example,
when a child steals it is less of an offense than when a mature adult
steals, since the adult knows better and has a greater capacity to
appreciate why stealing is wrong. Likewise, behavior that is acceptable on
a regular day of the year can be totally unacceptable while standing in
synagogue on Yom Kippur. So too, it is with the K'lipos: The higher the
level of spiritual consciousness, the greater the expectations of and need
for spiritual accuracy.]
Thus, everything ascends from world to world, including mitzvos and the
tikun they have, according to the level of that world.
[The four worlds are like rungs on a ladder to be climbed to become closer
to G-d. Anything done in the lower worlds ultimately must reach the upper
worlds, and this is done by ascending from level to level, like climbing
from one floor to the next in an apartment building. Do a mitzvah in the
world of Asiyah, and it will cause a ripple effect that will reach the
world or Yetzirah above it. This, in turn, will affect Beriyah, which will
eventually affect Atzilus. At some point in the system a "top" is reached,
and this causes a new flow of light to descend enhancing the spiritual
reality of each world on its way down. It is like a person who walks into
a bank and requests from the teller a large sum of money from his account.
The teller, not possessing that much money in his till is forced to go to
the manager and request the balance of the funds necessary. However, if
the amount is sufficiently large, the manager may have to call the Central
Bank, which has the funds, and request the missing amount.]
Keep the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which I command
you today to do them. (Devarim 7:11)
This is the underlying principle behind many statements of Chazal
regarding the keeping of mitzvos in the Time-to-Come, of which there seems
to be a diversity of opinions. In Tractate Niddah (61b), it says that
mitzvos will no longer apply in the Time-to-Come, as it does in Tractate
Shabbos (151b) where it says that in the Days of Moshiach, the system of
merit and demerit will no longer be operative.
[Even though we are told not to serve G-d only for the sake of being
rewarded (Pirkei Avos 1:3), nevertheless, the point of mitzvos is to make
reward possible for those who perform them, and punishment possible for
those who transgress them.]
In Tractate Avodah Zarah (3a, 4b), it says, "Today, to do them" (Devarim
7:11), but not tomorrow to do them, for as Rashi explains, mitzvos will no
longer be applicable in the Time-to-Come.
In Midrash Shochar Tov (Mizmor 146:5), it says: mattir assurim - He will
permit that which is forbidden; some say that in the Time-to-Come, The
Holy One, Blessed is He, will make pure all animals that were impure in
This World, etc., and permit all that was forbidden, and some say that The
Holy One, Blessed is He will not make them pure, etc. Tractate Kiddushin
(72b) speaks along the same lines, with Rebi Yosi holding that, in the
Time-to-Come, Mamzers and Nesinim will become pure, while Rebi Meir holds
that they will remain impure.
[Children born from relationships that the Torah forbids and which carry
the punishment of excision or death, and converts who converted under
However, in the Talmud Yerushalmi (Megillah, 5), Rebi Yochanan says that
the Book of the Prophets and the Writings, in the future, will no longer
be relevant, whereas the five books of the Torah will be. For what reason?
[It says,] "a great voice, never to be repeated" (Devarim 5:19).
[The Book of the Prophets deals mostly with criticism of the nation for
straying from Torah, or what to expect at the End of Days, two matters
that will become irrelevant in Yemos HaMoshiach. However, says Rebi
Yochanan, the mitzvos of the Torah will still be applicable.]
Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish said: Even Megillas Esther and the Halachos [of
the Oral Law] will still be relevant, as it says, "for the ways of the
world are His" (Chavakuk 3:6); look at the source inside.
The Rambam decided accordingly at the end of Chapter Two of Hilchos
Megillah, also stating that mitzvos would never become irrelevant. This is
also clear from Tractate Rosh Hashanah (30a), where they say: Should the
Temple be re-built, speedily in our days, they will say that last year, we
did not eat when the sun began to rise in the east, etc.
[The Talmud is talking about the usage of the new crop on the sixteenth
day of Nissan, the day on which the omer was brought in Temple times.
However, without the Temple, the bringing of the omer is not possible, so
the Talmud wants to know if using the omer will become permissible at
sunrise? Concerned that people will think this is true even after the
Temple returns and the omer is once again made possible, the rabbis made
it law that the new crop is only permissible from the seventeenth of
Nissan onward during non-Temple times, proving that the Talmud assumes the
mitzvah of bringing the omer will be applicable even after Moshiach
arrives and the third and final Temple is built.]
From these sources, it seems that mitzvos will be applicable in the
future, just as Rav Yochanan Yavetz points out in his appendix to the
Talmud. We also find similar opinions in Beitzah (5b) and Sanhedrin (22b),
and you should review these sources.
[And, just to make the point even stronger, the Leshem concludes with an
In Midrash Shochar Tov, it says:
In This World, a man goes to collect figs on Shabbos and the figs say
nothing! In the future, a man will go to collect figs on Shabbos and the
figs will yell out, "Shabbos!" (Midrash Shochar Tov, Mizmor 73)
[Would it make a difference what the fig says if Shabbos is no longer
I will put My spirit within you, and I will make it so that you will
follow My decrees and keep My judgments and do them. (Yechezkel 36:27)
[However, the discussion is far from over, and the jury is still out on
whether or not mitzvos apply.]
