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Do Jews believe in an after life?

by Mrs. Sarah Levi


Library » Philosophy » Afterlife | Subscribe | What is RSS?


Simply put, yes--but what we believe in might better be called "life after life."

The belief in an eternal life is one of the basic teachings of Judaism. As a matter of fact, Maimonides (a foremost Jewish philosopher and expert of Jewish Law) included this belief in his Thirteen Principles of Jewish Faith.

The Jewish soul is "G-dly," meaning it is invested with an infinite quality that is not subjected to the limitations of time and space, just as G-d Himself is. According to Jewish belief, it is only the body that dies, while the soul lives on into eternity.

Where does the soul go after death?

This question implies travel and movement, which only exist in this physical universe. So, the soul "goes," if that can be said at all, to a "place"--a state of existence--that is completely drenched in Divine Radiance, unlike our current existence. Here, G-dliness is hidden. There, G-dliness is manifest. In Judaism, this place is called the World to Come, while life on Planet Earth is referred to as "This World." After death, then, the soul goes to the World to Come.

..the soul "goes"... to a "place"--a state of existence--that is completely drenched in Divine Radiance... Here, G-dliness is hidden. There, G-dliness is manifest.
Our souls' eternal life makes it so important for us to maximize our time in this world. Because the amount of radiance the soul is capable of absorbing in the World to Come is directly proportionate to the spiritual acts performed by the soul in This World. It's kind of like taking a test--the more you study, the better you do.

To prepare our souls for the World to Come, we study Torah and perform mitzvahs. These spiritual acts feed and nourish our souls. However, we do not study the Torah or perform mitzvahs merely to earn a reward in the World to Come--this is seen as selfish.

In summation, the question may be rephrased: do Jews believe in death? And the answer, ultimately speaking, is "no." For a fundamental part of Jewish belief is Moshiach, a state of existence in which the World to Come and This World will merge, restoring our dear departed loved ones to robust life and wiping physical death away forever.

Let us pray that Moshiach comes now!


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Life Cycle » Death » Afterlife

Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
The Messiah. Moshiach is the person who will usher in an era of peace and tranquility for all of humanity when there will be no jealousy or hate, wars or famine. This is a fundamental Jewish belief.
Moses son of Maimon, born in Spain in 1135, died in Egypt in 1204. Noted philosopher and authority on Jewish law. Also was an accomplished physician and was the personal doctor for members of the Egyptian royalty. Interred in Tiberius, Israel.
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.