Abstract

In rabbinic midrash, the resurrected body is often imagined as a site of eschatological healing, where the reversal of disability signals God’s capacity to overcome the seemingly intractable realities of the present. While conventional ideas of disability reversal often figure healing as the curative power to restore an individual body to full function, I argue that rabbinic texts frame healing as an act of social transformation. The article analyzes the Palestinian midrash Genesis Rabbah 95:1, demonstrating that the text parallels the restoration of the disabled body with God’s eschatological healing of the animals, so that predators no longer hunt prey. When read alongside rabbinic narratives that link disability with social violence and enslavement, Genesis Rabbah 95:1 reveals a rabbinic conception of healing as an act of communal liberation. The midrash also voices a frequent rabbinic claim that God will resurrect the dead with their corporeal differences intact so that they can be recognized by their kin, only healing their bodies as a subsequent act. The narrative thus figures disability as a critical marker of individual identity, a constitutive sign of the self that allows for and occasions recognition. While the midrash ultimately asserts that God will erase disability from the resurrected flesh, the rabbinic imagination nonetheless preserves a place for physical and sensory difference in the afterlife.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1942-1273
Print ISSN
1939-6716
Pages
pp. 288-305
Launched on MUSE
2015-12-23
Open Access
No
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