Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Seder Eliyahu Rabbah on Eternal Marriage

I promised to post an ancient Jewish source supporting the notion of eternal marriage. This is in the interest of fairness.
In the future, God will be seated in His great academy, and seated before him will be the righteous of the world, they and their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, and their manservants, and their maidservants, their household needs will be taken care of for them. As it says: "And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out My spirit, etc.," and "And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids, etc. (Joel 3:1-2)"
"Rise up, ye women that are at ease. (Isa. 32:9)"
-Seder Eliyahu Rabbah 4:19.

Seder Eliyahu Rabbah purports to be a series of instructions on the history and destiny of the world, given by Elijah the prophet to R. Anan, a Babylonian amora.
God presides over his heavenly academy (beit-midrash). The righteous participate in its study sessions. They are organised according to the same social units they had on earth. The family (or rather household to a modern audience) still exists as an individual unit. Father, mother, children, and household servants. The organisation of the heavenly family may be identical to the earthly one but there are some important differences in other aspects.
All equally participate in God's academy. The prooftexts from Joel and Isaiah show that even female servant, a low rung on the social ladder, will receive an outpouring of God's spirit. To eliminate distractions from Torah study with God, all needs are provided for, presumably by the angels, since the Seder Eliyahu depicts them as less privileged than the righteous.
All in all, a remarkable picture.