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See here - https://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/16135/jewish/Chapter-37.htm

The question is if he actually brought them to life, or if he simply said a prophecy about it and Hashem was the one who brought them to life.

edit - there is some discussion in the Achronim about this, Rashi says that he wasn't able to be מטמא himself since he was a Kohein, but Tosfos (Bava Metzia 114b) says that Eliyahu was allowed to be מטמא himself to bring the ben hatzarfis back to life. They answer that there it was Eliyahu who brought him to life, whereas here it wasn't Yechezkel but rather Hashem who did it. So I'm trying to find more on this question

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    What's the difference? – Double AA Jan 7 at 21:32
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    There is a machlokess if this nevuah actually happened. Other than that, by the same token, did Moshe bring the benei yisrael out of Mitzrayim? – The GRAPKE Jan 7 at 21:33
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    @The or when I kick a ball, did I actually kick it or did I just move my feet and God makes the ball move? – Double AA Jan 7 at 21:37
  • @DoubleAA how to understand the pesukim in Tanach... ? Also, there is some discussion in the Achronim about this, Rashi says that he wasn't able to be מטמא himself since he was a Kohein, but Tosfos (Bava Metzia 114b) says that Eliyahu was allowed to be מטמא himself to bring the ben hatzarfis back to life. They answer that there it was Eliyahu who brought him to life, whereas here it wasn't Yechezkel but rather Hashem who did it. So I'm trying to find more on this question. – Dovid Jan 7 at 21:38
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    As far as I can tell those are again two ways of saying the same thing. What's the difference? Are you just wondering if yechezkel touched the bodies? – Double AA Jan 7 at 22:04
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For Elijah to have resurrected the dead boy, he had to enter a room containing the corpse, which would be prohibited contact for a kohen.

Ezekiel stood out looking over a valley, prophesized, and the bones turned into living beings. Even if understood literally (which the Talmud debated), he never had to get close enough (or under the same roof as) the dead bones to be a kohen-contamination issue.

Thus the Talmud's debate whether the event was literally, vs. a prophetic vision as an allegory, is totally unaffected by the kohen-avoid-corpses thing.

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The passuk in Yechezkel says

https://he.wikisource.org/wiki/%D7%99%D7%97%D7%96%D7%A7%D7%90%D7%9C_%D7%9C%D7%96/%D7%A0%D7%99%D7%A7%D7%95%D7%93

וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלַי הִנָּבֵא עַל הָעֲצָמוֹת הָאֵלֶּה וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵיהֶם הָעֲצָמוֹת הַיְבֵשׁוֹת שִׁמְעוּ דְּבַר יְהוָה

And He said to me, prophesise on these bones and say to them, "Oh dry bones, hear the word of Hashem."

So, if we want to analyse what Yechezkel did and what Hashem did, it would appear that Yechezkel brought the message of Hashem to the dry bones, and it was the message of Hashem that caused the dry bones to live.

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According to the Midrash in Shir Hashirim Rabbah 7:9 the implication is that he did actually bring them back to life:

אָמַר רַבִּי אַבְדִּימֵי דְמִן חֵיפָה, [שלשה] [ששה] נִסִּים נַעֲשׂוּ בְּאוֹתוֹ הַיּוֹם, צָף הַכִּבְשָׁן, וְנִפְרַץ הַכִּבְשָׁן, וְנִשְׂרְפוּ אַרְבַּע מַלְכֻיּוֹת, וְנַעֲשָׂה נְבוּכַדְנֶצַּר אִימוֹס שֵׂירוּף, וְהִפִּילָה הָרוּחַ אֶת הַצֶּלֶם, וְהֶחֱיָה יְחֶזְקֵאל הַמֵּתִים בְּבִקְעַת דּוּרָא

Rav Avdimi of Chaifa said: Six miracles were performed on that day; the furnace sunk (according to the explanation of the Etz Yosef), the furnace broke, four kingdoms were 'burnt' (a reference to the kings and their people who helped Nevuchadnezzar throw Chananiah, Mishael and Azariah into the furnace), Nevuchadnezzar was partially burnt, the wind blew down the statue and Yechezkel revived the dead in the valley of Dura.


(Just as an addendum, it is worth noting that there is the argument over whether this act actually happened.

The Gemara in Sanhedrin 92b says:

ונילף ממתים שהחיה יחזקאל סבר לה כמאן דאמר באמת משל היה

The Gemara suggests: And let us derive from the dead that Ezekiel revived (see Ezekiel, chapter 37) that the resurrected dead will not live forever, but will die at some point. The Gemara explains: The school of Eliyahu holds in accordance with the opinion of the one who says: In truth, Ezekiel’s depiction of the dry bones that came to life was a parable, from which nothing can be derived with regard to the nature of resurrection. (Sefaria translation and notation)

Rashi on the words "משל היה" writes:

שהיה מרמז להם על הגלות כאדם מת שחוזר וחי כך ישראל ישובו מן הגלות

This is hinting to them about the ultimate redemption. Just like a man will come back from the dead, so too the Jewish People will return from exile.

So parenthetically, it's worth noting that there's a school of thought that regards the act of the bones coming back to life as only a prophecy and no more than that.)

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  • I'm not sure why you bring a rayah from the midrash shir hashirim and not from the gemara (sanhedrin) which uses the same terminology, 'mesim shehichyeh Yechezkel'... – Dovid Jan 7 at 22:54
  • I don't understand your comment? I did bring the gemara. If you're asking why I didn't bring the gemara first, it is because the Gemara seems to imply that the event didn't happen and was only a moshul, whereas you are looking for sources that point to either Yechezkel or Hashem who were involved in the act of resurrection and the Midrash seemingly appears to suggest it was Yechezkel – Dov Jan 7 at 22:59

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