65. Rav Yosef asks if the days of Messiah's coming and the resurrection of the dead are the same. He responded, No, as we have learned that the building of the Temple precedes the gathering of the exiles, which precedes the resurrection of the dead. The resurrection of the dead is the last act of all. We know this from the verse, "Hashem builds Jerusalem, He gathers together the outcasts of Yisrael. He heals the broken-hearted, and binds up their wounds" (Tehilim 147:2-3). This refers to the resurrection of the dead, which is the healing of the brokenhearted and their dead. First He builds Jerusalem; then He gathers the outcasts of Yisrael; last of all, He heals the brokenhearted.
66. We have learned that the gathering of the exiles preceded the raising of the dead by forty years, as it is written, "And Isaac was forty years old." What is to be made of these forty years? According to Rav Kahana, Rabbi Broka said, How many troubles, how many wars waged against the children of Yisrael will there be from the gathering of the exiles until the resurrection of the dead? He who escapes them is happy, as it is written, "And at that time your people shall be delivered, every one who shall be found written in the book" (Daniel 12:1). Rabbi Yehuda said that this teaches us, "Many shall purify themselves, and make themselves white, and be tried" (Ibid. 10). Rabbi Yitzchak added, "and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried" (Zecharyah. 13:9). During these very days, there will be days when people will say, "I have no pleasure in them" (Kohelet 12:1). And from the time the troubles disappear until the resurrection of the dead there will be forty years.
67. Rav Huna said, Come and behold, "For the children of Yisrael walked forty years in the wilderness...because they obeyed not the voice of Hashem" (Yehoshua 5:6). In this verse, it is the same. Rabbi Yosef said, Everything that was said is the same, but for one thing. At the end of forty years, when the troubles pass away and the wicked are exterminated, the dead, the dwellers of the dust, shall live. Why? Because it is written, "affliction shall not rise up the second time" (Nechemyah 1:9). They had their fill with what they had. After the resurrection of the dead, the world will be settled, as it is written, "on that day Hashem shall be One and His Name One" (Zecharyah 14:9).
68. Rabbi Elazar was sitting and was exceedingly sad. Rabbi Yehoshua came before him and asks why the appearance of the candlelight of the world had become dark. He said, Great fear entered me, for I see how the companions versed in the Mishnah have responded on whom the spirit of saints dwells. They said that redemption will be in the sixth millennium. This was well said, but I see a longer time for the dwellers of the dust, who shall wait until the four hundred and eighth year of the sixth millennium, when they will rise. For this reason, the companions were stimulated by the verse that referred to THE DWELLERS OF DUST as the children of Chet, for Chet alludes to their rising after four hundred and eight (Heb. Chet Tav) years. As it is written, "In the year of this Jubilee you shall return every man to his possession" (Vayikra 25:13), when this (Heb. hazot) shall be finished. The numerical value of Hazot is 5,408, AS THE HEI OF HAZOT ALLUDES TO THE HEI (= 5) THOUSANDS; AND ZOT IS 408 IN NUMERICAL VALUE. Then, "you shall return every man to his possession," means that THE BODY will return to its soul, which is its possession and lot.
69. Rabbi Yehoshua said, This LENGTH OF TIME should not be difficult for you, as we have learned that there are three classes, the Completely Righteous, the Completely Wicked, and the In-between. The completely righteous will rise with the resurrection of the dead of the land of Yisrael a few years earlier THAN THE FOUR HUNDRED AND EIGHTH YEAR, namely, at the fortieth year after the gathering of the exiles. In the end, everybody will rise at the four hundred and eighth year of the sixth millennium. Who will merit this length of time? He who will keep the precepts at that time. For that reason, I am sad.
70. He said to him, Rabbi, we have studied the verse, "Let there be light," (Beresheet 1:2) which means let there be secrecy, BECAUSE LIGHT IS THE SECRET OF REDEMPTION. AND THE NUMERICAL VALUE OF OR ('LIGHT') IS RAZ ('SECRET'). THUS, THE VERSE, "LET THERE BE LIGHT," HINTS THAT THE TIME OF REDEMPTION WILL BE A SECRET UNKNOWN TO ALL MEN. RABBI ELAZAR BEN ARACH HINTED THAT HE DISAGREED WITH THIS LONG PERIOD. Again, he said that through repentance everyone will RISE FROM THE DEAD early. Rabbi Yehoshua said, Unless you said so, we would not have left an opening for those waiting daily for redemption, as it is written, "a store of salvation" (Yeshayah 33:6). What is this "salvation?" It alludes to those who seek salvation daily. IF REDEMPTION IS TIED TO A SPECIFIC TIME, HOW CAN IT BE EXPECTED DAILY? THIS ASSUREDLY DEPENDS UPON REPENTANCE. WHEN THEY REPENT, THEY WILL BE REDEEMED. AND FORTY YEARS AFTER REDEMPTION THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD WILL COME, AS WAS SAID.
71. HE ASKS HIM, What is the opinion of Rabbi Elazar, WHO SAID THAT IT DEPENDED ON REPENTANCE? HOW DID HE KNOW THIS? HE ANSWERS, From the verse, "And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake" (Daniel 12:2). It is understood by, "those who sleep," THAT ONLY SOME WILL RISE; these are the Righteous WHO REPENTED while they were alive, who will rise early. FOR THROUGH REPENTANCE, THEY SHALL RISE A FEW YEARS EARLY. HE ASKS, By how many years do they precede other people? Rabbi Yehuda replied, By two hundred and ten years. Rabbi Yitzchak said, Resh Dalet Yud ('210') years, as it is written, "Out of Jacob shall come (Heb. Yerd, Yud Resh Dalet) a ruler" (Bemidbar 24:19). This indicates that the Righteous precede other men by two hundred and ten years. Rav Nachman said, Precedence depends on how much the body is worn in the dust, THAT IS, THE SOONER THE BODY WEARS OUT IN THE DUST, THE SOONER IT RISES. Rabbi Yosi said to him, If this be true, then there are many resurrections, FOR EACH BODY HAS ITS OWN RESURRECTION ACCORDING TO ITS WEARING OUT IN THE DUST. HE ANSWERS, All revivals will occur at the same time, as was said in the vision, "and the word was true, and for a long period ahead" (Daniel 10:1).
72. "And there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham" (Beresheet 26:1). Rabbi Abahu opened the discussion with the verse, "While the king was reclining at his board, my spikenard sent forth its fragrance" (Shir Hashirim 1:12). We learned that the righteous will pass through four eras and four times, each different from the other. During the first, knowledge will increase in the world, and the righteous will conceive what they have not conceived in this world. As we have learned from Rabbi Pinchas, in the future, the perception of the righteous will be greater than that of the ministering angels, as it is written, "as the waters cover the sea" (Yeshayah 11:9). During the second time, you shall be occupied. (End of Midrash Hane'elam).