Haftarah: Shabbat Chol Hamoed Pesach
Ezekiel 37:1-14: There is a tradition that the Resurrection of the Dead will take place on Pesach. We therefore, according to Rav Hai Gaon, read this story of Ezekiel bringing the
bones piled in the valley back to life, on Shabbat Chol Hamoed Pesach.
There is one word in this awesome vision that hints to another reason why we read this selection on this Shabbat. In fact, this one word, “Ruach,” or “Spirit,” may actually explain why the Resurrection will happen on Pesach.
“It took me out, by the spirit of God, and set me down in the valley, which was full of bones.” The same “Spirit” that hovered over the earth in the first moments of creation (see Genesis 1:2) carried Ezekiel to the valley of bones.
The same spirit appears again. “He said to me, ‘Prophesy over these bones and say to them: O dry bones, hear the words of God. Thus says My Master, the Lord to these bones: Behold! I bring spirit into you and you shall live.” Ezekiel began and, “there was a rattling and the bones drew near, bone to matching bone. Then I looked and behold! Sinews were upon them and flesh had come up and skin had been drawn over them. But the spirit was not in them.” The bodies were complete but they lacked the “Spirit,” just as the body of the Primal Man had been formed, but needed, “and He blew into his nostrils the soul of life.” (Genesis 2:7)
“Then He said to me, “Prophesy to the spirit.” Ezekiel was not simply resurrecting the dead bones; he was reenacting the formation and creation of Adam. The body was first. The vessel was prepared. The “Spirit” that hovered over the earth, the same spirit that brought the soul of life, had to wait until the container was ready to receive it.
Why did God want Ezekiel to reenact the creation? The more accurate question is why did the original formation of Adam copy the resurrection? The Torah is teaching us that we were originally formed as resurrected beings. It is part of the genetic structure of our soul. We live now as resurrected beings. We exist with the constant possibility of renewal and recreation.
Shabbat, “A Taste of the World To Come,” the world of resurrected souls, is the time when we access this part of our essence that has been there since the very first second of Adam’s life. Pesach is when we were prepared as a defeated nation to reattach to the essence of resurrection that animates the soul of our nation. We were still containers when we left Egypt, prepared to receive the “Spirit,” or wind, that blew across the Sea and opened its waters.
Shabbat Chol Hamoed Pesach is the meeting point of the resurrection of the nation and our souls. Ezekiel’s vision is addressed to just this moment.