By the Grace of G‑d
2nd of Tammuz, 5716 [June 11, 1956]
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Blessing and Greeting:

I received your letter in which you ask the question "if a soul has come back to earth several times to complete its duty here, when Messiah comes in which form will the soul come back?"

I was pleased to note from your letter that you are taking an interest in your studies and follow the instructions of Torah as you are taught in the Yeshivah in New Haven.

As for your question, it was already asked a very long time ago by one of our great teachers of the Talmud, Rabbi Hizkiah, as mentioned in the holy book "Zohar" (Part 1, page 131a). The answer given there by another great teacher of the Mishnah, Rabbi Jose, is that the soul will come back to life in the body in which it has accomplished Torah and Mitzvoth during her lifetime on this earth, and that a body which did not practice Torah and Mitzvoth on earth will not come back to life. This answer must be considered in the light of a further explanation by the great Rabbi Isaac Luria, who lived about 400 years ago, and is known as Ari (the "Lion"). (About his life and work you may have read in the "Talks and Tales.") The saintly Ari explained that it is almost impossible for a Jew not to fulfill at least some Mitzvoth. Therefore, in accordance with the answer in Zohar, almost all bodies will come back to life. The question then is in which body will the soul return if it had been in more than one body. The answer, strange as it may seem at first glance, is that it will return in all bodies it had inhabited. To understand how this is possible, let us remember that the souls of mankind started from two people, Adam and Eve. Their souls included all the souls of the future generations, in a way a single seed includes in it future generations of trees, fruits, and seeds. In the same way the souls of parents are not just two souls, but they can split up into soul sparks, each of which is in turn a complete soul. Therefore, when a Jew performs a Mitzvah, the body takes part in it and it is no longer "dry wood" that rots away, but it will come back to life with a soul which is a Divine spark, and which was included in the original soul. Thus at the Time of Resurrection (after Messiah will come) all "parts" of a "general" soul will each have a separate body, just as parents will come back to life with all their children.

If you find the above a little difficult to understand, you can ask your teacher to explain to you more fully, or leave the question until you grow older. But you may be sure that no good deed, no Mitzvah, not even a single minute spent in the study of the Torah, is ever lost.

With blessing,
By [signed by the Rebbe's secretary]