Get latest articles and videos with Jewish
inspiration and insights
The thrilling, true story of Rachel Blum’s struggle to survive in a world bent on destroying her.
Is it ever okay to lie to your spouse?
What was Captain Sully thinking as he calmly landed that plane on the water,
saving everyone on board?
Akiva Neuman uses the same skills in training to be a rabbi to compete on American Ninja Warrior.
Being Jewish means dancing with the conflicting combination of pain and joy.
‘Poisoning’ accusations are a Palestinian tradition.
I wish people would realize my child is mentally ill and is not going to grow out of it.
A powerful video about one 70-year-old woman who has scraped off over 72,000 neo-Nazi symbols throughout Germany.
The film distorts the experiences of people with disabilities and goes against Judaism’s value of human life.
Is there anything wrong with swearing?
Reclaiming the forgotten power of writing a letter.
Harvey S. Hecker Character Development Series: Life's greatest challenge is the battle for self-respect.
A few words of praise go a long way.
Summer vacation can become a cherished time for strengthening our relationships with our children.
Mouthwatering recipes from a brand new cookbook.
Yes, breaking up is hard to do, but if you want to end a relationship it’s a must.
How you can answer that big question for yourself.
How to give off the right signals to your date.
Seven keys to life fulfillment.
The amazing journey of Jim Long, an observant Noachide.
Instiller of faith, enabler of redemption.
Practical and relevant insights on the weekly parsha.
Advanced-level midrashic and Kabbalistic illuminations on the weekly parsha.
Lessons, stories and discussion questions for parents and kids.
The miracle of survival, faith and the wisdom of a remarkable lady who knows how to live. (Adult discretion advised)
It’s no accident that the deal was finalized only last week.
A Harvard-trained psychiatrist working on a locked ward strives to find the good in his patients.
In the terrible, wonderful paradox of the Jew in exile, we are permanently, gratefully, happy. And temporarily, terribly sad.
Want to shop in the ancient Israeli marketplace but don’t know where to start? Allow me to enlighten you.
Some theme party ideas for adults considering a belated Bar or Bat Mitzvah.
What is the best way to keep your kids busy in the summer?
Despite the distance, it has forged an unbreakable bond for generations.
Discover the most important intellectual development in human history.
Why did God wait 49 days before giving the Torah?
November 13, 2012 6:09 AM
So relieved to hear that
I've been hoping that believing in re-incarnation is acceptable within Judaism.
February 28, 2012 10:46 PM
question reguarding sources
Are there any direct sources from the torah about gilgalim and reincarnation (but from the pasuk itself)?
February 19, 2012 6:54 PM
The way I was taught by my non-Chasidic Orthodox Rabbi
The way I understand it is that the parts of a soul that have been perfected by positive choices is what goes to Shomayim and the parts that need further perfection are what come back for another chance at perfection, whereupon the same thing happens with that soul made out of the imperfect part of the previous soul. The whole made out of a part is likened to a candle flame being made out of another candle flame. I also understand that several stories in the Gemara about souls asking to come back to correct mistakes, such as an unmarried scholar coming back as a married simpleton may confirm that the idea is not just in the Zohar. I've heard several times of various people from Torah or Chazal being reincarnations of the likes of Noach, Moshe, King David, etc., in devrei torah spoken by not particularly mystical type Rabbonim. It is also my understanding that spiritual perfection is the goal of Judaism, and it makes sense to me that the idea of reincarnation fits that very well. Frankly, I like the idea of our being given more than one chance at that. The idea of travails and hardship happening in order to help prefect a part of us that needs repair appeals to me. The idea of souls needing repair seems to me to also fit this idea very well. Who was it that used to stand up whenever he saw a Downs child ? When asked why he said, "Such a child is one life away from total perfection. After this life this soul is perfect and doesn't need to come back anymore. I stand in respect for this almost perfect soul." Chofetz Chaim??
February 19, 2012 10:37 AM
What a can of warms!
Well what a topic. It seems Lori has opened a can of warms with this one. But on my part, I have no problem with the topic of REINCARNATION contained within. I have been tought this by an orthodox Rabbi some years ago, although I did find it hard to swallow to start with but as I studied the Torah and listened to HASHEM, I have gained an understanding of the matter. This teaching is not for everyone esp the goy. This is a high teaching on a need to know bases as a general rule. Who are we to judge the purposes or reasons why HaShem requires this to happen, and also must be in line with the ancient writings. OH, and yes, the soul may come back to an individual within another religion provided it is part of HaShems overall plan and desired outcomes. Like Lori, how this all works, who knows!
