With an Eye on Eternity - Chapter 5

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With an Eye on Eternity

Chapter 5

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This Book in One Big Document

5. Gan-Eden and Gehinom

Specific places have been prepared for souls after they take leave of the body. In one, the souls rest in peace until the time of the resurrection - if they merit it. The other place is for the souls which must pass through and be subjected to a refining process of purification through punishments. Such treatment is meted out to the particular souls which are burdened by wrong doing which make it necessary to withhold from them the joy of a final rest. This place of final rest is called Gan-Eden, and it is made up of various levels.

There is a lower Gan-Eden and an upper Gan-Eden. In the lower Gan-Eden souls repose in the form of the bodies in which they once resided, and there they enjoy varied spiritual delights. This place has been designed to provide pleasures that were decreed to be available there. In the upper Gan-Eden souls dwell in the form of actual souls [pure spiritual entities with no ties to the physical]. The various spiritual delights they enjoy are greater and stand upon a higher place than do those of the lower Gan-Eden, where there are changes of both seasons and times for varied and alternating kinds of bliss. There are also different levels among those who are privileged to share in these enjoyments.

Gehinom is the place that is reserved for those souls that deserve to be punished. The suffering and pain that they undergo is determined by what is relevant to their particular state. There are various levels of pain just as there are various levels of pleasure. Through their suffering, those who have done wrong free themselves of the burden of their wrongs. If they are worthy of being rewarded [for the good deeds done in life] after they are purified of their wrong doings, and cleansed by suffering and pain], they can enter into final peace.

[A physical body that has become contaminated and infected by a serious germ or virus infection cannot be cleansed and made free of the infection without treatment. Often the treatment is painful and protracted. So it is with the soul. The contamination and consequences of wrong-doing are just as real. However, since the contamination and consequences of sin belong to the realm of the spiritual, neither are they perceived by the human eye nor can they be sensed by our scientific instruments.

The Creator has designed the methods that must be used to rid man of the spiritual infections that come about through wrong doing - somewhat along the lines of purging physical contamination. The treatment is usually painful and often of long duration. The degree of pain and its duration depend on the seriousness and scope of the "infection" and how deeply it has penetrated the soul. It should also be noted that this is also the purpose of much of the suffering and pain we see here in our lower world, to cleanse the soul and return it to a state of health. All this suffering is no less kind and merciful than is that which is brought about by any surgeon who must use harsh drugs, needles and scalpels to heal his patients.]

If the souls cannot be cleansed [because of the gravity of the wrongs] they will be punished until ultimately destroyed. Punishments which culminate in the total annihilation of the soul are rarely meted out to Jews.

Chapter 4 | Table of Contents | Chapter 6
This Book in One Big Document

With an Eye on Eternity is published by
The Kest-Lebovits Jewish Heritage and Roots Library
and is distributed by Feldheim Publishers
© 1994 Rabbi Yehudah Lebovits

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