Friday, May 22, 2009

The logistics of Techiyat Hamaytim (resurection of the dead)

I have posted in the past about my disbelief in Techiyat Hamaytim (resurection of the dead) at the time of Moshiach (in whom i also don't believe). Today, I went with the family to the cemetery and my kid's were asking questions about what happens when these people will come back. I gave them the usual "we don't really know" OJ viewpoint.

It got me thinking about how this would actually work (and yes this is a part serious, part mockery) . . . .

- If a guy was married to two wives during his lifetime because his first wife died, will he get to choose which one he wants?

- Will these people just rise up from the ground or will they all come from a central location?

- Once they arise, will we be able to differentiate them from currently living people of the same age?

- How old will they be? Will they continue to age from the age at which they died?

- I am assuming people with lost limbs will not get them back. however, will people who died of diseases come back healthy?

- What about general pysical ailments?

- Since their bodies have decomposed over the years, what body type will they have?

- Will the newly resurected person have the same personality as they had before death?

- Will they be clothed or in the shrouds that they were buried in?

- Does every Jew who ever died come back? Are there opinions who believe non-Jews will come back as well?

- Since we are assuming that all of these people will come to Israel since it is in the time of Moshiach, where the hell are they all going to live?

- Can cemetery land be developed for housing or other projects since it is no longer filled with holy bones that can't be disturbed?

13 comments:

BrooklynWolf said...

Rich,

Here's my WAG:

A marriage ends when one partner dies. So, if at least one of the partners was dead at the time of the resurrection, my guess is that they wouldn't be married. So, in your hypothetical, he could marry either or someone else entirely.

Since God has to reconstruct the body from scratch (since, in most cases, the bodies will have decomposed to nothingness), I presume He'll rebuild them whole and healthy. What age? I don't know... I assume He'll pick an age.
I also asssume that since He has to rebuild them from scratch, He'll make them whole and healthy.

If personality is a product of the soul, I presume most people will have the same personalities that they had in life.

Since the shrouds they were buried in probably decomposed as well, I'm going to presume that God will take care of the clothing aspect.

I don't know the answer to your last three questions.

However, I'll add another question for you to ask:

For those who believe in reincarnation (gilgulim), which incarnation will a person return as? If, for example, this is my fifth incarnation, will "I" not return at all but only my first incarnation? Or will my soul be "split" into five so that each incarnation can return on it's own?

The Wolf

The Hedyot said...

Oh yeah, I used to wonder about these things all the time. Some further questions that would keep me busy during shiur:

* Will the dead people be resurrected with memories of their heavenly experiences?

* Since all the tzaddikim over the millennia will presumably be resurrected, who will lead us? Will anyone really care about Rav Moshe Feinstein when R' Akiva Eiger will be around, or the Rambam, or even Ravina and Rav Ashi? Moshe Rabbeinu? Avraham Avinu?

* What will happen when all the rabbis who interpreted the words of those who preceded them are told that they were distorting the ideas of the originators beyond what they ever intended?

* How will we deal with the culture shock of twenty-first century Jews having to live by the standards of the tannaim?

* Better yet, how will Moshe Rabbeinu cope with having to live by the standards of modern day chareidim?

* What will happen when modern day chassidim and chareidim are told by the avos that their version of Judaism is a total corruption of what god intended? Who will be putting who in cherem?

shoshi said...

"where the hell are they going to live"

I don't think that this is such a problem, since population increased steadily over the past two millenia, I suppose it would not be a great deal to absorb all those past generations.

Anonymous said...

"Can cemetery land be developed for housing or other projects since it is no longer filled with holy bones that can't be disturbed?"

: ) Since I paid for the plot, can I get my money back?

G*3 said...

I used to wonder a lot about this. There are answers for most of these questions. Whether or not they make sense, especially since its mostly conjecture, well…

“If a guy was married to two wives during his lifetime because his first wife died, will he get to choose which one he wants?”
Not really a problem for a guy, since a man can have more than one wife. It is an issue for women, though.

“Will these people just rise up from the ground or will they all come from a central location?”
They will all roll underground to Eretz Yisrael, where they will be resurrected. That’s why people have themselves flown to Israel for burial, so that during techiyas hamaisim they’ll be spared the pain of rolling all the way there.