February 17, 2012 10:21 PM
reincarnation and Rambam
Rambam said it is not proper for a man to accept as trustworthy anything other than one of these three things: 1] clear proof deriving from man's reasoning, 2] what is perceived throught one of the five senses, 3] what is received from the prophets or from the righteous, where does reincarnation fall in these three? If reincarnation happens, then what about God's justice.?
February 17, 2012 6:53 PM
I must have been very bad in my last life; I feel like I'm being punished in this one. I try to be a good girl. In my next life, I want to be a member of the IDF! That's good!
February 17, 2012 3:28 PM
It is my understanding that we are all fractions of every soul here on Earth. Past and present. We are all descendents.The past life regressionist in our area, had several "Cleopatras, Napoleons, and the like. We remember parts of our self that existed then. I remember being in Versailles. I remember the home. It felt like home when I visited there. Being parts of every one, explained why there were so many Cleopatras to our local therapist who does this. It did help me heal that part of my self so I could move on. It helped me discover my soul parts that were "crying" to be heard and then follow the path to right where I am now. I think that Lori is brilliant for posting this. I am not Jewish, but I know I am so drawn to learning everything I can about how to live by doing the right thing. I believe you Lori. thank you. It also helps with the loss of a grandchild in utero. She/he came here to do what they needed to! By the way, I never heard her say what some one else thought. she just said that some have beliefs or a concept that one can come back as an animal or an object. Or did I hear that wrong too? Please go back and listen again. :) Thank you Lori, Almost Live. you always make my week. Susan
February 17, 2012 1:02 AM
can i reincarnate in a different religion?? are you sure??
February 16, 2012 11:21 PM
wrong words, wrong impressions
There are many different topics we could have discussed and many times I found myself struggling why we want to discuss one topic over the other. This video has a lot of little "adjustments" to the believe especially words used are very wrong. It will make someone who is not familiar with the concept come to wrong conclusion, very wrong conclusion (happy to discuss).
Those little "technicalities" are very worrisome for me. Furthermore, are we not taught to live life, do the right thing and not to get pre-occupied with what happens after death? And yet time after time there is a video which is not using right terms (maybe the topic is not for short video all together?) or how Steve Jobs died and what he said, or something to explain children dying, or even as far as Holocaust victims coming back.........death is death, it is still final (even if it is for the sake of this body), we still morn it (not making celebrations like some nations who promote reincarnation), and nobody really came back to tell the story.
I don't doubt that there are old souls, but the topic is not for 5 min video and has to have correct terms or it undermined the whole believe (when one holds it).
Can someone please explain me why it was done? what did you expect to achieve by this video? how are you going to rectify wrong words, terms in it? and above all where was the most important statement of what Angels are for and what we expect of them? Where was the statement of believe, of love, of life, of Shma?
D. E. S.,
February 16, 2012 5:52 PM
"To hell with reincarnation"
These comments confirm the fact that Jews never agreed on reincarnation. Historians suggest that I was not originally a Jewish belief. It was adopted from other religions. I find it amusing when told that "Jews believe in reincarnation," and that "Jews do not believe in hell." But some observant, traditional Orthodox Jews DO believe in heaven and hell, and many of us do NOT believe in reincarnation. One interesting problem: If all souls eventually go to Gan Eden after a year or less in Gehinnom, then Hitler is in Gan Eden right now, with his victims. I am happy that Judaism does have a belief in Gehinnom as "hell," that the most wicked souls will be destroyed by their own demons. And what about reincarnation? Were the Holocaust survivors punished for sins in a past life, as some have indeed suggested? I think we are born, live and die in this world only once, to meet our Creator. Orthodox Jews never believed in reincarnation, until quite recently in our history, and we are many who still refuse to accept this foreign belief as part of our Judaism. Old souls, deja vu or the experience of a connection to a past life, might indicate a connection to your ancestors, whose blood and spiritual DNA you carry. But not that you have lived here before. Our souls lived in Heaven since Creation.
