Maamar HaIkarim by R. M.Ch. Luzzatto Chapter 4 - The Reward


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Translated by Ralph Anzarouth and an anonymous friend

4. The Reward

It should be noted that man is special among all the various species in that he has been granted freedom of choice and the power, by the way of his actions, to activate the influences described above. Because of this, he is also unique among the species in that he is repaid for his deeds measure for measure. And this repayment takes two forms, one in this world and the other in the world to come.

His reward in the world to come is the true Good which is the closeness to the blessed One, the degree of which is determined in accordance with his actions in this world, and is enjoyed for eternity. This reward is also divided in two parts: one [will be received] in the world of the souls, and the other [will be received] in the world of the Techiah [Techiat Hametim or Resurrection of the Dead], as will be clarified later with the help of Heaven. The repayment in this world is the success or hardship, which will be decreed upon him in one form or another, in accordance with his actions.

And you must bear in mind that in reality the main reward is the true Good which the righteous will achieve in the future; and likewise, the greatest punishment is the total loss of this good. However, in accordance with the criteria of true justice, there are precepts which it is fitting that the reward for their fulfillment should be granted in the world to come and also in this world by way of worldly successes and benefits. And likewise, there are transgressions which in accordance to the true justice should cause punishment to their perpetrators in this world and in the world to come; also there are precepts which justice requires that the reward for them should be given only in the world to come and not in this world. Likewise, there are transgressions the punishment for which justice requires should be meted out in the world to come and not in this world. Further, there are precepts for which it is right that the reward should be granted wholly in this world without leaving over any remainder for the world to come; and there are transgressions for which it is right that they should be judged solely in this world and their perpetrators should not be punished in the world to come. The righteous Judge judges everything with perfect judgement, in such a way that everything is carried out equitably without any trace of injustice.

Just as body and soul perform together the said deeds, whether good or bad, the reward must also be enjoyed by both of them. However, as a result of the sin of Adam, the first man created, mortality was decreed upon the whole of mankind, in such a way that man cannot attain the true good without experiencing death. And the reason for this is that [as a result of sin] since filth is absorbed into the body, it is impossible for the body to reach the closeness to the Supreme G-d so long as this filth is still within it. The filth does not leave the body until it returns to the earth after death and in this way it will be cleansed from it. Afterwards, it will be rebuilt in purity without any filth, and thus the Neshama will reunite with it and it will live and together they will eternally shine with the light of life and will enjoy the true Good in accordance with the deeds which they performed in their previous existence. This is the concept of the Tchiat Metim, the Resurrection of the Deads which is well known to all Jews.

And while the body is in the earth and gradually loses its original form, the Neshama, if it merits it, remains in a place of rest, which is the world of the souls, and there, in accordance with the deeds performed during its lifetime on earth, it will get a taste of what it will ultimately receive in the future after the Tchiat Hametim.

Original text in Hebrew
Nostra traduzione in italiano - Our translation into Italian