The Afterlife in Jewish Thought, Tradition and Literature

We find many references scattered throughout Jewish writings regarding Olam Haba, the next world. What exactly this place is, why we ought to strive to get there and how we go about achieving that goal are matters of immense intrigue and importance. This discussion centers around one of the more peculiar and mysterious Talmudic statements regarding Olam Haba that is found in Tractate Berachos 57b:

Three are a measure of the world to come, They are: Shabbos, Sun, and Tashmish. What does Tashmish mean? If you say it means sexual intercourse; it weakens; rather it must mean relieving one’s bowels.

As they are wont to do, the authors of the Talmud chose to convey ideas in a manner that obscures rather than reveals their true intentions. How do we decipher, decrypt, decode and demystify the words of our Sages and what can we learn about Olam Haba from this Talmudic teaching?

*Shalom Cypress 4/22/2015