February 18, 2012 5:45 PM
Good job in explaining,
I liked how you clarified the point. When Moses face glowed with the Glory of God after being on the mountain, this signifies the cleansing of sins, our bodies getting a new glorified body. When Moses went back up the mountain to die, this signifies the separation from the earth, and from those not yet purified before entering Heaven. My understanding is the final Gehenon is not a place, it's a process that happens quickly before seeing God face to face. A mourning of our body. Moses couldn't stand in the presence of a Holy God and live, without being first purified from all sins. A cleansing from all remaining sins before standing in the presence of Holy God. It is only for those that do go to Heaven, those going to Hell (eternal separation of God), doesn't need purified from sins, they won't be entering Heaven, no need to be purified, and being cast forever from the presence of God is Hell. That can be a matter of opinion, for those who hate God, for them it would be hell to be in his presence. Reading a article on Aish recently, the past lives are referred to our ancestors, or Jews as a group, to correct their mistakes they made in the past, not that their souls have been reincarnated into our bodies to live again as the popular thought of today that reincarnation is dying and coming back to earth. When our soul and spirit hovers over our dead body, a grieving of the body and the wrongs or could of beens of our bodies takes place, and the separation of our soul, our spirit, and our body, not being united during that process, a few days is what Judaism teaches, Gehenon, a grieving, mourning, of the sins of our body, repentance, until they are united again. This process starts in part, while we are alive. The final Gehenon is when we die. The steps that lead to Heaven, the different levels of Gehenon--grieving, mourning, repentance, cleansing-purified starts before we die, can be years before we die. Deep thoughts. The mysticism of Judaism.
February 16, 2012 11:15 AM
an awareness of the endless void and of being here before and that each lifetime is but a moment in the journey of the soul. It is like a splash in the ocean that resonates. We are all so tiny yet so huge in the scheme of things and so beautiful it is painful at times.
February 16, 2012 2:01 AM
Read Dr. Michael Newton's Book Journey of Souls
I read Dr. Michael Newton's book "Journey of Souls" and it is a great book. He is a professional Doctor who has hypnotized many and they tell about the "between lives" experiences before being reincarnated and what happens after death. The only other book that I would also recommend is Life After Life by Dr. Raymond Moody. I believe in reincarnation as I was once hypnotized myself. But please read "Journey of Souls". It makes great sense and is VERY comforting especially if someone you love has passed.
February 15, 2012 8:46 PM
Lori, please do not speak for "the Jews".
This is your belief.
February 16, 2012 4:21 PM
She wasn't speaking for "the Jews" she was speaking for "Judaism". Judaism does in fact believe in these things, but I think its extremely important for us to define what we mean when we say these words "heaven and hell" because they are EXTREMELY different from the Christian concepts, and thats probably what you are thinking of when you say that you don't believe in them. First learn the Jewish concept of afterlife before you decide whether you believe in it or not.
February 16, 2012 5:37 PM
@Leibert, dear D. the fact that you don't believe in this, it doesn't mean that is not Jewish, that's why Lori said for "the Jews". Even if you don't believe, is still Jewish.
February 15, 2012 3:23 PM
What is the point?
Is that supposed to be comforting? If you come back and have no memories, what is the point?
February 15, 2012 1:43 PM
a journey of soul
A long time ago I was at the MFA in New York and one of their pictures had a great impact on me, showing the souls of people who were being incinerated in the camps, circling and coming back to earth.
I have no doubt this is true, and perhaps many of us here, today are back, and perhaps we all come or came back. And many times.
I have had these feelings my entire life, and when I was in the walled city of Toledo poems came pouring out of me, and I was thinking as I walked those ancient streets, The Sanhedrin meets tonight. And of course Toledo has a long history with the Jews. And there a local graveyards filled with Hebrew inscriptions, and I copied some and brought them home.
I know, in my life, something astonishing has happened, and keeps happening, and so I am recording all these things, and mostly I get silence, or it's as if I have never spoken, meaning I see a block on consciousness with respect to a story, that is deeply about Ruah, about SOUL itself, and also The Book of Ruth. Perhaps I was the original Ruth. Perhaps there are lineages of succession, and perhaps we all form "pods" as in we meet again, as we cannot know the entire world, but in our circles, we do know the entire world. It's a story of soul, of one massive soul, encircling all of us, and a story of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts, about old souls, and old soles, as in traversing this world we come back, hopefully for tikkun, hopefully to put the compass back into compassion, and hopefully to make this world, finally, a far far better place, in which the love in evolution itself, as it is spelled backwards, comes to the fruition of an ancient Promise. That we will all one day be here, holding hands together, across a universe that was created for LOVE.
