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Is the concept of an afterlife a Jewish belief?

by Mrs. Sarah Levi

  

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Certainly. However, Judaism's idea of the afterlife is very different then that of other Western traditions. For one, Judaism does not believe that Hell is a punishment, rather a process of refinement for the soul to rinse free of its collected "dirt" so that it can enter a state of paradise.

A Chassidic master once explained to his disciples the difference between Heaven and Hell. In the afterlife, he said, all souls' hands are bound by splints and heavy ropes. This is done so that they cannot bend their arms. Then each soul is given a ridiculously long utensil and told that it is theirs to attain what ever they desire. Above the souls hang great quantities of food and delights, but they cannot bring the food to their mouths for their hands cannot bend. In hell, the souls are emaciated and starving, breakfast is served, but since their hands cannot bend, and their utensils are too long to feed themselves, they starve. In heaven, however, it is paradise. Souls are smiling and enjoying the delights. In heaven each soul uses his or her own fork to feed the soul siting across the room.

When a person is able to love and extend themselves for another human being, then that person has tasted what heaven is on this earth
So heaven and hell can really be experienced in this life as well. If a person feels that other people are others then sharing life with them is a living hell. However, when a person is able to love and extend themselves for another human being, then that person has tasted what heaven is on this earth.


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RELATED CATEGORIES

Life Cycle » Death » Afterlife

Chassidic
(Pl.: Chassidim; Adj.: Chassidic) A follower of the teachings of Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov (1698-1760), the founder of "Chassidut." Chassidut emphasizes serving G-d with sincerity and joy, and the importance of connecting to a Rebbe (saintly mentor).