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Foreward

The Belief

The Purpose Of Creation

The World To Come: Why A Bodily Resurrection?

Reincarnation

Who Will Rise?

When Will The Resurrection Take Place?

Where Will The Resurrection Take Place?

Who Will Rise First?

In What Manner Will The Resurrection Take Place?

Life After The Resurrection

Mitzvos After The Resurrection Eternity Of Torah And Mitzvos

Halachic Considerations

Prayers And Customs

The Concept Of Resurrection In Avodas Hashem

"To Understand The Concept Of Techiyas Hameisim, The Resurrection Of The Dead"

"All Israel Have A Share In The World To Come"

To Live And Live Again
An Overview of Techiyas Hameisim
Based On The Classical Sources And On The Teachings Of Chabad Chassidism


Appendix 2
"All Israel Have A Share In The World To Come"

by Rabbi Nissan Dovid Dubov
edited by Uri Kaploun

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  "To Understand The Concept Of Techiyas Hameisim, The Resurrection Of The Dead" 

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A Chassidic Discourse

In[*] the above-quoted mishnah,[1] the term "World to Come" refers to the Era of Resurrection,[2] as indicated by the continuation of the mishnah which states, "And the following do not have a share in the World to Come: He who denies that the concept of the resurrection has a source in the Torah."

Why is such a person not granted [a share in the World to Come]? Because, as the Gemara goes on to explain:[3] "He denied the Resurrection of the Dead, therefore he will not have a share in this Resurrection - measure for measure."

Thus [the Era of Resurrection] is the intent in the expression "Every Jew has a share in the World to Come." [Indeed, there is no alternative to this explanation. In other contexts, the term "the World to Come" is used to refer to] Gan Eden, [the Garden of Eden, the abode of the souls in the spiritual realms.[4] We cannot say that every Jew has a share in Gan Eden, for entry to Gan Eden is restricted,] as it is written,[5] "Who may ascend the mountain of G-d ...? He who has clean hands and a pure heart...." I.e., there are many requirements for entering Gan Eden, even the lower level of Gan Eden.[6] [No such restrictions apply regarding] the Era of Resurrection. [On the contrary,] "Every Jew has a share in the World to Come."[7]

This surely requires explanation, for the revelations that will characterize the Era of Resurrection will far surpass those of Gan Eden.[8] [This applies] even regarding the revelations within the higher level of Gan Eden - and indeed, those of the most sublime levels of Gan Eden.

{The concept [that the revelation that will characterize the Era of Resurrection is vastly superior to even the most lofty levels of Gan Eden] can be appreciated by the very fact that, at that time, all Jews will be resurrected. This will include even those souls that have been in Gan Eden for many thousands of years and which thrice daily are elevated to higher levels [of Gan Eden]. Nevertheless, they too will be clothed in bodies in the World to Come. [And they will eagerly desire to do so, because] the revelation that will characterize the Era of Resurrection is vastly superior to the revelation of even the most sublime level of Gan Eden.[9]}

[The question is thus reinforced]: Why is it that the lower rung, the level of Gan Eden, has many prerequisites which must be met if one is to merit its revelations, while the [far superior level, the] revelation of the Era of Resurrection, is the lot of all Jews?

II

The above [question] can be resolved through a broader explanation of the concept that the revelation that will characterize the Era of Resurrection will far surpass the revelations of Gan Eden.

Seemingly, [the opposite should be true]. Gan Eden refers to the world of the souls (where the soul's perception is not limited by a physical body). In the Era of Resurrection, by contrast, the souls will [again] be clothed in bodies. Why then will there be an even greater degree of revelation in the Era of Resurrection, when souls will be clothed in bodies, than there is in Gan Eden?

It is true that in the Era of Resurrection, the body will be purified to the utmost, to the extent that it will resemble the body of [the first man], Adam HaRishon, ([who was] formed[10] by G-d's own hands)[11] [and whose refinement was so great] that [he] "obscured the orb of the sun."[12] Indeed, in the Era of Resurrection, the body will attain a state of perfection greater even than that of Adam HaRishon.[13]

[The extreme level of refinement that will characterize the body] can explain why in the Era of Resurrection, the souls vested in bodies will be fit vessels to receive a degree of revelation that is higher than the level which is presently received by souls in an incorporate state [in the spiritual realms]. This, however, does not explain why the revelation in the Era of Resurrection will be appreciated by souls as they are clothed within bodies. [Seemingly, since the body restricts the extent of the revelation the soul can perceive, it would be preferable for the souls to receive these revelations without being encumbered by a body.]

