Every person has different wants and desires. Some enjoy good food, others enjoy vacations, yet some others enjoy fine art. Although Olam Haba will be a spiritual enjoyment, how do we know that it will be something we will like?

  • It's an interesting question. I think you answer it yourself in the last sentence, though. It's difficult to really understand and appreciate (and I'm definitely speaking to myself here), but the ultimate 'enjoyment' for the soul is closeness to G-D and holiness, and this is an objective enjoyment, not a subjective one. It's hard to really find a parallel in the physical world, as I don't know if there's such a thing on this world as an 'objective enjoyment', but every soul does enjoy a closeness to G-D and holiness. Commented Aug 3, 2015 at 13:17
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    I also vaguely recall hearing a reason behind why closeness with G-D is an 'objective enjoyment': every soul wants to return to the source where it came from (which might be a parallel of an almost 'objective enjoyment' for humans: the desire to have a home and place to comfortably live), and since every soul is a 'piece' from G-D, Olam Haba is like a 'return home' to where it came from. This is true for all souls, therefore all souls would enjoy Olam Haba. Commented Aug 3, 2015 at 13:27
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    I'll put it in as an answer if you want, but I don't have sources offhand for these claims, other than personal experience and learning through my own life. Which as a random guy on the internet (albeit with over a thousand fake internet points!), might not mean much to others. But if you want, I'll put this in as an answer. Commented Aug 3, 2015 at 14:49
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    Without entering the arena of philosophical speculation a la Ramchal, one can merely assume that if God wants to reward us with something enjoyable, he is capable of producing something enjoyable to each individual. That is, we know it will be enjoyable because God designed it to be enjoyable. Thus the philosophical question of why a spiritual experience will be enjoyable can be avoided.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Aug 3, 2015 at 20:02
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    You hit on a critical point that you say each week before you start Pirkei Avot. You may not be aware of it yourself! You say, "Every person of Israel has a portion in Olam Haba." That's in line with your 2nd sentence. Everyone's "portion" is different. The concept of "enjoying" things is, as I understand, an emotional "Olam Hazeh" concept that doesn't apply to Olam Haba. G-d assigns each person his personal appropriate portion according to G-d's decision. Our actions now determine the "size" and the type of portion we receive. "Enjoying" the portion, I think, is irrelevant.
    – DanF
    Commented Aug 3, 2015 at 20:45

2 Answers 2


true we have desires for food, vacations, etc. but that is not the innermost desire of our essence.

a human being is composed of layers of beings, from a gorilla (nefesh behemit) to a holy soul. these other desires are from outer parts of our being.

The Mekubal Rabbi Yaakov Adas writes regarding this innermost aspect of his being:

the most powerful, and most inner desire of a man's soul is to connect more to its source

source (see page 12). i.e. this is the desire of our innermost being, our innermost essence

and this is what olam haba is about as explained in the chovos halevavos shaar bitachon end of ch.4

Another reason is that the purpose of reward in Olam Haba is essentially clinging to G-d, and drawing near to His supernal light, as written "your righteousness will go before you, the glory of G-d will gather you in" (Isaiah 58:8)

  • Related to my comment, above. Would this imply that "enjoyment" which is emotional, becomes irrelevant in Olam Haba?
    – DanF
    Commented Aug 3, 2015 at 21:37
  • @DanF many levels of enjoyment. physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual. maybe others.
    – ray
    Commented Aug 4, 2015 at 6:11
  • Good point. I hadn't considered that aspect.
    – DanF
    Commented Aug 4, 2015 at 13:14

I assume that the term, "reward" connotes enjoyment. We are rewarded for our mitzvoth, but we should expect to receive that reward in Olam Haba, not now. (Yes, many mitzvoth are rewarded in Olam Hazeh, but, Pirkei Avot, among other places, states that the expectation of the reward should not be the only reason to perform or discard a mitzvah.)

One source for this concept of receiving reward in Olam Haba is:

Deuteronomy 7:11:

וְשָׁמַרְתָּ֨ אֶת־הַמִּצְוָ֜ה וְאֶת־הַֽחֻקִּ֣ים וְאֶת־הַמִּשְׁפָּטִ֗ים אֲשֶׁ֨ר אָנֹכִ֧י מְצַוְּךָ֛ הַיּ֖וֹם לַעֲשׂוֹתָֽם׃ (פ)‏

You shall keep the commandment, and the statutes, and the ordinances, which I command you today, to do them.

Rashi on Deuteronomy 7:11:1:

היום לעשותם. ולמחר לעולם הבא לטול שכרם:‏

And tomorrow, in Olam Haba, you will be able to take reward for them.

So, if you assume that rewards are pleasurable, then, yes, Olam haba would be enjoyable. As to whether you can refuse the reward in Olam Haba or whether it is "forced" upon you even if you don't want it ... Well, no one from Olam Haba has told me if that option is available ;-)

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