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Path of the Soul After Death

In his book Does the Soul Survive?, Rabbi Elie Kaplan Spitz studied various sources to determine if the soul survives death. He looked into stories of near death experiences, past life regressions, stories of reincarnation, conversations with the dead, and multiple religious and philosophical sources, especially including Jewish sources.

I quote him as follows concerning what happens to the soul immediately after death [Does the Soul Survive?, Jewish Lights Publishing, 2000, pages 143-144.] :

“Despite differences in the accounts, I am persuaded of the reality of soul survival by the compelling similarities in descriptions of the afterlife in Jewish mystical texts, texts of ancient cultures such as Tibetan Buddhism, and contemporary findings. These divergent systems of wisdom affirm the survival of the soul and describe stages following death that include being drawn into the light, life review, purification, levels of soul achievement, and reincarnation. Some of the differences in the description are a product of vocabulary and not a denial of the category.

“What I gain from the study of Jewish sources on survival of the soul is an affirmation of my growing faith in another realm of reality. In the study of Jewish texts, I join a centuries-old conversation on the meaning of life and learn that, among the most sensitive and mystically oriented of my ancestors, many saw this world as only a passageway to another world. Reincarnation in the Jewish mystical literature was consistently viewed as real and as another opportunity to develop our souls. The Jewish tradition affirms that we have spirit guides, or visiting souls, that come to aid us on our spiritual path.”

This is a very interesting book that shows that New Age thinking, and the theologies of other religions, are quite compatible with Jewish thinking. I believe that we need to add some of their ideas to mainstream Jewish thought and teach it that way to our children and congregants.

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One thought on “Path of the Soul After Death

  1. Devash on January 22, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    As the saying goes, “That which is true is not new, and that which is new is not true.”

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