The Mishna says:

He who maintains that the resurrection of the dead is not derived from the Torah, he who says that the Torah is not from Heaven, and an apikoros, have no share in the World to Come. [Sanhedrin 10:1]


The following are the things for which a man enjoys the fruits in this world while the principal remains for him in the world to come: Honoring one’s father and mother; The performance of righteous deeds; And the making of peace between a person and his friend. [Peah 1:1]

What about someone who honors his parents but does not believe in the resurrection of the dead? Is he eligible for the World to Come or not? In other words:

(1) If you do one listed thing wrong, does that disqualify you from the World to Come, no matter what else you did? Or

(2) If you do one listed thing right, does that qualify you for the World to Come, no matter what else you did?


1 Answer 1


I am convinced that Maimonides was correct when he said that the world to come depends solely on the intellect. People should develop their intellect and not rely on blind faith.

It is true that the Mishna and Rambams’ 13 principles of faith says that whoever rejects the resurrection, for example, loses their share in the world to come. However, some scholars insist that Maimonides rejected a physical resurrection. They feel that Rambam believed in a spiritual resurrection instead, that of the soul. For why should the soul wish to rejoin the body when the soul is enjoying bliss in the world to come? According to Maimonides there is no physical resurrection, only intellects.

But is it reasonable to accept that Rambam rejected a Mishna?

As shocking as this may sound to most traditional Jewish ears, the answer is that it does not matter. Judaism never based its opinion of a person in what they believed but on how they acted. In his book Kosher Jesus, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach explores the difference with Judaism and Christianity.[1] Where Christianity relies on blind faith (the acceptance of Jesus or else,) Judaism judges people by what they do, their behavior. Do people honor their parents, do they keep the Mitzvahs, give to charity. Judaism is not concerned with how you think. There is much commentary and schools of thought within Judaism. Thus, Judaism is a wealth of information. It goes to show that a Jew can believe whatever s/he wants so long as s/he observe the enactments, as best they can, as the rabbis explained them.[2]

If we look at Judaism in this light, we find that the moral obligation is to respect all Jews, even if they do not believe in the Torah or even G-d, for “G-d never judges a person for what they didn’t know.”[3]

[1] See Kosher Jesus by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

[2] See Must a Jew Believe Anything? by Menachem Kellner (Also, see The Limits of Orthodox Theology and Changing the Immutable: How Orthodox Judaism Rewrites Its History by Rabbi Marc B. Shapiro)

[3] Rabbi Tovia Singer makes this statement in one of his lecture about atheism


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