Chapter

“The Principal Remains for the Next World”: Delayed Gratification and Avoidance of Pleasure in Rabbinic Thought

Eliezer Diamond

in Holy Men and Hunger Artists

Published in print November 2003 | ISBN: 9780195137507
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849772 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195137507.003.0003
“The Principal Remains for the Next World”: Delayed Gratification and Avoidance of Pleasure in Rabbinic Thought

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This chapter shows that the asceticism resulting from study dovetails with a general rabbinic tendency toward voluntary self-denial. This tendency is the result of the rabbinic belief in the world to come and the notions of reward and punishment intertwined with that belief. The material self-denial and physical suffering are discussed. The instances in which rabbis call suffering upon themselves, or at least those in which they welcome suffering, in order to atone for their sins in this world and thereby clear their ledger for the next, are at the centre of the discussion.

Keywords: asceticism; rabbinic thought; material self-denial; physical suffering

Chapter.  8549 words. 

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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