Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Resurection of the dead is already happening.

By the grace of G-d
Shalom u'Brocha!


There shall no longer be from there a youth or an old man who will not fill his days, for the youth who is one hundred years old shall die, and the sinner who is one hundred years old shall be cursed.
Yeshayahu (who is called Novi haGeula - "prophet of redemption" in the Talmud )Issiah 65:20 (according to the Timeline of Moshiach and Redemption it appears this verse is supposed to be fulfilled this year 5765 (2004-05)like the other chapters have coresponded to the last 65 years click here to read more on this.

A person who falls from his rung is called 'dead'.

(See Zohar, Vol. III, p. 135b.)



revival of the dead

One of the principles of Jewish faith is belief in the resurrection of the dead. According to the Zohar – an early Kabbalistic text – the resurrection will take place forty years after the arrival of Moshiach. However, certain righteous individuals will arise with the coming of Moshiach. All the dead will be resurrected in the Land of Israel. (See the explanation in Chabad Chassidus about the fact that in time of Moshiach all the world will be considered "Land of Yisrael" see also Rashi on Rashi on Yeshaiah 58 verse 14 . As an aside : a question for those of the readers who know gematria why is this idea expressed specifficly in the chapter Yeshayahu chapter 58 verse 14 ? Whoever provides the the best answer gets a free CD-ROM of Moshiach related videos and music plus a check for $18.
According to the Zohar and other kabbalistic books the techiat hameitim - revival of the dead is described as a procces when very lofty souls who were trapped in the klipah of Mitzraim (Egypt) also known as (aka) Malchus she'be'Malchus aka egoism will be freed from that shell (klipah) to be able to cleave to G-d . Now check this out it the Rebbe King Moshiach assumed power in 5711 (1951)(which which is propheciesed about in Yeshaiahu (Issaiah) 11 see Moshiach Timeline ) the proclamation of Yechi which is mezarez (hastens) resurection of the dead (for more on this understanding of resurection and the proclamation of "Yechi" see end of this post http://moshiachtv.blogspot.com/2005/07/unity.html )
allowed to be publicly sang in front of Him in 5751 - 40 years after beggining of his leadership Soviet Union which has same gematria (numeric value) as Mitzraim (and exile there shared many common features as Mitzraim and the Rebbe said in 5728 -1968 that Moshiach is now fighting the wars of G-d and the result of these wars shal be seen when Soviet Union disentegrates and the Russian Jews are allowed and actually even assisted by the goverment with either leaving the country or observance of commandments if they chose to stay) also fell that year. (To be continued, check back soon if you have no patience just call me 617-372-2312 since it's much easier to explain these concepts over the phone.)
PS. This post is published in the spirit of the Rebbe's instruction: Open Your Eyes and See...
PPS. To read more about this way to understand techia also look in Talmud Sanhedrin especialy it might be easier for you to use new English Artsroll edition look on pages 96 thru 101 if I remember correctly it talks about days of Moshiach being 40 years than resurection and some of the comentaries explain it similar to the way I explain it above.
PPS. For an in deepth exploration of the greatness of the Rebbe King Moshiach and the era of redemption we are living in based on sources in Tanach, Talmud, Midrash , Rambam, the Zohar and Chassidic Philosophy by Proffesor. Shimon Silman Click here .
PPPS. Watch beautiful, exciting and informative "Deeper Reality" Video (learn about the purpose of creation of the world ) click here now!
PPPS.
Click here to watch : World Peace According to the 7 Laws of Noah" video. An amazing Sci-Fi like presentation showing how the world might look in the future.And explaining the 7 Universal Laws of Noah - the key to world peace.
PPPPS. Watch the The "Uncensored" revelation of the Rebbe King Moshiach - "Kol Mevaser - Higia Zman Geulaschem"-Voice proclaims -The Time of your redemption has Arived documentary video click here.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Based on your title, can you please tell us who has already been resurrected.

Thanks

Rabbi Ariel Sokolovsky said...

By the grace of G-d
Shalom uBrocha!
You for example are in the process of being resurrected. Would a normal "dead" person "waste" his time online trying to research and understand this issues especially on a site such as this one that says the Lubavitcher Rebbe is Moshiach.
(Answer given in the context of the whole post not just the title.)

Anonymous said...

thats a b.s. answer i came hear to understand your avoda zora views and this juspt threw me off completely

Anonymous said...

I must intrude here. It is not a "b.s." answer. It is perfectly clear. To be or become totally self absorbed, totally egoistic to the point that the soul suffers is very close to being dead. That is if you believe that life is closeness to G-d. Death is not always physical. It is very often spiritual. After all of these thousands of years you still need to see miracles? One of the greatest miracles is a changed heart.

Anonymous said...

Dear Ariel,

I am the first anonymous poster on this thread (just to clear up the confusion). I came to this sight because you piqued my curiosity from the Kahane.org site.

Please clarify because your post did not give the answer.

Rabbi Ariel Sokolovsky said...

By the grace of G-d
Shalom uBrocha!
Dear "First Anonymous"
Call me 617-372-2312 since this post can be understood on it's own only by those who have background in Chassidus or Kabbolah or would go and seriously research the sources I quoted however it's much easier at least for me to give you an overview over the phone than here.
With respect and blessing.
Ariel Sokolovsky
PS. By the way if it costs money for you to call just give me your number (post it her or email it to me ) since (Boruch Hashem!) I have unlimited long distance service.:-)
Long Live our Master our Teacher and our Rebbe King Moshiach Forever and Ever!

AharonBenjamin said...

