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Understanding The Eternal Life Of Moshiach Part 2
(Click here for part 1)
By A. Avrohom

There are many misconceptions about the fundamental Jewish concept of chayim nitzchiyim, eternal life, particularly as it relates to the Rebbe Melech Ha’Moshiach shlita. * In response to those who claim that there is no authentic basis for such a belief, Beis Moshiach presents the following article.
The Uniqueness of Our Generation

Some people construe the idea of chayim nitzchiyim to mean that it will only begin after the final Redemption, as opposed to beginning now and continuing into the Messianic era.

This point is dealt with exhaustively in the Rebbe’s sichos kodesh.

The Rebbe stated thousands of times that our generation is the last generation of Exile and the first generation of the Redemption. The difference between our generation and the one that left Egypt is that in the first historical redemption, the process took two generations to complete (the generation of Moshe and the generation of Yehoshua). In our case, the Rebbe has explained that the Redemption will happen in a single generation, without interruption. (See maamer Zeh Yitnu 5748.)

In other words, although the final Redemption has not yet occurred, our generation will soon be making the transition directly into the Redemption. This is accomplished through the Nasi HaDor, who is revealed at the very end of the Exile and leads the entire Jewish people into the true and complete Redemption. Therefore, every aspect of the Redemption, including chayim nitzchiyim, begins now and continues on into the Messianic era in an unbroken sequence.

In the Rebbe’s most recent sichos he uses the phrase “eternal life without interruption” hundreds of times. No one contests the concept of chayim nitzchiyim as elucidated in the Midrash; everyone agrees that there will be eternal life in the Messianic era. The Rebbe’s emphasis, however, is that this chayim nitzchiyim commences now and, without any pause, continues into the future.

As for our Sages’ statement that as a prerequisite for the Redemption, everyone must return to dust at least “one hour before the Resurrection of the Dead,” the Rebbe has explained that this can be fulfilled in the spiritual rather than the literal sense. Through the service of self-nullification (bittul) we can attain a state of “may my soul be like the dust,” and not have to undergo an actual cessation of life. The Rebbe cites numerous sources in the Zohar and Chassidus that refer to death as the spiritual service of askafya (such as when an individual “puts himself to death in the tent of Torah”) rather than the departure of the soul from the physical body. (See page 228 of Seifer HaSichos 5748, footnote 68.)

The sicha of Shabbos Parshas Bo 5752 explains this concept at length. Of course, the sicha should be studied in its entirety, because if certain parts are taken out of context, the wrong conclusion might be reached. But the basic idea is as follows:

In the previous generation, when the Rebbe Rayatz was nistalek, “the luminaries were removed from the firmament” (nitlu ha’meoros, with a Tes), an actual histalkus occurred. Immediately, however, with the start of the nesiyus of the ninth generation from the Baal Shem Tov, “the luminaries were again suspended” (nitlu ha’meoros, with a Tav). In the Rebbe’s own words:

“This is the innovation of our generation, the ninth generation, as compared with all the generations that came before, including the eighth generation that immediately preceded it: As the Redemption did not actually occur, the concept of ‘Come unto Pharaoh’ (the sublime revelation of ispriyu kol nehorin down below) was not fulfilled in its entirety as a neshama within a healthy body (i.e., there was a histalkus of the neshama from the body, and the neshama itself was in a state of ‘exiled speech’ while clothed in that body.) But this is not the case in our generation, the last generation of Exile and the first generation of the Redemption, as ‘the luminaries were suspended’ right away…causing the physical bodies to absorb, in an internal manner, the quality of isp’riyu kol nehorin. This is because Moshiach is coming immediately, ‘Send by the hand of him You will send,’ and he will teach Torah to the entire nation…and as souls within bodies, without any cessation or interruption, we will attain the pinnacle of ‘Come unto Pharaoh’ with the true and complete Redemption.”

In simpler terms, as souls within bodies we will receive all the revelations of the Redemption in a seamless transition, and the “luminaries” that were suspended immediately upon the Rebbe Rayatz’s histalkus will illuminate eternally.

How do we know that the Rebbe meant that the life of the Nasi continues eternally without interruption starting from the end of the Exile, as opposed to starting after the Redemption?

Any other interpretation of the Rebbe’s words is twisted out of context, directly contradicting what he actually said.

