This letter was addressed to R. Menachem Zev Greenglass, one of the leaders of the Lubavitcher community in Montreal.

B”H, between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, 5705

Greetings and blessings,

In response to your letter offering condolence wishes, I offer you my appreciation. It is possible to provide an explanation [for the practice of consoling mourners] based on the statements in several sources that the pattern [of the relationship between G‑d and man involves the following stages]:

a) an arousal from above (which calls forth and provides the strength for an arousal from below);

b) an arousal from below (which must be appropriate for and a repository for the arousal from above [which follows it]);

c) the arousal from above which follows the arousal from below and is delineated by the arousal from below;

d) an arousal from above which transcends both the arousal from below and the arousal from above [which follows it]. (See Likkutei Torah, Shir HaShirim, the maamar entitled Lehavin Inyan HaTaam... [where these concepts are explained].)

In particular we find a similar pattern with regard to the comforting of mourners (which the Baal Halachos Gedolos considers to be a Scriptural commandment; according to Rambam, it is a Rabbinic commandment, see Sefer HaMitzvos, General Principle 1, and commentaries):

a) an arousal from above: As Sotah 14a relates, the Holy One, blessed be He, comforted mourners. (We are told about this and it is revealed to us because this empowers us. And since we are empowered, we also have an obligation) to comfort mourners.

b) an arousal from below, the actual act of comforting [the mourners]. The wording used is: “May the Omnipresent comfort you among the other mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.” (This includes a preparation for the arousal from above that will follow it.) Just as one comforts mourners [on the earthly plane] through an arousal from below, [there will be]

c) an arousal from above. The Holy One, blessed be He, will comfort the mourner and all the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem through rebuilding Zion and Jerusalem and resurrecting the dead. Moreover, there will be

d) an arousal from above that transcends the second arousal from above. For the comfort which the Holy One, blessed be He, grants will be of a multiple nature (not merely a return to the previous state), as implied by the repetition in the verse:1 “Take comfort, take comfort, My people.” For “the glory of this later house will surpass that of the first house.”2 As interpreted by the Tikkunei Zohar, Tikkun 8, this refers to the Beis HaMikdash of the Era of the Redemption. This interpretation is also found in Emek HaMelech, Shaar Kiryat Arba, conclusion of ch. 152. This is the foundation for the explanation I gave in the booklet on Bein HaMeitzarim.3There is no room for one to ask questions, [arguing that] the simple interpretation of the verse [is otherwise].

(Bava Basra 3a interprets this as referring to the Second Beis HaMikdash. Nevertheless, a correlation between the two interpretations can be made based on Rashi’s commentary to Yechezkel 43:11, quoted in the introduction of the Tosafos Yom Tov to the tractate of Middos; see also Berachos 4a. For it would have been appropriate for the Beis HaMikdash [of Mashiach] to have been built when the Jews returned from Babylonia; it is only that sin had an effect.)

Note also the conclusion of sec. 3 in the maamar entitled Sos Osis and secs. 5 and 7 of the maamar entitled Lehavin Inyan HaYaam... cited above with regard to the connection between a multiple comfort and the third level of arousal from above [mentioned previously].

With blessings for a chasimah and a gmar chasimah tovah and [with the blessing,] “Immediately to teshuvah; immediately to Redemption,”

Rabbi Menachem Schneerson
Executive Director

I enjoyed the explanations in your letter4 concerning several ways [of understanding] the Resurrection of the Dead. In my humble opinion, however, the ideas were lacking connection and conceptual flow. It is possible to add some “spice” to compensate for this deficiency. To explain: With regard to death, it is stated: “A person who falls from his level is considered dead” (Likkutei Torah, the maamar entitled Zos Chukas, secs. 2,4; as of yet, I have not found an explicit source for that statement and time does not allow the feasibility of further search; the Zohar, Vol. III, p. 135b, quoted in Etz Chayim, Shaar Sheviras HaKeilim, ch. 2, and Mevo Shaarim, Shaar 2, sec. 2, ch. 3, states: “When one descends from the level on which he was originally, he could be called ‘dead’” ).

There are [four levels] within a person: a) the G‑dly soul, b) the intellectual soul, c) the animal soul, and d) the body. (It is possible to explain that these four levels correspond — in ascending order — to the four [forms of existence]: inanimate matter, plants, animals, and humans.)

a) The G‑dly soul is “an actual part of G‑d from above.”5 If it falls from this level, i.e., it loses its desire to cling to G‑dliness, it can be called “dead.” The advice [to correct] such a situation is meditation and conduct according to Chassidus.6

b) The intellectual soul: Its purpose is to enable the animal soul to understand how to control its emotional qualities through intellect and reason. A child — one in years and one in knowledge — has very strong emotional drives and his intellect is modest. If his intellectual soul is drawn after its desires, even those which are permitted, [acting like] an animal, he has fallen from his level and is considered as “dead.” The purpose of chinuch is to set him up [on the path of] proper conduct.7

c) The animal soul should — according to its natural tendency — resemble the other animals and beasts which do not change the missions they have been given. If it transgresses and violates the will of its Creator, it has fallen from its level and is called “dead.” [As our Sages comment:]8 “The wicked — even during their lifetime — are called ‘dead.’” [This continues] until he is aroused to teshuvah and the strengthening [of his observance of] the Torah and its mitzvos through [gentle] rebuke and encouragement by his colleagues. He then returns to “the camp of Israel” (Machne Yisrael).

d) The body: its purpose is to serve as a medium for the soul. When the connection between them ceases, [the body] falls from its level, dying, in the literal sense. It is the responsibility of the members of the Chevra Kadishah to prepare everything to be ready for the Resurrection of the Dead; may it come speedily.

May G‑d enable us to merit the fulfillment of the prophecies: “And death will be swallowed up forever,”9 “And on the third day, He will raise us up, and we will live before Him”10 with body and soul, joined together.