Now, as we’ve already said, the (existence of the) first era made it necessary for the third era to materialize itself in full, in order to fulfill the intent for creation (already manifest) in the first era.
See Ch. 15.
Thus, the (existence of the) first era necessitated the resurrection of the body, which is to say that it made it necessary for the body’s comprehensive ratzon l’kabel which had (already) come to an end, been undone, and had decomposed in the course of the second era, to be resurrected anew, in full and comprehensive measure and to lack for nothing whatsoever — i.e., with all its defects (in place).
In answer to our question of the last chapter as to why we’re to be resurrected, it comes to this. We — better yet, our bodies along with our personality and sense of self — are to be fully and roundly resurrected when the time comes simply because that, too, is part of the great unfurling of God’s will that was already encased in the first era, by virtue of the fact that it will play a part in our drawing close to God.
But, why will we be brought back “with all (our) defects (in place)?” we also asked.
But then our Divine service is to begin anew: (we’ll start) to convert our comprehensive ratzon l’kabel to the point where it only takes-in so as to bestow. And we’d have thus doubled our gain: first, we’d have had the capacity to accept all the goodness, pleasantness, and gentleness (we were meant to) in the (original) intent of creation by having a body with a comprehensive ratzon l’kabel, which goes hand in hand with all those pleasures, as we indicated.
And secondly, since we received all the goodness, pleasantness, and gentleness (we were meant to), it would then only exist to the degree necessary to grant God contentment, and our ratzon l’kabel would be tantamount to an out-and-out bestowal.
That would bring us to (a state of) essential affinity (with) or adhesion (onto God) — which will be our tsurah in the third era. Thus we see that the (existence of the) first era did indeed make the resurrection of the dead an absolute necessity.
Things will be utterly different when we’re resurrected, as would only be expected; and all our foci and insights will change accordingly. Rather than be self-absorbed, we’ll be God-absorbed. For instead of being only willing to accept things that serve our own purposes, we’ll only be willing to accept things that we could then bestow upon another (God, in this instance), like the guest who only ate to please his host (see the comments to 11:3).
That explains why we’re to be brought back with all our defects. For, what “all our defects” refers to is all of our selfishness (also see Ch. 28); and it will be there for all to see at the point of resurrection, all right. But we’ll be so out-and-out flummoxed by the sight ourselves that we’ll be moved to (somehow) transform it to selflessness.
Ironically, though, we’ll have benefitted from our selflessness in the end to a remarkable degree (though we wouldn’t have set out to). For aside from having enjoyed the wherewithal to take in “all the goodness, pleasantness, and gentleness” we were meant to by virtue of the fact that “we’d already had a body with a comprehensive ratzon l’kabel“, we’d also be able to make the very best and purest use of that skill by turning it around to a means of adhering on to God’s presence.
(c) 2011 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman
Feel free to contact me at email@example.com
AT LONG LAST! Rabbi Feldman’s translation of Maimonides’ “Eight Chapters” is available here at a discount.
You can still purchase a copy of Rabbi Feldman’s translation of “The Gates of Repentance” here at a discount as well.
Rabbi Yaakov Feldman has also translated and commented upon “The Path of the Just” and “The Duties of the Heart” (Jason Aronson Publishers).