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[SIZE=6]What Happens After We Die?[/SIZE]

[B]By Shlomo Yaffe and Yanki
One of the fundamental beliefs of Judaism is that life does not begin with birth, nor does it end with death. This is articulated in the verse in Kohelet (Ecclesiastes), “And the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to G‑d, who gave it.”mitzvot.

But for our actions in this world to have true significance, they must be the product of our free choice. If we were to experience the power and beauty of the divine presence we bring into the world with ourmitzvot, we would always choose what is right, and thereby lose our autonomy. The obvious becomes robotic. Our accomplishments would not be ours, any more than it is an “accomplishment” that we eat three meals a day and avoid jumping into fire.

Hence, this crucial stage of our lives is enacted under the conditions of almost total spiritual blackout: in a world in which the divine reality is hidden, in which our purpose in life is not obvious; a world in which “all its affairs are severe and evil, and wicked men prevail.”individualized mission to accomplish. As Jews, we all have the same Torah with the same 613 mitzvot; but each of us has his or her own set of challenges, distinct talents and capabilities, and particular mitzvot which form the crux of his or her mission in life.

At times, a soul may not conclude its mission in a single lifetime. In such cases, it returns to earth for a “second go” to complete the job. This is the concept ofgilgul neshamot—commonly referred to as “reincarnation”—extensively discussed in the teachings of Kabbalah.1.
Ecclesiastes 12:7.
See Body: The Physical World According to Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, and our articles on The Purpose of Creation and A Dwelling for G‑d in the Physical World.
Tanya, chapter 6.
Talmud, Niddah 30b.
Deuteronomy 7:11.
Talmud, Eruvin 22a.
Ethics of the Fathers 4:17.
Thus the sages speak about a “Gehenna of fire,” in which we experience the full destructive “heat” of our illicit desires, anger and hatreds; and a “Gehenna of snow,” in which we are exposed to the “coldness” of our moments of indifference to G‑d and to our fellows.
Ethics of the Fathers 3:1, et al.
Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov.
This is why there is a greater emphasis on the recitation of kaddish and other actions for the elevation of a departed soul during the first year after death.
Indeed, the Kabbalists say that these days—after nearly six thousand years of human history—a “new” soul is a rarity; the overwhelming majority of us are reincarnated souls, returned to earth to fill the gaps of a previous lifetime.
For more on the subject, see our articles onreincarnation.
This is actually a matter of contention between two great Jewish thinkers and Torah authorities, Maimonides and Nachmanides; the teachings of Kabbalah and Chassidism follow the approach of Nachmanides, who sees the ultimate reward as occurring in a world of embodied souls. For more on this, see The Resurrection of the Dead.
Interestingly, long before the discovery of genetics and DNA, the Talmud talks about a tiny, indestructible bone in the body called luz, from which the entire body will be “rebuilt” after it returned to dust.
Isaiah 25:8.
Ibid. 11:9.
The Talmud goes so far as to quote the verse (Ecclesiastes 12:1), “There will come years of which you will say: I have no desire in them,” and declare: “This refers to the days of the messianic era, in which there is neither merit nor obligation” (Talmud, Shabbat 151b).
Yanki Tauber served as editor of Chabad.org
Rabbi Shlomo Yaffe is a frequent contributor of articles and media to Chabad.org, is Dean of the Institute of American and Talmudic Law in New York, N.Y., and Rabbi of Congregation B’nai Torah in Springfield. Mass. Rabbi Yaffe has lectured and led seminars throughout North America, as well as in Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Africa.
Artwork by Sarah Kranz.
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Lyyli LehtinenLos AngelesDecember 12, 2017
Shlomo and Yanki: I have just read the above. Mozaltof! How wonderful you have presented this! So comprehensable.Reply

ManatheonThomasville NCNovember 14, 2017
First of all, I’m not Jewish. I was raised Southern Baptist. For the longest time I tried to live under the doctrine I’ve been taught all my life. It left too many unanswered questions, and depended on faith for the solutions. When the convention announced that we should take the message exactly as written I quit. I’ll never forget the look on my mother’s face when I told her.
My search led me down many roads. Although not a theologian, I found many (including Jews) with doubts no matter how much faith was in their hearts.
I started to draw conclusions on my own. I talked with many more people and no one could dispute my findings. But I heard the same thing over and over. “My church doesn’t teach that, so it has to be wrong”
Then I read your paper. Your explanation is almost a word for word of the way I believe. I’ve used the first law of physics to explain how I feel and to demonstrate how our souls are created. I can add to your findings extensively, but not here. ThanksReply

Leona HawkinsPetersburgJuly 8, 2017
Body and soul reunited, there is one soul that has lived in multiple bodies, so which body is the final home?Reply

MartaAmazonJune 16, 2017
I want to live eternally! G’d bless my soulReply

AnonymousWindsorMay 8, 2017
I am very disturbed by the thought of reincarnation. If my departed loved one re-incarnates, how will I ever meet him again? He will forget me by his second time around, and will have other loved one. Yes or No?Reply

Rachel HeyselUnited States of Americavia chabadofgwinnett.orgJune 8, 2017
in response to Anonymous:
I have the same question. If I am reincarnated because I have to fulfill my souls mission, will I know another family? If I had children the first time and a husband and animals, pets, will I be reunited again?Reply

Mendel Adelmanvia chabadofgwinnett.orgJune 9, 2017
in response to Anonymous:
Well, I have great news for you! You will be reunited again, whether any of you are reincarnated or not.

A soul is like a flame. It can divide endlessly and never be lessened. Each soul can enliven multiple bodies, with each body having a unique life force given to them, just that they are all rooted in the same soul.

So actually, every reincarnation of a soul will come back. We will all find out which people in previous generations have the same root soul as us. But deep down, the person we are now is unique.

Our reincarnations are hewn from the same stone as we are, but we are not the same being. We just share a mission.

Please see in In which body will a reincarnated soul return?Reply

Tonna ChavezJune 9, 2017
in response to Mendel Adelman:
What a beautiful answer…Reply

Mark GrewarBeaconsfieldDecember 9, 2017
in response to Mendel Adelman:
awesome response - i can accept thisReply

RobynFloridaDecember 14, 2017
in response to Mendel Adelman:
I’m very interested in this topicReply

Chabad.org StaffDecember 14, 2016
To Spirit over matterPlease see In which body will a reincarnated soul return? for a responseReply

suzy handlerwoodland hill, caDecember 13, 2016
Concentrate on his life and the world to come will be rewarding.
Read the Sh’ma and In the Beginning. Believe in G-d and our life has a way of working out.Reply

Mark GrewarBeaconsfieldDecember 9, 2017
in response to suzy handler:
Thank you - awesomeReply

Spirit over matterKurdistanDecember 11, 2016
Just one small question. In that world to come, which body will be given back to us? From which life (I suppose to have more than one for sure).Reply

louise leonPA, USASeptember 12, 2016
I’m waitingAlthough not in a rush, I am more than curious as to what will be will be Reply

Douglas AlencarDublinAugust 23, 2016
Reincarnation and the World to ComeShalom! Very nice article, but I’m curious as to which physical body the soul will be reunited in the World to Come, if the person had more than one reincarnation. Will it be a brand new body?Reply



Merry Christmas GM


saw this question somewhere… “what if the light at the end of the tunnel is the opening of a vagina?”

Hata mi