(reposted from Clear Horizons)
Chayei Sarah, 2nd aliyah (Genesis 23:17 – 24:9)
November 18, 2019 (20 Chesvan 5780)
by Tzvi Schnee
“And Abraham was old, well stricken in age; and the L-RD had blessed Abraham in all things.”
– Genesis 24:1, JPS 1917 Tanach
According to the Talmud, where it is written that Abraham was blessed “in all things,” this includes “a taste of Olam Haba” (the World to Come), as mentioned in Bava Batra 17a (sefaria.org). Truly, a blessing only for the sake of this life, albeit a show of G-d’s providence, would only be a partial blessing, if it excluded a blessing in the next life.
This assertion may be substantiated by the Talmudic viewpoint on the subject of rewards for mitzvoth (good deeds). Tractate Shabbos explains, that the principle reward for certain mitzvoth is in Olam Haba (the World to Come), while there is still some reward in this world as well (Shabbat 127a).
Rambam asserts that, concerning the mitzvoth between G-d and man, the reward is in Olam Haba, while there is some reward for mitzvoth between man and man in this world (Olam HaZeh), where the tangible benefits may be received by others (Shabbat 127a, Steinsaltz edition).
Thus, we are given the opportunity to perform mitzvoth in this world, to live a life of righteousness; yet, it is clear that there is a strong expectation for a good place in Olam Haba (the World to Come). May we also be blessed like Abraham, by keeping in mind that our mitzvoth (good deeds) do carry the weight of eternal value.