To clarify the advantage the Era of Resurrection possesses over the Era of Mashiach (and [in a more particular sense,] the difference between the two levels within the Era of Resurrection), it is necessary as a preface to explain the advantage of the Era of Mashiach over Gan Eden.1

The revelation of Gan Eden is granted to souls without bodies, while the revelation of the Era of Mashiach will be in our material world (as evidenced by the saying,2 “The very land of Israel will produce wafers”).

The reason for this difference is that within Gan Eden, the Divine light which is revealed, the light of memaleh [kol almin] is limited in nature. Hence, its revelation does not extend to the material plane. In the Era of Mashiach, by contrast, the infi­nite dimension of the Or Ein Sof will be revealed. Therefore, this revelation will be encompass the material plane as well.

There is yet another difference [between the revelation of Gan Eden and the revelation of the Era of Mashiach. Gan Eden is characterized by a continual process of achievement, while the Era of Mashiach is characterized by rest.]

[To explain:] In general, Gan Eden is conceived of as being divided into two levels, the lower Gan Eden and the upper Gan Eden. Each one of these levels subdivides into an infinite number of strata,3 as our Sages say,4Torah scholars have no rest... ‘they proceed from strength to strength,5’” [i.e.,] they constantly advance from level to level.

The phrase “they have no rest” implies that their elevation from level to level is attained through [effort and] spiritual serv­ice [as opposed to a state of “rest”].

To advance [to a higher rung in Gan Eden], the souls must first immerse in the River Dinur.6 This immersion causes them to forget the comprehension [of G‑dliness] and the [resulting] delight [which they experienced] on the lower level7 [of Gan Eden and thus opens up their sensitivity to the higher level].

The actual advance [to the higher level] comes through the medium of the “pillar”8 that exists between each level and the one above it. The pillar also nullifies the soul’s previous degree of comprehension. The difference [between immersion in the River Dinur and elevation through the pillar] is, that the immersion in the River Dinur centers on the nullification of [the comprehen­sion experienced on] the lower level. The nullification achieved through the pillar, by contrast, comes as a result of the revelation of the light that shines down from the higher level.9

This is the intent of the statement that the elevation from level to level [in Gan Eden]comes about through spiritual service (“they have no rest”): i.e., the service of nullification. Thus it resembles our divine service — avodah — in this world.

The term avodah relates to the expression ibud oros, “refining leather.”10 For our avodah is intended for the purpose of “refining the created beings,”11 bringing about refinement and self-nullification.

Our divine service on the earthly plane involves two movements: “refraining from evil” and “doing good.”12 Similarly, parallels can be seen with regard to the nullification involved in ascending to a higher rung within Gan Eden: The nullification of the River Dinur resembles, as it were, refraining from evil and the nullification that results from the pillar, which, as explained above, comes as a result of [the appreciation of] a higher light, resembles our endeavors to do good.

This entire mode [of nullification and ascent] is relevant to Gan Eden, but not to the revelations that will characterize the Era of Mashiach. Although in that era, there will also be continuous ascents, they will not involve going “from strength to strength,” i.e., there will be no need for a process of nullification and surg­ing upward to ascend from a lower level to a higher level. Rather, the elevation to the higher level [will not require the nullification of the previous level. Instead,] as one exists on one’s previous level, one will be able to comprehend a higher rung. (Additional explanation [of this concept] is, nevertheless required.)