The great mysteries of Shabbat and Olam Haba.

Why is Shabbat connected to Olam Haba (afterlife) and how?

  • Is it because the afterlife is a place of rest from creative work?
  • Is it because there will be one day of rest in Olam Haba?
  • How is Mashiach connected to Shabbat?

In the Mishnah, Rabbi Yaakov says: "This world is like a lobby before the Olam Ha-Ba. Prepare yourself in the lobby so that you may enter the banquet hall." (Pirkei Avot 4:21)

Similarly, the Talmud says: "This world is like the eve of Shabbat, and the Olam Ha-Ba is like Shabbat".

So why is Shabbat connected to Olam Haba and how?

  • 1
    It might seem that I am talking about more then one question,but Im trying to bring light to this question by adding other questions.To try to explain where Im going with one question.
    – Aigle
    Jan 16, 2016 at 23:40
  • @Eagel the question How is Mashiach connected to Shabbat? is disconnected from the rest of your questions, maybe you want to edit it out. Otherwise I tried to help format the question and give a first answer
    – mbloch
    Jan 17, 2016 at 4:42
  • 1
    This question could be improved by providing a reason why you think the two might be related. Even if this is just something you heard, indicating so, and esp. where you heard it would be useful.
    – mevaqesh
    Jan 17, 2016 at 6:25
  • On the sixth day, man was created; on the seventh, God rested. So this world, the world of men, is like the day of preparation, and the one to come is like the Sabbath, since it belongs to God. As for resting, there is no sinful inclination there, as the Rambam teaches, and the sublime sweetness of the inner relief that comes as a direct result of being free from all temptation is utterly indescribable. As for the Messiah, he is the one ushering it in.
    – user18041
    Jun 7, 2019 at 0:39
  • Shabbos Meyn Olam HaOlam Haba ( G' Shabbos ) Tshuvah (Likutei Moharan Torah 6)
    – TwoOs
    Sep 18, 2020 at 5:58

2 Answers 2


Just as Shabbat is a day of rest and delight after a week of hard work, so is Olam Haba a time of rest and delight after a lifetime of hard work.

After we work all week and prepare for Shabbat, on Shabbat itself we rest, enjoy the world Hashem created (without interfering with it), delight from Shabbat-specific activities (nicer meals, great company, increased Torah study) and benefit from all the work done during the week.

Similarly the Olam Haba is a world of rest, delight and enjoyment from a life of work. During all our life we work to perform mitzvot, sanctify the name of Hashem, change the world for the better and improve our neshama (soul). In Olam Haba our neshama will rest (since it cannot perform any work) and reap the rewards from all this work by enjoying closeness to Hashem. This is the meaning of the quote from Pirkei Avot in your question (which incidentally is not directly related to Shabbat but at our entire life).

A wonderful and highly readable book expanding on these ideas is Stop Surviving, Start Living by R Ben Tzion Shafier

PS. I couldn't find your other quote This world is like the eve of Shabbat, and the Olam Ha-Ba is like Shabbat - I think it is paraphrased from Avoda Zara 3a

Whoever toiled on the eve of Shabbat will eat on Shabbat but whoever did not toil on the eve of Shabbat -- from where will he eat on Shabbat?

which Rashi interprets to mean that whoever performed mitzvot in this world will be rewarded in the olam haba

  • See also the Maharal on eruv tavshilin (possibly in Netzach Yisrael?)
    – Loewian
    Jan 17, 2016 at 6:22
  • mbloch : Thank you.I wonder if you know of any free audiobooks you can recommend? Thank you once again.
    – Aigle
    Jan 17, 2016 at 19:56
  • @Eagel I am very good with real books and very bad with audio ones. I don't listen to any. Sorry. But why don't you ask this as a question? but start here as you might find the answer in there already. Best of luck.
    – mbloch
    Jan 17, 2016 at 20:33
  • 1
    In Otzar Midrashim, Midrashim of Rabbi Akiva (ד״א – אל״ף) this concept is talked about in great length.
    – Shmuel
    Mar 4, 2023 at 19:55
  1. Kabbalistically, acc. to Ariz"l, Shabbat represents the world of oneness, unlike the weekdays that represent the separation.

    On weekdays, as we're separated/distanced from the "source of abundance", we feel lacking and therefore we ask for personal favors in our prayers (the middle blessings), where on Shabbos we "return" to oneness with the source of the abundance and we lack nothing, hence the lack of personal requests on Shabbos prayers.

  2. The weekdays represent the world of improvement (עולם התיקון), where we do Mitzvos and Melachot (good deeds) that make various Tikkunim, improving this world. Shabbos is the day when everything is fixed and perfect, and we don't engage in those Melachot. Literally, we eat what we cooked on the preceding weekdays.

  3. Regarding Shabbos the Jer. Gemmorah (Shabbos) says "לא ניתנו שבתות וימים טובים לישראל, אלא לעסוק בהן בתורה" - the purpose of Shabbatot and festivals is to engage solely in Torah study. Same is true for the World to come.

  4. Another Gemmora (Ksubbos 62b) says "עונה של תלמידי חכמים אימת אמר רב יהודה אמר שמואל מערב שבת לערב שבת" - Shabbos is the day of personal intimacy for Torah Scholars. Same for the WTC - as we say in Shemah "ה"א, ה' אחד" - in the days to come we'll become one with our Creator.

  5. There's an interesting parallel in contradicting views about Shabbat and weekdays and this world and the WTC:

    • Shammay saw Shabbos as the pinnacle of the week and kept everything special for it. However, Hillel saw that every day can be a special day and coined "ברוך ה' יום יום" (Beytzah 16)

    • The Mishnah in Avos (4,17) says "הוּא הָיָה אוֹמֵר, יָפָה שָׁעָה אַחַת בִּתְשׁוּבָה וּמַעֲשִׂים טוֹבִים בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה, מִכָּל חַיֵּי הַעוֹלָם הַבָּא. וְיָפָה שָׁעָה אַחַת שֶׁל קוֹרַת רוּחַ בָּעוֹלָם הַבָּא, מִכָּל חַיֵּי הָעוֹלָם הַזֶּה:".
      "He used to say: more precious is one hour in repentance and good deeds in this world, than all the life of the world to come; And more precious is one hour of the tranquility of the world to come, than all the life of this world."

  6. I can go on and on... A non-Jew is forbidden to keep Shabbos ( (see #5) and similarly the WTC is designated for the Jews (debatable).

...to be continued...

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