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The Belief

The Purpose Of Creation

The World To Come: Why A Bodily Resurrection?


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

Chapter 9
In What Manner Will The Resurrection Take Place?

by Rabbi Nissan Dovid Dubov
edited by Uri Kaploun

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  Who Will Rise First?Life After The Resurrection  

"Hadrian once asked R. Yehoshua ben Chananya: 'From what will G-d resurrect man in the future world?'"[251]

The Dew Of Resurrection

The bodies of the perfectly righteous do not decompose in the grave;[252] in the majority of cases only the skeleton remains.[253] There is a tradition that one small bone is indestructible. Luz is its name, and from it the body will be built at the Resurrection.[254]

In the words of the Midrash,[255] "Hadrian once asked R. Yehoshua ben Chananya: 'From what will G-d resurrect man in the future world?'

R. Yehoshua replied, 'From the luz in the spine.' " Once G-d has softened this bone with the Dew of Resurrection,[256] it will become as yeast is to the dough, and from it the body will be built.[257] The same body that decomposed will be reconstructed. This is implied by the verse,[258] "Your dead people shall live" (and not "shall be created").[259]

As to identifying the luz,[260] some say that it is the coccyx,[261] a small bone at the base of the spine; others say that it is the bone at the back of the skull upon which the knot of the tefillin shel rosh is placed.[262]

Clothed, Healed, Refined

Some sources hold that the dead will be resurrected wearing the shrouds in which they were buried; according to others, they will be resurrected in the clothes which they normally wore in their lifetimes.[263]

Though physical disabilities will carry over to the time of the Resurrection, they will be healed as soon as the bodies are reconstituted.[264]

Bodies when resurrected will be as refined as the body of Adam when he was first created - and even more so.[265]



  1. (Back to text) Koheles Rabbah 12:5.

  2. (Back to text) See Rashi on Devarim 34:7, which speaks of Moshe Rabbeinu. On the phrase, "His eye had not dimmed," Rashi writes, "even after death"; on the phrase "and his vigor had not diminished," Rashi writes that "his life fluids remained within him: decomposition did not affect him."

    See also: Shabbos 152b, concerning R. Achai bar Yoshia; Bava Basra 58a, concerning R. Tuvi bar Masnah; Bava Metzia 84b, concerning R. Eleazar; Kesubbos 103a, concerning R. Yehudah HaNasi. See also Midrash Tehillim 119:9.

    (Eye-witnesses to a similar case were still alive only a few years ago. Exactly twenty years after the Rebbe Rashab, the fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe, had been laid to rest in Rostov-on-Don in 1920, ten of his faithful chassidim risked their lives in order to exhume his body just before the old cemetery was bulldozed to make way for a Soviet housing project. They found his holy body intact, with only his tallis protecting it from the soil in which it lay, and reinterred it in its present resting place in the new cemetery in Rostov. Their contemporary account of this episode has been preserved by R. Moshe DovBer Rivkin, the late Rosh Yeshivah of Torah VaDaas, in Kuntreis Ashkavta DeRebbe (N.Y., 1953), pp. 145-8. In 1961, the editor of the present volume heard a first-person description of the episode from the mouth of one of the ten participants - the late Reb Yonah Eidelkop, one of the venerable founding fathers of Kfar Chabad in Eretz Yisrael.)

    At the same time, the Gemara (in Shabbos 152b) and the Zohar (II, 108b) both hold that tzaddikim, too, will return to dust for a short while before the Resurrection, even though they may have lain intact for many years. The reason: Since the sin of the Tree of Knowledge tainted the world with evil, even the bodies of tzaddikim need to be refined. However, in a talk delivered on Shabbos Parshas Bo, 5748 [1988], the Rebbe explained that this stage does not necessarily entail a literal return to dust. It can also be understood as a spiritual nullification, in the spirit of the plea for humility that is made at the conclusion of Shemoneh Esreh (see Siddur Tehillat HaShem, p. 61): "May my soul be as dust to all." (See Sefer HaMaamarim - Melukat, Vol. II, p. 280.)

  3. (Back to text) See the Responsa of the Chasam Sofer on Yoreh Deah, sec. 337, on this subject and on the luz bone. See also Or HaTorah (by the Tzemach Tzedek) on Devarim, sec. 858. On the underlying reasons for decomposition, see Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XVIII, p. 409, footnote 71.

  4. (Back to text) Bereishis Rabbah 28:3; Zohar I, 69a and 137a; II, 28b; Tosafos on Bava Kama 16b. See also Booklet 7 of the recently-discovered Reshimos of the Rebbe, p. 14.