Even in the Era of Resurrection, when the body will attain a state of absolute perfection, it will still be a physical body - and the inherent limitations of a physical entity are greater than those of a spiritual entity.[14] These include the limitations of time and space, characteristics that apply (primarily) to physical entities.[15] Nevertheless, in order for the soul to be able to receive the revelation of the Era of Resurrection, it must again be vested within a physical body.

[Indeed, there is a fundamental difference in the approach taken to receive the revelations of Gan Eden and the approach taken to receive the revelation that will characterize the Era of Resurrection]: In order to receive the revelations of Gan Eden, the soul must first divest itself of [all] material consciousness. [This implies a departure of the soul from the body, i.e., death. Afterwards,] the soul must immerse itself in the River Dinur,[16] in order that it be unable to recall any images of this world.[17]

{Similarly, in regard to the subsequent ascents [of the soul] within Gan Eden itself: As the soul ascends to a higher level, it must forget the [frame of] reference and the spiritual pleasure it experienced on the lower level.}[18]

[In contrast to this thrust to ascent,] an opposite movement is necessary [for the soul] to receive the revelation of the Era of Resurrection: [The soul descends and] enclothes itself within a physical body.

III

[The above difficulties can be resolved by considering the following concept:] It is written,[19] "This is the Torah of man..."; i.e., the Torah resembles man. Just as man is a composite of body and soul, so, too, the Torah possesses [dimensions comparable to] a body and a soul.

In a general sense, this reflects the difference between the Torah and its mitzvos:[20] The 248 [positive] mitzvos are the 248 "limbs of the King,"[21] comparable [in analogy] to a person's limbs. The Torah, by contrast, can be compared to the blood, referred to as "the soul,"[22] [for it is the medium] that draws life into the limbs of [the body, i.e.,] the mitzvos.[23]

[The analogy between the mitzvos and a body can be taken further. Just as a body lives within a time and space continuum,] so too, [the observance of] the mitzvos is governed by time and space. There are designated times and places for their observance. The Torah, by contrast, transcends time and space. {Therefore, "A person who occupies himself in [studying] the laws of a burnt-offering is considered as if he had actually offered it."[24] This applies even when [he studies] at a time [inappropriate for bringing an offering] and in a place [where an offering] may not be sacrificed.}[25]

[Based on the above analogy, we can resolve the difficulty initially raised:] The body (and similarly, the mitzvos, which are compared to the body) are confined by the limits of time and space. The soul (and similarly, the Torah which is compared to the soul) are spiritual and transcend time and space.

A parallel to the relationship between the Torah and its mitzvos applies in relation to a person who studies Torah and performs mitzvos: Torah study involves primarily the soul, while the performance of mitzvos involves primarily the body.[26]

It is known[27] that the Torah's superiority over its mitzvos applies only as [these entities exist after being] drawn down into a revealed state [in our world]. In their source, however, mitzvos are on a superior level. For the Torah is the wisdom of G-d, blessed be He, while the mitzvos represent His will, and the level of will surpasses that of wisdom.[28]

Moreover, even after the Torah and its mitzvos are drawn down [into this world], the superiority of the mitzvos is readily apparent. For the Torah serves as an exposition and interpretation of the mitzvos.[29] [This implies that there is a superior quality to the mitzvos that the Torah can merely explain.]

We can appreciate that similar concepts apply with regard to the soul and body of man {which resemble the Torah and its mitzvos}: Although the body receives its vitality from the soul, the source of the body is superior to the source of the soul.

{[These concepts are reflected in the relationship between G-d and the Jewish people:] As explained in other sources,[30] G-d's loving connection with the souls of the Jewish people resembles a natural love, as it were, akin to a father's love for his child. It is in this vein that it is written,[31] "You are children unto G-d, your L-rd." [Although this reflects a very lofty form of love, even this love has its limitations.] It is rooted in a level [within G-dliness] where the import of [the souls], the objects of [G-d's] love, is recognized. [Since there is an external source - the souls' positive virtues - which motivates this love,] it does not emanate from His essence itself.

G-d's loving connection with the bodies of the Jewish people, by contrast, does not stem (from [an appreciation of] the inherent virtue of their bodies. Nor does this choice reflect [the relationship between a father and] his child, who share a fundamental connection. Instead, [this love] comes about because G-d chooses the Jewish body.[32] And this choice is entirely free, [with no restrictions upon it, and no rationale which compels it].[33] [Such a preference has only one possible source,] His very essence.}

This explains why the soul, [a refined spiritual entity,] can be drawn down to animate the body. Since the body is superior to the soul in its source, [it has the power to motivate the soul to descend and grant it life].

