Thursday, January 21, 2016

Yaakov Avinu (and the Rebbe) didn't die

…the situation [after the passing of the Previous Rebbe] is not what it appears to eyes of flesh (physical, and much more so material), that there has occurred, G-d forbid, an interruption [in the life of the Previous Rebbe], etc. – rather, here and now he “stands and serves”.

Immediately a question is raised: now, an incident occurred a certain number of years ago, and we ourselves were there and we did certain things, in accordance with Shulchan Aruch, which are connected with an interruption [of life]!

Now, as has been said several times, everything has its source in the Torah – not only the inner dimension of Torah, but also the revealed dimension of Torah.

This is what the gemara states (Taanis 5b): “Yaakov Avinu didn’t die.” Immediately the gemara questions this: “but they eulogized him, embalmed him, and buried him?”

Nonetheless, even after this question the gemara does not recant and explain it in a different way, rather the gemara remains with this statement that “Yaakov Avinu didn’t die”, despite that they “they eulogized him, embalmed him, and buried him”, and despite that these activities were really performed, because after all they are told to us in the Torah!

So the gemara explains: “just as his progeny are alive, so too he is alive”. As long as “his progeny are alive”, then even if “they eulogized him, embalmed him, and buried him” – something that really happened and in accordance with Shulchan Aruch – with all this “so too he is alive”.

And this is not to be understood according to the explanations of those who want to “cool off” the subject, who want to explain that through the fact that his progeny are alive then it is as if he himself is also alive.

Firstly, according to an explanation like this it would come out that the gemara recanted what it said that “Yaakov Avinu didn’t die”, for it is only as if he didn’t die – that by his progeny being alive he derives benefit from this exactly as if he was alive.

Secondly, this is the opposite of the language of the gemara: the gemara doesn’t say that through this that his progeny are alive it is as if he is alive, rather the gemara equates the two things – “just as his progeny are live” – in exactly the same way – “so too he is alive”. And this is brought by the gemara as an answer to the question “but they eulogized him, embalmed him, and buried him”.

The physical aspect [of a true and complete tzaddik]…is nothing more than a secondary thing and merely an external garment.

From this it is understood, that when this secondary thing is removed from him and the main thing remains, this cannot be called by the name “death”, since this is only relevant to say about one whose life was connected with the physical thing in the body and the physicality of the world. But by the tzaddik, even though when he was a neshoma in a body the body was something that had to be taken into account, except that for him the body was not the main thing, rather the spirituality in it; only the external garment was a physical garment. Therefore, when he removed one garment and donned another garment, there is nothing lacking and consequently “Yaakov Avinu didn’t die”.

And when there is a question: but “they eulogized him, embalmed him, and buried him”? – the response is: all of these activities were done on the physical aspect of his body. By any other person, even a Jew, when he’s down in this world, this is the main aspect of his life…which is not the case by him [this complete tzaddik], that even his life in this world was a spiritual life.

[…]the gemara knows that “they eulogized him”, this is a verse in the Torah, and connected with halacha, etc., but this is no contradiction, because all of this was done with his physical garment, and this garment was exchanged, in order that he could now have a different garment.

Sicha of the Rebbe on the Hillula of the Previous Rebbe, Yud Shevat 5726 (1966)



Blogger in the vanguard said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Tue Sep 11, 04:17:00 PM EDT  
Blogger in the vanguard said...

This is a powerful post, along the lines of many posts I myself made on this subject in trying to tackle the issue of the Rebbe's remaining with us as physical head over a physical body.




Like you say, “just as his progeny LIVES” – in exactly the same way – “so too he is alive”. Yosef and the brothers knew this and that's why Yosef was allowed to kiss Yaakov. And that's why Tosfot right there brings proof of that living. And that's why Rashi says "as if" - as far as OTHERS were concerned - but not relevant to the truth! And that's why the Rebbe explains that there would be absolutely no chiddush to the gemora in Taanis were it not understood as Rashi explains it, none at all. For Yaakov - the epitomy of the jew, to be alive in soul is no chiddush. Every Jew stays alive in soul! That you can't eat during a meal? Big deal, we know that. But the way the Rebbe explains the gemora, it's earthshaking - because even though Yaakov WAS buried, he was and remains alive.

Only for Moshiach "לא שייך גניזה"!

Thu Feb 28, 10:51:00 PM EST  

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