D.A.F. >   Useful Resources > Developing Character > Pirkei Avos
Pirkei Avot Home

Eng Heb Both
Font Size +  /  -


Mirrored from Dafyomireview.com


Pirkei Avot / Ethics of the Fathers
with a select treasury of commentaries on all levels of Torah interpretation
All Israel has a share in the World to Come...
with select commentaries

Commentaries used in this translation:
Rashi Commentary (1040-1105)
Rambam Commentary (1135-1204)
Rabbi Ovadiah of Bartenura Commentary (1445-1515)
Tiferet Yisrael commentary (1782–1860)
Rabeinu Yonah (1180-1263)
Derech Chaim - Maharal of Prague (1525-1609) (hebrewbooks.org/14193)
Biur HaGra of Rabbi Eliyahu of Vilna - (1720-1797)
Rabbi Avraham Azoulai commentary - (1570-1643)
Rabbi Chayim Yosef David Azoulai (Chida) commentary - (1724-1806)
Chatam Sofer commentary - (1762-1839), along with Ktav Sofer, and others
Ben Ish Chai commentary - (1835-1909)
and many more..

Commentary Level:
  • Min - (level 1) for basic commentaries as relating to the plain meaning (Pshat).
  • Med - (level 2) elaborates more into the theme.
  • Max - (level 3) deeper in, Maharal of Prague.
  • Max+ - (level 4) more themes in the text.
  • ShortMix - (recommended) short version of level 4.
Suggestion: Read once without commentaries (or min). Then a second time with.

Link to this page:

+ Increase Font Size   |   - Decrease Font Size

All Israel has a share in the World to Come...כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל יֵשׁ לָהֶם חֵלֶק לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא
"All Israel has a share in the World to Come. As it reads (Isaiah 60:21): "And Your people are all righteous, for ever shall they inherit the land, the sprout of My plantings, the work of My hands, to glorify Me".

Rabbi Chananya ben Akashia says, The Holy One, Blessed be He, wanted to give Israel merit; therefore He multiplied for them Torah and mitzvot..."
כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל יֵשׁ לָהֶם חֵלֶק לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ישעיה ס) וְעַמֵּךְ כֻּלָּם צַדִּיקִים לְעוֹלָם יִירְשׁוּ אָרֶץ נֵצֶר מַטָּעַי מַעֲשֵׂה יָדַי לְהִתְפָּאֵר.

רַבִּי חֲנַנְיָא בֶּן עֲקַשְׁיָא אוֹמֵר, רָצָה הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לְזַכּוֹת אֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל, לְפִיכָךְ הִרְבָּה לָהֶם תּוֹרָה וּמִצְוֹת, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ישעיה מב) ה' חָפֵץ לְמַעַן צִדְקוֹ יַגְדִּיל תּוֹרָה וְיַאְדִּיר

Rama M'Pano, Asarah Maamarot, Mamar Chikur Hadin perek 19 - it seems that in the early generations, they would first read this chapter of Mishna ("all Israel has a portion..." Sanhedrin ch.10) in Israel when Isru Chag (8th day of Passover) would fall on the Sabbath... (For then there are 7 Sabbaths until Shavuot, in order to finish the 6th chapter of Pirkei Avot before Shavuot). This saying is along the lines of the Haftorah of Chol HaMoed Pesach which speaks of the Resurrection of the Dead and which is destined to occur on Nissan...
Chatam Sofer end of Vayikra - "All Israel has a share in the World to Come" - Rashi there explains: " 'all Israel' - even those who incurred the death penalty by Beit Din mentioned earlier." The mishna continues there: "these do not have a portion in the world to come: 'one who says the torah is not from Heaven, the Apikorsim (heretics)'".

I.e., those who deny the words of the Sages and their received tradition. Therefore, he brings here this mishna: "all Israel (even the wicked) have a portion in the world to come", provided he believes "Moshe received the torah from Sinai..etc.", "Yehoshua received..etc", and "they said three things, etc." So too for the whole tractate. Even though he does not fulfill those things but he believes and transgresses them - he will certainly be punished, but afterwards, he will have a portion in the world to come...
Maharal - they set this mishna ("all of Israel...", Sanhedrin ch.10) at the beginning because the sages of the generation saw the long and difficult exile of the Jewish people. Thus, they instituted these words to console their hearts and so they recognize their great and lofty level. Even though the nations are joyous of their material success and prosperity, but the Jewish people should rejoice in their portion and ultimate success.

