An Almond which Becomes like Curdled Cheese
He guards all his bones, one of them is not broken (Psalms 34:21).
“Hadrian (whose bones may they be ground, and his name blotted out) once asked Rabbi Yehoshua son of Ḥanania, ‘From what shall the human frame be reconstructed when it rises again?’ He answered ‘From the לוּז (luz), almond [Aramaic for the os coccyx, the ‘nut’ of the spinal column].’ ‘Prove this to me,’ said Hadrian. Then the Rabbi took the Luz and immersed it in water, but it was not softened; he put it into the fire, but it was not consumed; he put it into a mill, but it could not be pounded; he placed it upon an anvil and struck it with a hammer, but the anvil split and the hammer was broken” (Qohelet Rabbah 114:3).
“For a single bone surviving in a human being underground will become like leaven in dough, upon which the blessed Holy One will build an entire body” (Zohar 1:69a).
“The body beneath the dust, possessing endurance to rise from the dust” (Zohar 1:181b).
“Rabbi Pinḥas [son of Ya’ir] said, ‘I observed that תְּחִיַת הַמֵּתִים (teḥiyat ha-metim), revival of the dead, would be performed by the blessed Holy One, in one way, and that what is now first to leave will be the last. How do we know this? From those bones, the ones into which the blessed Holy One breathed life at the hands of Ezekiel. At the beginning it is written: And the bones came together, bone to its bone (Ezekiel 37:7), and then: And as I beheld, and, lo, there were sinews upon them, and flesh came up. And skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them (ibid., 8). From here, too, we can learn that what is removed first will be the last to be put on again [at revival of the dead]. Initially, man is stripped of spirit, and then his skin [rots], followed by the flesh [and then sinews], and finally the bones.
Rabbi Shim’on [son of Yoḥai] said: ‘The earlier teachers had difficulties with this passage [cf. BT Shabbat 13b], but the truth is that the blessed Holy One performed strange miracles and signs with these bones into which He breathed life.
Come and see: Recall, pray, that like clay You worked me, and to the dust You will make me return. Why, you pour me out like milk and like cheese you curdle me (Job 10:9). And then, in the following verses: With skin and flesh You cloth me, with bones and sinews entwine me (ibid., 10–11). When a person has rotted in the dust, and the time of the revival of the dead has arrived, the blessed Holy One will remake him from the remaining [Luz] bone, make it like dough and as cheese from milk and as flowing as a stream of pure clear milk. For the bone will be refined and polished as milk, curdled, and fashioned into a shape, like cheese. After this structure is done He will create anew the skin, veins and bones. Hence… all the verbs are in fact future tense. Not ‘You poured me out…’ this is because the reference throughout is to a future time” (Zohar 3:220b–21a).
“Rise Rabbi Shim’on and fashion new words with your hands, because permission has been granted you to reveal hidden mysteries which have not been revealed by another until now. Rabbi Shim’on opened saying, ‘Yours, O YHWH, is the greatness, and the strength, [and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O YHWH, and You are exalted as head above all]’ (1 Chronicles 29:11). Supernal ones listen, sleepers of Hebron. Faithful Shepherd awake from your sleep [see Pirqei de-Rabbi Eli’ezer 36, cf. BT Eruvin 53a; Zohar 1:127a]. Awake and sing, you that dwell in dust: [for Your dew is like the dew of lights, and the earth shall cast out the dead] (Isaiah 26:19). These are those righteous ones who are from the aspect of, I was asleep but my heart was awake (Song of Songs 5:2). They are not dead, thus it says, Awake and sing. Awake, Faithful Shepherd you and the patriarchs, awaken the Shekhinah asleep in the exile. Until now all the righteous sleep, asleep in their youth.
Immediately the Shekhinah aroused three voices for the Faithful Shepherd, saying to him, ‘Rise Faithful Shepherd, of whom it is said, Hark! my lover knocks (Song of Songs 5:2)—with His four letters. Saying, Open for me, my sister, my friend, my dove, תַמָּתִי (tamati), my perfect one [lit., my complete one] (Songs of Songs 5:2). Because, תַּם (Tam), Complete, is the punishment of your iniquity, O daughter of Zion; He will no more carry you away into exile (Lamentations 4:22).’
For my head is filled with dew (Song of Songs 5:2). What is filled with dew? Rather, the blessed Holy One says, ‘Do you imagine that from the day the Holy Temple was destroyed I have entered My house, or I have entered My dwelling place? Not so! I have not entered at all since the time of your exile. Behold you have a sign: For my head is filled with טַל (tal), dew.’ הא (He, alef) [of the Holy Name spelled with ten letters] is Shekhinah in the exile [separated from Her lover the blessed Holy One]. Her completion and Her life is טַל (tal), dew, and this is יוד הא ואו (Yod, He, Vav) [which shares a numerical value of thirty-nine with טַל (tal), dew]. הא (He, alef) is the Shekhinah which is not of the טַל (tal), dew. But יוד הא ואו (Yod, He, Vav) equals ל״ט (thirty-nine). He fills the Shekhinah from the flowing of all the supernal sources. Immediately the Faithful Shepherd rose, and the holy patriarchs along with him. Until here the mystery of unification” (Tiqqunei ha-Zohar 17b).