Jewish Wisdom on After-Life

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Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4)

One of the most terrifying and appalling thing that could happen to us and our love ones is death. Just thinking about it makes my skin crawl, and what causes serious dismay is the fact that, nothing is special and mysterious about it anymore, it became natural, anyone can die anytime, and sadly people die all the time, just like that.

The spiritual afterlife is ascribed in Hebrew as Olam Ha-Ba, the world to come. Jewish beliefs on the topic of death and after-life have distinct limits. Even the Torah (the first five books of the Hebrew scripture), the most important Jewish text, has meager or no clear advertence to afterlife at all. The concerns of Jewish beliefs focus on the purpose of earthly existence, which is to live life according to the dictates of God (mainly the 10 commandments) and fellow man (moral laws). Following ones duties and responsibilities and prevailing in those endeavors bears just reward, failing and non-compliance brings punishment. Jewish beliefs are not concern on whatever happens after death nor if rewards and punishments continue after death.

Gan Eden: Heaven

Gan Eden means Paradise, or, the Garden of Eden, the eternal destination for the righteous, with endless rewards and happiness. Although sparse in information, some descriptions of the afterlife are found in the Talmud. Different stories of myths and legends build a picture of the Jewish afterlife as a journey through several phases of Olam Haba, the world beyond, which concludes with Gan Eden, or heaven. Eventually all souls will rise above Gan Eden and assimilate with God in a higher spiritual destiny. Sages of old tell tales and spiritual view of Gan Eden and adumbrate that there are no parties and festivals nor war and hatred in this paradise, but sitting adorned, with their crowns on their heads, just enjoying their state of being.

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Posted by Vanessa on Thursday, October 28th, 2010. Filed under Jewish How To. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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