February 15, 2012 12:16 PM
For what purpose
My birth was very easy, fast and painless, (so my mother told me)
My eyes were wide open right away, I remember the doctor and the two nurses. They were astonished to see my open eyes and that I was completly silent and observing what was going on in that room. I could give more details, but I don't want to bore you. Suffice to say that a fortnight later, I was laying next to an open window, watching the street below. I never forgot the tought that crossed my mind then: "Here I am again, but what am I doing here ??"
February 15, 2012 10:52 AM
Think Four Seasons.
"Birth is not a beginning; death is not an end. There is existence without limitation; there is continuity without a starting-point. Existence without limitation is Space. Continuity without a starting point is Time. There is birth, there is death, there is issuing forth, there is entering in." ~Zhuangzi
This is my first time leaving a comment here on aish.com. This is an interesting topic and I’ve been observing and thinking abt it for yrs… Those who know, speak less.
“The tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao. The name that can be named is not the eternal Name. The unnamable is the eternally real. Naming is the origin of all particular things. Free from desire, you realize the mystery. Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations. Yet mystery and manifestations arise from the same source. This source is called darkness. Darkness within darkness. The gateway to all understanding.”~ Lao Tzu
Lori, it’s good that you know yourself you don’t understand it completely. The possibility of knowing arises in your life only when you truly realize that, ‘I do not know.’
"They" got this idea from "us"???? I have long been uncomfortable with the concept of the "Chosen People"… Having been educated on 3 continents and lived in 5 countries, I don’t think the Jewish people are a lot wiser or have done more goodness than others…that “Chosen People” gets a lot of people stuck there and it can prevent you from going to a higher spiritual level…. As Ben Zoma said: “Who is wise? One who learns from all people.” And the Torah is far too profound and all-encompassing to be fully fathomed by any single individual, no matter how wise. The Torah scholar cannot really understand the Torah if he does not comprehend what it means to other human beings. Each person, each culture, each religion has part of the truth; none has it all.
I do see a few shallow comments below. There's no use arguing if you don't know what you're arguing about.
February 15, 2012 5:55 AM
why come back here?
to this primitive level...then starving people,suffering people..come back for what?!
as a person or an animal???...to suffer again?!
I believe in dimensions...but can't explain it...
No one on this earth can...can you?
February 16, 2012 1:18 AM
Very good comment
The only comment with which I agree.. If we do not go on then better we go out.Why come back to this?
February 15, 2012 5:54 AM
Not that hard to believe
It might explain why some people just click - perhaps they knew each other in a past life. Interesting concept!
February 15, 2012 5:30 AM
I'm me and will always will be ME; I will never be someone else. How can I be me and someone else? Reincarnation can't be proven.
February 15, 2012 7:17 PM
Reincarnation can't be proven?
Neither can love. Neither can G-d. I don't know that I believe it happens (I have never heard Jewish teaching on reincarnation before), but I suggest that 'I don't know' works as well as 'NO' in this instance.
February 15, 2012 4:44 AM
I am a lucid, intelligent physician and yet I know for a fact my cat is reincarnated. Super short story-- I had him for 16 years, he died, and then he came back to me in a new body. That is the end of the question for me. It exists, it happens, Baruch Hashem. If it happens for cats, it happens for all souls. I have now no fear of death. There is nothing to fear.
February 16, 2012 7:10 AM
LOL, cats don't have souls.
February 22, 2012 6:08 PM
"If it happens for cats..."
Good news! You can expect Kitty to come back another 7 times. They have 9 lives, don't they?
February 15, 2012 4:08 AM
I believe in reincarnation and it is wonderful to know that not only is something that tells my intuition, but it is something that according to Judaism, is as it should be.
Many memories have helped me get closer to God, and I learned that one must be attentive to every experience in life, even if they are simple, they are there for a reason ...
February 15, 2012 12:50 AM
One important point that I left out about Gehenom (purgatory) is that we will not have to experience it for transgressions for which we have done teshuvah prior to leaving this world.
