The Gemarah implies that death is a punishment inflicted due to sin. However, as we believe in Hash-m's perfection in judgement and that the ultimate reward is Gan Eden. Why then does the Gemarah imply that Moshe and Aharon were punished when they were committed to the next world?
Is it not correct to perceive their deaths as the end of this world and reward in the next world as opposed to punishment for committing a sin?
The first case cited is regarding Adam ha'Rishon. There the Gemarah's question from the Angel is a good one because Adam was already in a state of perfection and in Gan Eden so death was in fact a punishment. However, regarding Moshe and Aharon, their death was the passage into Olam Habah and in fact a reward and not a punishment.
Thank you and Kol Tuv.
Daniel, Teaneck, USA
I think the answer to your question can be gleamed from the Gemara in Sotah (14a). It asks, why was it so important for Moshe that he go into Eretz Yisrael (instead of dying)? It answers that Moshe knew that there were many Mitzvos that he could not do outside of Eretz Yisrael that he would be able to do in Eretz Yisrael. Hash-m told him, do you want to perform these Mitzvos in order to receive reward? I consider it as if you have done them.
When a person dies, he can no longer do more Mitvzos for which he would receive more eternal reward. His inability to fulfill more Mitzvos is due to his sin, and it is therefore a punishment to die, even though he will subsequently enter Gan Eden. There is a famous story regarding the Vilna Gaon who cried before he died while holding his Tzitzis in his hand and remarking how precious this world is, as one can get more eternal reward by merely wearing Tzitzis! This is why dying is considered a punishment even for the righteous.
All the best,