If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please get help; call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 and/or speak to a mental health professional. More resources can be found on their website


Is it true that if you commit suicide, you won't go to heaven? But if there is no Jewish hell, where will you go?


You write that there is no Jewish hell. Well, not exactly true. We find a place called both She’ol and Gehinom mentioned in the Bible and discussed at length in the Talmud and many classic Jewish works. It may, however, not be what you expect hell to be.

People imagine Gehinom to be a place of pointless, painful darkness. What is actually described in Jewish sources, however, is a realm of existence more spiritual and closer to the truth than our own world. There, the truth becomes clear and inescapable, and for many souls, that itself is extremely painful.

But pain cleanses the soul. Once sparkling clean, souls can continue up to their spiritual place from whence they originated, and even higher.

Gehinom, then, is not a form of revenge. That’s something in which only mortals engage. In the world of truth that lies beyond this world, every soul is loved and cherished. Whatever happens with this soul in that world is only for its own good. It’s just that cleaning up a soul is far more difficult in that world than here in our world.

So how does suicide fit into all this?

Suicide doesn’t end anything and it doesn’t solve anything. It only escalates the agony of this soul to a higher level, to a place of truth. There, who knows— whatever was causing pain here may just be magnified and intensified many times over.

That being so, the real question is: Is suicide an escape from hell? And the answer is a clear “No.”

As long as you’re in this world, there’s hope. There’s always a way to take charge of life and change things. Once you’ve left this life, the only way for you to fix what you’ve done is by coming back.

What are the alternatives?

Pick up your phone and talk with a friend. It doesn’t have to be a close friend. It could be a hot-line. Just someone who cares.

Wait for someone to talk with, perhaps even come over. Commit that you won’t do anything until you’ve had a friend sit and talk with you.

No friends? Write to us. It’s our job to be your friend.

For more on hell in Judaism, here’s an article from Aron Moss.

And here’s an article on suicide in Judaism.

For those suffering the loss of a friend or relative who committed suicide, please see Coping With the Suicide of a Friend.