(Following a similar motif, we find the Torah explains and expounds the mitzvos. [As explained above, it directs its focus in this direction], because the source of the mitzvos is superior to that of the Torah).

IV

There is [another] difference between the Torah and its mitzvos [which is relevant in this context]: All Jews are equally obligated in the observance of the mitzvos. In regard to Torah study, by contrast, there are a multitude of categories: [At one end of the spectrum are] those whose sole occupation is the study of the Torah. There are those who have the opportunity, and who are hence obligated, to actually "toil in Torah study during the day and at night."[34] [At the other end of the spectrum are] people who are occupied in commerce who may discharge their obligation by studying "one chapter [of the Torah] in the morning and one chapter in the evening."[35]

The reason for this difference is explained as follows:[36] Mitzvos are G-d's will (as stated above), and [the quality of] will defies division. The Torah, by contrast, is Divine wisdom, and wisdom is subject to diversity.[37]

This motif can also be applied with regard to actual Torah study and performance of mitzvos. The mitzvos are performed by all Jews: "Even the sinners among Israel are as filled with mitzvos as a pomegranate [is filled with seeds]."[38] This is not the case with regard to Torah study.

[The rationale for this concept can be explained as follows:] It is only on an overt level[39] that some measure of fault may be found in a Jew; [in essence, all Jews are fundamentally good. Accordingly, with regard to Torah study, which relates primarily to the Jews' souls, at a level of revelation, the possibility for inadequacy exists. In regard to the performance of mitzvos, by contrast,] since mitzvos express G-d's will and relate to the [Jew's] body which was chosen by G-d's essence, they are of universal relevance [and are observed] by all Jews.

V

This, then,[40] is the meaning of the teaching, "Every Jew has a share in the World to Come." Although the revelations in the World to Come (the Era of Resurrection) are vastly superior to the revelations of Gan Eden, nevertheless, this [loftier degree of] revelation will be [accessible] to all Jews.

By way of explanation: [The revelations of] Gan Eden reflect [merely] the Torah that one has studied in this world. The revelation in the World to Come, by contrast, will be the result of the mitzvos that are presently performed. Since, as explained previously, the observance of mitzvos relates to all Jews, "Every Jew has a share in the World to Come."

This [also] explains why the revelations of the Era of Resurrection will be appreciated by souls as they are clothed within bodies. For the performance of mitzvos is primarily related to the body, as explained above.

[The fact that the revelations of the Era of Resurrection will relate primarily to our bodies, for they are associated with the actual observance of the mitzvos, does not exclude our souls. On the contrary,] it is possible to explain that the revelations of the Era of Resurrection will be appreciated by the souls as well (as they vest themselves within bodies).

To cite a parallel concept: Our Sages state, "Great is Torah study, for it leads to action."[41] The fact that Torah study leads to action amplifies the greatness of the study itself. {[This relates to a concept] explained in the series of discourses [entitled Yom Tov Shel Rosh HaShanah] 5666: [42] When a person's Torah study is directed to discovering a ruling pertaining to the actual performance of a mitzvah, he will toil to a greater extent. Accordingly, he will obtain a deeper understanding of the Torah concepts he is studying.}

[To apply this concept to the analogue: Since the soul's Torah study leads to the body's performance of mitzvos, the soul will also enjoy the benefits that will be appreciated by the body - the revelation of the World to Come.]

Similarly, the Torah of the World to Come, the Torah of Mashiach, will be characterized by two dimensions: The Torah in and of itself will reach a level of completeness. In addition, we will appreciate the superior quality of Torah that results from its connection to the mitzvos.

[A similar concept applies in regard to the soul in the Era of Resurrection.] At that time, the source of all the souls will be revealed. In addition, the soul will also be granted the revelation that is associated with the body ([and that results from] G-d's essential choice of the body).

May it be G-d's will, that as a result of our deeds and divine service, especially through the service of "spreading forth your wellsprings outward,"[43] we will be privileged to study the Torah of Mashiach, from the mouth of Mashiach, in the immediate future.

   

Notes:

  1. (Back to text) Sanhedrin 10:1.

    * This maamar, delivered by the Rebbe on Shabbos Parshas Acharei, 5733 [1973], appears in Sefer HaMaamarim - Melukat, Vol. IV, p. 177ff.