February 15, 2012 12:38 AM
Judaism believes in gehenom (purgatory) not hell
Hell is not a Jewish concept. We do believe in Gehenom, which is a type of purgatory -- a temporary rehabilitation phase for the person which can last a maximum of 12 months (which is one of the reasons we say kaddish for the deceased during this period of time). When our sages speak about the fires of gehenom, it is a metaphor for the very painful "burning" shame and horrible remorse the person feels when it finds itself in the world of truth and can see the consequences of his/her transgressions without any loss of memory or rationalizations to hide behind and without the ability to correct it. But although this can be a psychologically agonizing process, Hashem in His compassion has made it a temporary phase that cleanses the person so that one is left only with the fruits of one's mitzvot and good deeds to enjoy for eternity (olam haba). The deeper truth is that gehenom is not a place that the soul goes to, but rather a frightening reality that a person himself creates through his (or her) transgressions and then has no choice but to face in the world of truth.
February 16, 2012 11:06 PM
I was listening to Lori and was not sure why she is saying those things. Once the topic is started the explanation of worlds should have being provided. Our believes are too different to them, not in or out attitude, not hell as such. I was already typing my comment when noticed yours. Thank you.
However it saddens me to see that Aish allowed this misinformation, this is too big, there are many things which are important too, including Divine Power and Angels and maybe, just maybe this video should not have being presented all together.
February 14, 2012 11:56 PM
What is the arguement?
What in this loving and merciful universe is Not Hashem, what matter for the form in which it Is, and is not. I do not pretend to have any answers ,but the joy of being in the eternal embrace that is His Magnitude, is always a blessing in my eyes. May praises always be sung.
February 14, 2012 11:48 PM
Let's agree that the commentator speaks well and the copy is very well written, even if she written it herself. The fact remains that what she has said is wishful thinking...by most ot us, but still not proven beyond the shade of doubt. Let's not lose sight of reality, please.
February 14, 2012 11:39 PM
Not all orthodox traditions accept reincarnation.
As a therapist I have performed numerous "Past Life Regressions" and was even flown up to New York from Miamii (though I now live in Great Neck) to talk about it and demonstrate it at a lecture at Eish several years ago. The therapy is quite helpful but I am quick to explain that not all orthodox Jews believe in reincarnation which is one of the explanations for Past Life Regression". Though Chassidick tradition based on Kabbalah accepts reincarnation, the Geonim were opposed to the concept and believed it was an unacceptable gentile idea flowing out of India and
February 15, 2012 4:15 PM
Someone flew you to New York?
You got a plane ticket from Miami to NY to talk about "past life regressions?" Seriously? I don't know what the geonim would have said, but, as Canada Bill Jones put it, it is morally wrong to allow a sucker to keep his money. Good luck with your gig.
February 14, 2012 5:50 PM
I agree with David, stop saying 'we'
I have never been able to find anything in the Torah or Tanach to support the idea of reincarnation. Whenever I have asked those more learned, they have not been able to do so either. They indicate the idea comes from the Zohar. It is very difficult for me to embrace a concept as being from Hashem when I cannot even find illusion to it in His Torah. If some people wish to believe in this concept, that is between them and Hashem. I don't feel they should try to make it a Jewish doctrine or a principal of faith. The closest thing to Jewish doctrine that we have is Maimonides 13 Principals. Reincarnation is not one of them. Life's puzzles will remain that for me - life's puzzles. And only Hashem knows the answers. Teshuva, working on our middot and Hashem's kindness and mercy are paths for our soul correction - not an endless cycle of being born-again as something or someone else until you get it right.
Joy F Friedberg,
February 14, 2012 4:57 PM
i was raised Orthodox with the belief in reincarnation.
I was raised Orthddox and lived across the street from my Zadie's shull. There was a lovely black woman who came to shull every Shabat. One day I asked my Zadie why did Gwendaline come to shull as she was not Jewish. My Zadie pointed to his heart and said,"the soul remembers". Many years later I was haveing lunch with my then 3I year pld second son,when he told me how he had been a little girl with long green hair on the planet with 2the blue suns. He had a pet like a frog named Kresh that ate berries and exploded, so his Mommy took him to the pet department store and bought him a new one. He then went on to tell me he had picked me from all the mothere in the world for his Mommy. I asked my where was he when he picked me. "I was with God, beyond the wall streeters of space". Ibelieve in reincarnation because our immortal souls are sparks of Ha Shem and cannot be distroyed, but can be reincarnated.our souls remember.
