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01367--Write a short note on Maimonides’s commentary on the Mishnah.



   Maimonides presents and explains the range of Rabbinic opinion on what happens when we die.  Those Rabbinic statements that characterize the coming world as a place of physical delights and material comforts should not be understood literally. Often when teaching children, we give them sweet rewards and they learn for the sweets until they mature and realize that the reward is in the learning itself.  Rav’s statement represents a contrasting view and one with which Maimonides agrees: “In the coming world there is no eating, drinking, procreating, business, jealousy, hatred, or competition. Rather, the righteous sit with their crowns on their heads enjoying the radiance of the divine presence” (b. Brachot 17a). For those who are not righteous, they receive no such reward. Not enjoying the radiance of the divine presence is the ultimate punishment. Righteousness is defined by adherence to the mitzvot and intellectual attainment.


  Maimonides also explains the sequence of events in this world in the messianic future.  The righteous (and only the righteous) will be resurrected, then they’ll die again. After all, the ultimate reward for the Aristotelian Maimonides is for the soul to delight in the divine radiance. Resurrection reimposes a physical barrier for the individual.  The mashiach will arrive, kingship will return to Israel, and Jews will return to the Land of Israel. The natural order will not change.  Everyone living in those peaceful times will have a share in the coming world upon his or her death, Jews and Gentiles alike.  The mashiach will die and his son will rule in Davidic, dynastic succession.

[Courtesy : Professor Shai Cherry]

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