    The above English version, footnotes included, is taken almost verbatim from Anticipating the Redemption: Maamarim of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, Concerning the Era of Redemption, translated by R. Eliyahu Touger and R. Sholem Ber Wineberg (Sichos In English, N.Y., 1994), p. 40ff. The reader will note that this version intentionally reflects the distinctive flavor and style of presentation that characterizes all maamarim.

    Parentheses () indicate parentheses in the original Hebrew text; square brackets [] indicate additions made by the translators; squiggle brackets {} indicate square brackets in the original Hebrew text.

  2. (Back to text) Bartenura (and others) on Sanhedrin, loc. cit.; Midrash Shmuel, beginning of Pirkei Avos.

  3. (Back to text) Sanhedrin 90a.

  4. (Back to text) [Although the Garden of Eden refers to a physical place on this earth as reflected in the narrative of creation, the term is also used, in a figurative sense, to refer to the abode of incorporate souls in the spiritual realms.]

  5. (Back to text) Tehillim 24:3-4.

  6. (Back to text) See the discourse Ki Yishalcha, cited in the note that follows. See also the series of maamarim 5672 [entitled BeShaah SheHikdimu], Vol. II, beginning of ch. 379 (foot of p. 779).

    Chagigah 15b states that were it not for the prayers of R. Meir, Acher would not have entered Gan Eden (i.e., even the lower level of Gan Eden).

  7. (Back to text) Ki Yishalcha 5679 (Sefer HaMaamarim 5679, foot of p. 351ff.) and Ki Yishalcha 5700 (Sefer HaMaamarim 5700, end of p. 44ff.).

  8. (Back to text) This follows the opinion of Ramban, conclusion of Shaar HaGemul (Edition Chavel, p. 309) [in contrast to the statements of Rambam in the Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Teshuvah, chs. 8, 9). [Ramban's opinion is echoed] in the conclusive decision of Chassidus. See Likkutei Torah, Parshas Tzav, p. 15c, Derushim leShabbos Shuvah, p. 65d; Sefer HaMitzvos of the Tzemach Tzedek, Mitzvas Tzitzis, p. 14b; Or HaTorah, Parshas Chukas (foot of p. 809; ibid., Vol. V, p. 1637). Significantly, in his discourses the Alter Rebbe mentions only the opinion of Ramban.

  9. (Back to text) Ki Yishalcha 5654 (Sefer HaMaamarim 5654, p. 220); BeShaah SheHikdimu 5672, loc. cit. (beginning of p. 780); Sefer HaMaamarim - Kuntreisim, Vol. II, p. 412a, et al.

  10. (Back to text) See Bereishis Rabbah 24:5; Koheles Rabbah 3:11 (2).

  11. (Back to text) See at length in Sefer HaMaamarim 5679, p. 415; Sefer HaMaamarim 5711, p. 209. [These sources explain] that since [in the Era of Resurrection] the body will be formed by G-d through the "dew of resurrection," the body will be on a level comparable to the body of Adam HaRishon, which was formed by G-d's own hands.

  12. (Back to text) Vayikra Rabbah 20:2; conclusion of Midrash Mishlei. See also Introduction to Tikkunei Zohar, p. 10b. Examine also Bava Basra 58a.

    Sefer HaMaamarim 5679 and 5711, loc. cit., state: "His body was as refined and pure as light ... his body was like matter to form, i.e., the soul, for they were comparable one to another."

  13. (Back to text) See Sefer HaMaamarim 5679 and 5711, loc. cit.

  14. (Back to text) Also noteworthy is the statement, cited above in footnote 12, that Adam HaRishon's body (and so, too, the body in the Era of Resurrection) was as "matter to form." We understand from this that even when the body is totally refined, "form" is still loftier than "matter".

  15. (Back to text) Spiritual entities are also subject to [the limitations of] time and space [as these characteristics exist in a spiritual sense. These limitations, however,] stem from the fact that such entities can be considered as "physical" in comparison to absolute spirituality. Cf. Tanya, ch. 48 (p. 67b): "In spiritual matters, the characteristic of space is in no way applicable." And there the intent is space insofar as it exists in spiritual terms.

  16. (Back to text) [An Aramaic term meaning "river of fire." By immersing itself in this river, the soul burns away all vestiges of material consciousness.]

