Dear Rabbi Y,

I recently lost my wife of 60 years and I miss her dearly. I want to know: are we going to be together in heaven?


I’m so sorry to hear about your loss! It must be so difficult to lose your soulmate after so many years together.

To answer your question, yes, you’ll be with your wife in heaven, but perhaps not in the way that you imagine.

You see, oftentimes people imagine heaven as a place that looks pretty much like Earth. We look the same, we do the same things—just in some mysterious, different place. The truth is that heaven is a spiritual world. People don’t sit in heaven and drink coffee together or play with their pets. Heaven is a place where our bodily needs and desires simply don’t exist, and our souls enjoy closeness to G‑d.

Having said that, there is much written in both the “revealed” texts of the Torah (e.g., Talmud) and the mystical texts (e.g., Zohar) about the soul connection between spouses that continues in the afterlife.

Reunion of Two Halves

The Zohar explains that husband and wife are two halves of a single soul, which is broken apart at the point of birth and reunites once again after death.1

Now, how we experience our heavenly reward (known in Hebrew as Gan Eden, “Garden of Eden”) depends on our actions in the here and now. Accordingly, each half-soul experiences the delights of the afterlife in different “palaces,” reflective of their accomplishments on earth.

But even though the male and female souls study Torah separately during the day, at night, the two halves reunite.2

“A Shared Table”

The Talmud tells the following story that describes how a couple experiences their reward together in the World to Come:

Rabbi Chanina and his wife endured crushing poverty. At his wife’s advice, Rabbi Chanina prayed for sustenance.

Soon enough, a hand emerged from heaven and handed him a golden table leg.

That night, Rabbi Chanina’s wife saw in a dream how in the World to Come, the righteous were sitting and feasting on three-legged tables, but she and her husband had to make do with a wobbly table with but two legs.

After some more discussion, the couple decided that Rabbi Chanina would pray that the table leg be taken back so that their reward in the afterlife be preserved for them.

And that is exactly what happened.3

This allegorically rich story (obviously, there are no tables or food in Gan Eden!) has many lessons and much symbolism. But one thing is clear: Rabbi Chanina and his wife fully expected to experience the afterlife together.

What About Second Marriages?

If a couple divorces, it’s clear that they won’t be together in the afterlife. A divorce separates not just their bodies, but also their souls.

What if one spouse passes away and the other remarries? Who will be together in the afterlife? The Kabbalists explain that the main soul connection exists between the “primary spouses,” which usually (but not always4) refers to the first marriage.5

The Era of Resurrection

There is a discussion among the mystics regarding which spouse a woman will be married to in the era of the Resurrection of the Dead. Would she be married to her first husband, or would she pick up where she left off with her second husband? In the end, while there may be some differences, most say that the same basic contours would apply and she’d be married to her “primary” (first) husband.6 But as the mystics put it, the details are “secrets of heaven” that aren’t fully revealed, so no one can know for sure until it happens.

May it be speedily in our days!