If the chayim nitzchiyim isn’t supposed to begin until after the Redemption, what is the whole point of the above sicha? If eternal life only begins afterward, then there is absolutely no difference between the ninth generation and all other generations! The entire sicha is about the innovation of our generation, and explicitly states that we do not have to experience death as a prerequisite for the Redemption.

In the above sicha, the Rebbe was talking about the entire generation. But obviously, there have been instances of people passing away since then…

Whoever asks this question has never learned the entire sicha. At the very end, in paragraph 17, the Rebbe explicitly states that some individuals may experience a “cessation and descent” in a manner of “for a small moment I have abandoned you,” such as when “a mother or father is absent, G-d forbid,” because the actual Redemption has not yet occurred. Such instances are “a descent for the purpose of ascent” in order to receive the revelation of “Come unto Pharaoh.”

The Shabbos before this sicha was said, on Parshas VaEira, the Rebbe devoted an entire sicha to the concept of “It is a good sign when someone dies on Erev Shabbos,” explaining that such an occurrence “is for the purpose of increasing the vitality of the soul within the body after the Resurrection of the Dead, when the neshama will exist in the body forever.”

In other words, until the Redemption actually occurs, there will be some individuals who will not have the merit of chayim nitzchiyim without interruption. As in previous generations, these individuals will have to experience literal histalkus in order to receive the revelations and eternal life of the Messianic era. But as the Rebbe said explicitly, this is the exception to the rule.

Again, this is not some fantastic interpretation or farfetched wish; it is what the Rebbe actually said.

In the above sicha, the Rebbe explains that the Nasi of our generation will not have to undergo the phenomenon of “concealment of speech.” Does this mean that what appeared to happen on Zach Adar and Gimmel Tammuz really didn’t happen?

In that sicha, the Rebbe was encouraging us to increase our study of the Nasi HaDor’s teachings as a means of preventing “concealment of speech.” Everyone who learned the edited sicha, particularly after Zach Adar, understood that the potential for such an event existed, and that the Rebbe was offering us the “cure before the affliction.” If we had had sufficient merit, we could have avoided the whole thing. Although this particular statement was conditional, the remainder of the sicha was not, and you can’t take the rest of the sicha out of its proper context.

But how can you deny reality? What is the origin for the belief that what happened on Gimmel Tammuz can still be included within the idea of chayim nitzchiyim?

It is simply unbelievable that some people are claiming it is a new interpretation to include the two ideas together. How can it be a new interpretation when the Arizal writes that Moshiach will be “revealed and concealed,” and the Rebbe stated countless times in 5710 that “the event that occurred is only a nisayon”? G-d forbid that any kind of helem can continue! By definition, a helem is supposed to be nullified – isn’t that what a nisayon means? Whenever the Rebbe spoke about such things he always mentioned, in the very same breath, the need to cry out “Ad Masai.” The greater the nisayon, the more effort we have to put into overcoming it.

In truth, the question is better posed the other way around: How can we ignore what the Torah says just because it seems to contradict what our eyes perceive? It is the same as someone claiming that there is no source in the Torah for arichas yamim as a reward for honoring one’s parents, even though the Torah explicitly states, “Honor your father and mother, that you have length of days.”

The Rebbe told us countless times that Torah comes from the word “horaa.” Only the Torah can determine what reality is and teach us how to relate to it. When you look at Gimmel Tammuz from the standpoint of the Torah and the Rebbe’s sichos, it’s not a case of denying reality, but of uncovering the true reality. Denying reality means relying on the intellect and coming up with all kinds of convoluted explanations that sound good but aren’t true.

For us, whatever it says in the Torah is true. If the reality doesn’t appear to reflect that, then the problem is with this perception of reality. The Torah is immutable and is not subject to changes of time, place, and circumstance. As it is written that Moshiach will merit “chayim nitzchiyim without interruption,” and the Rebbe clearly indicated that he is Moshiach, it follows that the Rebbe continues to be chai v’kayam in a physical body.

Years ago, there were some people who initially objected to publicizing the Rebbe’s prophecy of imminent Redemption, claiming that it was the invention of certain individuals and ignoring that it was an explicit directive of the Rebbe. This is the case here as well. But the truth will always prevail, for ultimately, “You are trustworthy, L-rd our G-d, and Your words are trustworthy; not one of Your words returns unfulfilled.”





How can we ignore what the Torah says just because it seems to contradict what our eyes perceive?





When you look at Gimmel Tammuz from the standpoint of the Torah and the Rebbe’s sichos, it’s not a case of denying reality, but of uncovering the true reality.



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