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Do Jews believe in Life After Death?

by Rabbi Tzvi Freeman

  

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


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There isn't anything after life, because life never ends. It just goes higher and higher. The soul is liberated from the body and returns closer to her source than ever before.

The Torah assumes this in its language many times—describing Abraham’s death, for example, as "going to rest with his fathers" and similar phrases. The Talmud discusses the experiences of several people who made the trip there and back. Classic Jewish works such as Maavor Yabok describe the process of entering the higher world of life as a reflection of the soul's experiences while within the body: If the soul has become entrenched in material pleasures, she experiences the pain of ripping herself away from them so that she can experience the infinitely higher pleasure of basking in G-dly light. If she is soiled and injured by acts that sundered her from her true self while below, then she must be cleansed and healed.

The Zohar tells us that if it were not for the intercession of the pure souls above, our world could not endure... Grandma’s still watching over you
On the other hand, the good deeds and wisdom she has gained on her mission below serve as a protection for her journey upwards. You want a real good spacesuit to make this trip.

The Zohar tells us that if it were not for the intercession of the pure souls above, our world could not endure for even a moment. Each of our lives is strongly impacted by the work of our ancestors in that other world. Grandma’s still watching over you.

Why should souls basking in divine light above be at all concerned about what’s happening in your mundane life below? Because, there they feel the truth that is so easy to overlook while down here, that this lowly, material world is the center-stage of G-d’s purpose in creating all that exists.

That is also why, at the final resolution, all souls will return to physical bodies in this world.


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COMMENTS

Non Jews

Posted by: Bob, Foothill Ranch, CA on May 23, 2005

What happens to non Jews in the afterlife?

Editor's Comment


Reincarnation

Posted by: x ben x on Nov 14, 2006

Perhaps I glossed over it, but is there a reason that you choose to omit reincarnation from this article?

Miracles and Wonders

Shana Tova

Editor's Comment

In reincarnation, the soul returns to mortal life with a different identity. (See also "How does reincarnation work?" [http://www.askmoses.com/article.html?h=215&o=402].) However, the term "life after death" refers to the life of the soul the way it retains the identity that it owned when alive on earth, in a spiritual life that follows physical death. The only form of "life after death" that involves the soul's return to a physical body with its original identity will transpire with the coming of Moshiach (Messiah), when the dead will be resurrected.

RELATED CATEGORIES

Life Cycle » Death » Afterlife

Torah
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.
Talmud
Usually referring to the Babylonian edition, it is a compilation of Rabbinic law, commentary and analysis compiled over a 600 year period (200 BCE - 427 CE). Talmudic verse serves as the bedrock of all classic and modern-day Torah-Jewish literature.
Zohar
The most basic work of Jewish mysticism. Authored by Rabbi Shimeon bar Yochai in the 2nd century.
Abraham
First Jew, and first of our three Patriarchs. Born into a pagan society in Mesepotamia in 1812 BCE, he discovered monethieism on his own. He was told by G-d to journey to the Land of Canaan where he and his wife Sarah would give birth to the Jewish People.
G-d
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.