Ki Savo – Molding Our Destiny

This week’s Haftorah for the Torah Portion of Ki Savo is a prophesy of the End of Days, when there will be a new existence in the world, including the resurrection of the dead. The last three pesukim state: “Your sun shall no longer set, neither shall your moon be gathered in, for the Lord shall be to you for an everlasting light, and the days of your mourning shall be completed. And your people, all of them righteous, shall inherit the land forever, a scion of My planting, the work of My hands in which I will glory. The smallest shall become a thousand and the least a mighty nation; I am the Lord, in its time I will hasten it” (Yeshayahu 60:20-22).
There is a fascinating Yalkut Shimone I would like to share, and then focus on one specific point. “’Your sun shall no longer set,’ Rebbe Shimon ben Yochai said, the entire 40 years the Jews were in the desert not one of them needed the light of the sun by day or the light of the moon by night. Rather the clouds [of Glory] knew when the sun rose and set and it lit up the camp. They would be able to look at a barrel and know what was inside it or in a bucket and know what is inside it because the Holy Presence rested amongst them. So to in the future, as it says ‘I will get up and l will light up because your light has come. It also says ‘the sun will no longer be the light for the day.’ It also says ‘Your sun will no longer come.’” What is interesting to point out is that in the future the light of the Holy Presence which will light up the world is a different type of a light than what the sun shines and the moon reflects; it is so bright it has the power to act as x-ray vision. (Click here for text in Hebrew.)
The Yalkut Shimone goes on to quote two gemaras in Sanhedrin: “And your people, all of them righteous, shall inherit the land forever,” Our Rabbi have taught, ‘Every single Jew has a share in the World to Come as it says ‘And your people, all of them righteous etc.’ (Sanhdrin 90a). Rebbi Yochanan said, “The son of Dovid (Moshiach) will come in a generation which is either entirely innocent or entirely guilty. Entirely innocent as it says ‘And your people, all of them righteous,’ entirely guilty as it says ‘And He saw that there was no man, and He was astounded for there was no intercessor’ (Yeshayhu 59:16) and it also says ‘For My sake, for My sake I will do etc.’ (Yeshayahu 48:11).”

The first part of the Gemara in Sanhedrin is actually the first Mishna in Perek Chelekof Sanhedrin. After it says that every single Jew has a share in the World to Come, it then lists qualifications of those who do not have a share in the World to Come. This is seemingly a contradiction within the Mishna but can be resolved based on the Maharsha’s explanation of this Mishna.

The Maharsha explains that because in previous chapters the Mishna describes how big sinners receive thefour types of capital punishments, it says here about them that even though a Jew might sin, they still have a share in the World to Come (as we see by Achan earlier on in the tractate, on daf 66). The Mishna specifically says a “share,” for not all the shares are equal; as it says in Bava Basra 75a: ‘each righteous person is scalded from the canopy of his friend’ (see there for its commentary). The Mishna then brings a proof, as it says ‘And your people;’ meaning, ‘and your people.’ All of them. Including the sinners after they accept their judgement, of one of the four capital punishments. They are all righteous, as it also says there earlier (daf 88): ‘the corpse of you servant,’ literally your righteous ones who are your servants that were once held liable for judgment originally, and since they were killed, they are called your servants. For this reason they say that by accepting their judgment in this world they are deserving to forever inherit the land, which is a reference to the World to Come, as it is written on this topic: ‘in their land they shall inherit twofold etc.’ (Yeshayahu 61:11).” (Click here for Hebrew text.)
We see from this Maharsha that every single Jew is born with a share, or portion, in the world to come. And each Jew has a chance to mold their portion in whatever way he or she chooses, making it bigger or smaller, each person in his own unique way. And, when a Jew dies, if they choose to accept their portion, they receive it even if they were such a sinner in their lifetime that they were deserving of the death penalty. However, if he or she rejects his or her share in the World to Come then it will be lost. Indeed, the Mishna enumerates different scenarios that might cause this to happen, as it says: “But the following have no portion in the World to Come: He who says that resurrection is not a Torah doctrine, the Torah is not from Heaven, and an apikoros [who denigrates Torah and Torah scholars]. Rabbi Akiva adds: One who reads from heretical books. And one who whispers [a charm] over a wound and says: Any of the diseases that I have inflicted upon the Egyptians, I will not inflict upon you. For I, the Lord, heal you” ” (Exodus 15:26). Abba Shaul says: Also, one who pronounces the [four letter] Divine Name as it is spelled.”

There are non-Jews that also have a share in the World to Come; they are called righteous gentiles, as enumerated in the Bartenura commentary on this Mishna. However they aren’t born with this portion; rather, they must earn it in their lifetime.

We see how potentially easy it is for every Jew to get into Olam Haba, the World to Come. It is given to us on a silver platter when we are born. We are given the tools to mold it in our lifetime, and as long as we don’t openly reject the portion we will receive it      in the World to Come.

May we all be inspired at this time of the year, during these days leading up to Judgement Day and the days of repentance to work on ourselves for the coming year on how we can mold our share to be bigger and better than before!

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