Afterlife

Resurrection of the Dead – How Is it Possible?

“And many of those sleeping in the dust will awaken” (Daniel 12:2) Resurrection of the Dead is one of the fundamentals taught to us by Moses. “And one who doesn’t believe in it, is not religious or devoted to Judaism.” (Maimonides’ Commentary on the Mishna Sanhedrin 11)

Let us try first to understand this superficially by an analogy: A new immigrant arrived from the North Pole to a farm. He was used to seeing ice steppes and had never seen or heard about plowing, planting and reaping. One day he went out with the farmers to assist them with their work.

To his surprise he saw them plowing and turning over the soil. He didn’t understand: What are you doing? What for?? After a few days, after the entire field had been plowed, they  loaded sacks of wheat and headed out into the field. He asked: What are these seeds for? They replied: the bread that nourishes and satisfies us is produced from these seeds after they are milled into flour.

He looked at the bags of wheat admiringly. He remembered how hard it was to feel satisfied without eating bread. But he was totally thrown off and astonished when he saw them scattering and burying the precious seeds in the ground… He couldn’t hold himself back and rebuked them: What is the meaning of this nonsense ?!

They responded with an indulgent smile: The day will come and you will understand. Each grain of wheat buried in the ground will grow into a beautiful stalk with many grains of wheat on top exactly like it. He became annoyed and asked them to stop mocking him. They smiled and tried to pacify him.

After several weeks of watering the field, he uneasily went out alone to the field. He dug a little and took out one seed. Tears roll down his eyes when he sees that the seed has decayed and is putrid.

Why did they make fun of him before? Why are they ruining the wheat with their own hands ?! Time passed and he went out into the field with the reapers. He stood thunderstruck. Instead of a ruined field, he sees tall swaying stalks everywhere. The sheaves bend in the wind as if they are smiling and whispering to him: They were right! That is the nature of creation … of the Resurrection of the Dead.[1] While we are not amazed like that immigrant, we can understand him. He really is seeing a miracle! What is the difference between us and him? Why is he amazed and we aren’t? Obviously, we are used to this phenomenon and he isn’t.

But let us free ourselves for a moment from taking it for granted and ponder it. Isn’t it amazing? If we can see this amazing thing, that a rotten seed turns into a green stalk full of seeds just like the mother seed, why can’t a rotten body be restored again? In fact, the Resurrection of the Dead is a smaller miracle than the growing of a seed. Whereas the dead body is restored as the original person, the seed produces hundreds of copies.

The simple truth is that the real man is his inner, spiritual soul, and that soul is wrapped in a garment woven from flesh and bones which fits him like a tailor-made suit. Why is it so hard to understand that even if the suit wears out and gets old, as long as the person is still inside, he can put on a new suit and return to what he once was?


[1]. The concept is really simple. If you believe that the Creator created the entire world including man, from absolute zero and nothing, why is it so hard to believe in His ability to create a man anew?!

 

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