Get the best of content every week!
Find answers to fascinating Jewish questions, enjoy holiday tips and guides, read real-life stories and more!

Intermediate Talmud: Tractate Sanhedrin

The Talmud on the World to Come

In these intermediate level classes you will learn to understand the unique give-and-take style of Talmudic discussion. This series studies chapter eleven of Tractate Sanhedrin (folio 90ba), which discusses the era of eternity in the world to come.

The Talmud on the World to Come, Lesson 1
This inaugural class on the final chapter of tractate Sanhedrin covers the opening Mishnah, which speaks of “who will, and who won't, receive a portion of the proverbial World-to-Come.” Amongst the fascinating topics covered in this Talmud series are Torah definitions for Heaven, Hell and the Resurrection; the Uniqueness of the Jewish Soul; the definition of Heresy; and when Evil is Irretrievable.
The Talmud on the World to Come, Lesson 2
The Gemara begins its analysis of the Mishnah by attempting to understand why lack of faith in the resurrection is so egregiously sinful—as to rob a soul of its eternity! As evidenced by a fascinating biblical narrative, Divine retribution seems to follow a pattern of poetic spiritual symmetry. A colourful collection of commentary adds multiple tiers of profound new depth and meaning. In the end, disbelief in the intrinsic power of Neshamot Yisrael (the souls of Israel) and their ultimate destiny is ostensibly as damning as disbelief in the Creator Himself!
The Talmud on the World to Come, Lesson 3
The Talmud seeks scriptural origins of the foundational Jewish belief: “the dead will live again”. The tracing trajectory leads us to Aaron HaKohen and subtleties of the mandatory Terumah offerings the Nation of Israel provides for the Kohen clerisy. Ultimately, our journey reaches across the strata of our history to the Patriarchal promises of Eretz Yisrael!
The Talmud on the World to Come, Lesson 4
Learn the responses of outstanding Sages of antiquity to challenges presented by a variety of antagonists, apathetics and agnostics. This class presents a fascinating selection of varied scriptural sources; presented as proof in response to those who questioned the veracity of The Resurrection and its sources within the montage of biblical framework.
The Talmud on the World to Come, Lesson 5
The Talmud presents a series of fascinating exchanges and related observations regarding the “dead coming back to life:” From the fearless Torah leader of the Sanhedrin who exposes a clever scriptural forgeries (crafted by local sectarians), to the Jewish Sage of Roman descent who responded to Queen Cleopatra’s strange queries about rising naked or clothed, and finally a surprising three-way encounter including a Sage, the Caesar of Rome and a palace princess. This intriguing class concludes with a thoughtful rabbinic reflection.
The Talmud on the World to Come, Lesson 6
In this class we complete the Talmud's documented exchanges between wayward, faithless Jews and our Sages. The first metaphor begins with a real-life King and his royal building projects and ends by invoking the existence of a squirrel-like rodent who literally emerges from the soil along with a rare amphibious creature who can multiply in lightning speed! Finally, a peek into an angry conversation between a famous sagacious hunchback who has nothing but patience for an irreverent and most insolent sectarian.
The Talmud on the World to Come, Lesson 7
On the heels of an account of a fascinating exchange between a sagacious hunchback and an insolent sectarian, this chapter’s focus on the future mass-resurrection, is briefly interrupted with three additional exchanges between this insightful Sage who courageously defends the Jewish people from ominous legal challenges presented under the guise of international law. Learn about grave charges levelled against our legal claim to Israel by (real) descendants of an original Canaanite tribe. This ancient face-off is eerily reminiscent of present-day (fake) nations’ fictitious claims against us.
The Talmud on the World to Come, Lesson 8
On the heels of a dramatic legal showdown between a sagacious hunchback and descendants of an original Canaanite tribe; the same rabbi, now goes up against the legal representatives of the Egyptian nation. In the powerful courtroom of Alexander the Great, the biblical narrative is presented as proof that the nation of Israel was required to make exorbitant payments towards their neighbors. In a stunning turnaround, the Sage brilliantly uses the very same narrative to fend off their demands and instead sue for slave reparations, causing the Egyptians to abandon their claims and flee.