Thus, they ordered these words one after the other. First "All of Israel has a portion..". This is not at all reward for mitzvah. It is only due to their being created by G-d (i.e. the main creation and closest to G-d, as explained there), as written "a branch of My planting, the work of My hands in which I will glory". For in their being the work of His hands, they have a lofty level. Therefore, they merit the World to Come. Likewise, the sages said in Chelek (Sanhedrin 110b): "when does a child merit to come to the World to Come? When he is born..." Thus, from the very being created as a Yisrael, who are "a branch of planting" of the Holy One, blessed be He, they are worthy of Olam Haba, and this is not from the aspect of the Mitzvot and deeds.

Afterwards, they also have another quality, namely, good and just character traits. This quality also grows out from their origin of being a good and just creation in essence. Thus, the good character traits follow naturally. Unlike one whose early origin is evil and bitter, of those who do not have good character traits, steeped in lewdness, bloodshed and performing all abominations.. This is the second level.

The third level is the Torah, the crowning level which Yisrael has. Therefore after this comes the saying of Rabbi Chanania ben Akashia "the Holy One, Blessed be He, wanted to give Israel merit; therefore He multiplied for them Torah and mitzvot..." All these levels follow one after the other...
Question: Why does it say "All Israel has a share TO the World to Come", instead of "All Israel has a share IN the World to Come"? (literal hebrew reading is "to" not "in")

Ruach Chaim - it is known that when a person thinks to do a mitzva, it has an effect in the higher worlds. An Ohr Makif (surrounding light) is roused (mitorer) on him from the side of holiness and imbues him, surrounding him and helping him to complete the mitzva. It is then as if he is sitting in Gan Eden, quite literally (mamash) in a place of Holiness. The holiness enclothes him (mitlabesh) and through completing the mitzva, this garment (of holy light) strengthens and illuminates within him. Afterwards, the light departs to Gan Eden and this will be his reward in the future.

It is likewise so for the opposite, G-d forbid. Through committing a sin, an evil power clings to him and surrounds him similar to before. And after the sin, everything departs to Gehinom, and the person feels separated from holiness, as written: "But your sins were separating between you and your G-d" (Yeshaya 59:2).

Likewise Chazal said (Eruvin 19): "...Gehinom is made deep for them", which means they themselves deepen Gehinom for themselves. Thus, there is no greater refuge to save oneself from sin than acts of mitzvot. Because through them he becomes covered with this sukkah of holiness and the scent of Gan Eden enters in his life and there is no room for the yetzer hara (evil inclination) to rule over him... This is what our sages said (Avot 4:2): "a mitzva brings another mitzva, a sin brings another sin..the reward of a mitzva is a mitzva".

Because the reward of a mitzva is the mitzva itself that is given to him, namely, the spiritual light that surrounds him, as before. For he sits then in Gan Eden and then it is surely easy to do another mitzva.

Likewise the opposite for sin, G-d forbid. For then he is shackled with ropes of disgrace, and the sin brings more sin.

Thus, the Tanna (sage) did not say "every Jew has a portion IN Olam Haba", but rather "TO Olam Haba". For "in Olam Haba" would have implied it is an independent thing already prepared, and if he merits to do mitzvot, he will be given a portion from there.

Instead, the mishna says: "TO Olam Haba", that he himself makes the Olam Haba through the mitzvot. It is the work of his own hands. For the mitzva itself is the reward. The light is in Gan Eden during man's life, and in the future this is his reward. Understand this.

