Come and see: when a man is about to go to that spiritual world and is on his deathbed, three messengers [judges] come to him. He sees then what one cannot [normally] see while in this world [for he sees the Shechinah]. That day is [his personal] judgment day, when the King asks for the return of His deposit [i.e. the holy soul]. Happy is the man who returns the deposit to the King as it was given him [clean of sin and now also full of Torah and mitzvot]. If that deposit was soiled with bodily filth [sins], what shall he say to the owner of the deposit?

He lifts up his eyes and sees the Angel of Death standing before him with his sword drawn in his hand, the destroying angel in charge of breaking apart [the four basic elements of] that man['s body]. Nothing is harder for the soul than its separation from the body.

A person does not die until he sees the Shechinah. [This arouses an irresistible attraction in the soul to cleave to the Shechinah and it thus leaves the body to do so.] After it has left - what soul is it that merits to cleave to the Shechinah and be received within Her? We have explained this in another place.

After the soul has left the body and it remains spiritless, it is forbidden to leave it unburied, as written, "his body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but you shall surely bury him that day." (Deut. 21:23) For a corpse remaining unburied for 24 hours, a day and a night, causes the parts of the Chariot to weaken [the spiritual aspect of the body is also subject to the spiritual aspect of the physical forces of decay], and also detains the actions of G‑d from being carried out. For G‑d may have decreed upon that soul to enter another incarnation at once, on the very day the body died, in order to help him. But as long as the body is not buried, the soul does not ascend before G‑d nor can it be incarnated into another body, for a soul is not given another body until the first one is buried. This is like the law regarding a man whose wife has died. He is not qualified to marry another wife before he buries the first one. Hence the Torah said, "his body shall not remain all night upon the tree."

Another explanation: when the soul has left the body and wishes to go to that world, it may not enter it until it is given another different body of light. Then it can rise upwards. You may derive this from Elijah, who had two bodies, one in which he was seen by people below, and another in which he was seen above among the celestial holy angels. [As long as the body is not buried, it is not possible for the soul to dress its body of light and ascend to its place. Another reason is] that as long as the body is not buried, the soul suffers and the spirit of defilement is attracted and waiting to dwell upon that body and defile it.

Since the spirit of defilement is in readiness, one must not keep the body overnight, because the spirit of defilement is especially present at night and spreads throughout the land to find a soulless body to defile it. Thus at night, it is defiled even more. Therefore the priests are warned, saying, "There shall none be defiled for the dead among his people". (Lev. 21:1) Since they are holy, the spirit of defilement will not dwell upon them and they shall not be defiled.. [The kohanim have a higher level of holiness than Israel. Since the spirit of defilement has no physical body it is constantly seeking to inhabit one. The kohanim are specifically warned not to be spiritually defiled by the dead because they have a flow of holiness and have to be extra careful to ensure that their dead are buried quickly and not left overnight so as not to let the spirit of impurity defile the holy].

BeRahamim LeHayyim: What does the above mean to you, and why is it being revealed at this time?
Judgment Day. Not the movie, the real thing, baby. This is the secret of what happens when we pass the earth plane and move to the spiritual world. Herein too lies the secret of why a Jewish body should be buried within 24 hours. The above is such a profound meditation, it is hard to explain it. What must be contemplated, however, is the similar profundity of traditional Orthodox Jewish mourning rituals which are all precisely calculated to assist the soul as it moves through the worlds. To decide to change these rituals might bring temporal solace to the mourner, but who knows what opportunities are missed for our dearly-departed beloved one?

Bracketed annotations from Metok Midevash and Sulam commentaries
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