“Once they arise, will we be able to differentiate them from currently living people of the same age?”
I don’t know, but I can’t think of any reason we would. They might be shorter than the modern population, but otherwise I don’t think humans have changed significantly.

“I am assuming people with lost limbs will not get them back. however, will people who died of diseases come back healthy?”
“What about general physical ailments?”
Everyone is supposed to be fully healed when they are resurrected. There is a medrach though that says any body part used for an aveirah won’t be resurrected. So people who looked at things they shouldn’t have will be blind, those who listened to loshon hara will be deaf, those who walked out of the techum on Shabbos will be legless… pretty horrific stuff.

“Will the newly resurrected person have the same personality as they had before death?”
They would have to, or there wouldn’t be much of a point to the promise of resurrection.

“Will they be clothed or in the shrouds that they were buried in?”
We come into the world naked… What a great time to own a clothing store!

“Does every Jew who ever died come back? Are there opinions who believe non-Jews will come back as well?”
There are different opinions about who will come back, everybody or only the righteous. Non-Jews, well, do non-Jews have neshomos to be reincarnated?

“Since we are assuming that all of these people will come to Israel since it is in the time of Moshiach, where the hell are they all going to live?”
Eretz yisroel is supposed to stretch to accommodate everyone.

“For those who believe in reincarnation (gilgulim), which incarnation will a person return as?”
The final one, because that is the one in which your neshama was perfected. Anyway, you should have the same personality in every gilgul, or how could you be working on personal flaws over several lifetimes?

“Since all the tzaddikim over the millennia will presumably be resurrected, who will lead us? Will anyone really care about Rav Moshe Feinstein when R' Akiva Eiger will be around, or the Rambam, or even Ravina and Rav Ashi? Moshe Rabbeinu? Avraham Avinu?”
Moshe. Don’t you know the song? ;)

“* What will happen when all the rabbis who interpreted the words of those who preceded them are told that they were distorting the ideas of the originators beyond what they ever intended?
* How will we deal with the culture shock of twenty-first century Jews having to live by the standards of the tannaim?
* Better yet, how will Moshe Rabbeinu cope with having to live by the standards of modern day chareidim?
* What will happen when modern day chassidim and chareidim are told by the avos that their version of Judaism is a total corruption of what god intended? Who will be putting who in cherem?”
The avos kept kol hatorah kula exactly as we keep it today. So did all the tzadikim throughout the generations. What, you don’t believe me? My rebbe said so!

G*3 said...

Keep in mind that the beleif in resurection dates to the end of the Second Temple period, and it was one of the things the perushim and the tzedukim fought over.

Rich Perkins said...

Ok, i was honestly thinking these would be more or less rhetorical questions. Considering that the belief itself isn't so clear cut from the torah, I highly doubt answers to my questions are really out there except for guesses that sound nice.

G^3 - Do you mean that prior to the end of the 2nd temple period there was no belief in just the techiyat hamaytim part of moshiach or in moshiach in general? Can you point me to more readings on this?

G*3 said...

According to Wikipedia,

"In the First Century BC, there were debates between the Pharisees who believed in the future Resurrection, and the Sadducees who did not. The Sadducees did not believe in an afterlife, but the Pharisees believed in a literal resurrection of the body.[1]. The Sadducees, politically powerful religious leaders, took a literal view of the Torah, rejecting the Pharisees' oral law, afterlife, angels, and demons. The Pharisees, whose views became Rabbinic Judaism, eventually won (or at least survived) this debate. The promise of a future resurrection appears in certain Jewish works, such as the Life of Adam and Eve, c 100 BC, and the Pharisaic book 2 Maccabees, c 124 BC.[2]"

I don't kmow specific sources offhand, but I think Josephus discusses beleifs. I'm not sure, its been a long time since I read it.

LonelyMan said...

I'm expecting something like this with the resurrection of the dead, though it's the cynic in me:

http://punditkitchen.files.wordpress.com/2009/02/political-pictures-jesus-zombies-jesus-expected.jpg

oscah said...

Heh, when I think resurrection of the dead, I get a mental image of zombies.

Anonymous said...

Greetings from Lakewood. What would be interesting about the resurection would be to find all of the Palestinians from all historical periods also resurected, and finding that we have to share Eretz Yisrael with them.

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