Does Time exist in Gan Eden and the world to come. I heard that you cant get bored of these places since there's no time there. Also heard midrash that Yitchak Aviinu went to Gan Eden for 2 years which he didn't age. I'm confused on what time is. Since we compare midnight here to something taking place in Gan Eden. How can souls get revived from Gan Eden to world to come if there's no time? I want to understand how can one place have time while another cant at the same time?

  • 2
    You can't understand not having time because you're human.
    – Double AA
    Apr 24, 2013 at 2:07
  • ur right i cant
    – shlomo
    Apr 24, 2013 at 2:08
  • see judaism.stackexchange.com/a/8512/732 Apr 24, 2013 at 3:43
  • 2
    There are 3 levels of time: Time where there is a past/present/future (our world). Time where there is no past/present/future - but things still happen in sequence i.e. cause precedes effect (the world to come as humans see it). And time where there is no sequence, and effect may precede cause (time as Hashem sees it). (Posted as a comment since I have no source other than my memory of class from a long time ago.)
    – Ariel
    Apr 24, 2013 at 7:31
  • 1
    isn't 'Olam HaBa supposed to last for 1000 years or something?
    – Seth J
    Apr 24, 2013 at 12:19

2 Answers 2


The Baal HaTanya writes that no, souls do not experience time in Gan Eden because they lack bodies, thus a connection with space.

כי הנשמות נק' קדושים וכמו שאומרים בשמו"ע וקדושים בכל יום יהללוך סלה דקאי על הנשמות ... הנשמות אין להם בחי' זמן ומקום לפי שהם בבחי' קדושים, קדש היינו מובדל שהנשמה כמו שהיא למעלה הם מובדלים מבחי' גוף לגמרי ואינן בבחי' מקום, ולכן אינן ג"כ בבחי' זמן ... כי הנה ההילול הוא מחמת ההשגה והתענוג באלקותו ית', וזהו הג"ע שהוא תענוג הנשמות בהשגתם מזיו השכינה ... יש ריבוי מדרגות בעילוי אחר עילוי, הגם שבספרים לא נזכר רק ב' מדרגות דרך כלל ג"ע העליון וג"ע התחתון, היינו שלא נתגלו אלינו. וזהו יהללוך סלה בלי הפסק

  • +1, but that still doesn't explain Yitzchak. Didn't his guf age while is neshamah was "away"?
    – Adám
    May 14, 2014 at 16:52

Film strips

Yitzchak Avinu spending two years in Gan Eden while not aging is not more far-fetched than an astronaut travelling at (near) lightspeed for two "Earth years", returning (almost) not aged. However, here is how I imagine the relationship between human time and the Eternal (incl. Gan Eden, etc.), which will also provide a solution:

Kabalah categorizes events by:

Olam – location, which place (presumably, 8.3×10^184 voxels are observable)
Shanah – time, which moment (presumably, our world has 3.5×1054 moments)
Nefesh – observer, the point of view (global population varies)

Envision a movie editor having overlooking his work. All the film strips are attached to one large lightbox, from the first frame of the movie to the last. With CGI he can remove and insert whatever he wants, wherever he wants and whenever he wants.

Now on Hashem's "lightbox" there is not just one long sequence of stills, but one strip for each observer. The length of a strip corresponds to the observers lifetime(s) and may have gaps. The total of a nefesh's perception is a (virtual) reality being played back over its lifetime(s).

A neshamah being sent into a life, is like taking it from the editing room and adding it to the movie. Conversely, going to heaven (Gan Eden, etc.) would then be Hashem taking a character out of a still and placing him in the editing room.

This fits nicely with my rabbi's explanation of punishment and reward – everybody being shown each others actions, with shame and honor as a result. In my model: Everybody is shown the complete truth at once. I.e. the editing room is Olam HaEmes. As such, Gan Eden is outside time.

This brings us back to Yitzchak Avinu: Hashem took him out of two years worth of frames, and put him in the editing room, where he (of course) did not age.

  • maybe there are different types of time besides physical time.
    – ray
    May 14, 2014 at 8:03

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