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There are three things which are a taste of the World to Come: Shabbat, the sun, and “usage.” What does “usage” mean? Usage of the bed [i.e. marital relations]? But that weakens the body. Rather it means usage of the orifices [i.e. emptying one’s bowels].

Talmud Bavli, Berachot 57b

How can the pleasure of the afterlife be equated with using the bathroom? Is this an example of “humor in the Talmud?”

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    David Herz, welcome to Mi Yodeya, and thanks for bringing your question here! I deleted the second part of your question since it's not directly related to the first, so it wouldn't be reasonable to expect a single coherent answer to address both. You're welcome to post the second part as its own question. You can find the original text here. I hope you get great answers, and that we continue to see you around! – Isaac Moses May 15 '18 at 13:44
  • There's a similar passage on 8a (מר זוטרא אמר לעת מצא זה בית הכסא), and there it seems that they thought it for real, as in Babylonia it wasn't that easy to get a toilet. – Kazi bácsi May 15 '18 at 16:17
  • Conjecture: Emptying one's system eliminates toxins that would otherwise destroy the body if they weren't eliminated. Similarly, the afterlife is a "toxin" free environment where one is free of sin and enjoys spiritual bliss and purity. – DanF May 15 '18 at 18:03
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    Not trying to be "disgusting", but have you ever really needed to use the restroom but haven't been able to? When you finally are able to, it feels so relieving (pun intended). – ezra May 16 '18 at 0:16
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    It just sounds really silly to me that a religious book would equate its afterlife’s pleasure with pooping. – David Herz May 17 '18 at 10:19
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The Chiddushei Agados on Brachos (57b) writes, "לכאורה משום שהוא יום מנוחה אבל לא הוי דומיא" - The three things listed, including releasing one's bowels, are similar to the Next World regarding the rest they bring, albeit they aren't entirely similar.

Rav Dovid Rosenfeld answers differently

Relieving oneself — removing such wastes from one’s system — resembles the World to Come. Disassociating oneself from meaninglessness provides a taste of Heaven — a place in which man (those of us who will merit) will live in a truly real state — of complete connection with G-d. Further, the more we recognize that that which has no purpose must be discarded, the more attuned we become to the purpose of existence, and ironically, the more ready we become to ultimately cleave to G-d in the hereafter.

  • I'm not sure how you got this understanding from the source you quoted (in fact, it seems to be saying the exact opposite). Also, essentially your answer is that it's not similar, which seems quite weak. – רבות מחשבות May 18 '18 at 19:24

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