Re:"The World to Come"
Wed, 9 Apr 1997 23:16:13 -0400 (EDT)

In response to Miss Lebovic's question as to why there is no explicit
mention of Olam Haba [the World to Come] in the Torah,
I'd like to present Dennis Prager's reason. It is
that Judaism is interested in perfecting *this* world and that excessive
preoccupation with Olam Habah could lead to ignoring of Olam Hazeh (this

This subject has also been addressed by the Rav. Rabbi Joseph Soloveitch
z"tl wrote in Halakhic Man:

Better one hour of Torah and mitzvoth in this world than the whole life in
the world to come, says the Talmud. While we hope to be rewarded someday,
Rabbi Soloveitchik has pointed out that receiving a reward, while pleasant,
is not a religious act. Therefore, halakhic man prefers the real world to a
transcendent existence because here, in this world, man is given an
opportunity to create, act, accomplish, while there, in the world to come ,
he is powerless to change anything at all.--- The task of the [Jewish]
religious individual is bound up with the performance of commandments, and
this performance is confined to this world ---. The goal is not to withdraw
from the world but to perfect it. --- [This is why] The saving of a life
overides the commandments of the Torah; 'and he shall live by them not
die by them'. 'Desecrate one Sabbath on his account so that he may keep many
Sabbaths. (Pages 30-34)

Halakhic man differs from both homo religiosus, who rebels against the rule
of reality and seeks refuge in a supernal world, and cognitive man, who
does not encounter any transcendence at all. His goal is not flight to
another world that is wholly good, but rather bringing down that eternal
world into the midst of our world [into the marketplace and the home]. He
wishes to purify this world, not to escape from it. His goal is the
redemption of the world not via a higher world, but via the world itself
(Pgs. 41, 42).

Len Mansky