The Afterlife & the Messiah

Judaism & The Afterlife

Life After Death

What happens after we die? Judaism is famously ambiguous about this matter. The immortality of the soul, the World to Come, and the resurrection of the dead all feature prominently in Jewish tradition, but the logistics of what these things are and how they relate to each other is open to interpretation.

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Life After Death

The World to Come

The World to Come

A complicated doctrine.

Immortality

Everlasting life was not always guaranteed to the Jewish soul.

Jewish Spirituality and the Soul

Different beliefs throughout history.

Reincarnation

A controversial notion, embraced by kabbalists.

The Transmigrating Soul

A Yiddish folktale.

Messiah

Jewish Messianism

Jewish Messianism

The redeemer of Israel, who will usher in a better, more perfect era.

The Messianic Age

Jewish texts offer glimpses into this future time.

Jewish Utopia

In Jewish sources, the ideal society will be situated in Israel and ushered in by catastrophe.

Modern Messianism

Jewish messianism has been repeatedly reinterpreted in the modern era.

Mystical Messianism

Scholars debate the relationship between catastrophe, Jewish mysticism, and messianic fervor.


Resurrection

Resurrection

Resurrection

When and how will the dead will be resurrected? An open debate.

Jewish Resurrection Gets New Life

By the second century, belief in resurrection had entered Jewish liturgy and legal writing.

Modern Liturgical Reforms

Amending prayers that mention resurrection to accord with modern sensibilities.

Afterlife and Messiah 101

The resurrection of the dead is briefly mentioned in the biblical books of Daniel and Isaiah.

Quiz Yourself

How much do you know about the immortality of the soul, the World to Come, and the resurrection of the dead?

Controversies

Heaven and Hell

Heaven and Hell

Jewish sources provide images of a torturous hell and heavenly paradise.

Afterlife for Animals?

Jewish authorities disagree as to whether all cows go to heaven.

Who is the Messiah?

A humble child or perhaps a victorious and wise ruler.

Gog and Magog

Leader and nation who will battle Jews before the coming of the Messiah.

Messianism

Messianism in Chabad-Lubavitch challenges Jews of all denominations to consider the limits of Jewish theology.

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