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It seems like the final destination for a Jew is heaven ("Olam Haba") if he behaved properly. What then is the purpose of the resurrection of the dead and how does it differ from heaven?

  • Why does it seem like that? – Double AA Jul 22 '15 at 23:59
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    With the exception of the Rambam et al., I believe most of the mefarshim (assuming by "heaven" you mean olam haba) equate the two. – Loewian Jul 22 '15 at 23:59
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    related: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/9335/… – Menachem Jul 23 '15 at 1:38
  • @loewian, in that case what are the righteous individuals that have become free of sin up to until tehiat hemeitim? Are they "frozen" in time until that point? Where does the basking in the rays of the shechinah take place? – Ani Yodea Jul 23 '15 at 10:50
  • I believe the Maharal in several places indicates that time is a construct of the material universe. As far as "basking in the rays of G-d's presence", as it were, that refers to techiyath hameithim (according to the position that that's olam haba). I believe the Rambam explains the purpose of techiyath hameithim as a way to fulfill unfinished self-realization, but he also says that he doesn't have a rational explanation/proof for it (according to his interpretation). – Loewian Jul 23 '15 at 16:19
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Olam HaBa, the world to come, is a generic term in Torah. The specific context must be taken into account in order to understand the meaning.

In some places it refers to the world of souls, that place where the soul goes after departing the body. This is what you are referring to as "Heaven".

In other places it is referring to the world of resurrection. After this world, meaning Olam HaZeh, and after death when the soul departs this world and enters the world of souls, a universe that is neither material nor corporeal.

What follows these first two stages is a transitional period which is called the days of Moshiach. And following that state of being is the time of the general resurrection of the dead which is the most common meaning of Olam HaBa, the world to come.

In the time of the general resurrection, all souls of the Jewish people return from the non-corporeal world of souls to be enclothed anew in their resurrected, physical body.

This terminology and order is specified at the end of the "HaKol Yoducha" prayer said after Barchu on Shabbat morning.

For a lengthy and detailed discussion of this subject, see the Chassidic discourse of the Lubavitcher Rebbe that begins with the words, "Lahavin Inyan Techiyat HaMetim" in volume three of Sefer HaMa'amarim Meluket published by Kehot.

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