The Talmud on the World to Come, Lesson 9
The final courtroom drama in this mini-series features the resurrection of an ancient conflict between powerful personalities of times bygone and their contested connection to Canaan. This time our sagacious hunchback faces off with the purported Umah descended from Ishmael and offspring of Abraham’s righteous concubine Keturah, nefariously seeking a “two-state solution” for the Land of Israel. When the biblical narrative is presented as positive proof that our homeland had to be shared, the sage deftly demonstrated clear scriptural proof to the contrary.
The Talmud on the World to Come, Lesson 10
The Talmud introduces a compelling historical record of a series of profound questions posed by Rome’s stoic philosopher king Marcus Aurelius Antoninus to the great Torah Sage, who went on to redact the Mishna, Rebbi Yehudah HaNasi. This first in a three part mini-series focuses on seeming incongruity of divine punishment for sinful behavior or actions; as after all, who should bear the ultimate responsibility; the body or soul? The rabbi artfully employs a fascinating metaphor to convey subtle spiritual truisms to answer the emperor’s query.
The Talmud on the World to Come, Lesson 11
In the second exchange between the stoic philosopher Antoninus, who was Caesar of Rome, and Rebbi, the redactor of the Mishna, they discuss the solar orbit—specifically, the nature of the sun’s setting. Although from a modern astronomical and scientific perspective of the stratosphere, the conversation sounds hopelessly antiquated or even buffoonish; a careful and insightful read reveals tremendously inspiring profundity. In illuminating the commentary of our Rabbis’ on this Gemara, this rumination effectively portrays their conversation as emblematic of the disparate spiritual philosophies and theologies of the Roman/Greco civilization and Torah Judaism.
The Talmud on the World to Come, Lesson 12
In this final exchange between a famous Royal Roman and a legendary Talmudic Sage they debate the proverbial question of “when life begins.” Superficially studied, it appears that the wisdom of Rome's Philosopher King prevails, as the Sage seems to acquiesce to his position. This class draws deeply on biblical precedent and hallowed mystical tradition to demonstrate the fallacy of that approach. Based on this thesis, we elucidate the conclusion of their historic discussion on the subject of the earliest influence of the Yetzer Hara (= evil inclination) into our human consciousness.
The Talmud on the World to Come, Lesson 13
Scriptural statements about the post-messianic resurrection, indicate disparate prophetic traditions: souls being restored to broken bodies vs. refurbished resurrection, death forever-gone vs. extraordinary longevity, and an atmosphere of the future glowing with greater intensity or a fading sun and moon eclipsed by dazzling divinity? Reconciling these seeming contradictions lead us to illuminate the darker recesses of the Resurrection, and provides profound understanding of the uniqueness of the Jewish people's spiritual mandate, in contrast to the rest of humanity. (Tractate Sanhedrin 91b)
The Talmud on the World to Come, Lesson 14
An apparent contradiction couched in a verse of sacred Scripture turns out to be alluding to be stages in the process of resurrection; with same verse ultimately proving to be the most compelling of proofs regarding the post-messianic resuscitation of the dead. We go on to highlight multiple grammatical anomalies in disparate verses of Scripture – all of which ultimately indicate a recurring theme of resurrection woven into the tapestries of Torah prophecy. The final reference comes from a dramatic biblical description of prophetic voices coalescing as one. (Tractate Sanhedrin 91b)
The Talmud on the World to Come, Lesson 15
Refraining from sharing Torah knowledge is cast in a profoundly negative light; as even still gestating fetuses in their mother’s wombs curse this individual! Yet, the gravest consequence is the loss of that very knowledge he will suffer. On a sunnier note, the rewards of benevolence and sharing Torah are spoken of: the blessings of the biblical Joseph are bestowed – as Torah is for the soul, what food is for the body. Finally, differing grades of scriptural verses are presented – all are clearly demonstrative of our foundational belief in the ultimate resurrection of the dead. (Tractate Sanhedrin 91b-92a)
