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Judaism and reincarnation

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#1 shrigala



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Posted 17 June 2012 - 05:32 PM

In another thread (which is about another topic, so I'm starting a new one), ijs said:
"Jews do not believe in Hell as Xians understand it. It is in no way a place of eternal anything. Gehinnom is a place of cleansing/purification for various sins, up to a maximum of twelve months. There is no eternal punishment. (However, depending on who you talk to, there is likely to be reincarnation."

Could somebody tell me more about the belief in reincarnation in Judaism?
- How widespread/accepted is this belief?
- What are the sources for it?
- What are the conditions (do people incarnate indefinitely, are they supposed to "break the cycle", do they reincarnate only as humans or not, do reincarnations depend on what they did in the previous life, etc.)
- Do you believe in it personally? Or do you find this belief appealing?

I find it interesting because I always associated the belief in reincarnation with Eastern religions rather than the "Abrahamic" faiths. For me, there is something appealing in this belief. It somehow seems more "fair" if a person can be given a "second chance" and be tested in a variety of environments and situations.

#2 33948



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Posted 18 June 2012 - 01:53 PM

Reincarnation is common in pagan religions as well. The Abrahamic idea of a linear time line and an afterlife is a bit unique. It seems to have originated in the Egyptian religion, which emphasizes the afterlife, eternal life etc.

#3 TagMahir



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Posted 19 June 2012 - 11:35 AM

"reincarnation" is a new concept foreign to Torah Judaism. Rav Saadya Gaon wrote strongly agains't it. Just stick to the Torah- Talmudh-Chazal and stay away from these philosophical opinions.

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