Shemot: Chapter 36

The dead know of the pain of the living


This section consists chiefly of a parable in which Rabbi Yehuda and Rabbi Aba participate. While traveling, the two come across a place where they decide to spend the night. They lay down to sleep, resting their heads on some raised ground under which is a grave. A voice from this grave speaks to them, and they learn that it belongs to a Jew who is unable to enter the Garden of Eden because his young son was stolen by an abusive heathen. He tells the Rabbis that not only do the dead know of the sufferings of the living, but without the prayers of the dead, they would not survive for half a day. The voice then tells them his son is being beaten at that moment and orders them to leave. Rabbi Yehuda and Rabbi Aba run for half a mile and wait until morning, at which time they see a man with blood running from his shoulders. When they question him, they discover that he is Lachma bar Livai, the son of the dead man. Yet, they do not converse with him or return to the grave site out of fear.

Rabbi Yehuda then explains the two promises God made to Jacob: that He would go down into exile with Jacob, and that He would raise Jacob from his grave to witness the joy of the celestial company that dwelled with Yisrael in captivity. Finally, Rabbi Shimon interprets the verse, "A new king arose..." revealing that Egypt was not granted dominion over all the nations until after Joseph's death.


We are never alone. If we should fall to the greatest depth of sin and darkness, we are never by ourselves. The Light, the supernal angelic forces, and the souls of the Righteous sages are constantly with us to aid us in the moment we choose to transform and embrace the spiritual path of correction.

The prayers of the righteous souls now blanket our world with protection, healing, and Light as we read this passage. The energy arising here launches the process known as the Resurrection of the Dead. It completes our Final Redemption with tender mercy and kindness, for this is the ultimate attribute of spiritual Light and is the desire of the great sages. In the process, the supernal forces responsible for provoking our Evil Inclination are eternally relieved of their duties, as goodness and freedom reigns supreme.