"...the Rebbe said in 5728 -1968 that Moshiach is now fighting the wars of G-d and the result of these wars shal be seen when Soviet Union disentegrates and the Russian Jews are allowed and actually even assisted by the goverment with either leaving the country or observance of commandments if they chose to stay) also fell that year. "

Can you please tell me where I can find the source for this? Thanks.

AharonBenjamin said...

R'Ariel, I still don't understand what you mean when you say that the techias hamesim has already begun since 5751, since this is when the Rebbe allowed the singing of "Yechi...etc.". Le'maaseh where are the ressurrected bodies? Are you saying that there are ressurrected bodies here, but that we just can't see them? If so please clarify what the proof was again. Thank you. Good Shabbos - ksiva vechasima tova...,

Rabbi Ariel Sokolovsky said...

By the grace of G-d
Shalom uBrocha!
Dear Aharon Benjamn!
I'm always happy to have you here.
1) I saw the quotation in a book veKam Shevet meYisrael and in other places there was a footnote to the Sicha but I don't have the book in front of me try searching for it on
HREF="http://www.otzar770.com">http://www.otzar770.com

2)It's my opinion that the correct explanation of the idea of techiat hameitim oin the time of Moshiach n the level of pshat is that :
Lo haMeitim Yehalelu-yah meaning Rashoim don't understand (or don't internalize chochma ilo) Yud and a Hei in them are cut of from Vav Hei in the Hashem's name in their soul as explained in Chassidus and Kabbolah (and elsewhere in Nigleh in few places in differnt words) when Chassidus/Kabalah is revealed to such a person he/she reconnects Yud Hei to Vav Hei - does teshuvah ilo teshuvah out of love for G-d another way to achieve techias hameitim for another category of people "anoshim pshutim" is when they accept the kingship of Moshiach proclaim "Yechi" and that is what gives them chaios -life to serve Hashem with joy to do teshuvah ilo out of recognition that Moshiach is here...
Also the Rebbe first explained the meaning of the proclamation Yechi haMelech! in 5748 which is 40 years after 5708 (which was described by many gedolim at that time as beggining of kibutz golios or hitchalta degeulah based on various midrashim to that effect...) and 5751 is 40 years after 5701-Yeshayah 11 vaYotza choter me geza Yishai (gematria 770 btw )
it says in Talmud Sanhedrin Yemot haMoshiach 40 years ... just like generation of the desert "arboim shana akut be'dor ve yomar am toiei levav hem ve hem loyedu dracchai asher nishbati be api loyevou el menuchosi" remeber?
It's also explained that Moshe Rabbeinu will "get up" in techia and lead dor hamidbar to conquer the promised land... think how it aplies.:-)
Also read Daniel 7 and comentaries on it geula on the clouds of heaven...
Miraculious redemption with Moshiach coming from the "dead" .
This doesn't by the way contradict the eternal life of Moshiach soul in a body the fact that the idea of burial has no relevance (as expressed in various Sichos)
It's just there are differnt ways to look at things from differnt angles for people on differnt levels of understanding (Torah has 70 faces in fact each of he levels of the pardes and Chassidus has 70 faces) and the Rebbe explainsthat while Baal Shem Tov revealed the level of attic Moshiach shall be the level of pnimius attick - aka gilui yechida and thus is able to reach out to every Jew whether he is "dead"- has only nefesh or if he is alive (more or less) achieved level of Ruach , Neshamah Chaiah or Yechidah ... Moshiach (in every generation and in our 7th generation the last generation of golus and the 1st generation of geulah an eternal generation...)it's the Rebbe shlit"a goel acharon - the last redeemer) reaches out to all of them at their level and gives them more life to serve Hashem with joy...
With respect and blessing.
Ariel Sokolovsky
http://www.MoshiachTV.Blogspot.com
PS. Ultimately "Moshiach vadai" refers to Hashem as the Rebbe quotes chaza"l "like it says "vadai shmo" see Rebbe says it here (at the very end)
http://video.moshiach.ru/Rebe/menachem-is-his-name.rm

Long Live our Master our Teacher and our Rebbe King Moshiach Forever and Ever!

Aharon Benjamim Frimer said...

B"H
R'Ariel, this discourse from the Alter Rebbe reminded me of your interpretation of the ressurection of the dead. (But this still seems like a ruchnius [spiritual] explanation...)

ksiva vechasima tova [may you be inscribed and sealed for good and sweet new year]... - Yechi haMelech HaMoshiach! [Long Live the King Moshiach]
Aaron

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Dew Course
Adapted from a discourse of the Alter Rebbe, Likutei Torah, parashat Ekev


(Beginning with the week of parashat Devarim and through the holidays of Tishrei, the discourses of Likutei Torah set the tone for the period of introspection and teshuva of the month of Elul and the Days of Awe. This discourse begins uses a verse regarding the manna in this week's Torah portion to describe the renaissance the soul can experience when its host body pays it some attention.)

"And He fed you the manna...to teach you that not on bread alone does man live, but on what issues forth from the mouth of Havayah does man live…." (Deut. 8:3)
The manna is associated with the level of "dew". Thus, the manna arrived in the desert with a layer of dew above and below it. (Ex. 16:13-4, see Rashi there.)

(Rain represents divine beneficence that descends in response to human deed, just as rain is formed from moisture which has risen from the earth; dew, in contrast, represents divine beneficence that stems from a place where human deed is irrelevant. Rain is reciprocal; dew self-initiated. The manna, which arrived from heaven without any human effort - physical or otherwise, is therefore associated with dew. (Incidentally, this is the source for the custom to surround the Shabbat challah: a board or plate is placed beneath the challah and a cover placed upon it.))

