Friday, June 17, 2005

Please See to it that All Young Children and the Weak of Heart are Out of the Room, Ladies and Gentlemen ... (Part 3)

Please See to it that All Young Children and the Weak of Heart are Out of the Room, Ladies and Gentlemen: We’re About to Discuss the Resurrection of the Dead! (Part 2)

by Rabbi Yaakov Feldman


In order to understand we’d need to first explain a few things alluded to above, in the space allotted us. Based upon the Highest Authority, we Jews hold that the world will experience a number of tumultuous events in the course of time. First we’ll enter the Messianic Era, the world will be undone afterwards, the deserving dead will be resurrected, and finally all will evolve to a state-of-being known as The World to Come.

The Messianic Era will start it all off, and the World to Come will be the full flowering of the process. But the event that will ultimately, as we used to put it, “separate the men from the boys”, will be the resurrection of the dead.

First, though the Messianic Era. In the words of the sainted Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, “Good will be increased in every form (then), and evil will be completely eliminated .... Man will no longer be drawn toward the physical. Rather, he’ll lean toward serving G-d .... Prosperity and tranquility will increase as a consequence, and injury and destruction will cease to exist” (Ma'amar HaIkkurim 8).

And after the resurrection, the World to Come. Unfathomable, in fact, it can only be described as, “the good that is sequestered for the righteous” (Hilchot Tshuvah 8:1), a “form of life without death”, the experience of “goodness without evil”, utter “delight and goodness” (ibid.) -- where “the righteous sit with crowns on their heads ... and bask in G-d’s Glory” (8:2).

But as for the resurrection itself -- the defining moment, as Luzzatto puts it (in Ma’mar HaIkkurim), it will be preceded by the experience of the Great Day of Judgement, that epochal period of time when “G-d will judge all mankind” and “decide who is worthy of enduring forever, and who’s to be ... totally obliterated.“

Indeed, that’s when it will start to come together -- at the point of Judgement and the consequent resurrection. Because at that juncture it will be decided “who is worthy of remaining in the renewed world“, that is, the World to Come -- when the world “will be re-created in a new form, best suited for its eternal state.... (and) the righteous will return to the world, and ... live in it forever” -- and who will not.

It’s then when all the “sparks” we will have “resurrected” -- all the good we’d have done -- will play a role in our own resurrection. And all the bad that the wicked will have done will be accounted for, too. That’s to say, it’s then when all the good mixed within the wrong we’d have done will come to the fore.

But, we’d still have done wrong. So, what in the end will ensure that we’ll be counted among the righteous ourselves?

The answer is that all the trials, tribulations and woes we’d have suffered in this life -- physical, emotional, spiritual, ethical, etc. -- would serve to cleanse and disinfect us from all the wrong. In fact, it’s the process of withstanding trials and tribulation within life that empower those original "sparks" to return to their source in holiness.

For wrongdoing and suffering are like electricity and light, says The Leshem. Just as light is a direct result of electricity, tribulation is a direct result of wrongdoing. And just as there’s no light without electricity, and no electricity when we overuse our lights, we likewise suffer no more when there's no longer wrongdoing, and our suffering so much undoes wrongdoing.

Bottom line, there’s hope for us and the world yet. And all those heartbreaking trials and tribulations we suffer are for our ultimate good.

Not bad, huh? OK ... we can let the kids back into the room now.

(c) 2005 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

(Feel free to contact me at )

AT LONG LAST! Rabbi Feldman's translation of "The Gates of Repentance" has been reissued at *at a discount*! You can order it right now by logging onto (or by going to and searching for it). Rabbi Yaakov Feldman has translated and commented upon "The Gates of Repentance", "The Path of the Just", and "The Duties of the Heart" (Jason Aronson Publishers). And his new work on Maimonides' "The Eight Chapters" will soon be available from Judaica Press.
His works are available in bookstores and in various locations on the Web.
Rabbi Feldman also offers two free e-mail classes on entitled "Spiritual Excellence" and "Ramchal".