Monday, March 12, 2012


Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, Likutey Moharan 1:21, sect. 11-13, abridged

Although eternal life may be attained even in the present state of reality, it will primarily characterize the future, when spiritual knowledge will increase. At that time, everyone will know God—and, through this knowledge, everyone will be incorporated into the Divine Oneness. Then all creatures will live forever, like God. For by knowing God, everyone will be incorporated into Him, as the wise man remarked, “If I knew Him, I would be Him.”[1] This spiritual knowledge will be in the future, as indicated by the verse, “The earth will be full of the knowledge of God” (Isaiah 11:9). Because of this knowledge, nothing will be lacking. Thus, the Midrash states, “If you possess knowledge, what do you lack? And if you lack knowledge, what do you possess?”[2] Everything will be completely good.

Even non-Jews will know God through this increase in spiritual knowledge, each person according to his own level and to whatever extent he exerted himself to serve God in this world. This is implied by the prophet’s metaphor that the future knowledge of God will be like “the water that fills the sea.” The sea is one; yet, due to the ocean’s floor, it is deeper in one place than another. Thus, it shall be in the future: the depth of each person’s knowledge of God will vary according to the nature and extent of his previous efforts in Divine service.

All of humanity then will live forever, for the knowledge of God will be revealed, and everyone will be incorporated in the Divine Oneness. Thus, on the verse, “On that day God will be One and His name One” (Zechariah 14:9), our Sages ask, “Is He now not One? But presently the blessing we recite upon hearing bad news is: ‘Blessed be the True Judge,’ whereas upon hearing good news we say: ‘Blessed is the Beneficent One, Who does good.’ However, in the future world, the latter blessing will be said at all times.”[3] This is because in the future, when knowledge (da’as) is revealed, it will be known that evil does not really exist; rather, everything is good, and everything is one.

Even the experience of exile is only due to our lack of spiritual knowledge. As the verse states, “Therefore have I exiled My people, who have no knowledge (da’as)” (Isaiah 5:13). This is also why the redemption from Egyptian bondage came through Moses. [Since Moses was the greatest of the prophets,] he personified the aspect of knowledge. Thus, it is written, “You will know that I am God, Who brings you out from under the subjugation of Egypt” (Exodus 6:7). For the main redemption is attained through knowledge.

[1] Kuzari 5:21. In its original context, this aphorism underscores God’s unknowability. Here, Rebbe Nachman uses it to make the converse point.
[2] Vayikra Rabbah 1:6.
[3] Pesachim 50a.

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