The Resurrection of the Dead (2)

The tradition is adamant about belief in the resurrection of the dead as evidenced by the statement that “whoever denies the resurrection of the dead will have no share in it” (Sanhedrin 90b), as if to say that if you doubt it, you don’t belong there in the first place.

In reference to the eeriness of it and the out-and-out other-worldliness of something that’s so far removed from human experience, the Talmud underscores the point that “the resurrection of the dead will be accomplished by God, who alone holds the key to it” (Ta’anit 2a, Sanhedrin 113a).

Rambam made it the last of his thirteen articles of faith, which, as worded in Ani Ma’amin, reads: “I firmly believe that there will be a revival of the dead at a time which will please the Creator, blessed be His name.” He did, though, contend that it would only be experienced by the righteous in his comments to the Mishna (Sanhedrin 10:1), but many argued against that view and affirmed a resurrection for all dead (Abarbanel in his Ma’yenei Yeshu’ah 2:9 and Menashe ben Israel, in his Nishmat Ḥayyim 1:2:8).

But perhaps the most elegant affirmation of it is the one we’re asked to offer each and every morning when we say, “O God, the soul which You have set within me is pure. You Have fashioned it; You have breathed it into me, You keep it within me, and will take it from me and restore it to me in time to come. As long as it is within me I will give homage to You, divine Master, Lord of all spirits, who returns soul to dead bodies” (Berachot 60b).

(c) 2012 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

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