This same dew will be used in the future to resurrect the dead. (Chagiga12b)

(In his notes to Likutei Torah, Rabbi Rivlin cites the following comment by the Meiri, which draws a parallel between the manna and the resurrection of the dead:
Rambam writes that during the era of the Resurrection of the Dead, man will exist in a physical form, but he will not eat or drink. Such an existence parallels the existence of the Israelites in the desert, where, although sustained by the manna, were "pained and starved" (Deut. 8:3) since they had to trust in Gd that it would arrive the next day. Thus, in a sense, although they ate, it was if they did not eat, paralleling the era of the Resurrection of the Dead as described by Rambam.)

Now the Resurrection of the Dead is a phenomenon that stems from G-d's abundant mercy. As we say in the Standing Prayer, "He resurrects the dead with abundant mercy". The level called "abundant mercy" stems from a sublime place in the divine scheme. This is reflected in the human sphere, where the greater the person, the greater is his capacity for mercy. Thus, a king has the greatest capacity for mercy because of his incomparable superiority over his ministers and subjects. Their immense inferiority in his eyes brings out his mercies upon them.
Similarly, the Or Ein Sof looks upon all of Creation with great mercy, since it is all as naught before Him (Zohar 1:11b). Even the loftiest worlds are utterly subordinate to Him, as it is written, "Even the heavens do not find merit before Him" (Job 15:15).
This mercy extends even to the righteous in Gan Eden. For there they enjoy only a reflection of the divine light. However, they are to be pitied because they remain outside of the Divine essence. For if they would be one with the Ein Sof their selves would be lost and it would not be said of them that they are "enjoying" the divine light.

(The Alter Rebbe was known to enter a state of deveikut, utter oneness with divine consciousness. When in such a state he would often exclaim in Yiddish: "Ich vil ze garnist. Ich vil nit dain Gan Eden, ich vil nisht dain oilam haba, ich vil mer nit az dich alein!"
"I want nothing. I don't want Your Gan Eden, I don't want Yours truly, World to Come, I want no less than You Yourself!" (HaYom Yom 18 Kislev, p. 113).)

A wise person should meditate upon this to awaken abundant mercy upon his soul, on the divine spark within him, which is literally a part of Divinity. In other words, the soul comes from a consciousness that is beyond time and space or any of the limitations of physical existence. And now it is shackled and fettered within the transient worldly concerns of the human being. The light that it knows to be true is obscured by what is essentially nothingness.
Even a soul whose host studies Torah is not always at ease. For often the study of Torah is done not with the intentions to cleave to the Divine but to increase one's knowledge to flatter the ego. Such study is referred to as existing "under the sun" and falls into the category of "vanity and evil spirit" (Ecclesiastes 1:14).
When a person meditates on the sorry state of his soul, he awakens abundant mercy upon himself and thereby resurrects his soul, literally like the Resurrection of the Dead. For this awakens the heavenly dew, as it is written, "Your dew is a dew of lights" (Isaiah 26:19), referring to the "dew that drips from the mouth of Atik" (Zohar 2:61b).

(Atik refers to the sphere where "there is no left side" - it is beyond the source of concealment. When this level is revealed, even the dead come alive.)

In other words, the Resurrection of the Dead takes place when there is a Divine revelation of such intensity that even in a place that has a minimal amount of spiritual light, the soul is elevated and united with Gd, in the same way that a small flame becomes lost in the larger flame of a torch.
In an identical way, a person can "resurrect" his soul by awakening abundant mercy upon it and bringing to it the dew of life.
In this way we can explain the verse cited at the beginning of the discourse. "Man does not live by bread alone" meaning that the study of Torah, which is compared to bread, cannot by itself give life. It must be accompanied by an awareness that that "it is the word of Gd" - that the Torah is Gd's wisdom and a means to connect with Him. And with this recognition the soul receives its resuscitation.





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"Tracht Gut vet zein gut" think good, it will be good (the Tzemach Tzedeck)

Aaron Benjamin Frimer
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Rabbi Ariel Sokolovsky said...

By the grace of G-d

Shalom uBrocha!

Hello aharonbenjamin@yahoo.com,

In reference to your comment:

Even a soul whose host studies Torah is not always at ease. For often the study of Torah is done not with the intentions to cleave to the Divine but to increase one's knowledge to flatter the ego. Such study is referred to as existing "under the sun" and falls into the category of "vanity and evil spirit" (Ecclesiastes 1:14).
When a person meditates on the sorry state of his soul, he awakens abundant mercy upon himself and thereby resurrects his soul, literally like the Resurrection of the Dead. For this awakens the heavenly dew, as it is written, "Your dew is a dew of lights" (Isaiah 26:19), referring to the "dew that drips from the mouth of Atik" (Zohar 2:61b).

(Atik refers to the sphere where "there is no left side" - it is beyond the source of concealment. When this level is revealed, even the dead come alive.)
The Rebbe says in a Mimar in 5717 that while Baal Shem Tov was the level of Atik Moshiach will be level of Pnimius Atik which is gilui yechidah which is atzmus umehus elokus hamelubash be guf etc. he will expoundthe Torah on all 5 levels (PaRDeS and Chassidus) and thus will connect and enliven the people on whatever level of the soul they are (free translation)...
Rambam in More Nevuchim seems to give similar interpretation of Techia like I explain and as far as I'm aware the More wasn't meant to be a ruchnius non-pshat seifer ...
I have read on Bnei Boruch Kabbalah site that after gmar tikun (coming of Moshiach) people will attain different levels some will attain levl of eved while others level of a ben it would seem to me that whoever will be eved will understand Torah on the level of makif which will push him/her to do mitzvos gashmius with zrizus but will not have real understanding and whoever will attain the level of ben will have much greater inner understanding and apreciation of what's going on (see also Minui haMelech in Derech Mitzvoisecho where these two levels are mentioned also referd to as neshomos of atzilus aka achim of Moshiach vs neshomos of the Bi"a...