February 14, 2012 3:32 PM
No need to speculate about previous lifes
As a medical doctor I'm listening for more than 32 years to the life stories of suffering people. All their problems could be explained from what they experienced in this life or from intra-uterine traumatic experiences or even from non-resolved issues from previous generations (yes, it's possible!). The discoveries in genetics seem to confirm these observations. No need to search in "other lifes"! "Old souls?" Some 2% of the population is exceptionally gifted (with not only a high IQ but also a quite different personality) - thanks to an exceptional combination of the ancestral genes, not necessary the result of previous lifes. The theory of incarnation isn't consistent with science nor with biblical theology.
February 14, 2012 8:04 PM
Why does everything need to be consisent with Science
My 3 year old granddaughter told of us the time when she was in a great fire and her father saved her. She is now 23 and definitely is an "old Soul". She is serene, competent beyond her years and wise. So "science " wouldn't believe it...who cares? I witnessed it and believe it with my whole heart and soul.
February 14, 2012 8:45 PM
Just food for thought: In the Torah God says that punishment will come upon the sinner's children, grand children and great grand children. If there is no reincarnation, our God is really (god forbid) a mean God. Is it fair to punish someone else for your sins?
February 22, 2012 6:15 PM
The Sins of the Fathers
There's an idea that the punishment can be stopped if the desendent/s rectify (atone for) the sins of the predecessor who transgressed.
February 14, 2012 3:06 PM
I do believe in reincarnation and heaven but not really h#ll but limbo yes
I definitely believe in reincarnation....my son who is now 18 is born on his paternal uncles yahretzeit date, as well as my aunts birthday in the same hospital she died in....He was to be named after these two people we decided even before he was born....Is he reincarnated thru one or both of these relatives? Who knows, but both of these relatives died without having children of their own.
February 14, 2012 4:26 PM
Come on, Sue
Out of curiousity, if you had chosen a different hospital in which to give birth, would that disprove reincarnation?
February 14, 2012 8:18 PM
looks to you like...
we have free will. from the top looking down-we dont! Different hospital? Doesnt matter.You are the sum of your good thru to your bad actions. what you dont pay off in this life carrys over to the next. You take the birth that fits the things you need to pay off. PERIOD!
February 15, 2012 4:12 PM
No, Mark-- we do have free will.
Judaism may not have a doctrine of reincarnation, but it does hold that we are given free will. Were it otherwise, we would have no moral accountability for our decisions. "PERIOD!"
August 10, 2012 3:41 AM
To reply to David from Feb 2012
I recently looked at this old post and wanted to say to this comment, I had picked a different hospital but was transported to the other hospital due to my dr not being at the first one...Also, my son was born 6 weeks before he was due and I did not realize it was my aunts birthday (who I said when she died I would name him after her) or my deceased brother in laws hebrew date of death....I learned all this after my son was born on that day..It may not mean reincarnation but it appears to have some meaning that we planned to name him after these 2 relatives way before the birth...And again I did not use my free will to plan this circumstance...
February 14, 2012 2:59 PM
Stop saying "we."
Belief in reincarnation is hardly formal Jewish doctrine, and should not be attributed to all Jews. The idea that we could be recycled as animals is also contrary to the teachings of Rashi and others. As to the "old soul" theory, to offer this as proof of reincarnation is to illustrate the silliness of the concept-- a quiet baby must have lived before? So a noisy baby wasn't reincarnated? Moreover, to use reincarnation as an explanation of why an innocent child dies is to cook up a very weak post hoc rationalization of a tragedy for which theology offers no satisfying explanations. Finally, to announce that "they" got this idea from "us" (which, if true, would be nothing to boast about) is also incorrect. I believe the Hindus had this notion well before we ever did and, as far as I'm concerned, they're welcome to it.
February 14, 2012 4:06 PM
On the 'we are one' ideas
I agree with you, but in a formal way only. many dharma teachings later & its difficult to see any linkage at all with the indo-chinese scriptures!! i think the hindus live with a constant daily remainder of reincarnation as a belief in present time: this can be a beautiful spiritual awakening or, unfortunately, a spiritual weakness; perhaps one that sees poverty & despair as natural in an eternal wheel of karma which is unreleaseable except to 'rise again the next day'. But the hindus can make their guru culture work by the same means that any other strong & true spiritual tradition has lasted: loving & respecting others; respect women because each one may have at one time been your mother; respect animals because they have souls and you as a soul may have shared time with them before. There is a sense that time wins in hinuism; the faces & the behaviors don't change but the circumstances & the consequences of virtue or vice ... they do because of the belief in karma. Understanding the cycle of life is a key to true joy ; Making the return look 'spontaneous'. But is it?