Translator: in Nefesh HaChaim, he adds "each person's reward is the holiness he added to Olam Haba". If you ask: didn't the Maharal say that each person intrinsically has a portion in the World to Come? Yes, but each person builds this portion according to his deeds, or corrupts it, G-d forbid.
Chida, Petach Einayim, Sanhedrin ch.10 - "the sprout of my plantings, the work of my hands, to glorify Me" - he gave a reason why all Israel will merit the resurrection of the dead: "the sprout of my plantings", i.e. since G-d's intent in creating Adam HaRishon (the first man) was that he be eternal, like G-d Himself. But, as known, due to his sin, death was decreed on him. Thus, it follows that after rectification of the sin of Adam HaRishon, man will return and become eternal as was G-d's original intent at the time of creation. This is the meaning of "the sprout of my plantings", that he is a "part of G-d" (chelek Eloka memaal) which the Holy One, blessed be He planted in this world, in order "to glorify Me", so to speak, in man's creation and service, in the way of: "Give strength to G-d; [over Israel is His pride]" (Tehilim 68:35), and until now, G-d's intent in creating man did not yet materialize from potential to actual. But certainly, he will return to become eternal as G-d's intent.

"the sprout of my plantings" - it is known that a sinner becomes rectified through gilgulim (reincarnations). This is the explanation of "All Israel has a share in the World to Come", i.e. after gilgulim and gehinom, then: "And Your people are all righteous, forever shall they inherit the land".

If you ask: "how is it possible that all Israel are tzadikim (righteous), we see that some are not so proper? And how could he call them all tzadikim and that they will inherit the land? On this he answered: "the sprout of My plantings", to hint on the secret of the gilgulim (reincarnations). Since they are a "nice planting", I replant them again many times. This is why "plantings" is in plural form.

According to the sages of truth (kabala), if there was no rectification at all for three gilgulim (reincarnations), the soul is no longer reincarnated. Thus, when do I say "the sprout of My plantings" in plural? When "the work of My hands, to glorify Me".
Chida - Maarit HaAryin - "All Israel has a share in the World to Come" - the roshei tevot (first letters of each word) have gematria "Yisrael", to hint that the name "Yisrael" shields and saves one to merit Olam Haba.
Chida - Zeroa Yamin - "righteous, for ever shall they inherit the land" (tzadikim l'olam yirshu aretz)" - the Roshei Tevot have gematria "anava" (Humility), for this is the ikar (primary matter) of torah and service. Through it one will receive divine light from the Shem Havaya (Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh=gematria 26), hinted in the Roshei Tevot "Your people are all righteous (veamech kulam)" (Vuv-Kaf=26).. thus Moshe, the humblest of all men, received the torah...

Furthermore, the gematria of "anava" (Humility)=131. Thus Tehilim ch.131 begins "my heart was not haughty", to hint that whoever has humility is saved from the Samech-Mem (Samael=Samech-Mem-Aleph-Mem=131). Thus Moshe the humble "received torah", torah=611 to annul "S-amael L-ilith"=611 from "Sinai" which is also gematria Samael to annul it. Sinai is also Gematria "anava" (humility) as our sages said: "[the small] mount Sinai was chosen for humility".
Ben Ish Chai - Birkat Avot - "Moshe received..." - one of the reasons the torah was given by a messenger (Moshe) and the Jewish people did not hear the whole torah is as follows. The reward for a mitzva needs to be eternal. For just like a mitzva is eternal, so too its reward needs to be eternal. Thus the Holy One, blessed be He, must necessarily give man reward in Olam Haba which is an eternal world. But in this world which decays and disappears, it is impossible for reward to be eternal. The Holy One, blessed be He, fulfills the whole torah and in the torah it is written: "you shall give him his wages that very day" (Devarim 24:15). Due to this, it is necessary to pay the reward in this world, since the reward of fulfilling mitzvot is as the wages of a worker.

Thus, there is a dilemma either way. If G-d pays in this world to fulfill "you shall give him his wages that very day", it is impossible for the reward to be eternal. And if He gives it in Olam Haba so that it is eternal, it is impossible to fulfill "you shall give him his wages that very day". For this reason the Holy One, blessed be He, gave the torah through an emissary, namely, Moshe Rabeinu, who heard the things from G-d and taught them to the Jewish people.

Thus, the "hiring" on fulfilling the torah occurred by an emissary (shliach), and the halacha (law) is that one who hires a worker through an emissary does not transgress "you shall give him his wages that very day", neither the sender nor the emissary. For the sender did not himself hire the worker and the emissary did not hire the worker for himself. Thus He can now give the reward for torah and mitzvot in Olam Haba for there is no mitzva of "you shall give him his wages that very day"..

Likewise for this reason, a man must wait on receiving his reward until Olam Haba and he cannot claim from the Holy One, blessed be He, his reward in this world...