What Happens After Death in Judaism?

Many ask what happens after death in Judaism? Judaism accepts death, however grudgingly. Judaism regards death as an inevitable part of life. Just as we are born, so we must die. No one, and nothing lives forever.

The rabbis of old expressed this notion by affirming: “Those who are born are destined to die: “. . . . You were created against your will. . . .Despite your wishes you live, and against your will you shall die”.

In Kabbalistic thinking, life and death are usually seen as parallel processes.

What Happens to Your Soul When You Die?

Moses Maimonides, who lived in the 12th century, saw the afterlife as an entirely spiritual place.

In his view he always stated that the answer to the question “What happens to your soul when you die” is that, the afterlife for the righteous begins immediately after death, when their soul returns to its creator and clings to it. The bad persons’ souls will simply go away.

Judaism has responded to this deeply felt human need and throughout the ages tried to create patterns of thought and action to help us face the death of a loved one and prepare to go on living.

Why has humanity persisted in probing the mysteries of death? Perhaps for no other reason than simple curiosity. The unknown we face at life’s end challenges our reason and imagination.

Simple curiosity, however, may be an insufficient motive to explain this human concern.

I will try to provide some reasons for this curiosity:

  1. Fear of death. We know the difference between sleeping and death.
  2. Human’s deep grief when someone we care about passes away. We yearn to know what happened to our deceased loved ones. We care for them in death, as we did in life.
  3. Our deep love for life. This makes us wonder not only what happens in life but in death as well.
  4. Our desire to remain creative. We seek to know whether or not death terminates our achievements.
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We Can Feel the Presence of Death in Life

The Hebrew Bible Torah, implies that the power of death can invade the sphere of human life, there spreading its influence. The line between death and life is not clear-cut. A sick or injured person was often deemed to be in the hold of death.

When We Die Is That The End?

There is no proof of life beyond the grave. Some Jewish thinkers, in fact, have suggested that the idea of the hereafter is psychologically motivated, a projection of a human need, a wish fulfillment.

Not all Jewish thinkers who entertain doubts about the hereafter deny its existence.

Those who express skepticism yet are unwilling to deny the possibility of immortality are called “agnostics” (from the Greek, meaning “unknown”).

They maintain that the human mind is incapable of knowing what lies beyond material phenomena and therefore refrain from accepting or rejecting its existence.

In Summary

Along humanity history, humans have tried to reveal the mystery of life after death.

Many believers ask: “What Happens After Death in Judaism”?, “What Happens To Your Soul When You Die”?

Though some, including a handful of Jewish Kabbalistics, have argued that the hope for immortality is a childish aspiration based on wish fulfillment, others reserve their judgment and prefer to leave this question unanswered, probably never to be resolved by a human being.