Chayei Sarah: Chapter 20

About the resurrection of the dead


In this long and complex section, the rabbis first discuss the nature of souls at the time of the Resurrection. They then examine Torah verses concerning difficult questions on the amount of Light souls will merit from the Throne of the Holy One, based upon the souls' deeds and the role of angels in the body's resurrection. We then hear an account of Rabbi Eliezer's visit to his rabbi, Yochanan ben Zakai, on the day of the new moon. They discuss the 'Secret of Ten' - ten dimensions composing reality - through which the primordial Light functions in this world. We learn that the Light of the soul is greater than the Light of angels. The friends then continue their study of Torah, uncovering hidden meanings in phrases concerning the relationship between soul and body in the story of Abraham.


The Light derived from the letters and lessons of this portion hastens the coming of the Resurrection in a merciful manner. The resolve to perform good deeds is also kindled in our hearts, enabling us to overcome the seductive lure of physical impulse, serve the true needs our souls, and merit a share in the World to Come.