Community Magazine September 2021

44 COMMUNITY MAGAZINE In Olam Haba , the time period following the Messianic Era, the entire universe will be transformed into an entirely different framework. All the righteous people throughout the generations will receive their rightful reward and enjoy indescribable spiritual pleasures. The prophets describe that just before the onset of this period, all the world’s inhabitants since the time of creation will be brought back to life and stand in judgment, and Gd will determine who is worthy of Olam Haba . In this segment, we will address the subject of tehiyat hametim and related topics, and offer suggestions for how we can ensure to be worthy of resurrection when this period arrives. Resurrection: Two Stages Our sages relate how the process of tehiyat hametim will not just occur all at once, but rather it will take place in two separate stages. The first stage of resurrection will coincide with the start of the Messianic Era, when all the sadikim (righteous people) throughout the generations will return to life, including our forefathers, Avraham, Yizhak, and Yaakov, and our nation’s first leaders, Moshe Rabbenu and Aharon Hakohen. They and many other sadikim will earn the privilege of basking in the glory and splendor of the Jewish Nation during that time. The second stage of tehiyat hametim , which will affect the general world populace, will unfold much later, at the close of the Messianic Era, in preparation for the start of the new world – Olam Haba . This promise of tehiyat hametim thus ensures that all those who were personally worthy of the redemption will be brought back to life to experience the restoration of our nation’s ideal state of completion when Mashiah arrives. Even those who died before the Messianic Era will not be denied the glory and splendor of our nation, at this period in time. How Will Life Be Restored to the Dead? Our sages tell us that our bodies and all physical features will be restored precisely to their original form at tehiyat hametim – except for the illnesses and bodily defects which we endured during our lifetime, which Hashem will heal at the time of resurrection. However, one who purposely did not perform one of the Torah’s 248 positive commandments (which correspond to the 248 limbs in the human body) will be missing the limb corresponding to that particular missva . The Talmud describes that the dead will emerge from the ground completely clothed, just as a wheat kernel grows from the ground clothed in several layers of covering. According to some views, the resurrected dead will be clothed in the shrouds in which they were buried, while others maintain that they will wear the clothing they wore during their lifetimes. The Eternal Bone The Midrash teaches that even though the human body decays after death, there is one bone in the body that remains intact eternally, even after death, and it is from this bone that Hashem will rebuild the dead bodies at the time of tehiyat hametim . How does this bone endure? Why is it different from every other part of the human body, which decays after death? The commentaries explain that this particular bone is nourished solely from the food consumed during the melaveh malka meal which is eaten on Saturday night. Thus, when Adam sinned by eating from the forbidden tree on Friday, the day he was created, this bone did not benefit from the sin and was therefore spared the punishment of death decreed upon all mankind. This is what allows this bone to survive forever, even as the rest of the body decays. Knowing that this bone is nourished by our melaveh malka meal, andwill be the source of renewed life at the time of tehiyat hametim , we should all ensure to observe this halachah and partake of the melaveh malka meal each week, even when this may be difficult. Where in the body is this bone situated? Some identify this bone as one of the upper back bones, while others say it is the lowest backbone. There is yet a third view that it is located in the back of the head, at the spot where we place the knot of the tefillin . How to Ensure We Merit Resurrection The Talmud teaches that only the special spiritual light of the Torah is capable of reviving a person’s body at the time of tehiyat hametim , and therefore only those who had a connection to the holy Torah will be part of the resurrection. This connection is achieved either through actually learning or by helping others to learn, whether through financial support or through other forms of assistance. Women, who are not obligated to study Torah, Resurrection of the Dead Before the World to Come - Part XI R’ ELIYAHU CHAIM ABOUD