Jewish Home and Family Life

Life After Death

There are three levels of life: Living a healthy life in this world; life after spiritual death (sin); life after physical death.

To live a healthy life in this world means to consciously pursue a good life on both the physical and spiritual planes.

rasha (evil person) is considered dead in this world. The spiritual senses to perceive Divinity with which he was gifted from birth have become dumb, silent and inanimate. His heart has become a "heart of stone." But by teshuvah (return to God) he can revive himself. He can experience the word of God speaking to him, "I forgive you," and thus return to life.

All humans are mortal. They live and they die. But death is not the end. Indeed, it is the beginning of a new, purely spiritual life, the life of the soul in paradise. Ultimately, the soul will return to reunite with the body. The body will resurrect and together with the soul that rectified it in this world experience eternal life in a physical world, whose nature we cannot at present fathom.

These three levels of life correspond to three levels of consciousness: the natural consciousness of the tzadik (righteous person) in this world, the rectified self-consciousness of the rasha who has succeeded in refocusing his consciousness on the Divine, and the natural consciousness of the future (the natural consciousness of the soul in a resurrected body, following the purely Divine consciousness of the soul in paradise).

Three times "life" (68, חיים), equals tzadik (204, צדיק). The complete life cycle of the tzadik includes the intermediate stage of the rasha who has returned to God, "For man cannot be a tzadik on earth who does good and never sins."

The gematria of "life after death" (חיים אחר המות ,728) equals 28 times 26, i.e. "long live" (יחי) times God ('הוי)! This surprising gematria teaches us that the phenomenon of life after death reflects the truth that God lives forever, for the Divine soul is "an actual part of God above." "Actual" in relation to the soul means that it is simultaneously a real part of God above and also that it possesses the power to actualize itself by entering and living in a physical body.

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Yaacov Deane May 18, 2011 at 8:56 pm

The concept of "tzadik-rasha-tzadik" relates to a concept discussed by the Lubavitcher Rebbe in regard to the concept of truth. He brings from Talmud a discussion about what a "true river" is. He explains that the concept of truth in regard to the river is that its flow is continuous. He goes on to mention that a river which starts as flowing water and has an interruption but then returns to its state of flowing water in the end is also considered a true river. This theme was then woven with the association from the Bahir which equates truth with shalom (peace, completion and perfection). The ultimate completion of the souls purpose for descending into the physical world is the perfection of the physical body which takes place through the resurrection. This is when the body is called נצר מטעי מעשה ידי להתפאר "The branch of My planting, the work of My hands in which I glory" (Isaiah 60:21)

The gematria you mention in relation life after death has another allusion within it which relates to this concept. That “long live” (יחי) has a gematria of 28 or כח touches on the statement of the Alter Rebbe in the Tanya that "wisdom" חכמה is כח מ"ה. This alludes to the specific permutation of G-d מ"ה, which also relates to "man" אדם, who is similar to the One above אדומה לעליון. Surprisingly מ"ה whose gematria is 45 has another thing associated with it. מנחם מענדל, the name of the Lubavitcher Rebbe when including the kollel for the whole name is also 45. And thus, the phrase "life after death" refers explicitly to יחי מנחם מענדל "long live Menachem Mendel".

theresa May 19, 2011 at 3:25 am

thank you rav, for a very inspiring lesson. you have spiritually strengthened me with this lesson, during these not so easy times. blessings.


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