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Since believing that Techiyas HaMeisim is part of the Torah is a fundamental of Judaism (Mishna Sanhedrin Perek HaChelek, although the Rambam Hilchos Teshuva Chapter 3 doesn't emphasize the believing it is part of the Torah per se), why is this not in a clear verse in the Torah? Instead the Talmud in Sanhedrin works very hard to find a usable source at all.

I have heard of the Rambam's answer in Moreh Nevuchim, that the slaves leaving Egypt couldn't relate to the idea properly, but I'm wondering if there is another answer?

  • Where in Moreh Nevuchim is that? – jim Sep 9 '14 at 20:30
  • @jim, since I heard it from someone, I don't have an exact source. – Yishai Sep 9 '14 at 20:43
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    A while ago (so the details are fuzzy) I hear a shiur from Rabbi Paltiel. He discussed different Rishonim's views about reward and punishment. If I remember correctly, he says that the Ramban holds that the only rewards discussed in the Torah are physical rewards, since spiritual rewards (including Olam Habah), can't be described and quantified. I think this is the Shiur: insidechassidus.org/spring/29-spring-parshas/… – Menachem Sep 9 '14 at 22:46
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The Rabbeinu Bachya (citation coming) says the more fundamental and important a given idea or mitzvah is, the less the Torah stresses it. Shabbos which in the grand scheme of our history is huge gets barely a mention with a zachor and a shamor and a lo sivaaru and all 39 skilos get nothing. Karbanos which we only had for under nine hundred years, a vast minority of our timeline got a tremendous amount of attention in the Torah. One of his proofs was the fact that one of our ikrei hadaas, techias hameisim got a few rimazim and that was it.

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    If time is what counts ("under nine hundred years" (which isn't quite accurate, as the mishkan should count also, but whatever)), then Shabas shouldn't count much, either. It's been some 3300 years since Sinai, or some 471 (=3300/7) years of Shabasos. But that's a question on Rabenu Bachye, assuming you've paraphrased him accurately, not on you. +1. – msh210 Sep 10 '14 at 3:12
  • Does R' Bachya say a reason why this should be? +1 – Y     e     z Sep 10 '14 at 3:17
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The Rashban answers that the Torah only writes about laws which apply to the Jews specifically. That which is generally applicable to all people it doesn't speak about directly.

Since everyone has a place in the world to come and the Resurrection - if they are worthy of it - it is then not something specially applicable to Jews and therefore not directly mentioned.

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The Torah rarely discusses the future explicitly. Olam Haba is not overtly mentioned. Moshiach has veiled references in Devarim - the only overt reference is in Navi (in which you can find overt references to resurrection as well, as Rambam discusses in Iggeres Hatechiya).

The focus of the Torah is what is pertinent to you now, while you are in this world. What will be, but is not relevant now, is not discussed as overtly, or focused on.

  • I think the standard understanding is that a lot of the reward statements (about honoring parents, shiluach hakan, etc.) are not about this world. So I'm not clear why, according to this idea, the Torah would reference them, but then leave it vague and unclear. Do you have a source, or is this your own idea? (Just wondering). – Yishai Sep 10 '14 at 2:20
  • @Yishai Re: just wondering - you did tag the question with the sources tag... – Y     e     z Sep 10 '14 at 3:13
  • @YEZ, yes, but I didn't intend that to be exclusionary, just that it is the type of question where sources are requested (for those who follow that tag, this question may be of interest). – Yishai Sep 10 '14 at 3:25
  • @Yishai in defense of Jim, I don't know how much overt reference you have to non-this-worldly reward. Even non-overt references are not so common - it's mostly about rain and crops vs. drought and famine. – Y     e     z Sep 10 '14 at 3:49
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From Rambam's Iggeret Techiat Hameitim:

Now for the answer to the second problem, which is why is the Resurrection not mentioned in the Torah? This is my reply. You must realize that, as is well known, we do not believe that the Torah comes from Moses. No, it is in its entirety the word of the Lord. The problem then becomes a quest of God's wisdom in alerting us to life in the world-to-come and saying nothing to us clearly of the Resurrection. The reason is that, as I explained, this resurrection is of the type of the miraculous, and the belief in what is of this nature comes only from the assertion by a prophet. In those days all the people were Sabeans, who affirmed the eternity of the universe. They used to believe, as I taught in the Guide, that the spirit in the spheres is God, and they called the claim a lie that the revelation comes from God to the human species. Following their assumption they have to repudiate miracles and attribute them to magic and chicanery. You know, do you not, that they tried to counter the miracles of Moses with their magic: each cast down his rod [Exod. 7:12]. You know, do you not, that they marveled: We have seen this day that man may live though God has spoken to him [Deut. 5:21]. This indicates that they had regarded prophecy to be of the class of the impossible. How can a person who does not believe in prophecy be told a story of which there is no other proof save the faith in the prophet? It is decidedly impossible for those who followed their affirmation of the eternity of the world. Were it not for miracles, we would not regard the Resurrection to be in the class of the possible.
(Halkin translation)

It is known that these masses, in whose time God willed to reveal the Torah, were firm in their wrong ideas. Even forty years later, after they had beheld God's wonders, He said of them: The Lord has not given you a mind to understand or eyes to see or ears to hear [Deut. 29:3]. He knew that when they were informed of the innovation of the return of the dead, they would consider it impossible and would emphatically shun it. They would indulge in sin, since retribution was greatly delayed. For this reason they were warned and threatened with punishment, of which they were quickly persuaded: if you listen,... if you do not listen.... Their acceptance of that was more immediate and more beneficial.
(Halkin translation)

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