The Jewish View on Heaven and Hell

Dovid: Rabbi Moshe Chayim Luzzatto is one of a number of prominent rabbis who talked about the subject and explained his position: (see: The Way of G-d by Rabbi Moshe Chayim Luzzatto, pages 383, 385 Ma'amar Ha-Ikkarim B'gan Eden V'Gehenom).

And behold, there were places prepared for the souls when they leave from their respective bodies, one to rest in it " if he merits" until the time of the Resurrection, and one to be purged in it, by punishments -if there are sins upon this soul, which prevent it from resting. And behold the place of rest is called the Garden of Eden, and it has different levels. And there is a lower Garden of Eden and an upper Garden of Eden. In the lower Garden of Eden the souls dwell in the forms of the bodies that they were in, and they enjoy there various types of spiritual pleasures, and the place has been prepared in accordance to the types of pleasures that were decreed to exist there. In the upper Garden of Eden, the souls dwell in their true essence, and enjoy various types of spiritual pleasures that are greater and more exalted than the pleasures of the lower Garden. And there, there are changes of time and seasonal changes, for different pleasures that continue to change and there are different levels for those experiencing.

Gehenom, Purgatory, is the places for souls that are suited for punishment, and there they receive pain and sufferings in relation to what is applicable to them, in accordance to their respective situations. And there are different levels of pain as there are different levels of pleasure, and with this pain, the sinners shall bear their iniquities. However, if they are worthy of reward, after this, behold they will be purified from their sin and go to rest. If not, they will be punished until they are obliterated. And this thing will not occur to a descendant of Israel, a Jew, except in the most infrequent of cases.

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