The afterlife and other topics were posed to the Rebbe by a group of eager Jewish college students. The Avner Institute presents a Yechidus where the Rebbe eloquently answers his young audience and in the end challenges them with questions of his own.
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Question (Student): What proof do you have of Heaven? We never saw it with a telescope.
Answer (Rebbe): What is your concept of Heaven? After you die you go to a place and there you spend the rest of your existence? Can you measure intellect with a yardstick? Can you say my intellect is two years and the next man’s is 1½ yards? By the same token . . . heaven is spiritual and has no definite material boundaries by which it can be measured.
Q: If there is another life, how can you explain the fact that people have died and by massaging the heart, etc., have been brought back to life?
A: The spirit has not departed entirely faint, deep prolonged faint. Can you state the difference between a live body and the dead body? The organs are the same? The heart is beating? That is only a condition (of motion) and not a cause. What caused this condition? The brain? What is the difference between a dead and live brain? Electrical waves? . . . . The soul.
Q: Why may we eat meat of a cow and not of a pig? Chemically they are the same.
A: The difference is one proportion. You learn in chemistry that two materials contain the same elements in different proportions. One is a benefit and the other is a poison. Strychnine, for instance—the same materials are found in sugar, bread, etc. Yet if you eat bread and sugar it will benefit the body, but if you take a pill of strychnine it will harm the body.
Q: Why is non-Kosher food not harmful to non-Jews?
A: Food is for the stomach (beneficial for the body) and unfit for the lungs. On the other hand, air is fit for the lungs (beneficial for the body) and unfit for the stomach. In a like manner, what can be good for one person can be harmful for the other ..air injected into the bloodstream.
Q: Can you prove that the eating of non-Kosher food has a harmful effect?
A: Through many generations of experiments it was found.
Q: Why do we observe the Sabbath if the atmospheric conditions of that day are the same as any other day?
A: We observe eclipses and cycles 28-year cycles of the sun that occur regularly, etc.
Are you acquainted with the function of the female body? Cycles occur regularly every 30 or 29 days. In a like manner the male body undergoes various cycles which go by less noticeably. So we Jews observe a certain cycle which occurs every seven days.
Q: Is there something you can put your finger on about these cycles?
A: Jews throughout their existence have found it, the Shabbos, wholesome for their existence.
Q: Jews believe in four elements: fire, air, water, and earth. In school, however, we are taught of 100 elements.
A: The mistake lies in the definition of the word “element.” An “element” in Jewish belief is not the simplest form of matter. That is what is meant by our reference to water—something that brings moisture.
In this watch there are twenty wheels and some springs, the watch man would say. Our word “element” is used in much the same way and sense.
Now may I ask a question? Have you ever performed experiments? How many? Billions? Less than a billion? Yet you have accepted .
Do you believe that there was once a man by the name of Columbus? Without a doubt. You never saw Columbus and you will never see him in the future, but you take the word of the history book that Columbus came to America from Spain.
When you go into a subway and drop a token into the turnstile, must you understand how the train works? A person cannot exist if he must understand how Each time you eat a piece of bread, must you first understand how the oven works? Before eating meat or drinking milk, must you first understand how the cow digests the grass?
The train itself is a miracle. You have many wagons, and you have the passengers weighing so many pounds. You have the gravitation, friction, etc., yet you take it for granted that you will arrive at the next station.