Bechira - Choice, or Free Will

Q: Is there free-will in the Olam Haba?

The  Ramban holds that Olam Habah is analogous to the state of Adam, however it is not identical in every respect. For it is clear that Adam had bechira and was therefore given commandments for whose violation he was punished. However he was different than we are in the structure of his yetzer harah, which was m'bechutz ie. required external stimulation. For the natural flow of his instinctual energy was toward truth. In terms of his natural state ie. absent any external stimulus one could say he lacked a yetzer harah. Thus the Ramban uses that state as the analogy to provide a model for Olam Habah. However it need not mean that Olam Habah is identical to Gan Eden in every particular. In Olam Habah the structure of his soul will be such that he will not be subject to a desire for evil even re. those things which are external. His energies will be such that his love of truth will always be superior to any physical desire. In general this was the state of Adam in Gan Eden, and the Ramban refers to this only by way of analogy.

In summation: Adam's natural energies were in line with the good but he had within him the potential for an emotional attraction which would be powerful enough to overcome his reason. Thus Adam can be summarized as a natural state of good with possibility of sin( ie., if external stimulus occurs which attracts sufficient energy to create a conflict between reason and emotion) Olam Habah is analogous to Gan Eden only re. the first idea. However it is different re. the 2nd because the possibility of a conflict in which emotion will contain the potential to overpower reason will not exist.

Q: I assume that sin would then be impossible in Olam Haba. Will this change the system of Mitzvos? Will we still have Yom Kippur?

It would seem that since there will be no sin there will be no reward and punishment, hence there will be no need to repent and hence no Yom Kippur. Bear in mind that the key point is that the Ramban identifies Yemot HaMashiach with Olam Habah which means the perfected state of the soul--the ultimate reward. Thus everything which we posit about Olam Habah. ie. "The world that is koolo Aruch, the world that is koolo tov etc means that it will be qualitatively different than the world we are in now. The Ramban accepts all the statements about Olam Habah which indicate that it is a state of absolute good with no evil. The only difference is that he maintains it will take place in the physical universe and man will have a physical form. However, he will be a perfected being , not subject to conflict, and incapable of sin. As such, there will be no need for Torah and mitzvot which were given to man in his imperfected state as a means of perfecting him and bringing him to his perfected state. Once in that state there is no longer any need for the system which brought him to perfection. (Once you are on the moon do you need the space ship which got you there? ie. if you have no intention of returning to Earth.)