Certain practices such as learning halachot daily or reciting ashrei three times a day are supposed to guarantee a person a place in olam haba. How exactly does this work? Can a person be an evil sinner but perform one of these charms and magically be absolved of the sins? Why would that be the case?

Is it more of a descriptive thing [ie anyone who would set aside time daily to study a halacha is the kind of person who has her priorities straight and the probability of her making it to heaven is really really good]? If this is the case, why were certain acts chosen over others [seems random]?

  • Don't forget about having 7 sons - or something.
    – Seth J
    Commented Sep 24, 2012 at 19:05
  • @SethJ What about setting up 3 successful shiduchim?
    – Double AA
    Commented Sep 24, 2012 at 19:32
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    A sefer promised an encounter with Elijah the Prophet to anyone who would refrain from idle speech for 40 days. A chassid tried this to no avail, so he traveled to a highly reputed Rebbe for some answers. After observing the Rebbe throughout Shabbos, he was unimpressed and decided not to bother. The following morning, as he prepared to leave town, he observed the Rebbe petting and praising his horse. The chassid approached him and shouted: "How could you be so frivolous!" "I'll have you know," the Rebbe responded in an indignant tone, "that this horse has not spoken an idle word in 40 days!"
    – Fred
    Commented Sep 24, 2012 at 19:48
  • 1
    or being a Jew... Commented Sep 25, 2012 at 12:33
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    Rav Shlomo Yosef Zevin relates a version of the above story, and he notes that the Rebbe in the story was R' Yisrael of Ruzhin (Sippurei Chasidim, Parshas Noach).
    – Fred
    Commented Aug 10, 2022 at 1:42

3 Answers 3


The Meiri explains the passage about learning Halachos daily as follows:

ר"ל שאחר ששנה הסוגיא דרך מחקר ומשא ומתן מעלה בידו הראוי לברור דרך פסק וקובען לעצמו הלכות הלכות, מובטח לו שהוא בן העולם הבא, שעל ידי כך מתישר בהוראה יפה יפה ונמצא מזכה את הבריות בהוראותיו ואינו מכשילן כשאר התלמידים שאין נוהגין כן, והיביאוה דרך רמז מדכתיב הליכות עולם לו, אל תקרי הליכות אלא הלכות, ר"ל אם הוא שונה הלכות על הדרך שביארנו, עולם לו.

This means to say that after one has learned the subject by way of research and give-and-take, he picks out that which is fitting to choose as a final verdict, and he sets them up for himself as Halachos; he is guaranteed to be a member of the World to Come, for through this process he becomes very straightforward in his rulings and it turns out that he makes the world righteous through his rulings and he doesn’t cause them to stumble like the rest of the students who don’t act this way do. And they brought a hint to this from Scripture which says “Halichos – the world is his”; don’t read “Halichos” but rather “Halachos”; meaning if one learns Halachos in the way we have explained, the “World [to Come] is his.”

Other passages can be explained in a similar fashion.

  • cute except this basically falls into the 'more descriptive' category. Why then would this person who may have committed horribly grievous sins which is has not repented for, be zoche to olam haba simply for his give-and-take learning of a halacha daily? Also, I'm not sure how other passages, such as saying Ashrei thrice a day, can be explained similarly.
    – user1668
    Commented Sep 27, 2012 at 14:07
  • Why then would this person who may have committed horribly grievous sins which is has not repented for, be zoche to olam haba simply for his give-and-take learning of a halacha daily? - The wohle point of the Me'iri is to preclude this question.
    – Dov F
    Commented Sep 27, 2012 at 19:29
  • As a general rule, don't look at these passages as giving tips for 'bonus points'; rather look at them as observations about things which naturally lead a person in the right direction.
    – Dov F
    Commented Sep 27, 2012 at 19:31
  • the meiri doesn't say anything about a person's middos or hanhagos, from what I can read he is simply telling you how to get good at making a clear p'sak - daily practice. My question is what does giving a good p'sak have to do with being a 'ben olam haba'? And if the answer is that there is an implicit assumption that you have to have good middos etc. the 1)the ikar is chasar from the sefer 2)the ma'amar isn't really telling us anything and 3)what makes this particular thing special vis a vis olam haba?
    – user1668
    Commented Sep 27, 2012 at 20:24

A number of authorities explain that it means that it counts as a regular mitzvah, thus if you are equally balanced between merits and sins this can be the tipping point to get you olam haba.

R. David Abudraham

וזה שאמרו מובטח לו שהוא בן העולם הבא לא אמרו שמשום מצוה זו לבדה זוכה אדם לחיי העולם הבא אלא שאם היתה מצוה זו יתרה על מחצה זכיות מכרעת והשמיענו בזה שהיא כשאר מצוותי

The Ohel Moed writes similarly and is cited by R. Yosef Karo in Beit Yosef O.C. 51

וכתוב בספר אהל מועד האומר תהלה לדוד שלש פעמים בכל יום מובטח לו שהוא בן העולם הבא פירוש שמצוה זו מכרעת אבל משום מצוה זו בלבד אינו בן העולם הבא ע"כ

R. Moshe Isserles in Darchei Moshe O.C. 51 cites Abudraham and the Beit Yosef.

כתב הרב אבודרהם לא שמפני מצוה זו יזכה לעולם הבא אלא שאם היה מצוה זו יתירה על מחצה זכיותיו מכרעת וקמשמע לן דמצוה היא עכ"ל וכן כתב ב"י בשם ספר אהל מועד

This is further cited by R. Yom Tov Lipmann Heller in Ma'adnei Yom Tov (ברכות פרק א סימן ז אות ו)

פירוש שמצוה זו מכרעת אבל משום מצוה זו בלבד אינו בן העוה"ב ב"י סימן נ"א בשם אהל מועד

It should be noted that all of the above quotes were said with regard to the "muvtach shehu ben olam haba" for saying Ashrei. One can debate whether this explanation can be extrapolated to all other instances of "muvtach lo shehu ben olam haba".


Guaranteed Olam Haba does not mean there is no Geheinom. It means after Geheinom if the person does sins.

source: Rambam Hilchos Teshuva 3:5

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    Source? Also isn't that true of nearly all Jews: Kol Yisrael Yesh... so what is unique about these mitvzot?
    – Double AA
    Commented Sep 24, 2012 at 18:11
  • @DoubleAA you're too quick! exactly my questions
    – user1668
    Commented Sep 24, 2012 at 18:11
  • @PM, then you should have included that (or should include that) in the question.
    – msh210
    Commented Sep 24, 2012 at 20:08
  • @msh210 I believe it's implicit in the question
    – user1668
    Commented Sep 27, 2012 at 14:04
  • Rambam just says that the default is that Jews go to olam haba. Rambam doesn't say anything about gehinnom there. It is disputed whether Rambam even believes in gehinnom. Furthermore, Rambam discusses at length those sinners who don't have a share in the world to come. Given that this discussion is about sinners, Rambam's general statement becomes even more irrelevant.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Dec 11, 2017 at 15:07

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