The story is about a man who lived his life sinning and rebelling against God. I remember his sins being sexual in nature. Then the last minute before his death he did Teshuvah and God forgave him completely and he went to Gan Eden. This story was said to illustrate the power of genuine repentance.

I would really appreciate if someone could direct me to the source I am looking for.

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    – mbloch
    Commented Jan 22, 2018 at 7:31
  • The best is at the beginning of baba batra regarding Hordus, perhaps dad 3b
    – kouty
    Commented Jan 22, 2018 at 15:50

1 Answer 1


I think you're referring to the story of R. Elazar ben Dodaya, which can be found in Avodah Zarah 17a.

To summarize the story, it was said about a man named Elazar ben Dodaya that there was not a prostitute in the world that he had not been with. When he heard of a distant beautiful woman, he went to go be with her. In the middle of his act, the woman told him that there was no way for him to repent for his wrongdoings. This disturbed Elazar ben Dodaya greatly, and he went out and did complete repentance for his misdeeds. He did so much teshuvah that eventually his soul left him. A Heavenly voice then announced, "Rabbi Elazar ben Dodaya is destined for the World to Come." When R. Yehudah HaNasi heard this story, he cried and said, "There are those (like me) who receive a share in the World to Come after many years, and those who receive it in an instant."

  • Yes that is it. This passage is very much the style of Rabbi yehuda Hanassi.
    – user16600
    Commented Jan 22, 2018 at 6:35
  • @user16600 If you are satisfied with the answer, please accept it by clicking the tick under the vote. meta.stackexchange.com/questions/5234/… Commented Jan 22, 2018 at 9:06
  • He was called rebbi as well. It will soon be in daf yomi. What difference does it make what you are called. I think the answer is not that he was just called rebbi but he was taught enough to be called that otherwise he could not get into gan eden. See the similar story in AZ regarding Titus nephew and google.
    – patient
    Commented Jan 22, 2018 at 10:17
  • I've summarized the story for the convenience of others.
    – ezra
    Commented Jan 22, 2018 at 15:23
  • There are many reasons for why he cried. The simple one is that rebbi was ill for many years see gemoro BM. So he cried that he had to be ill for so long whereas he recieved it an instant.
    – patient
    Commented Jan 22, 2018 at 17:03

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