Monday, August 13, 2007

Da’at Tevunot (Sect. 2, Ch. 2, Part 3)

"Knowing the Reasons"

A Kabbalistic Laying-Out of Who, What, When, Where, and Why

Based on Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto's "Da'at Tevunot"

by Rabbi Yaakov Feldman


Sect. 2, Ch. 2


But let's get back to the resurrection of the dead.

Though a lot of the impurity that infested the body starts to become undone as a result of the desiccation that begins when the flesh returns to its elements -- to the "earth (matter)" from which it was taken -- the process of purification is only completed when body and soul are reunited in the course of the resurrection [6].

For that's when "the soul will reenter the body with all the strength of its good deeds and with the gleam of Celestial Light it had acquired ... in the Afterlife," as Ramchal puts it. As it's then, after the resurrection, that "the soul will emit a great Light which will utterly purify the body" and make it possible for it to be "healed of all the harm originally done to it" by its sins [7].

And then finally after the resurrection, in the World to Come, the soul will be rewarded in full for its efforts here, on earth.

That also tells us, by the way, that there are actually two periods of reward and punishment: one immediately after death, in the Afterlife; and the other, in the World to Come. So while the resurrection will indeed be staggering, tumultuous, and utterly nihilistic, it will not be the great and cosmic "be all and end all". The World to Come will.

In a way, then, the resurrection will serve the same function in relation to the World to Come as this world does in relation to the Afterlife. In that both the resurrection and this world are byways and ports-of-call in which one is readied for his eventual destination. Our sages abridged the whole process by saying that "this world is like a vestibule to the World to Come" (Pirkei Avot 4:16).



[6] See note 4 to the previous chapter about the idea of the "remarriage" and "reuniting" of body and soul.

[7] Recall that when Ramchal speaks of the soul reentering the body with all the strength of "its" good deeds he's of course referring to all the good deeds that the individual who "inhabited" that body had done. See note 5 to the previous chapter.

See Derech Hashem 1:3 for more on this. Also see Zohar 1, 115A and 116a (as cited in the original).

(c) 2007 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

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