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What is the soul? Where was it before it entered our body? And where does the soul go after it leaves? Does Judaism believe in hell? Join a fantastic discussion of Judaism's view of afterlife.

Afterlife & Reincarnation - Part 1

Afterlife & Reincarnation - Part 1


Afterlife & Reincarnation - Part 1

What is the soul? Where was it before it entered our body? And where does the soul go after it leaves? Does Judaism believe in hell? Join a fantastic discussion of Judaism's view of afterlife.
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Yehuda Shurpin for June 25, 2012

Re: What about cremationed bodies? On of the many reasons Judaism rejects cremation is that Cremation is an implied statement of rejection of the concept of resurrection. It is in effect a declaration that once the soul has departed the body, the lifeless body has served its purpose and now has no further value. For more on cremation and the Resurrection see Why Does Jewish Law Forbid Cremation?

Regarding reincarnation in Judaism and how it differs from the concept of reincarnation found in other religions see: Why & When Does Reincarnation Occur? Reply

Anonymous centreville, virginia June 22, 2012

What about cremationed bodies? What if a body is cremated? How will it be resurrected when Messiach comes since there is no 'bone' to reconstitute the body...?
The concept of reincarnation is similar to Hinduism and Buddhism...where does redemption of the soul play into all this? Reply

Anonymous October 24, 2010

i really don't understand about reincarnation, why must it done? i find no mention in torah about reincarnation so i ask why... Reply

SarahRachel Virginia Beach, VA October 17, 2009

It Would Have Been Much Better To Teach Everyone Rabbi Gurkow says that the teachings of reincarnation were taught only to select students because of the sensitive nature of the material.

This is horrible. People need to be able to understand why they are here, in order to be able to do what they came here to do, rather than to stumble about blindly and not understand why they go through what they go through.

Other religions that teach reincarnation teach it to everyone from the very youngest child. This is so that each person can understand their lives in the context of reincarnation. These other religious systems are also unfortunately somewhat idolatrous but because Judaism's Rabbis have refused for the most part to share the Jewish version of these teachings, many Jews have gone elsewhere for spirituality and meaning.

Never should the Rabbis have kept this knowledge and understanding from the common people. It is a case of having the keys but refusing to allow entry to those who needed it. Reply

Jane Siet San Clemente, CA July 1, 2009

Amazing I love this site and all of the blessings shared here. This series of 3 just blew me away. I don't know how to thank you for such a gift. Reply

Lazer Gurkow August 7, 2008

Gehinom It is of course possible to add another thought or piece of information, but unless I miss my mark I believe you are seeking a clear picture, a precise understanding of what awaits us in the world to come and alas, this is not possible.

It is not possible to understand precisely what occurs on the spiritual plane so long as we are confined to a human body and a physical brain. We do our best to understand abstractions thrugh the aid of metaphor and analogy.

A better understanding is available only to those who have trained their earthly minds to grapple with matters of heaven and also to those, who are in fact there.

We hope you will never have to find out first hand what Geheinom is like. Reply

Anonymous Great Neck, NY August 7, 2008

Gehinnom I still don't understand what is exactly happening to the soul in Gehinnom? Reply

Lazer Gurkow May 15, 2008

Reincarnation in Torah Reincarnation does not appear in the Torah itself. The Torah is generally moot on matters of mysticism. These teachings were deliberately not doccumented for all to see; they were taught in private to select students due to the sensitive nature of the material.

This is why there are many subjects discussed in the works of Kabbalah that are not even alluded to in the text of the Torah porper. These subjects were taught orally and in secret, they were not doccumented till much much later.

It was only in the second century that the secrets of Jewish mysticism were first committed to paper. Over the years many more books were written on the subject by experts in the field; the great mystics of all time. The advent of Chassidism in the eighteenth century greatly enhanced the study of Jewish mysticism.

In any event, if you would like to learn more about reincarnation and Torah personalities, listen to the third lecture in the series of Afterlife and Reincarnation. Reply

Anonymous wash, DC May 15, 2008

reincarnation Dear Rabbi
I would liek to know if there is any place in the torah that speaks about the reincarnation, or this is just some interpretation by our Rabbis.
sincerely Reply

Anonymous April 21, 2006

my opinion is that the soul is like the driver of the car. when the engine is broken the car doesnt work so the driver can''t drive, same with body and soul? Reply

Lazer Gurkow via February 17, 2006

Dear Dalen,

Thank you for posting your thougtfull comment. To my undertanding, your argument underscores the very point that Rabbi Amnon Yitzchak was making.

You don't see the engine when you look at the outside of the car, but you don't need to peer into the hood to know that it is there. If the car moves you know that the engine is inside. The proof is in the pudding; take out the engine and see if the car still moves.

The soul is, in this sense, the body's engine. Surely the soul comprises much more than a vivifying force for the body, but the body's vitality is one of many indicators of the soul's existence.

Rabbi Lazer Gurkow Reply

dalen Karcag, Hungary February 17, 2006

story of the soul moving the body The story was told that there must be a soul because when the body dies nothing moves it.

What about the car engine when it dies? the car stops moving, but its not because it lost its soul.

I only make this reply because the first comment of "we dont know what happens after you die" seems to apply. (for most of us anyway.)

G-ds Peace, Reply

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