And Jacob finished commanding his sons, and he gathered up his feet into the bed, and expired, and was gathered unto his people. (Genesis 49:33)

The Torah does not state "he died," and the sages declared, "Our father Jacob did not die... just as his children are alive, so is he alive."1

What forms the basis for the love and communion between two dear friends, between husband and wife or between children and their parent? Not the physical body, which is flesh and bones and guts, but the characteristics of the spirit, the true essence of man. It is only that man communicates with his fellow through the body and its limbs. Through his eyes, ears, hands, organs of speech, etc., man gives expression to his thoughts, feelings, and the characteristics of his spirit, and (obviously) it is they, not the bodily tools of expression, that constitute his true essence and being.

It follows that in the World of Truth (the spiritual hereafter) the soul of the departed has particularly great pleasure on seeing the members of his family recover from the tragedy, come to themselves, make every effort to set their lives in good order, and act as an inspiration and encouragement to others.

A bullet, a shell-fragment or a sickness can damage the body, but they cannot hurt or affect the soul. They can cause death, but death is only a separation between body and soul. The soul continues to live (eternally); it continues to have a connection with the family, especially with those who were especially dear and beloved. It shares in their distress, and rejoices at every joyous event in the family. It is only that the members of the family, living in this earthly world, cannot see the soul's reaction with their flesh-and-blood eyes, nor can they touch it or feel it with their hands—for the physical connection has been broken.

The soul of the departed derives especial satisfaction from seeing his children being reared in the proper Torah-spirit, free of any feelings of despair or depression, G‑d forbid, but rather (as the traditional expression goes) ' raise them to Torah, to matrimony and to good deeds.'

From a letter of the Rebbe written to a war widow in Israel.2