PS.The Chassidus from Tzfat site also has some Mimar along these lines by the way can't remember the name of it where it discusses the fraze when you buy eved ivri 6 years he shall serve etc.

With respect and blessing.
Have a good sweet and succesfull year be ruchnius u'be gashmius!:-)
Ariel Sokolovsky
Yechi haMelech haMoshiach!

Rabbi Berel Bell said...

B"H
Kabbala: The Inside Story
By : Rabbi Berel Bell
Kabbala: The Inside Story

Rabbi Shimon began: Woe are they whose hearts are stuffed and whose eyes are closed! So many secrets are hidden in the Torah, and they pay no attention to them. They only want to eat the "straw" of the Torah - the simple meaning, or the "garment" of the Torah. They don't taste from the deep intellect which it contains within. (Zohar Chadash, Tikunim II:93b. See also Zohar III:152a)

Those who learn the stories of Torah only on the superficial level, without the Kabbala, cause good to be transformed into bad, and create many obstacles. (Tikunei Zohar, 1b)

Through the course of history, there have been nine major famines; immediately before the Messianic Age, there will be a tenth. But the hunger pangs will be of a different sort, as the prophet (Amos 8:11) said, "Behold, days are coming, said G-d, the Lord, when I will send hunger to the world; not a hunger for bread, and not a thirst for water - but to hear the words of G-d." (Bereishit Rabba on Gen. 25:3, Gen. 40:3, and Gen. 64:2)

Elijah the Prophet said to Rebbe Shimon bar Yochai: Many people down below will derive nourishment from this book of yours [the Zohar], when it will be revealed [finally] in the last generation, before the End of Days. But it has been already been revealed for hundreds of years!? Close to the Messianic Age, however, even the deepest passages will be explained. (Tikunei Zohar, end of Tikun 6, Kisei Melech, ibid.)

Since in the future, the Jewish people will taste from the Tree of Life, i.e. the Zohar, they will be redeemed from exile with mercy. (Zohar, Raya Mehemna, III:124b)

Even a cursory reading of the Five Books of Moses is likely to leave a person full of questions. The central figures often behave in questionable ways, and sometimes seem to be questionable role models. In addition, G-d's motives are frequently enigmatic. He seems to want one thing, and then structure events so that everything becomes unnecessarily complicated. We are often unable to understand what His goals are and why He chooses such convoluted paths to reach them.

The Oral Tradition passed down from Mount Sinai and recorded in the words of our Sages helps elucidate the text. The classic biblical commentaries engage in unraveling these stories, and one can find numerous explanations to many of these puzzles. However, their answers are sometimes difficult to reconcile with the text; they sometimes fit the text but stretch the imagination; they sometimes contradict each other; they sometimes solve one enigma - only to raise others which might be even more numerous and more difficult to solve; and most importantly, these explanations sometimes help only to resolve the difficulty of one particular episode. We are often left wondering how the details fit into the broader picture; and even regarding the story itself - couldn't things have been done in some easier, more straightforward way?

Finite humans are obviously unable to fathom the Ways of the Infinite. One the other hand, the Torah is given to us to study and understand. From it we are supposed to draw inspiration and guidance, even down to the details of our daily lives. How can we do so when the message is so obscured by questions?

The obstacle becomes more acute when we consider the difference between this generation and previous ones. Years ago, virtually everyone in the Western world was somewhat familiar with the content of the Bible, and accepted its veracity. Today, many are unaware of even the most basic ideas, and are skeptical of its authority. Their questions are worse than just unsolved intellectual puzzles. They often represent the first - and seemingly insurmountable - barrier to seriously considering anything having to do with faith or "religion."

But the thirst and curiosity is there. This thirst is evident throughout the world in the explosive interest in Kabbala, Bible codes and the like. This dimension of the Torah has a very special relationship with other levels of Torah interpretation. [Note: Ginzei Yosef, Gen. 12:10 (quoted in Yalkut Mashiach U'Geula, Lech Lecha, p. 70-73) in fact says that the 10th "hunger" for the "words of G-d", mentioned above, is the desire for Kabbala. He also explains how this is alluded to in the story of Abraham and Sarah going to Egypt.]

The Torah conveys its messages simultaneously on different levels of meaning. In general there are four levels, referred to by the Hebrew acronym "PaRDeS": the simple level (Peshat), the allusion (Remez), homiletic (Drush), and the secret (Sod). There is, furthermore, another dimension which transcends all these four levels. The final two are normally referred to as the mystical dimension, that of Kabbala and Chasidut.

The "inner dimension," or the "soul" of Torah, explicated in Kabala and Chasidut, takes the perspective of the underlying spiritual reality from which everything in the universe is derived. Understanding these forces and their effects helps us perceive the essential unity within Creation, and to use this knowledge to guide us in all aspects of our lives. (Zohar I:145b. III:152a. See Yahel Or, Tzemach Tzedek, on Psalm 119:18. Maamorim Melukat 5:273)

The essential truths are conveyed to us in the Torah. Understanding its inner dimension helps unravel its mysteries. Then, the traditional explanations take on greater depth and become an integral part of the path leading us to the deeper truth. The revelation of this inner dimension of Torah indicates that the universe is ready to reach its culmination with the Messianic era (see beginning of Keter Shem Tov). It is also the vehicle through which the world is transformed into a world of harmony, fulfillment, and perfection.

