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Tractate Sanhedrin of the Jerusalem Talmud mentions heretics as one of the categories of individuals denied an afterlife. Rav cites Korach, one of the chief protagonists in this week’s Torah portion (Numbers 16:1-18:32), as the classic example of a heretic and explains how he became one.

“Rav says: Korach was a heretic. What did he do? He fashioned tallitot [prayer shawls] that were sky-blue in...