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DEATH SWALLOWED FOREVER

Updated: Jul 14, 2023

For the shloshim of Reb Dovid Partouche a”h


GLORIFIED THROUGH KADDISH


Kaddish is a powerful prayer that begins with the emotive words “יתגדל ויתקדש שמה רבא” or “May His great Name be exalted and sanctified.” This prayer praises G-d and expresses yearning for the establishment of G-d’s kingdom on earth.


When someone we love passes away, we say Kaddish for their soul. But the Rebbe teaches that Kaddish is not just a prayer for the soul. It is also a way of bringing G-d’s light into the lower worlds. By saying Kaddish, we affirm that even in the lowest, darkest moments of grief and loss, G-d is still present and sovereign. We declare that even death itself can be transformed into a source of life and blessing.

This is the ultimate goal of creation: to reveal G-d’s glory in every aspect of existence, even the lowest ones. This will lead to the greatest miracle of all: the resurrection of the dead, when G-d will restore life to those who have passed on and reunite them with their loved ones.


DOES DEATH ITSELF DIE?


The promise and destiny of the world is an end to death, a time when death will be no more and tears will be wiped away:

“Death will be destroyed forever. My Sovereign G-d will wipe the tears away from all faces and will put an end to the reproach of G-d’s people over all the earth—for it is G-d who has spoken.” (Isaiah 25:8)


Rashi explains that this verse means that G-d will conceal death and hide it from the Jewish people forever:

“He has concealed death He will cover it and hide it forever from Israel.”

Metzudas Dovid takes it further, explaining that this verse means that death will be destroyed and abolished forever:

“G-d will put an end to the tears of crying and remove the reproach of His people.”

The main difference between these two interpretations is whether death will be covered over and concealed (Rashi) or eradicated completely (Metzudas Dovid). In either case, the ultimate destiny of the world is a time when death itself either becomes irrelevant or dies out completely.


WHY DEATH?


Death was introduced to the world with the sin of eating from the Tree of Knowledge. The sin resulted in the intermingling of good and evil. Prior to the sin, the world was a heavenly Garden, where evil existed but was set aside in its rightful place. After humanity became infected by evil, living eternally would have meant that the evil inside would have persisted forever. Death allows evil to finally shed from the body, finding rectification.


At the time of the T’chiya, the Resurrection, death will become obsolete, and humanity will forever be restored to an angelic state. This is how it all started, as our Sages teach (B’Reishis Rabba 21, based on Psalms 17:15):

“‘As for me, I will behold Your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with Your likeness.’ When he awakens him who was created in Your image, at that time I will behold Your face in righteousness; at that time I will justify him from that decree; at that time behold, man will be like one of us.”


And as stated in the Zohar 3 212b:

("And the people of the world, when they are revealed, will be forgotten from one generation to the next. And the enemies of Israel will prevail, then the spirit of the Messiah will rise upon them, and he will go to Edom to demand retribution, and all the land of Seir will be consumed by fire. Then it is written: ‘And Israel shall do valiantly.’ This is what is written: ‘And Edom shall be a possession, and Seir shall be a possession for his enemies.’ His enemies are Israel. And then Israel shall do valiantly.)

“And at that time, the Holy One, blessed be He, will resurrect His people and death will be removed from them. This is what is written: ‘The right hand of the Lord does valiantly. I shall not die but live.’ And it is written: ‘And saviors shall come up on Mount Zion.’ And then: ‘And the Lord shall be King.’”


HOW DOES RESURRECTION ROLL?


Moshiach will teach and inspire people to reveal their core Divine spark, a boundless source of energy. As it says, “And you who cleave to G-d your L-rd today are all alive.” Hashem provides life to those who are inspired by the holy pursuit of connecting to Him.

In fact, there will be no vicissitudes affecting the Jew, such as loss of strength or old age, as it says:

“Thus said G-d of Hosts: There shall yet be elderly men and women in the squares of Jerusalem, each with staff in hand because of their great age.” (Zecharia 8:4)


From this we see, the Rebbe teaches, that there will be no old age in the way we are familiar. Although the elderly may carry walking sticks, they will not be confined to being indoors; they will be out in full vigor, on the streets, as young people. Although there will still be old age, Divine energy will be so pervasive that seniors will not be restricted or hindered by their age.

Rabbeinu Bachayei teaches that as soon as a baby is born it starts to wither towards mortality. Those who have grown old, being so distant from their original state of vitality at birth, these seniors will shock the world with their miraculous youthfulness and health. Old age - the diminishment of life itself - will have been transformed.


At that time our souls will be revealed in all their glory, and death and evil will be overwhelmed, transforming the finite and decaying aspect of nature into eternally vibrant Divine life, without any opposition from the Other Side.

Although the verse (B’Reishis 3:19) says “You are dust and to dust shall you return,” the state of death can be bypassed through lowering our self-importance and attaining true humility. Through our connection to G-d and our pursuit of righteousness, we can attain a state where death itself dies and where we are uplifted to eternal health and Divine life forever.


When we strive to this end, especially l’ilui nishmas Dovid ben Refael, we bring the creative, vital, Divine energy that invigorates us, ultimately bringing those who have passed on back into the world with the new eternal lease on life that G-d will grant us all.


(Based on Hinei Yamim Ba’im, pg. 342 ff., by Rabbi MM Reises)


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