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Life after Death

When a human being dies, what happens to him? What do the scriptures say in Judaism about life after death?


Scripture does not reveal much about life after death. There are several mentions of spirits of the dead that were recalled to the world, such as the spirit of Samuel that Saul communicated with, and we find a blessing that the soul should be boneded “in the bond of life,” but there is little explicit mention of what will happen in the world of souls.

Rabbinic Judaism greatly developed the theme, and explained that in the World to Come the righteous sit with crowns on their heads, and bask in the light of the Shechinah, the Holy Presence of the Divine.

According to the rabbinic tradition after death a person faces judgment, and his deeds are meticulously assessed, before the sentence is pronounced. One of the Sages, who was close to the time of death, exclaimed that there are two paths before him, one of the Garden of Eden (Heaven) and one of Hell–and he did not know which he was going to tread. This demonstrates to what degree every deed counts, and no action that man does is without influence, in some way or other.

Best wishes and good luck.

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  1. i am interested to know more about the storehouse of souls(tzror ha hayyim. is there any description of it anywhere?
    rachael from jerusalem

    1. These are matters that physical humans cannot know so much about. The Gemara describes the ‘pleasure’ of the World to Come as “the righteous sit, with crowns on their heads, and bask in the glow of the Shechinah (Holy Spirit).” Obviously, this has limited meaning to physical human beings.

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