The Zohar itself is written in the form of a commentary on the Bible. The stories of the Bible are not just stories, for within them are buried the secrets of the Universe. Through understanding their inner dimension, we tap into that Infinite Wisdom which G-d has been waiting for us to discover. And we must thank the Creator for making these stories so unfathomable as to spur us on to keep digging until we find the "light" within.

One central theme which runs through a number of incidents is that lying, or at least trickery, seem to be involved. Abraham and Isaac say that their wives are their sisters; Jacob tricks Esau out of his privileges as the first-born; Rebecca and Jacob trick Isaac into giving him the blessings; Joseph's brothers kidnap and sell him and then led Jacob to believe that he's been killed; Leah tricks Jacob into marrying her; Tamar tricks Judah into fathering her children. Why does everything seem so crooked?

The theme of trickery stems from the first, and perhaps most famous case - that of the serpent tricking Adam and Eve. Had they not sinned, Adam and Eve would have brought the world to perfection and the Messianic Age would have begun right away. Kabbala explains that when they ate from the Tree of Knowledge, there was a catastrophic change by which sparks of good and sparks of evil become mixed in virtually every aspect of the universe. In order to rectify this act, its effects must be undone. The retrieval and elevation of these sparks is the unifying task which has occupied the world ever since. (See for example, Shaar HaPesukim, 4a. Etz Chaim 36:2. 39:1. See also Tanya, Igeret Hakodesh 26 (144a).

Part of the mystery of this rectification is that the manner in which it is carried out must also match the way in which these sparks were spread out in the first place. A corresponding action is performed, but this time, on the side of holiness. This could perhaps be compared to the cover of a jar: just as it became tightened through being twisted on, the way to remove it is through twisting in the opposite direction. The Talmud (Sanhedrin 39b) [1] similarly explains why the prophet Obadiah was chosen to pronounce the downfall of the Edomite kingdom - because he himself was an Edomite convert, and "the handle for the axe to cut the tree comes from the forest itself."

We find a similar idea when Moses showed Pharaoh that G-d sent him by turning a stick into a snake (Ex. 7:10-11). The head sorcerers of Egypt replied, "Are you bringing straw to Ephraim?" (a city known for its grain), i.e. "Are you bringing witchcraft to a place which is full of witchcraft?!" (Menachot 85a., Shemot Rabba 9:5) Moses answered that indeed, "You take your vegetables to sell in the place where everyone brings their vegetables." At first glance, it is difficult to see what exactly is Moses answering; he just seems to repeat their question as his answer! But his answer is that although he and the Egyptian sorcerers superficially seem to be doing the same thing, there is a huge difference between them. Only a discerning mind is able to distinguish them, just as only in a place where everyone sells vegetables can you tell "which is the good vegetable and which is the bad." (Iyun Yaakov, Menachot ibid. See also Maharsha, Eitz Yosef, ibid. Y'fat To'ar on Shemot Rabba, ibid.) "Ephraim" refers to the primordial snake, (since "the earth [in Hebrew, "afar"] is his bread" (Isaiah 65:25) - "afar" from the same root as "Ephraim"), and its abundant produce alludes to the Tree of Knowledge[2] . Only in that place and in an almost identical fashion can its darkness be transformed to light.

The serpent succeeded through being "deceptive" (Gen. 3:1) or as the Zohar (Zohar I:36a) puts it, "all its words were false" - where his true intentions were concealed. He was only able to succeed because he also had a certain G-dly energy and influence - and was therefore, "wiser than all other creatures." The serpent - had it been ignored or defeated - could have become a powerful force of holiness in the world. Since Adam and Eve failed the test, it is up to the subsequent generations to achieve this rectification.

There is a level of "deception" which is called "concealed chochma". ("Vayomer Lo Elo-him," Vayishlach, 5694. Likutei Sichot 1:55-56. See also Zohar III:144a.) It is called "deception," because the world cannot determine its true nature, but it is ultimately the tool which we use to undo the damage caused by the serpent.

Since the epic struggle to combat darkness draws from this "concealed chochma", it often comes in a manner which seems foreign to us. A superficial glance will only see that the cover of the jar is being twisted; it takes Kabbala to reveal to us how it's being twisted in precisely the opposite direction.

This has implications for our daily lives, in that our entire existence in this world is really a form of "deception". The soul comes from the spiritual realms of existence where the Infinite Light shines strongly. It descends into a physical body to live its life in a physical world where the presence of G-d and the purpose of existence are concealed. Because of this concealment, the physical universe is called in mystical literature, "the world of falsehood" ("alma d'shikra"). In order to fulfill the purpose of our creation, we must in turn, "deceive" the world by using its physicality for spiritual purposes. The Torah demands that we be honest, but by being "honestly" materialistic, we would fall into the deceptive trap of concealment and spiritual darkness. To this extent the Torah directs us towards one particular sort of "deception" - the kind that enables us to be spiritual within the physical world.

Our forefathers had the job of preparing the world and the Jewish people for this historic struggle. Their lives foreshadowed what would happen in the future. (Ramban, Gen. 12:6) Even more so, their actions actually forged the path which pulled their descendants to follow them (ibid.). They were considered a "Chariot" (Zohar III, 28b, 217a), i.e. a pure vehicle for the most sublime heavenly revelations. Everything they did reflected the deeper truths guiding things from Above. Sometimes this is difficult for us to see, but in the bright light of Kabbala and Chasidut we can discern at least a glimpse into their motives. And in this light, not only do their acts not seem so puzzling; we can often not understand how they could have considered acting any other way.