The Talmud on the World to Come, Lesson 16
Compassionate, inspired leadership is a kindred platform in the world-to-come. Here, we are introduced to the remarkable phenomenon of “character framing by divine design” – as it appears in scriptural sequence. The highly uncommon occurrence sheds light on what's really important: Attitude, and our Holy Temple! This thesis is challenged with a verse about vengeance. A deeply insightful discussion about reward, retribution and the concept of consequences resolves the challenge and provides overarching clarity. (Tractate Sanhedrin 92a)
Having identified Da’at (knowledge, attitude or enlightened perspective) and The Mikdash (Jerusalem’s Holy Temple) as outstandingly unique by virtue of “character framing by divine design” in scriptural cadence, we learn that such attitude can be as impactful as the Holy Temple and other rewards can even include affluence! A series of devastating consequences engendered by the absence of Da’at include being stripped of compassion, suffering and inevitable exile. These cryptic teachings provide profound insight into the human condition and valuable life lessons. (Tractate Sanhedrin 92a)
Having already presented a series of Rabbi Elazar's teachings on a particular theme, the Gemara meanders into a medley of moral instruction on a wide range of different subjects. Beginning with the importance of nocturnal Torah study and responsibility towards educators, we’re informed of unique mealtime etiquette, which surprisingly contradicts another kindred teaching by the very same author. After resolving the seeming inconsistency, we focus briefly on the self-harm caused by voyeurism and conclude with a powerful lesson about humility and longevity. (Tractate Sanhedrin 92a)
Returning to the original narrative; the Talmud continues to identify biblical sources for the traditional Jewish belief in “The Resurrection.” Incisive analysis of a scriptural juxtaposition of the insatiable nature of graves and wombs serve to reveal an inherent awareness about end-of-days messianic credo involving the resuscitation-of-the-dead. A teaching attributed to the Prophet Elijah indicates an earlier wave of messianic resurrection. Defending this notion introduces us to unearthly “Eagle-men” phenomenon, as the conversation shifts to Ezekiel's famous dry bones! (Tractate Sanhedrin 92a-92b)
Attempting to challenge a teaching about minor-resurrection in early messianic-times, the Talmud evokes Ezekiel's vision of the dry bones that rattled and came to life; casting them as an earlier prototype of futuristic phenomenon. Deftly parrying, our Sages defend the initial thesis – pointing to a mainstream school of thought that sees this event as purely allegorical. To demonstrate its validity, the Talmud presents 3 approaches to viewing this prophecy; the opening opinion is richly elucidated in this profoundly thought-provoking presentation. (Tractate Sanhedrin 92b)
When did the historic mass resurrection take place? (Tractate Sanhedrin 92b)
The story of the 3 boys who defied a tyrant and inspired the world! Learn the postscript to the fascinating episode of their miraculous emergence from the fiery inferno. (Talmud, Sanhedrin 92b -93a)
Learning the section of Talmud on the Resurrection in Tractate Sanhedrin 93a. This class focuses on the whereabouts of Daniel in the narrative of the boys being thrown into the furnace by Nevuchadnetzar.
Be amazed by the story of the false philandering prophets who were roasted and burned, and the High Priest whose clothes were merely singed! (Talmud, Sanhedrin 93a)
Are we supposed to see G-d as “righteous? This Talmud class deals with faith conundrums; like why do good people suffer? (Talmud, Sanhedrin 93a)
In this Talmud class we’ll encounter palace politics, prophetic promises, people and personalities amongst the Jewish exiles and returnees to Zion! (Talmud, Sanhedrin 93a)
This Talmud class teaches our Sages reflections on historic hopes, dreams and visions; and includes fascinating reflections on the silent sovereign, singing soil, speaking spirits plus the pope who converted! (Talmud, Sanhedrin 93a)
Related Topics