The Thirteenth Foundation: The Dead will be Revived

The final foundation of the Jewish faith is our confidence in God’s promise to revive the dead at some future time. The source of this belief is more elusive than most of the other foundations, lacking the same quantity of overt textual support from Tanach. That’s not to say that it can’t be found, though. One of the more distinct references can be found in Daniel, “Go to your end and rest; you will arise for your portion at the end of days” (12:13).

The belief in the revival is firmly ingrained in Jewish thought. Remember that these 13 foundations are part of Maimonides’ commentary on the chapter of Mishna called Chelek. The first mishna in that chapter tells us that all Jews have a share in the World to Come with several exceptions. First and foremost among these is one who denies the principle of revival of the dead. The reason, the gemara informs us, is that by denying the revival, he forfeits his share in it. (This equates “World to Come” with the era of the revival rather than with the afterlife.) Revival of the dead is also the theme of the second bracha of Shemoneh Esrei.

In the Ani Maamins, this foundation is phrased, “I believe wholeheartedly that there will be a revival of the dead at a time selected by God, praise His Name forever!”

In Yigdal, this foundation is the line that reads ”Meisim y’chayeh (k)Eil b’rov chasdo, baruch adei ad sheim tehilaso” – “God will revive the dead in His great kindness. May His praised Name be blessed forever!”