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[1]See also Shabbat 121b, that a snake was killed because, "it met someone just like him." In addition, a transgression cannot be fully undone unless one encounters the identical set of circumstances, and comes through unscathed (Yoma 86b. Maimonides, Laws of Repentance, 2:1.).

[2]Likutei Levi Yitchak on Zohar, vol. 2, p. 225. "Efrayim" mentioned here is the same city mentioned in Chronicles II, 13:19 (see Tosafot, Menachot, 83b). There it is pronounced "Efrayin," but it written "Efron," which has the same numerical value.

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Rabbi Ariel Sokolovsky said...

By the grace of G-d
Shalom everyone!
Somewhat related issue:
Does Judaism believe in reincarnation?

The word eschatology is defined in the dictionary as a branch of theology concerned with the final events of the history of the world. The truth is that eschatology is not exclusively the domain of religion. The most striking example of a secular eschatology would be Marxism: the convulsions and agonies of the class war, its evils resolving themselves into the classless society, the withering of the state and the blissful existence ever after.

Jewish eschatology is made up of three basic pieces:


"The Era of the Messiah."

"The Afterlife."

"The World of Resurrection."

The Messiah, according to traditional Jewish sources, will be a human being born of a flesh and blood mother and father,1 unlike the Christian idea that has him as the son of God conceived immaculately. In fact, Maimonides writes that the Messiah will complete his job and then die like everyone else. 2

What's his job? To end the agony of history and usher in a new era of bliss for humanity at large.3 The time period in which he emerges and completes his task is called the Messianic Era. According to one Talmudic opinion it's not an era of overt miracles, where the rules of nature are overturned. Rather the only new element introduced to the world will be peace among the nations, with the Jewish people living in their land under their own sovereignty, unencumbered by persecution and anti-Semitism, free to pursue their spiritual goals like never before.4

The Afterlife proper is called in the traditional sources olam habah, or the World to Come. However, the same term, "olam habah," is also used to refer to the renewed utopic world of the future -- the World of Resurrection, olam hat'chiah (as explained in the next paragraph). 5 The former is the place righteous souls go to after death -- and they have been going there since the first death. That place is also sometimes called the World of Souls. 6 It's a place where souls exist in a disembodied state, enjoying the pleasures of closeness to God. Thus, genuine near death experiences are presumably glimpses into the World of Souls, the place most people think of when the term Afterlife is mentioned.

The World of Resurrection, by contrast, "no eye has seen," the Talmud remarks.7 It's a world, according to most authorities, where the body and soul are reunited to live eternally in a truly perfected state. That world will only first come into being after the Messiah and will be initiated by an event known as the "Great Day of Judgment,"(Yom HaDin HaGadol)8 The World of Resurrection is thus the ultimate reward, a place where the body becomes eternal and spiritual, while the soul becomes even more so. 9

In comparison to a concept like the "World To Come," reincarnation is not, technically speaking, a true eschatology. Reincarnation is merely a vehicle toward attaining an eschatological end. It's the reentry of the soul into an entirely new body into the present world. Resurrection, by contrast, is the reunification of the soul with the former body (newly reconstituted) into the "World To Come," a world history has not witnessed yet.

Resurrection is thus a pure eschatological concept. Its purpose is to reward the body with eternity (and the soul with higher perfection). The purpose of reincarnation is generally two-fold: either to make up for a failure in a previous life or to create a new, higher state of personal perfection not previously attained.10 The purpose of resurrection is to reward the body with eternity and the soul with higher perfection. Resurrection is thus a time of reward; reincarnation a time of repairing. Resurrection is a time of reaping; reincarnation a time of sowing.

The fact that reincarnation is part of Jewish tradition comes as a surprise to many people. 11 Nevertheless, it's mentioned in numerous places throughout the classical texts of Jewish mysticism, starting with the preeminent sourcebook of Kabbalah, the Zohar :12


As long as a person is unsuccessful in his purpose in this world, the Holy One, blessed be He, uproots him and replants him over and over again. (Zohar I 186b)

All souls are subject to reincarnation; and people do not know the ways of the Holy One, blessed be He! They do not know that they are brought before the tribunal both before they enter into this world and after they leave it; they are ignorant of the many reincarnations and secret works which they have to undergo, and of the number of naked souls, and how many naked spirits roam about in the other world without being able to enter within the veil of the King's Palace. Men do not know how the souls revolve like a stone that is thrown from a sling. But the time is at hand when these mysteries will be disclosed. (Zohar II 99b)


The Zohar and related literature 13 are filled with references to reincarnation, 14 addressing such questions as which body is resurrected and what happens to those bodies that did not achieve final perfection, 15 how many chances a soul is given to achieve completion through reincarnation, 16 whether a husband and wife can reincarnate together,17 if a delay in burial can affect reincarnation,18 and if a soul can reincarnate into an animal. 19

The Bahir, attributed to the first century sage, Nechuniah ben Hakanah, used reincarnation to address the classic question of theodicy -- why bad things happen to good people and vice versa:


Why is there a righteous person to whom good things happen, while [another] righteous person has bad things happen to him? This is because the [latter] righteous person did bad in a previous [life], and is now experiencing the consequences? What is this like? A person planted a vineyard and hoped to grow grapes, but instead, sour grapes grew. He saw that his planting and harvest were not successful so he tore it out. He cleaned out the sour grape vines and planted again. When he saw that his planting was not successful, he tore it up and planted it again. (Bahir 195)20

Reincarnation is cited by authoritative classic biblical commentators, including Ramban21 (Nachmanides), Menachem Recanti 22 and Rabbenu Bachya.23 Among the many volumes of the holy Rabbi Yitzchak Luria, known as the "Ari,"24 most of which come down to us from the pen of his primary disciple, Rabbi Chaim Vital, are profound insights explaining issues related to reincarnation. Indeed, his Shaar HaGilgulim, "The Gates of Reincarnation," 25 is a book devoted exclusively to the subject, including details regarding the soul-roots of many biblical personalities and who they reincarnated into from the times of the Bible down to the Ari.