    As recorded in the Midrash (in Bereishis Rabbah 14:5), Beis Shammai holds that the body will begin to take shape with sinews and bones, and the skin and flesh will follow; Beis Hillel holds that the Resurrection will parallel the formation of an embryo in this world, whose skin and flesh precede its sinews and bones.

  5. (Back to text) Koheles Rabbah 12:5.

  6. (Back to text) Jerusalem Talmud, Berachos 5:2 and Taanis 1:1. See also: Likkutei Torah, Parshas Haazinu, p. 73c; Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XI, p. 193, and Vol. XVIII, p. 252.

    The author of Ben Yehoyada on Sanhedrin 92a makes an original observation. Daniel is told by the angel (Daniel 12:13), "and you shall arise to your destiny at the end of days." In the original, this last phase is ketz hayamin - but yamin also means "the righthand side." In Kabbalistic terms, moreover, being "to the right" of something signifies not location, but progression. Now the letters that stand "to the right" of each of the four letters of the Divine Name Havayah are the letters which immediately follow them in the alphabet, namely Kuzo. Significantly, their numerical equivalent totals tal ("dew"), and it is with this Divine Name that the graves will be opened.

  7. (Back to text) Zohar I, 28b, and see also II, 169a. By contrast, Pirkei deRabbi Eliezer, ch. 34 (cf. Zohar I, 113a) states that the body will be reconstituted from decomposed matter in the grave. However, Avkas Rochel 2:4 and Avodas HaKodesh 2:40 understand this text as referring to the luz.

    To understand this discussion from the perspective of Chassidus, see: Zohar II, 83a; Likkutei Torah, Parshas Masei, p. 96b; Sefer HaMaamarim - Melukat, Vol. II, p. 460.

  8. (Back to text) Yeshayahu 26:19.

  9. (Back to text) Bereishis Rabbah 95:1; Zohar I, 115a, 126a, 130b, 203b; III, 91a, 216b. See also Likkutei Sichos, Vol. VI, p. 83, but cf. Vol. VIII, p. 248, regarding the two possibilities. According to the view that the reconstruction is based on the luz, the original body is reconstructed, whereas according to the above-quoted view of Pirkei deRabbi Eliezer, an entirely new body is resurrected. This also explains the statement in the latter source that the dead will be resurrected without blemish (in contrast to the statement in Sanhedrin 91b). See at length in Emunas HaTechiyah, ch. 2.

  10. (Back to text) The Midrash (Bereishis Rabbah 28:3) locates it in the spine. See Tosafos on Bava Kama 16a-b, and Bereishis Rabbah 56:2.

  11. (Back to text) See Rashi on Bereishis Rabbah 28:3; Aruch, s.v. luz; Avodas HaKodesh 2:40; Avkas Rochel as cited above.

  12. (Back to text) Likkutei Nach - AriZal, Parshas Shoftim; see also Likkutei Shas on Rosh HaShanah; Sefer HaMaamarim 5711, p. 209.

    The above-quoted Midrash (Bereishis Rabbah 28:3) states explicitly that the luz is indestructible. (See commentaries of Rashi, Matnos Kehunah and Yefei Toar there.) Commenting on the verse (in Bereishis 2:22), "And G-d built the tzela," the author of Tzror HaMor writes in the name of Sisrei Torah that the bone is in the neck and is very hard; it will neither burn nor perish. And just as G-d built the body of Eve from a bone, so too will He reconstitute the body from the luz.

  13. (Back to text) Niddah 61b; Jerusalem Talmud, Kesubbos 12:3 (and the comment of Yefei Mareh there); Tosafos (and Gilyon HaShas of R. Akiva Eger and the comment of Rashash) on Kesubbos 111b; Maharsha on Shabbos 114b; Radvaz on Rambam, Hilchos Avel 14:24; Radal on Pirkei deRabbi Eliezer 33:77; Sefer Emunas HaTechiyah, ch. 4.

  14. (Back to text) Sanhedrin 91b; Bereishis Rabbah, sec. 95; Zohar I, 199b, and II, 91a. Thus, too, the Zohar (I, 203b) - and so too the Gemara (in Nedarim 8b) - writes that in time to come G-d will take the sun out of its sheath and heal the righteous. (Cf. footnote 259 for contrasting views.) Margaliyos HaYam on Sanhedrin 91b lists further sources. See also ch. 1 above, footnote 28.

  15. (Back to text) It is explained in Sefer HaMaamarim 5659, p. 415, and in Sefer HaMaamarim 5711, p. 209, that the body of Adam was susceptible to the sin of the Tree of Knowledge whereas after the Resurrection there will be no sin. Indeed, even in the Messianic era, bodies will be far more refined than they are now (see Sefer HaMaamarim 5637.)

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