Over Shabbat, I was pondering the vision of the Prophet Ezekiel (like you do) and wondering about how it actually felt to be those dessicated, dried-out bones brought to life.
Remember, this didn’t occur in one shot. It’s not like one second they were ancient lifeless skeletons, and the very next, wham! they’d morphed into Gal Gadot lookalikes. No, the process was extremely slow, gradual, and from the bones’ perspective, extremely frustrating.
Think about it. You’re lying there, you gave up already, you’re done already, let the world just carry on turning and leave you alone. You did your bit for humanity and now you’re dead and just hoping, finally, for a little peace and quiet.
And then all of a sudden, you realize, probably with some horror, that your sinews and veins are growing back. I mean, does that hurt? As all your bones start to knit back together, and all the interconnected muscles and cartilage starts to criss-cross everything like some highly weird reverse zombie movie, what are the bones themselves thinking?
Or maybe God was kind to them, and their brains only grew back last, so they didn’t have to sit there watching all this stuff happen to them and their neighbors, while a million questions race through their heads:
“Am I going to grow back young?”
“Am I going to grow back fat?”
“Am I going to grow back healthy in body and soul, or am I going to have to go through that agonizing death from lung cancer all over again?”
Questions, questions, and if I’ve learned one thing about authentic Yiddishkeit, it’s that for every good, satisfying answer you get, there are already plenty more questions waiting in the wings.
So being a skeleton during Ezekiel’s vision must have been pretty nerve-wracking, to put it mildly. I mean, this had never happened before. What if the whole process suddenly tailed off mid-way, and you’d end up a bunch of ugly-looking gristle with eyeballs? I mean, no-one actually told them that this was the full monty, a whole redemption / regrowth package going on.
It would be all too easy for some of those dry bones to think to themselves that Nebuchadnetzer was doing some weird radiation experiment on them, or something, and that instead of being revived for good things, it was going to be a weird, twilight existence as a half-alive, half-dead person.
Me being me, I see a lot of parallels between those bones and us, in this generation. So many people today are emotionally and spiritually ‘dead’, and a whole bunch of people actually prefer things that way, because being alive necessitates feeling things that are sometimes overwhelming, or painful, or upsetting, or disturbing, or anxiety-inducing, or often all of those things at once.
“Leave me alone, God, let me go back to sleep!” they mutter, as God desperately tries to dig them out of their mausoleums and lonely places. “I don’t want to connect to anyone any more, I don’t want to feel anything. I just want to stay here and quietly dessicate. So please, save all that geula hocus pocus for someone else, I’m busy.”
Sometimes, I feel like that myself.
But I can still see the bones are stirring, and the veins are started to pulse with new life again, at least in a few locations. But before we continue, I need to know honestly: is this process going to hurt? And am I going to come back young, thin and gorgeous or not?
Because a girl has to be prepared.