The Ari's teachings and systems of viewing the world spread like wildfire after his death throughout the Jewish world in Europe and the Middle East. If reincarnation had been generally accepted by Jewish folk and intelligentsia beforehand, it became part of the fabric of Jewish idiom and scholarship after the Ari, inhabiting the thought and writings of great scholars and leaders from classic commentators on the Talmud (for example, the Maharsha, Rabbi Moshe Eidels ),26 to the founder of the Chassidic Movement, the Baal Shem Tov, as well as the leader of the non-Chassidic world, the Vilna Gaon. 27

The trend continues down to this day. Even some of the greatest authorities who are not necessarily known for their mystical bent assume reincarnation to be an accepted basic tenet.

One of the texts the mystics like to cite as a scriptural allusion to the principle of reincarnation is the following verse in the Book of Job:

Behold, all these things does God do -- twice, even three times with a man -- to bring his soul back from the pit that he may be enlightened with the light of the living. (Job 33:29)

In other words, God will allow a person to come back to the world "of the living" from "the pit" (which is one of the classic biblical terms for Gehinnom or "Purgatory") a second and even third (or multitude of) time(s). Generally speaking, however, this verse and others are understood by mystics as mere allusions to the concept of reincarnation. The true authority for the concept is rooted in the tradition.

This is an excerpt from Soul Searching, Targum Press, by Yaakov Astor.



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FOOTNOTES:

