Parashat Vayeitzei – The Luz Bone and Techiyat Hametim

By Avner Friedmann

Yaakov left his parents to begin a personal exile which, unbeknownst to him at the time, would include twenty years in the home of Lavan.  After fourteen years in the Yeshiva of Shem and Ever and prior to his leaving, he went to Mount Moriah (The Temple Mount). There he had his famous dream at the exact site of the future Holy of Holies. We then read[1]:”Yaakov awoke from his sleep and said: Surely Hashem is present in this place and I did not know! And he became frightened and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of G-d and this is the gate of the heavens…And he named the place Beth-el; however, Luz was the city’s original name”.

Beth-el (Luz) is Jerusalem; it is where the creation of the word began, and is also the very place where in the future Techiyat Hameitim (The Resurrection of the dead) will begin. There is a very small and unique bone in our body by the same name-Luz from which the resurrection of the body will begin[2]. This bone never dies. [3]It is spiritual in nature and gets its nourishment from the meals of Shabbat and Yom Tov due to the spiritual nature of these days. However, there is one weekday meal that this bone is nourished from too; it is the meal of Melaveh Malka (the fourth meal, on Motzei Shabbat). Even though it is eaten after Shabbat this meal is unique and spiritual. It connects the holiness of Shabbat to the weekdays. It is a meal that is eaten when we are not hungry, as we have just finished the third meal of Shabbat. We don’t eat this meal in order to give enjoyment to our physical body, but rather for the sake of the Mitzvah. Similarly, this bone connects this world and the world to come. It connects body to soul and therefore derives its nourishment from the Melaveh Malka meal.

The Luz bone is about the size of a barley grain and is situated under the brain in the neck area and is not connected to any other bone[4]. It sits in the place where the knot of the Tefillin is situated[5]. The Zohar[6] explains that unlike all the other bones in our body, this bone never decomposes after we die. It stays in the ground and when the time for Techiyat Hametim comes, HaShem will soften it and will make it rise like leavening in dough. The whole body will spread and arise from it and we will be constructed as we were before, but without the impurity presently associated with our body. Then HaShem will instill a matching soul in it. The prophet Ezekiel prophesized[7]: ”Then you will know that I am Hashem, when I open your graves and raise you up from your graves, My people, and when I place my spirit in you, and you will come to life…”.

How can HaShem make a new creature that from something that decomposed in the ground? “Look at Aaron’s staff,” says the Zohar[8], “A dry stick turned into a living snake.” If HaShem can do that, then surely He can do it with previously decomposed bodies which were once alive previously. Just look at a seed that rots in the ground only to bring forth a plant with multiple seeds. Both the plant coming from a seed and the body coming from a small bone are miraculous; the only difference is that we are used to the first and have never witnessed the latter. Today, however, unlike past generations, it is much easier for us to grasp this, because are aware that scientists have succeeded in cloning a sheep and other animals from a single cell. We know today that a single cell contains the generic code for the whole body. If such is the case, then certainly the body can be reconstituted from a single bone. Techiyat Hametim is one of the thirteen principles of faith[9]. If a person does not believe in it, it is as if he denies the entire Torah and will not rise from the dead, G-d forbid.

Man is composed of two parts; the body which comes from the earth and the G-dly soul from above. When a person passes away, each part returns to its source, as written[10]: “Thus the dust returns to the ground, as it was, and the spirit returns to G-d Who gave it.” After man completes the correction of the first Sin, HaShem will join each body to its matching soul. At that time we will reach the level of Adam before the sin and then be elevated to even greater heights of awareness. May we soon experience what the prophets wrote[11]:”And I shall remove the spirit of impurity from the earth.” [12]“Only rejoice and be happy forever… For I will rejoice over Jerusalem and exult with My people…” Speedily in our days! Amen.


[1] Vayeitzei 28: 16-19.

[2] Rabenu Bachiye (See Pri Eitz Armoni-Shemot).

[3] The Rama Mipano, Ma’amar Shabatot 5, Chelek 4. (See Pri Eitz Armoni-Shemot).

[4] Chesed Le’avraham, Ma’ayan 4- nahar 52. (See Pri Eitz ArmoShemot).

[5] R’ Tzadock Hacohen from Lublin. Sefer Divrei Sofrim-Likutei Amarim. (See Pri Eitz Armoni-Shemot).

[6] Va’eira 28b.

[7] 37:13-14.

[8] Va’eira 28a.

[9] Rambam’s hakdama on Perek Chelek of Sanhedrin.

[10] Ecclesiastes 12:7.

[11] Zecharaia13:2.

[12] Isaiah 65:18-19.

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