Likkutei Sichos, Volume 6, Yud Shvat
(What appears as “passing away” is only in the externality)
[In the first part of the sicha the Rebbe establishes that the world that we see — a world full of the shells of evil — is something that was added after the creation of the world: a result of the sin of the Tree of Knowledge. In the end, Hashem will restore the world to the way that it was before the sin (“I will remove the spirit of impurity from the world”). This means that in its inner dimension (“b’pnimiyus”) the world is still in the same state as it was originally, and that the present state (full of the shells of evil) is “a change that returns to its original state” which “is not termed a change”. The Rebbe continues here in part 4:]
The maamor which the [Previous] Rebbe distributed for the day of his passing [Histalkus] is itself connected with the concept of a passing [Histalkus].
After the neshoma disappears from the body, the body [eventually] ceases to exist.(21) From this fact arises the question: what is the point of all of the labor and exertion that is performed by a Jew to refine his body over his lifetime(22) since after its histalkus it ceases to exist?
And the question becomes stronger: the fact that the existence of the body ceases (when the nefesh departs the body) is not something new, for the verse states “you are dust and you will return to the dust” (meaning that since presently “you are dust”, thus “you will return to the dust”). This is “a change which returns to its original form and is not termed a change”, so it follows that it is not a true existence even before it “returns to the dust”. If this is so, then seemingly all of the labor and exertion involved in fulfilling Torah and Mitzvos are connected to something [i.e., the body] which is (even at the time of the labor) not a true existence, G-d forbid?!
Even though the “Luz bone” (which remains) never ceases to exist, nonetheless the resurrection of the body will be in its entirety, as it is said “your dead will live” (and not “will be created”), meaning that the manner of the resurrection will not be a creation of a new body but rather the body will be built from the Luz bone.
But, since the body in and of itself is “dust”, and it must therefore “return to dust”, it follows automatically that this itself (that the manner of the resurrection will not be in a way of a new creation, but rather) that it will be built from the Luz bone, this is a matter of a new “creation” — since the body itself is “dust”?(29) [In other words, we seem to have a contradiction: the resurrection of the body will be the entire body, and it will not be a new creation. Yet, we are told that the body is going to be built from a single remaining bone (not the whole body) and that the body first returns to dust, implying that it must be re-created).]
From this comes the answer–to the contrary of what we first thought! The fact that the “main indwelling of the Shechina was in the lower worlds”, and thus “You have chosen us” refers specifically to the physical body of the Jew, then it follows that the body is in fact a true existence with no possibility of ceasing to exist. Furthermore, the change which occurs of “you shall return to dust” (which is a consequence of the sin of the Tree of Knowledge) is only in the externality of the body (“b’chitzoniyus“), but not in its essential being. The actions of men cannot change, G-d forbid, the choice that comes from Hashem’s Essence (“b’chiras haAtzmus“), which chose the Jewish body.
This in itself is the explanation why the “Luz bone” (which did not benefit from the Tree of Knowledge, and) never ceases to exist–for it is the “essence” of the body [the root of the word “etzem” (bone) is the same as “atzmius” (essence)].32 And in the essence (“atzmius“) (of the body) the concepts of (sin and) cessation of being are completely irrelevant.
Being that “You have chosen us” refers to the entire body, it is understood that in its inner dimension (“b’pnimiyus“) cessation of being is irrelevant also as regards the whole body.(33) And this that in the Time to Come it will be rebuilt from the “Luz bone” — this is something that is related to the body itself, since in it [in the “essence” of the body] is the choice that was made by Hashem’s Essence. According to this, it comes out to the contrary: being that a “change that returns to its original form is not termed a change” then even now it is a true existence.
[At first we thought to say that the body begins as dust and ends as dust, and therefore the form of the body as we know it is only a temporary state, and since it reverts back to dust then it’s present state is not a true existence. But in fact, the “dust” is only the external dimension, which was added after the sin of the Tree of Knowledge. Prior to this the body existed in its pure state (unrelated to “dust”). Although this pure, true body is now covered over by “dust”, nonetheless it remains the Essence and inner dimension of the body–in which is found the choice of Hashem’s Essence, which makes it a true existence. Since it shall be restored in the Time to Come to its original pure state, it turns out that the “change that returns to its original form and is not really a change” is in fact the dust, whereas the essence, the inner dimension of the body, is even now a real existence.]
NOTES:21) Because the body in and of itself “you are dust”, as will be explained.
22) See Tanya, chapter 37 that the reason the neshoma descends to the body is only for the sake of the body.
29) …even at the time of the resurrection the body in and of itself will be dead, and only due to the Atzmus Ohr Ein Sof the dead will also live (but see note 33).
32) Note that the “Chol” bird is burned completely, leaving behind only a small measure of material, etc., and then lives, because it did not eat from the Tree of Knowledge (Bereishis Rabba 19:5*)–meaning that the essence (“atzmius”) remains. The fact that the rest of it is burnt up–we can say simply that it ate other things which became blood and flesh like its own flesh. And see the commentary Matnas Kehuna on the Midrash there.
33) And there is no contradiction to what is brought above, #29…because since “You have chosen us” [literally: “in us You have chosen”] (that since the choice of the Essence is in the body itself), so, too, the hamshacha mitzad Atzmus Ohr Ein Sof (from its perspective death and life are equal) is relevant to the body and in its inner dimension, in the way of the explanation in Likutei Sichos 5:246 (ch.9) regarding “to serve my owner”….* Midrash Rabba, (Bereishis 19:5): The school of Rabbi Yanai taught that [the Chol bird] lives for 1,000 years and at the end of 1,000 years fire goes out from its nest and burns it, and all that remains is a small measure (k’beitza) and it returns and grows limbs and lives. R’ Yudan in the name of R’ Shimon says that it lives for 1,000 years and at the end of 1,000 years its body ceases to exist and its wings are denuded and all that remains is a small measure (k’beitza) and it returns and grows limbs.Matnos Kehuna commenting on the above:
“It returns and grows limbs“: The explanation of the Ab”a is that even though it did not eat from the fruit [of the Tree of Knowledge], but since Adam ate and he is the main aspect of the Creation, and he received death as a fine, so, too, all of the creatures were fined so that the servant should not stand higher than the master (Adam) , and it lives 1,000 years because one day of the Holy One, blessed be He, is 1,000 years, and nonetheless it returns and lives since it didn’t eat [from the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge]…