The Ultimate Reward

As we get close to the end of all the holidays in this month, and the end of the yearly cycle of Torah reading, I would like to talk about the last three principles of faith as enumerated by Maimonides.

The belief in divine reward and retribution, in the arrival of the Moshiach (Messiah) and the messianic era, and the belief in the resurrection of the dead.
The seminal book on mysticism – the Zohar, writes that the resurrection of the dead in the times of Moshiach, will be from the Luz bone, which is at the back and bottom of one’s head. Incidentally, this Luz bone is only nourished at the Saturday night meal after the Sabbath.

The Midrash recounts that the Roman Emperor Hadrian asked how man would be revived in the world to come. He asked Rabbi Yehoshua ben Chananyah: ‘From where does the Holy One Blessed be He reconstruct man in the future to come?’ He answered him: ‘From [the] Luz of the spine.’ Said he: ‘From where do you know this?’. He said: ‘It has come to me as a tradition and I will show you.’ They tried to grind it in a mill but it was not ground, they burnt it in fire but it was not consumed, they put it in water but it was not softened, they put it on an anvil and he started to beat it with a hammer but the anvil slipped, the hammer was broken and it remained intact.”

The Talmud concludes,” if people (the world) came into existence from nothing, (then) those who were already created, how much more so, can be recreated.”
In truth this reasoning for the indestructible bone, was offered only to satisfy the question of the Emperor.

In mysticism and on a deeper level it explains. We are all made of a body that returns to its own essence, the dust of the ground, and a soul that returns to G-d who granted us this soul at birth. The ultimate reward for doing G-ds commandments in one’s lifetime, is not where the souls go after a person passes away. Paradise up in heaven is only a prelude for the grand finale.

The ultimate reward must include the body with which we toiled and who we refined in the process of doing our commandments and G-dly instructions, similar to the punishments after one passes away which include the body.

It is written in the Zohar, “whoever doesn’t bow down and acknowledge G-ds name will not arise in the resurrection.”

The time of the resurrection is strictly a reward for our service today. Submitting (by bowing down) our bodies to the eternal qualities of G-d and His will, earns us our place when the eternal rewards are doled out.

This is the real reason why there is a part of the original body from which G-d recreates the body.

As far as the laws of nature go, the body rots in the ground. However, because the soul, the G-dly spark within succeeded, to work with and include the body in the observance of G-dly deeds, which are eternal, the soul acquired and influenced those aspects of the body for itself and assimilated them into its own characteristics. The body now acquires an element that is eternal. And it is this bone, a central and key part of the body from which G-d will extend those eternal qualities achieved during a person’s lifetime.