The Nut Garden

לקוטים מזוהר (Gleanings of Zohar)

Tag: תְּחִיַת הַמֵּתִים

He Will be like a Tree Planted by Water

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“Ulla Nahota was dying there [in Babylonia]. He began to cry. They said to him, ‘Why are you crying? We will bring you up to the land of Israel [for burial]. He said to them, ‘What benefit [is it] to me, I will lose מַרְגָּלִיתִי (marggaliti), my pearl, in an impure land [cf. Hymn of the Pearl]. Not like he who is delivered into his mother’s bosom is he who is delivered into the bosom of an alien woman [cf. Proverbs 2:16: To save you from a stranger-woman, from a smooth-talking alien woman]” (JT Kilayim 9:3, 32c).

“Rabbi Yirmeyah son of Abba said in the name of Rabbi Yoḥanan, ‘Whoever walks four cubits in the land of Israel is assured to be a son of the world to come.’ Now… aren’t the righteous outside the Land going to be revived? Rabbi Il’a said, ‘By גִּלְגּוּל (gilggul), rolling.’ Rabbi Abba Sala the Great objected, ‘Rolling will be painful to the righteous!’ Abbaye replied, ‘Tunnels will be made for them underground” (BT Ketubbot 111a, cf. Zohar 1:113b–114b [MhN], 131a).

“[Addressing the apparent contradiction between revival of the dead and גִּלְגּוּל הַנְשָׁמוֹת (gilggul ha-neshamot), rolling souls] Rabbi Ḥizkiyah said, ‘If you say that all bodies of the world will arise, aroused from the dust, what will become of those bodies sown in a single soul [cf. BT Gittin 58a: ‘two wicks in one flame’]? Rabbi Yose replied, ‘These bodies that have been virtuous and have not flourished are considered as if they never existed. As they were a withered tree in this world, so too at that time. The final body will arise, for once sown, it flourished and took root fittingly. Of this one is written: He will be like a tree planted by water… its leaves will be luxuriant… (Jeremiah 17:8), for it generated fruit, took root and flourished fittingly. Of that previous body is written: He will be like a shrub in the desert, and will not see when good comes… (ibid., 6). When good comes—revival of the dead, and it is written: For you will revere My name, the sun of victory will rise, with healing in its wings (Malachi 3:20). Then good will prevail in the world, and the one called Evil will be eliminated from the world, as we have said. Then those previous bodies will be as though they had never been” (Zohar 1:131a).

“Rabbi Shim’on said, ‘If a person obtains a recycled soul and fails to have it rectified within him, it is as though he falsifies the truth of the King; and I apply to him this verse: or if he finds something lost and denies it and swears falsely (Leviticus 5:22). And denies it—better for him if he had never been created [cf. BT Niddah 30b; Zohar 3:13a]!

We have learned: ‘A completely righteous person is not thrust aside; an incompletely righteous person is.’ Who is completely righteous, and who is incompletely righteous? Could it be that one whose deeds are flawed is called righteous? [cf. BT Berakhot 7a–b, Megillah 6b, Bava Metsi’a 71a, Avodah Zarah 4a].’

‘Well, a completely righteous person is clearly recognized, for he has not taken tortuous convolutions; and with his inheritance he builds a structure, erects walls, hews out wells, and plants trees.

An incompletely righteous person is one who builds a structure with another’s inheritance—digging into it, restoring the foundation stones as before, toiling over it; yet he does not know if it will remain his. Furthermore, regarding himself, he is considered good and righteous; but regarding that inheritance, not so.

This may be compared to a person who builds a beautiful and attractive building. But when he examines the foundation, he sees that it is sinking and distorted in all directions. The building is incomplete until he demolishes it and rebuilds it anew. Regarding his building itself, it was fine and beautiful; but regarding the foundation, it was bad and distorted. So it is not called a complete project; it is not called a complete building. Consequently, ‘an incompletely righteous person is thrust aside [at the revival of the dead].’ Thus, while the wicked swallows up the one more righteous than he (Habakuk 1:13) [cf. BT Berakhot 7b, Megillah 6b, Bava Metsi’a 71a]” (Zohar 3:213a–b).

The Ship Threatened to Break Up

“Jonah, descending into the ship, is the human soul descending into this world to enter a human body. Why is she called יוֹנָה (Yonah), Jonah? Because as soon as she joins the body, she is יֹנַה (yonah), cheated, in this world, as is said: וְלֹא תוֹנוּ (Ve-lo tonu), You shall not cheat, one another (Leviticus 25:17). Then a person moves through this world like a ship in the great ocean about to break up, as is said: The ship threatened to break up (Jonah 1:4).

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An Almond which Becomes like Curdled Cheese

imageHe 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).