1. Maimonides, Melachim 11:3
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2. Commentary to the Mishnah, Sanhedrin 10:1; cf. Sanhedrin 99a.
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3. Maimonides, Melachim 11:3; 12:5
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4. Sanhedrin 91b, 99a; Berachos 34b; Pesachim 68a; Shabbos 63a; cf. Maimonides, Teshuva 9:2, Melachim 12:2.
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5. Tosafos, Rosh HaShannah 16b, s.v. leyom din; Emunos V'deyos 6:4 (end), Raavad, Hilchos Teshuva 8:8; Kesef Mishnah, Teshuva 8:2; Derech Hashem 1:3:11.
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6. Ramban (Nachmanides), Shaar HaGemul. According to the Ramban and other authorities, the "World of Souls" is also often referred to as the Garden of Eden.
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7. Sanhedrin 99a.
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8. Ramban, Shaar HaGemul. Citing Talmudic and Midrashic sources, the Ramban writes that there are three judgment days, i.e. three times the soul is judged:
1) Rosh Hashannah, which reviews the past year and determines material circumstances for the upcoming year;
2) Day of death, which reviews the deceased's life (life review) and determines whether its needs to continue the trying experience of further review or is ready for Paradise.
3) The Great Day of Judgment, which is when all who lived are resurrected, the righteous for everlasting life (in a spiritualized physical world, according to the Ramban) and the wicked for what amounts to termination (according to others there will be a middle category of those who are worthy to continue in a disembodied spirit form but not the more rarified physical form of the resurrected body in a resurrected world). There will also apparently be different degrees of reward (i.e. experiencing the Presence of God) in this Renewed World after the Great Judgment Day, all depending on one's life's actions.
It has been asked: If a person is judged at his death as to his status in the World to Come what is the purpose of the Great Day of Judgment? One answer given is that after a person dies all the children, all the good and bad deeds and influences he had on others are "still in motion." Only at the end of history can the "final tally" be made, then, as to the impact a person had on the world in his or her life.
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9. Derech Hashem 1:3:13.
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10. Shaar HaGilgulim, Chapter 8; Derech Hashem 2:3:10.
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11. Many are equally as surprised to discover that reincarnation was an accepted belief by numerous of the great minds underpinning Western civilization. Although Judaism, obviously, does not necessarily agree with all their thoughts and philosophies, nevertheless Plato, for instance (in Meno, Phaedo, Timaeus, Phaedrus, and the Republic), espouses belief in the doctrine of reincarnation. He seems to have been influenced by earlier classic Greek minds such as Pythagorus and Empedocles. In the eighteenth century, the Age of Enlightenment and Rationalism, thinkers like Voltaire ("After all, it is no more surprising to be born twice than it is to be born once") and Benjamin Franklin expressed an affinity for the notion of reincarnation. In the nineteenth century, Schopenhauer wrote (Parerga and Paralipomena ), "Were an Asiatic to ask me for a definition of Europe, I should be forced to answer him: It is that part of the world which is haunted by the incredible delusion that a person's present birth is first entrance into life..." Dostoevsky (in The Brothers Karamazov) refers to the idea, while Tolstoy seems to have been quite definite that he had lived before. Thoreau, Emerson, Walt Whitman, Mark Twain and many others acknowledged and/or espoused some form of belief in reincarnation. It should be noted, however, that some classic Torah authorities, most notably, 10th century authority Saadia Gaon, denied reincarnation as a Jewish tenet. Emunos V'Deyos 6:3.
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12. The Talmud relates that second century sage Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai and his son Elazar fled to a cave to escape Roman persecution. For the next thirteen years they learned all day and night without distraction. According to Kabbalistic tradition (Tikkunei Zohar 1a) it was during those thirteen years that he and his son first composed the main teachings of the Zohar. Concealed for many centuries, the Zohar was published and disseminated by Rabbi Moshe de Leon in the thirteenth century.
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13. Although the Zohar is generally referred to as a single multi-volume work, comprising Zohar, Tikunei Zohar and Zohar Chadash, it is actually a compilation of several smaller treatises or sub-sections.
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14. Zohar I:131a, 186b, 2:94a, 97a, 100a, 105b, 106a, 3:88b, 215a 216a; Tikunnei Zohar 6 (22b, 23b), 21 (56a), 26 (72a), 31 (76b), 32 (76b), 40 (81a), 69 (100b,103a,111a,114b,115a,116b), 70 (124b,126a, 133a, 134a, 137b, 138b); Zohar Chadash 33c, 59a-c, 107a; Ruth 89a.
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15. The Zohar (I 131a): "Rabbi Yosi answered: 'Those bodies which were unworthy and did not achieve their purpose will be regarded as though they had not been?Rabbi Yitzchak [disagreed and] said: For such bodies the Holy One will provide other spirits, and if found worthy they will obtain an abiding in the world, but if not, they will be ashes under the feet of the righteous." Cf. Zohar II 105b.
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16. E.g. Zohar III 216a; Tikkunei Zohar 6 (22b), 32 (76b) suggest three or four chances. Tikkunei Zohar 69 (103a) suggests that if even a little progress is made each time, the soul is given even a thousand opportunities to reincarnation in order to achieve its completion. Zohar III 216a suggests that an essentially righteous person who experiences the travails of wandering from city to city, house to house - even to try to drum up business (Zohar Chadash Tikkunim 107a) -- is as if he undergoes many reincarnations.
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17. The answer is that, yes, it's a possibility, Zohar II, 106a.
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18. "After the soul has left the body and the body remains without breath, it is forbidden to keep it unburied (Moed Katon, 28a; Baba Kama, 82b). For a dead body which is left unburied for twenty-four hours causes a weakness in the limbs of the Chariot and prevents God's design from being fulfilled; for perhaps God decreed that he should undergo reincarnation at once on the day that he died, which would be better for him, but as long as the body is not buried the soul cannot go into the presence of the Holy One nor be transferred into another body. For a soul cannot enter a second body till the first is buried?" Zohar III 88b
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19. Tikunnei Zohar 70 (133a). Later Kabbalists detail the circumstances that can lead to reincarnation in vegetative and even mineral form. Shaar HaGilgulim, Chapter 22 & 29; Sefer Haredim 33, Ohr HaChaim 1:26.
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20. Bahir 122, 155, 184 and 185 also discuss reincarnation.
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21. Genesis 38:8, Job 33:30
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22. E.g. commentary to Genesis 34:1; his Taamei HaMitzvos (16a) says reincarnation is the secret underlying the ten Talmudic sages who were slaughtered by the Romans.
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23. Commentary to Genesis 4:25, Deuteronomy 33:6.
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24. His main works are the Etz Chaim (Tree of Life) and Pri Etz Chaim (Fruit of the Tree of Life), as well as the Shmoneh Shaarim (Eight Gates), which deal with everything from Bible commentary to divine inspiration and reincarnation.
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25. Sefer HaGilgulim, "The Book of Reincarnations," by Chaim Vital is also an entire book devoted to the topic.
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26. Commentary to Niddah 30b.
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27. Commentary to the Book of Jonah, and many other places. For example, R. Meir Simcha of Dvinsk in Ohr Somayach, Hilchos Teshuva 5, s.v. v'yodati; R. Israel Meir HaKohen [the Chofetz Chaim] in Mishnah Berurah 23:5 and Shaar HaTzion 622:6; R. Yaakov Yisroel Kanievsky [the Steipler Gaon] in Chayei Olam.
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28. Gehinnom refers, generally, to a limited-time (Edyos 2:10) experience in the afterlife where the soul is purged of its blemishes in a process, after all is said and done, described as painful, albeit cathartic. In a deeper sense, the callous person is recompensed measure for measure. Just as he acted callously by sinning, acting as if God was not present, he is paid back by having to experience Gehinnom, a place, in contrast to Heaven, where God?s Presence is in a way hidden, or at least not as open and free-flowing. (The name ?Gehinnom? comes from the valley to the south of Jerusalem, known as the valley [Gei] of the son of Hinnom, where children were at one time sacrificed to Molech (II Kings 23:10; Jer. 2:23; 7:31-32; 19:6). For this reason the valley was deemed accursed, and Gehinnom thus became a synonym for Purgatory.


This article can also be read at: http://www.aish.com/literacy/concepts/Reincarnation_and_Jewish_Tradition.asp

Author Biography:
Yaakov Astor is author of Soul Searching: Seeking Scientific Foundation for the Jewish Tradition of an Afterlife, by Targum Press. A former yeshiva teacher and principal, who has also taught in various kiruv/outreach capacities, he has written or edited more than twenty books, including Sefer Nehemiah and Trei Asar, Vol. 1, in the ArtScroll Tanach Series, and all of Rabbi Ezriel Tauber's books. Visit his website at: www.jewishsoulsearching.com. Under the guidance of Rabbi Joseph Elias, shlita, Yaakov Astor is currently writing the High School Holocaust Curriculum for Torah Umesorah, the umbrella organization for Jewish schools across the United States.

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