In Christianity for example, some people argue that you should be good on this Earth in order to get your reward in heaven.

In Judaism as there is no heaven, what is the reason given to follow the commandments of Moses? Is the idea that God will strike people down like in Sodom and Gomorrah?

i.e. Is the reason to follow the commandments of Moses the threat of retribution by God in this world rather than in an afterlife? What then is thought to happen to people who comit crimes in secret and die of old age?

  • 6
    Judaism believes in reward and punishment both in this world and the next. However, one is exhorted to follow the torah because of the love of Hashem and not just fear of punishment. Commented Nov 10, 2019 at 22:41
  • 3
    What do you mean, in Judaism there’s no Heaven?
    – DonielF
    Commented Nov 10, 2019 at 23:20
  • @DonielF Where in the Torah does it say there is an afterlife and you will be punnished for your transgressions? Far as I remember this was a Jesus thing in which he said you will have eternal life.
    – zooby
    Commented Nov 10, 2019 at 23:35
  • OK, apparently in orthodox/mystical traditions there is a belief in Gehinnom. But I'm talking abut the non-orthodox/mystical traditions.
    – zooby
    Commented Nov 10, 2019 at 23:45
  • judaism.stackexchange.com/q/99269/9682
    – DonielF
    Commented Nov 10, 2019 at 23:46

1 Answer 1


The Sifrei, commenting on the verse to love the LORD your God, states:

שמא תאמר הריני למד תורה בשביל שאעשיר בשביל שאקרא רבי בשביל שאקבל שכר לעולם הבא תלמוד לומר לאהבה את ה' אלהיכם כל שאתם עושים לא תהו עושים אלא מאהבה

Lest one say "I will study Torah in order to become wealthy, in order to be called 'rabbi', [or] in order that I will receive reward in the world to come", the Torah states "to love the Lord your God" – anything which you do you should only do out of love.

Thus, even accepting your unsubstantiated premise that there is no Heaven, the reason to follow the commandments is love of God.

(For a lengthy discussion of this topic see Rambam's introduction to the tenth chapter of Sanhedrin.)

  • Well there you go. He is saying there is no point in a belief in a "world to come" with rewards. Also could not the phrase "world to come" simply mean "future"?
    – zooby
    Commented Nov 10, 2019 at 23:40
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    Hi Zooby, Judaism believes in heaven and an eternal reward. Commented Nov 10, 2019 at 23:46
  • @David. If you mean some jewish people believe in heaven, then it is true.
    – zooby
    Commented Nov 11, 2019 at 1:04
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    @zooby no, i meant as i said. Judaism, regardless of what individual Jews think. The texts of the Jewish religion obviously talk about heaven and eternal rewards when and where appropriate. Commented Nov 15, 2019 at 21:23

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