The final chapter in Sanhedrin opens with the following Mishna:
Every Jew has a share in olam ha-ba, as it says, “And your people are all righteous; they will inherit the land forever; they are the branch of My planting, My handiwork, in which to take pride.” And the following people do not have a share in olam ha-ba: one who says that the resurrection is not stated in the Torah…
Of all the heresies that warrant a loss of olam ha-ba why would the Mishna specify denial of the resurrection? While part of the answer may be historical — denial of the resurrection may have been pervasive at the time — the Gemara indicates that the answer alludes to a more fundamental principal.
On Pesach, we recall Egypt’s malicious persecution of the Jewish people and the suffering the Egyptians experienced, presumably as a punishment for their evil behavior. Significantly, both the persecution and the servitude were predicted at the Brit Bein ha-Betarim (Bereishit 15:13).
Rambam (Hilchot Teshuva 6:5) asked how the Egyptians could be punished for persecuting the Jewish people if G-d already told Avraham of the occurrence.1 Rambam explains that no particular Egyptian was forced to sin. While slavery was a certainty, each individual actor’s role remained undetermined and therefore free. Ra’avad rejects Rambam’s solution with the following question: “If G-d were to say to those who strayed, ‘Why did you stray; I did not designate you?’ they would respond, ‘Upon whom was Your decree made, on those that did not stray? If so, Your decree would not be fulfilled.’”2