February 14, 2012 4:31 PM
There are many places in the Talmid and Midrash which identifies many Navi'im (prophets) which were Neshamos (souls) of a previous generaation. However, it is true that we cannot prove one's soul of today's generation belonged to a previous generation, since we are not as Kabbalistically powerful as we were then
February 14, 2012 2:34 PM
I too believe!
There are too many unnacountable things in my life ,that could never have happened without reincarnation!
February 14, 2012 2:28 PM
I pray your right!
February 13, 2012 9:42 PM
I do not believe in re encarnation.
Reason why I dont believe it, is very simple. If re encarnation take place once again in a person, and if you believe in hell where bad people go, then if I come back over and over in differente entity. how many persons of the same person will be judged? You mean I will become many person to be juge as a one person? no way to believe in re encarnation.sorry for my bad grmmar. hope you understand my point of view.
February 14, 2012 8:03 PM
you hit the nail on the head
That is precisely one of the arguments that popped in my head. HaShem is going to give me heaven, then hell, then heaven for my many "reincarnations"? And how will He judge me if I came back as an object or animal? I thought our souls were created in His image. Or are we now animists and believe that even objects have souls? How far are we falling away from our Tanakh..He warned us not to chase the beliefs of other nations and we are still doing it. We are a stiff necked people indeed.
February 13, 2012 6:41 PM
Orthodoxy, hell and reincarnation
I certainly do not believe in reincarnation. Nor do I believe that all souls who go to Gehinnom will be cleansed, and make their way to Heaven. My grandparents were Holocaust-survivors, and will not spend eternity with Hitler in Heaven! Hitler, and many others like him, are not simply going to be "cleansed" in Gehinnom and then enter the World to Come. There is room in Orthodox Judaism for belief that souls will stay in Gehinnom, and be destroyed there.
February 13, 2012 5:17 PM
Once isn't enough
I've always thought that with all the beauty and grandeur of this earth, and our promise to enjoy it's splendor - once is not enough. I'll never get around to doing and seeing all that I want, nor have the money or resources to do so. Perhaps we should keep in mind that it's only a glimse of things to come?
February 13, 2012 2:46 PM
I believe Lori has got it wrong this time
With all due respect to Lori, I do not believe that the concept of Hell as a place of eternal damnation is consistent with the general Jewish tradition. See this article by Rabbi Max Weiman:
Maybe it was Gehennom she had in her mind, but that is a big difference, like the difference between the death penalty and a prison sentence of up to one year.
February 13, 2012 8:42 PM
she's not saying it's an eternal damnation. we know that gehenim is a temporary place where the soul is cleansed so it can go to ganeden
February 13, 2012 1:57 AM
Not all Orthodox Jews Believe in Reincarnation
It is true as reported in the related hyperlink that "the Zohar and related literature are filled with references to reincarnation." However reincarnation before the Resurrection of the Dead is by no means unanimously accepted by Torah authorities and belief in it is not of one of the Ramabam (Maimonides)'s 13 principles.
Belief in Reward & Punishment
The Coming of the Jewish Messiah
The Resurrection of the Dead
are cardinal beliefs required of all (Orthodox) Jews but belief in general reincarnation is not.
February 12, 2012 5:02 PM
I know that is our belief but I was hoping that teshuva would have looked after all the things I missed. I guess not. Considering my state of being, I could be coming back for the next million years. My only hope is Hashem's mercy!
February 12, 2012 10:02 AM
I have a different spin. it is not that they did something wrong and needed to come back, it is that it is hard to have all the experiences in 1 lifetime, being male, being female, being single, being a mother, being rich, being poor, being healthy, being sick, being of different races, being an only child, having a sister, having a brother, dying young, dying old, living in peace, living during a period of war, living in a totalitarian regime, living with freedom, having power, being powerless, etc It would be hard to have all these life experiences in 1 lifetime therefore spread them over lots of lifetimes. I think an old soul is an ancient soul, not just 1 lifetime's worth over the present. I think we are told a little something in advance of our lives and some people have better retention regarding that than others and I think certain facts are left out too. I think my sister was a really old soul.
February 12, 2012 9:37 AM
It's hard to swallow, but that sometimes happens where a person just needed a small repair and then goes at a young age. Whereas others live a long time.
Display my name?
Your email address is kept private. Our editor needs it in case we have a question about your comment.