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The Resurrection

Will All Jews Arise at the Resurrection?

It is written in Tractate Sanhedrin: “All Jews have a share in the World to Come.” The World to Come here refers to the world after the resurrection of the dead, which all Jews will merit. Chassidic teachings explain that even the wickedest will go through a process of purification and will merit the World to Come.

Nevertheless, the sages list a number of serious sins for which transgressors will lose their share in the World to Come, such as shaming a friend or desecrating G-d’s name. The Lubavitcher Rebbe explains how to reconcile these statements.

1. Maimonides stipulates that one who repents, even in private, even if he committed the most severe sins—will merit the World to Come.

2. The Talmud writes that one who has a righteous son will be resurrected in merit of his son, even if he himself was unworthy.

3. Prayers on behalf of an evil person (preferably a family member but not necessarily) can also help for them to merit the World to Come.

4. One who was punished after death –such as with shaming or mutilating of the body—the punishment atones for his sins and opens the path for him to be resurrected.

Midrash Shmuel writes that in any case, even if one’s body does not merit to be resurrected, the soul is eternal and will never be lost; it will simply be resurrected in a different body. But the Lubavitcher Rebbe proves from statements of our sages that not only the soul but also the body will be resurrected—even for someone who met none of the above conditions. Although he may have lost his own share in the World to Come, G-d will nevertheless grant him a kindness and allow him to return—although his pleasure will not be the same as one who earned his own share.

Non-Jews who keep the seven Noachide laws, the so-called “righteous gentiles,” will likewise merit to be resurrected.

References: Babylonian Talmud, Chagigah 15b. Tosephot Sotah 10b. Sanhedrin 90a; 104a. Jerusalem Tamud, Peah 1:1. Maimonides, Hilchot Teshuvah ch. 3. Midrash Shmuel, Pirkei Avot, Kol Yisroel. Midrash Talpiot. Igrot Kodesh vol. 1, p. 141 and vol. 2 p. 72.

 

 


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