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What is the Luz bone? What is the source of this concept?

I saw it referred to in the Mishneh Berurah - 300:2

Wikipedia quotes from Medrash Rabah 28:3.

I know the basic description given.

If it is from a Medrash, is there a reasonable explanation for what idea it is conveying?

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3 Answers 3

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The Lubavitcher Rebbe in Reshimos V. 7 said that it's an argument between the Arizal and the Aruch:

The Arizal (In Likkutei Torah to Shoftim (in Nach)) says that it's where the knot of the Tefillin goes (at the top of the spine), while the Aruch writes that it's at the "end of the 18 vertebrae" (at the bottom).

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The luz bone is a small bone located towards the top of the spinal column. In Judaism it is taught that this is the bone that one is rebuilt from and resurrected in the End of Days.

It is a matter of debate as far as which bone it is, but the two main opinions are that it is either is seventh cervical vertebrae (C7) or the coccyx.

Here are some links to help you learn more about the luz bone:

Wikipedia

Aish HaTorah

Kabbalah Online (Chabad)

Torah.org

Regardless of whether it is scientifically correct or not whether or not the luz bone can be destroyed, I believe the medrash is trying to convey the point that each person will be resurrected in the End of Days regardless the state of their bodies.

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  • Thanks. However, what is the message of the Medrash?
    – RCW
    Mar 14, 2017 at 0:13
  • Perhaps it is conveying that since the luz bone cannot be destroyed, everyone can be resurrected in the End of Days, no matter what happens to the rest of their body.
    – ezra
    Mar 14, 2017 at 2:30
  • You mean there is an aspect of each person that will allow for resurrection regardless of the state of their bodies. Interesting idea. Thank You!
    – RCW
    Mar 15, 2017 at 3:43
  • Yes, regardless of whether or not it is scientifically correct that the luz bone cannot be destroyed, that is the message I believe the Midrash is trying to convey.
    – ezra
    Mar 15, 2017 at 5:52
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The Eitz Yosef explains that תחית המתים is not going to be יש מאין (a creation from no other source than God). There is only one creation that was יש מאין. Everything else is יש מיש, a creation from something already existing. Even תחית המתים will be from something. There is something that God made that doesn’t decay, but will bring about the body in the time of תחית המתים.

Maybe it shows that in the creation of man, was the blueprints for the time of תחית המתים. God created in man the seeds of the future.
[Like when you add cat 7 wiring into a building. Not for now, but for the future. ]

Man is designed in a certain way that is that he has the capacity to flourish in the existence of תחית המתים. This לוז in specific is manifest this point that we are designed to exist in future existence. Since man in general will decay, this is the nature of the body, but yet we see there is the capacity built in to be able to survive this decay.

The main point is that there is a manner in which we can see that the body can come back. Whether there is an actual bone or we are talking about something else such as DNA or some other thing, the main point is that there is a something that supports the idea of תחית המתים. This is what ר' יהושע בן חנניא conveyed to אדריאנוס.

I want to draw out one additional point that may be obvious. It would seem that the premise of the Eitz Yosef that God will only create יש מיש, from that which already exists, sets the stage for this concept. In other words, since God will not initiate the process of תחית המתים from nothing, then it must be that there is some element of the body that remains that can be utilized in the process of תחית המתים. This element is what the luz bone represents.

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