Martin M. van Brauman

My God, the soul You placed within me is pure. You created it, You fashioned it, You breathed it into me, You safeguard it within me, and eventually You will take it from me, and restore it to me in Time to Come. As long as the soul is within me, I gratefully thank You, the Lord, my God and the God of my forefathers, Master of all works, Lord of all souls. Blessed are You, the Lord, Who restores souls to dead bodies.[1]

The Ani Ma’amin  in the Siddur prayer book reads: “I believe with perfect faith that there will be a resurrection of the dead at the time when it shall please the Creator, blessed be His name, and exalted be the remembrance of Him for ever and ever.”[2]

I put to death and I bring to life, I struck down and I will heal, and there is no rescuer from My hand. Deuteronomy 32:39.

Maimonides[3] made the comment that the Jewish sages taught that “[t]he wicked are called dead even while they are alive; the righteous are alive even when they are dead.”[4]  The soul of the wicked is “cut off” from the world to come. Numbers 15:31.

May Your dead (God’s righteous people) come to life, may my corpses arise. Awake and shout for joy, you who rest in the dirt! For Your dew is like the dew that [revives] vegetation (God’s “dew” will revive the dead). Isaiah 26:19

Should the concept of the resurrection be only comprehended in terms of the immortality of the soul?  Elijah restores the widow’s son to life by calling out to God:

‘O Lord, my God, please let this boy’s soul come back within him!’  The Lord hearkened to the voice of Elijah, and the soul of the boy came back within him, and he came to life. 1Kings 17:21-22.

Just as we cannot comprehend how God accomplished creation from out of nothing; likewise, we cannot comprehend the resurrection of the dead. We know that God can restore life to that which is dead, but further understanding is beyond man’s ability to know “the world to come.”  How can a physical body, occupying space and time, exist for all eternity outside of time?  What is this eternal spiritual life in the presence of God?

Many of those who sleep in the dusty earth will awaken: these for everlasting life and these for shame, for everlasting abhorrence. The wise will shine like the radiance of the firmament, and those who teach righteousness to the multitudes [will shine] like the stars, forever and ever.  As for you, Daniel, obscure the matters and seal the book until the time of the End; let many muse and let knowledge increase. Daniel 12:2-4.

The angel commanded Daniel to “obscure the matters [the End of Days] and seal the book.”  Moses Nahmanides[5] referred to the abode of the souls after death as the “Garden of Eden.”  Is righteous man under the grace of God to return back to the time of Adam before the eating from the Tree of Knowledge?  With God all things are possible.



[1] Siddur, p. 19.  (This prayerful blessing is an expression of gratitude to God for restoring our vitality in the morning with a soul of pure, celestial origin, and for maintaining us in life and in health.)

[2] Maimonides’ Thirteenth Principle of Faith.

[3] Moses Maimonides (the “Rambam”)(1138-1204) was a rabbi, physician and one of the greatest Jewish scholars, who codified Talmudic Law.

[4] Menachem Kellner, Must a Jew Believe Anything?, (2nd ed., 2nd printing 2010), p. 173, note 46.

[5] Moses Nahmanides (the “Ramban”)(1194-1270) was a rabbi, biblical commentator and Jewish scholar.

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