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Insights - Q&A on Redemption

Question:

How will the human body be restored with the resurrection of the dead?


Answer:

This question can be answered with two parables, which are brought in the Talmud as a proof of G-d’s ability to resurrect the dead:

1) A craftsman who succeeds in creating vessels out of water is surely capable of crafting vessels out of earth. So, too, G-d can create a person out of a drop of liquid. Certainly He can recreate a person from the earth. 2) If a human being, with his limited powers, can create a vessel from broken glass, certainly G-d, Who is without limits, can revive a dead body.

In the first parable, reviving the dead is compared to forming a vessel out of clay, and in the second, it is compared to recreating a glass vessel. When forming out of clay, the clay remains clay and only its shape changes. However, to create something out of broken glass, there is no longer any relationship between the new vessel to the original broken one.

We can conclude, therefore, that the body will be recreated as a new entity. According to the first parable, the body will retain some relationship to its original form. However, according to the second, there will be no relationship at all between the original and new bodies; the body resurrected will be a completely new creation.

The definition of the relationship between the old and new bodies has halachic relevance. According to halacha, if an impure vessel breaks and is repaired, it is still impure, since it retains its relationship to the original vessel. However, if the vessel is broken completely and a new vessel is made out of the shattered pieces, this is considered a new vessel that is not impure. The same applies to the body. If there is still a relationship between the old and new bodies, the resurrected body would be impure, but otherwise it would not be.

In any case, any impurity clinging to the dead body will immediately be removed, with the power of the “dew of Torah” with which G-d will revive the dead.

Sanhedrin 91a, see Rashi. Kelim, 11:6. Zohar vol. 1, 131a, and vol. 3, 49a. Likutei Sichos vol. 18, p. 246.

 

 


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