"Just as a person goes, so he will return. If he died blind, deaf or mute, he will return blind, deaf or mute. As he goes clothed, he will return clothed.1 G‑d said, 'let them rise as they went—and afterwards I will heal them'"—Midrash Rabbah, Genesis 95.

The very body that died will be resurrected.2 According to tradition, there is a miniscule bone in the upper spine called the luz bone. It is from this indestructible bone that G‑d will reconstruct the entire body when the time arrives for the Resurrection of the Dead. (Today, with our understanding of how DNA works, this age-old tradition doesn't seem so far-fetched.) Incidentally, this bone receives its only sustenance from the Melaveh Malka meal, the Saturday night meal that honors the Shabbat Queen as she goes on her way.


The saintly righteous men and women of the generations will be resurrected immediatelyThe order of the Messianic redemption is as follows: First Moshiach comes and rebuilds the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. The ingathering of all the exiles will then follow. The resurrection of the dead will occur forty years after the exiles return to the Land of Israel. Tzaddikim, the saintly righteous men and women of the generations, are an exception to this rule; they will be resurrected immediately with the arrival of Moshiach.

First the dead who are buried in Israel will rise from their graves, they will be followed by the dead of the Diaspora, followed by the generation that left Egypt and died in the desert. Last of all will rise the Patriarchs and Matriarchs. Their resurrection is postponed so that they should have the nachas of waking to find all their children alive, well, and happy.

The categories mentioned above will also be further subdivided. The more righteous individuals will be resurrected before the general population. Amongst these righteous individuals, those who were primarily preoccupied with Torah study will take precedence over those whose forte was mitzvah observance.

The Midrash also expresses another opinion, whereby all the dead will be summoned to life via an alphabetical roll call. The humble, however, will be moved to the head of the pack.

Those Alive at the Time of the Resurrection

According to the Zohar, immediately before the resurrection, all those who are alive at that time will momentarily die, and then instantaneously be resurrected. This is in fulfillment of the verse (Genesis 3:19), "For you are dust and to dust you shall return." Also, this short death serves a spiritual purpose—it will cleanse the souls of all traces of the imperfect and tainted world it inhabited. They will then rise with a clean and pure slate.

The Rebbe suggested that this process may be unnecessary. In the concluding paragraph of the Amidah prayer we say, "Let my soul be as dust [exceedingly humble] to all." Our nation has collectively accomplished this goal many times over—our spiritual returning to dust rendering it unnecessary to physically return to dust.


All the dead will be resurrected in the land of IsraelAll the dead will be resurrected in the land of Israel. Those who are buried outside the Holy Land, their bodies will burrow through the earth until they reach Israel, and there their souls will be reinstated into their bodies. For tzaddikim, special tunnels will form beneath the ground, in order to make the journey easier and more dignified. Avoiding this laborious process is one of the reasons why so many choose to be buried in the soil of the Holy Land.

The Zohar explains the symbolic connection between the resurrection and the land of Israel. With the future redemption, the land of Israel will be rebuilt, never again to be destroyed or laid to waste. So, too, the souls which reenter the bodies during the resurrection will never again be subjected to death.