Klach on the Resurrection of the Dead and the World to Come

Let’s finally see the points Ramchal makes here, in Klach, about Resurrection of the Dead and the World to Come and tie them in with what’s been said above. Before can do that, though, we’d need to backtrack a bit.

Ramchal said in Petach 27 that everything that was to exist in the world has its roots in the Trace of God’s presence that He’d allowed to enter into the Residue-realm that is our world; and he offered there that God interacts with phenomena that are rooted in the Trace the way a soul governs a body.

That’s to say that the Line which enters into and governs the Trace-realm is analogous to the soul that enters into and governs the body. Recall the fact that the World to Come is characterized as the realm in which body, which had been resurrected, and the soul will be rejoined and you’ll understand his point.

Moving on to Adam and Eve in his recounting of the story of the universe, Ramchal says in Petach 41 of our section that “If Adam had not sinned, then his body would have been pure and it would have been instantaneously rectified (and he and the universe would immediately have entered into the World to Come). But, since he did sin, impurity came to reside in man’s body, so the soul (i.e., souls in general) can’t join with (bodies) in a perfect bond. On the contrary, the soul must leave the body at death”, and they must both await the resurrection and the World to Come.

He goes on to say there that “the body is then alone (i.e., at death, without the soul) when it expunges out all the wrong in it”. That’s to say that the body is cleansed of all of its impurities in death, and that’s the way that death serves to further along God’s agenda.

But understand that “this will take place (i.e., the full benefit of death will only take place) with the resurrection of the dead, when the body will be rebuilt. The soul will then (re)enter and remain in the body without a blemish forever… until it will ascend to the highest level suited to it” finally, in the World to Come.

His ultimate point here then is the fact that “all this is found (i.e., is also played out) above in the (realm of the) Line and the Trace” as we’ll now see. For,” before the Line could be joined with the Trace in a (way) … that would cause everything to go in one direction (i.e., in the direction of ultimate perfection), the Trace had to be allowed to do everything in its power” much the way the body had to be free enough to possibly sin.

But in the end “the Line will then join with the Trace-realm in a complete bond as when the Line first entered into it, and just as it shone before the breaking of the vessels”. That’s to say that the much like soul first entered the body, which then sinned, died, was purified, and is to be rejoined with the soul in the World to Come, “so (too) will it shine afterwards with their rectification… until everything will be completely purified.”

Thus rather than go into details about the makeup of the resurrection and the World to Come as traditional sources do; and rather than discuss them in terms of one’s personal recompense and the makeup of the ultimate reality as he does in his other works, Ramchal uses them both in Klach to draw an analogy between an individual’s “big picture” and the universe’s own “big picture”, as we alluded to above.

For just as the universe was comprised of a physical aspect (the Residue) and a soul (the Line), sinned and had to die and decompose (the breaking of the vessels) so as to eventually reach true perfection (with the rejoining of Trace and Line), likewise is the self comprised of a body and soul, which must be separated at death then be rejoined at the resurrection so as to reach the World to Come.

(c) 2012 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

Feel free to contact me at feldman@torah.org


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Rabbi Yaakov Feldman has also translated and commented upon “The Path of the Just” and “The Duties of the Heart” (Jason Aronson Publishers).

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