Sunday, August 02, 2009


Didn't Die?

There's considerable debate from some difficult words of the Torah regarding Yaakov avinu (our forefather Jacob) and Yosef HaTzadik (and Joseph the biblical leader), when it says Yaakov didn't die, and Yosef continues to live.

In a similar vein, Tanya discusses how a tzadik's influence can be found more after he leaves the physical limitations of this world...

The following was shared with me by Yaakov Nathan of

Bereishis 50:33--[Yaakov] passed away and was gathered to his people.

Rabbeinu Bachye: Yaakov Avinu didn't die. But behold this portion testifies that he died, and that the Egyptians embalmed him, and they cried over him for 70 days, and afterwards they buried him in the Maaras Hamachpela in the burial place of his fathers.

Yaakov Avinu didn't die, rather he remains existing in body and soul, this body is the second, ethereal body, in which the soul is enclothed in the form of a body, and it has substance but it is extremely ethereal. He is enclothed in it at certain times [...] and does missions for the Holy One and appears to one who desires it, because the first [body] which is coarse was embalmed and buried as the verse simply states. This is what the Sage states: "I only come to expound the verse", he contrasts him [Yaakov] to his progeny, just as his progeny are alive in body and in soul, so too he is alive in body and in soul, and this is the [second] body that I mentioned. [...] This is the matter of Rabbeinu Hakadosh in Kesuvos...

Rabbeinu Bachye--Yaakov Avinu Lo Mes


joshwaxman said...

actually, 49:33. you can see it for yourself in this PDF,

on page 52. what is given above is a summary of what rabbenu bachya says, but there might be differences.

while this is an interesting interpretation in and of itself, it makes me worry if and when it is combined with other beliefs, such as Chabad messianism. i am not interesting in arguing legitimacy of the belief in Judaism, but practically and historically, the death of the mashiach was taken to be the end of the failed mashiach's career (e.g. yaakov's observation of shimshon in bereishit rabba; or bar kochva), and where it hasn't, it has allowed each particular messianic movement to continue in their meshegas until they were no longer Jews (e.g. Christianity and the Donmeh).


Anonymous said...

You dont want to argue the legitimacy, you'd rather just put forth an assertion of whats practical and historical that's really just your opinion (and a sweeping generalization at that) completely glossing over the sources in Ch'az'al for a resurrected Moshiach and the actual facts behind l'havdil deviant beliefs. I dont want to argue either but your dismissal is inaccurate.

A Gut Vuch

joshwaxman said...

i've argued about the legitimacy of a dead mashiach elsewhere, and am quite familiar with the sources. but not every discussion about them has to go back to those arguable sources. there are other aspects to argue, and rehashing those same old arguments and drawing those same old lines gets tiresome.

here, i'd rather be dismissive. it is unfortunate that because the mashiach couldn't die (a position really only taken up after the rebbe died), the false messianism won't die. and so some of the followers continue to pervert their judaism into one which is focused on a specific man, and now, dangerously, one who is too similar to one who has undergone an apotheosis. yaakov avinu (though that is not peshat in the gemara, imho) and chanoch, and rabbi yehuda hanasi, are "safe" because our religion does not resolve around them. and in terms of my assertion of what is practical, i strongly suspect that many who are now innovating these (deviant) beliefs are unaware of the history of failed messianic movements, and those who fail to study history are doomed to repeat it.

kol tuv,

ReuvenEzraF said...

Just to clear it up, I wondered how Yaakov Avinu (Bereishis Rabbah) could think that Shimshon was Moshiach when he is supposed to come from the tribe of Yehuda (even though Shimshon's mother was from Yehuda). To my pleasure, I found that the Aitz Yosef asks the same question and says that the text is a printing error. Really, Yaakov thought Shimshon would be a great warrior from Shevet Dan who is supposed to come during the times of (or with) Moshiach and slaughters many of the enemies of the Jews. When Shimshon died he knew this was not so. Not taking sides in this argument, just clearing up something I observed. Ahavas Yisrael!

Dovid said...

I think one that argues based on Gemora sources for or against moshiach being resurrected is missing the point. Regardless of the Talmudic sources (which are too vague to support or refute the claim of Chabad) the more important aspect is that Chabad really hasn't changed so much and if one studies Christianity they are not close at all. This final point is important. Reform Judaism is its ideals is closer to Chrisitanity (no rules, humanis, turn the other cheek) than Chabad whom rigorously follows Halacha.

josh said...

It is known that 10 people did not die and went straight to heaven. Are we know adding to that list?!

Related Posts with Thumbnails