Yet, elsewhere it says that all sacrifices in the future will no longer
apply, except for the Thanksgiving Offering (Mizmor 56, 100), and we find
a similar statement in Vayikra Rabbah (9:7). In Midrash Mishlei, it says
that all holidays will be cancelled in the future except for Purim which
will always be kept; Rebi Elazar says: Even Yom HaKippurim will never be
Thus, we have many statements from Chazal that seem to contradict one
another. In truth, this is amazing! For, it is explicit in many verses and
parshios in Yechezkel, where it speaks about the ingathering of the exiles
and the future rebuilding of Temple. There it clearly says that the Torah
will be kept at that time:
I will sanctify My Great Name . . . And I will take you from the nations
and gather youŠ And I will sprinkle pure waters upon you . . . And I will
give you a new heart and a new spirit . . . I will put My spirit within
you, and I will make it so that you will follow My decrees and keep My
judgments to do them. You will dwell in the land . . . (Yechezkel 36:23-28)
They will no longer be divided . . . They will no longer be
contaminated . . . My servant Dovid will be king over them, and there will
be one shepherd for all of them; they will follow My judgments and keep My
decrees and follow them. They will dwell on the land . . . (Yechezkel
Specifically with respect to sacrifices, laws of the priests, and the
keeping of the holidays, there are many such explicit verses. So, how is
it possible to say that they will be annulled, G-d forbid, in Yemos
The resolution comes from knowing that, at the beginning of Yemos
HaMoshiach, there will be a combination of nature and miracle working
together all at one time, as we saw at the time of the Exodus of Egypt.
Then, at the beginning of the redemption there were also great miracles,
yet the Jewish people remained quite physical and material; the zuhama was
not removed from them until the giving of the Torah. See the Zohar at the
end of Parashas Yisro.
[In other words, even though great miracles occurred to destroy Egypt and
break the will of Pharaoh, at the same time they also left the Jewish
people unaffected, and life went on quite naturally for the Jewish nation.
Food had to be prepared, clothing had to be washed, etc. It wasn't until
later, while standing at Mt. Sinai that the Jewish people were able to
rise above physical limitations and remain that way, at least until the
incident with the golden calf.]
So, even though G-d dealt with them on the level of great miracles, their
lives were completely governed by nature.
It will be the same way in Yemos HaMoshiach: The redemption will be a
function of both great miracles and nature. The entire world will remain
quite physical including the Jewish people, and any annulment of zuhama
and the refinement of physicality will only begin later and progress
slowly. For, this will be a major transition.
[The transformation from our present physical state to that of man prior
to the first sin when his skin was made of light - Kesones Ohr (Aleph-Vav-
Raish), will not be a quick one. Therefore, the change from a natural
world to a supernatural world will also take time as each day of Nature
gives way to a more obvious and consistent miracle.]
Then your light will burst out like the dawn. (Yeshayahu 58:8)
[This is the verse that the prophet uses to describe the coming of the
Final Redemption. We're accustomed to the Hollywood approach, quick and
dramatic, and lots of shock amongst mankind. However, says the prophet,
that's not the way it is going to happen, out of mercy for mankind and G-
d's love of our chance to earn reward in the World-to-Come. Therefore, the
One posuk says, "Who magnifies (magdil) the victories of His king"
(Tehillim 18:51), and one posuk says, "He is a tower (migdol) of His
king's salvations" (II Shmuel 22:51).
[In the Hebrew, except for the spelling of these two words, the pesukim
Rebi Yudan says: It is because the redemption for this people will not
come all at once but will progress over time. What does magnify (magdil)
mean? It will become increasingly larger (misgadeles) and continue before
Israel, etc. For this reason, the redemption is compared to dawn, as it
says, "Then your light will burst out like the dawn" (Yeshayahu 58:8)
(Midrash Shochar Tov, Mizmor 19). (Sha'arei Leshem, p. 487)
With this the Leshem has answered the question. As it turns out, though
all the rabbis are talking about Yemos HaMoshiach and onward, those who
say mitzvos will still be performed are talking about the beginning of
Yemos HaMoshiach, when the world will still be quite natural. However, the
rabbis who say that mitzvos will no longer apply in Yemos HaMoshiach are
referring to a far more advanced state of Yemos HaMoshiach, when the world
is already quite miraculous and Nature is a concept from the past.
It is not that we will ever stop doing the mitzvah, per se, at least on
some level. For, the concept behind every mitzvah is a part of Torah, and
Torah is eternal. However, what makes a commandment a commandment, is the
way that it goes against our innate nature, forcing us to CHOOSE to do it
as matter of will. Doing that which is second nature is hardly a choice,
at least one for which we can be rewarded since we obviously do it for our
And that is how mitzvos will appear to us in Yemos HaMoshiach, and more so
with each passing day, until our vision of reality and our role within it
matches G-d's. Then we will be able to fully appreciate mitzvos in a way
that we can barely relate to now in our physical bodies that also play
host to the yetzer hara.
Have a great Shabbos,
Text Copyright © 2005 by Rabbi Pinchas Winston and Torah.org.