Friday, December 21, 2007

Resurrected in their Clothes

by Reb Ben

Rav Chiya bar Yosef states: The righteous will be resurrected in their clothes.

The Gemara (Shabbos 113a) states that the clothing that one wears on Shabbos should be different than the clothing that he wears during the week. The Maharal explains that Shabbos is holy and anything that is holy is distinct from materialism. For this reason, writes the Maharal, one is forbidden to perform labor on Shabbos, as labor by definition is bringing something to fruition, which is considered materialism. An object that is removed from materialism is deemed to contain honor, and for this reason ones Shabbos clothing should be distinct from the clothing that he wears during the week.

Perhaps we can suggest an alternative explanation to this statement of the Gemara. Elsewhere (Sanhedrin 90b) the Gemara states that the righteous will be resurrected in the future with the very clothes that they were buried in. [There is a discussion (See Kesubos 111b and Tosfos and Gilyon HaShas Ibid) whether the righteous will be resurrected in the same clothing that they were buried in or if they will be resurrected in different clothing.]

One must wonder regarding the significance of the righteous being resurrected in their clothing. It would seem that clothing is a covering for the body in this world, but in the future man will be akin to Adam HaRishon before the sin, where there was no need for clothing. Why then will the righteous be wearing clothing at the time of the resurrection? Perhaps the idea of this Gemara is that clothing, besides for the need of covering the body, also symbolizes a state of preparedness. After the sin of Adam HaRishon, HaShem clothed Adam and Chava in garments of skin. The purpose of these garments was so that Adam and Chava would be prepared for the first Shabbos of creation. It is noteworthy that the Gemara in Shabbos (113a) states that one should change his clothing, manner of walking and his manner of speech on Shabbos. The only one of these distinctions that is performed prior to the onset of Shabbos is the changing of ones clothing. Thus, it is evident that changing ones clothing prior to the onset of Shabbos is a symbol of preparedness. This then is the explanation of the Gemara in Sanhedrin regarding the resurrection of the righteous. The righteous will be resurrected in their clothing as a reward for having always been in a state of preparedness in this world. The idea is that the Gemara (Avodah Zara 3a) states that one who toils prior to Shabbos will eat on Shabbos. The period when the righteous will be resurrected is referred to as a day that is completely Shabbos. Thus, when the true Shabbos arrives, the righteous will be prepared in their "Shabbos" clothing. It is for this reason that we change our clothing in honor of Shabbos, so that we reflect a state of preparedness for this Holy Day.