  17. (Back to text) Zohar I, 201a; Ki Yishalcha 5679, sec. 1 (Sefer HaMaamarim, ibid., p. 352); Ki Yishalcha 5700, sec. 1 (Sefer HaMaamarim, ibid., p. 45). See also Lehavin Inyan Techiyas HaMeisim 5746, sec. 5 (Sefer HaMaamarim - Melukat, Vol. III, p. 36) and the sources cited there. [See Appendix 1 above.]

  18. (Back to text) Ibid.

  19. (Back to text) Bamidbar 19:4. See also Sefer HaMaamarim 5701, p. 99.

  20. (Back to text) Sefer HaMaamarim 5701 (see also Zohar III, 152a) speaks of the body and soul of the Torah itself. [This does not contradict the concepts explained above.] For [the Torah and its mitzvos] are incorporated one within the other, therefore the Torah also possesses a body (as the mitzvos possess a soul - for the intent of the mitzvos is their soul).

  21. (Back to text) See Tikkunei Zohar, Tikkun 30 (p. 74a), quoted in Tanya, ch. 4, and beginning of ch. 23.

  22. (Back to text) Devarim 12:23.

  23. (Back to text) Likkutei Torah, Parshas Bamidbar, p. 3a.

  24. (Back to text) Conclusion of Menachos; Shulchan Aruch Admur HaZakein, Mahadura Tinyana, end of ch. 1; Hilchos Talmud Torah 2:11. See also Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XVIII, p. 413, footnote 25, and the addendum to that footnote.

  25. (Back to text) Likkutei Torah, loc. cit.

  26. (Back to text) See Tanya, ch. 35 (foot of p. 44a ff.); ibid., ch. 37 (p. 49a-b), et al.

  27. (Back to text) Likkutei Torah, Parshas Acharei, p. 28a, et al. Note that Likkutei Torah, on p. 26d ff., speaks of the superior quality of the Torah in relation to its mitzvos (quoting the passage of Likkutei Torah cited in footnote 21). Nevertheless, even this text (p. 28a) states that mitzvos are rooted in a higher source.

  28. (Back to text) Sefer HaMitzvos of the Tzemach Tzedek, p. 15b, et al.

  29. (Back to text) Likkutei Torah, Parshas Acharei, loc. cit., p. 26d.

  30. (Back to text) See Sefer HaMaamarim - Melukat, Vol. III, p. 276.

  31. (Back to text) Devarim 14:1. See the beginning of ch. 2 of Tanya, which explains that this refers to the soul's relationship with G-d.

  32. (Back to text) Tanya, ch. 49 (end of p. 69a ff.). See also Toras Shalom, p. 120.

  33. (Back to text) [The intent is that G-d's essential love for the bodies of the Jewish people does not result from an awareness of their positive qualities. Were that to be the case, the love would be only as strong as the Jews' virtues. Rather, His love for us comes as a result of His choice, a factor that transcends the entire range of human virtue (or its absence).]

  34. (Back to text) Yehoshua 1:8.

  35. (Back to text) Menachos 99b; Hilchos Talmud Torah of the Alter Rebbe, 3:4.

  36. (Back to text) The series of maamarim 5672 [entitled BeShaah SheHikdimu], Vol. I, ch. 4 (p. 8), ch. 52 (p. 93).

  37. (Back to text) [The intent is that will is undefined. When a person wants something, his attention is not directed to the entity insofar as it exists within its own context, but insofar as it is the focus of his desires. Intellect, of which wisdom is the first quality, by contrast has as its goal the comprehension of an entity as it is. This necessitates the appreciation of the various qualities the entity possesses.]

  38. (Back to text) Conclusion of Chagigah.

  39. (Back to text) The soul is also rooted in G-d's essence. Nevertheless, it is possible to say that since G-d's love for the Jews' [souls] is similar to a natural love (as explained earlier in the text), therefore, when compared to G-d's essential choice [to love and to be connected to] the bodies of the Jewish people, [His relation to our souls] reflects an aspect of revelation [and not essence]. This subject still requires further explanation.

  40. (Back to text) With regard to the subjects to be explained see also the maamar entitled Lehavin Inyan Techiyas HaMeisim 5746, cited in footnote 17 above, sec. 2, and the sources cited there. (See Appendix 1 above.)

  41. (Back to text) Kiddushin 40b; Bava Kama 17a.

  42. (Back to text) P. 390ff.

  43. (Back to text) As stated in the famous letter of the Baal Shem Tov, printed at the beginning of Keser Shem Tov, the spreading of the wellsprings of Chassidus precipitates "the coming of the master" - the King Mashiach.


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