Judaism and Reincarnation

General discussions on Jewish faith, life, prayer, halachah and traditions.

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Guardian Angel
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Judaism and Reincarnation

Post by Guardian Angel » Sun Jan 18, 2009 10:48 pm

Evidently Judaism believes in reincarnation:

"The sages of the true wisdom teach that every Jewish soul must REINCARNATE many times until it has fulfilled all the 613 mitzvos in action, speech, and thought." Shulchan Aruch HaRav: Hilchos Talmud Torah 1:4

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef on the REINCARNATION of Judaic souls:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world ... 11547.html

"If a Noahite is striving in the learning of Torah... reveals new aspects of Torah, he may be physically restrained and informed that he is liable for capital punishment... If the court that is established in consonance with the Seven Universal Laws gives the death penalty to a Noahite, the execution is an atonement for the person's past transgression... Furthermore, the Noahite must experience REINCARNATION to be able to atone for transgressions he has done." Chaim Clorfene & Yakov Rogalsky, "The Path of the Righteous Gentile: An Introduction to the Seven Laws of the children of Noah," (Feldheim Publishers, 1987) p. 42 (The book bears an official letter of approval of its contents by Rabbi Mendel Feldman, Shearith Israel Congregation.)

Ariel
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Post by Ariel » Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:51 pm

yes, there are many important streams in Judaism that believe in reincarnation. In case that wasn't clear, our interest and appreciation for Judaism at 'Catholics for Israel' obviously doesn't mean that we accept or agree with all beliefs and practices of rabbinical Judaism.
“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world” C.S. Lewis

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Post by Athol » Mon Jan 26, 2009 1:51 pm

Yes many do believe in reincarnation and it has become more popular in recent years in Judaism. However the Saadia Gaon taught against reincarnation and many also think it is a misintrepretation of spiritual states which have little to do with the idea of reincarnation as believed today which seems to be influenced by Hindu and Buddhist ideas. See Perle Besseman's book on the Kabbalah.
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Post by Fidesetratio » Tue Jan 27, 2009 5:13 am

Athol wrote:Yes many do believe in reincarnation nad it has become more popular in recent years in Judaism. .
Ive never heard of any form of Christianity teaching "reincarnation" so im a bit stumped as to how some forms of Judaism beleive in it since we both share the Old Testament?

I admit I havnt read the Old Testament that many times over, but i cant think of a single scriptural reference that alludes to re-incarnation?

Peace,
Rob

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Post by Athol » Tue Jan 27, 2009 11:31 am

Judaism is not just based on the Old Testament but on the Tradition that goes with it. some believe that elements of the Jewish mystical tradition refer to reincarnation. some of the Pharisees believed in it thus the reason that they thought John the Baptist might be Elijah or one of the prophets come back. Some confuse reincarnation with resurrection. It was a belief found among many uneducated Jews in the Middle Ages and then certain followers of Isaac Luria misinterpreted his teachings as referring to reincarnation rather than spiritual ascents moving from level to level in rounds (galgal). Also the concept of sharing in a departed persons spirituality or charism also became confused with actual reincarnation in the eastern sense. We see that Elisha inherited a double portion of the spirit of Elijah- that John the Baptist came in the spirit of Elijah etc. it has also got confused due to the punishments that souls in Purgatory must undergo. the more flexible understanding of 'soul' in Judaism as compared to Christianity makes it even more confusing.
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Post by mikemac » Fri Feb 06, 2009 12:56 am

Fidesetratio wrote:
Athol wrote:Yes many do believe in reincarnation nad it has become more popular in recent years in Judaism. .
Ive never heard of any form of Christianity teaching "reincarnation" so im a bit stumped as to how some forms of Judaism beleive in it since we both share the Old Testament?

I admit I havnt read the Old Testament that many times over, but i cant think of a single scriptural reference that alludes to re-incarnation?

Peace,
Rob
Interesting, just this afternoon I was reading that Attila the Hun was known as Buda. He was also the leader or Khagan of the Huns from 434 until his death in 453. The connection here is that the Khazars called their leader Khagan. The Khazars dominated the Pontic steppe and the North Caucasus from the 7th to the 10th century AD. The Khazars converted to Judaism in 740 AD. The majority of the Jewish world today are Ashkenazim while a smaller percentage are Sephardim. It's widely believed that the Ashkenazim Jews stem from the Khazars. Arthur Koestler wrote a very interesting book in 1976 about the Khazar Empire called the Thirteenth Tribe. You can get it free online by doing a Google search for the Thirteenth Tribe. Maybe the belief in reincarnation in some parts of Judaism stems from Attila the Hun's time seeing he was called Buda.

God bless
Mike

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Post by Athol » Sun Feb 08, 2009 10:17 am

Khagan was the title of many rulers of peoples in that part of the world so I don't think that on its own would connect Attila the Hun with the Khazar Jews. Yair Davidi has recently written a book on the Khazars which is very interesting. The Ashkenazi certainly contain those of Khazar ancestry but certainly not all Ashkenazi Jews are of Khazar origin on the their direct male line. Those of Eastern European R1a may be of Khazar ancestry. However the Khazars included people of diverse DNA so it willl be some time that one will be able to know the percentages of those Ashkenazim who are of male line Khazar ancestry. However with intermarriage in the Jewish communities probably most Jews would have some Khazar ancestry just as most Jews would be descendants of the Israelite Patriarchs (even if it isn't on the direct male line). Just as probably most Europeans would have some Khazar and Jewish ancestry in them even though they aren't Jews themselves. It is the Jewish communities that preserve the Israelite identity not ones dna. One is a Jew either through proven maternal Jewish ancestry or conversion to Judaism.
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Guardian Angel

Post by guardian » Tue Feb 10, 2009 9:33 pm

Dear Guardian Angel,

Shalom, my name is Guardian and I am new on this course and I would like to know what do you mean by "reincarnation?"

Thank you,
Guardian

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Post by Ariel » Tue Feb 10, 2009 10:17 pm

actually guardian angel has been banned from the site unfortunately as he was here only to cause trouble and not really to engage in discussion. I left his post in case someone wanted to pursue it, but it will have to be without his further comments.
Last edited by Ariel on Wed Feb 11, 2009 6:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world” C.S. Lewis

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Post by Athol » Wed Feb 11, 2009 9:46 am

The word used in Judaism is Gilgul which in English is translated as reincarnation. In recent centuries this concept of gilgul has come to mean reincarnation in Jewish circles. It comes from the words galgal (circle/round) and Gilgal (places of stone circles mentioned in the Bible). It actually refers to mystical rounds of ascent of the souls in the spiritual life/world. It is linked to the wheel (or Galgal ) in Ezekiel. This has been linked to the Buddhist and Hindu concepts of reincarnation and the Wheel of Life etc. but this is a perversion of the original concept. These modern developments are then read back into old Jewish texts confusing the issue even more. The problem occurs when those not so mystically advanced misinterpret the mystical insights of the great mystics whether they be Jewish or Christian.
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Post by mikemac » Wed Feb 11, 2009 10:04 pm

Interesting, yeah the Douay-Rheims Bible in Ezechiel 10:13 translates the word "Voluble"... That is, rolling wheels, galgal.

Also from the Douay-Rheims Bible it gives 39 occurrences for a search for Galgal, being a place over against the east side of the city of Jericho where the people led by Josue first set up camp as they came up out of the Jordan. Josue had one man from each tribe place a stone from the Jordon at this place called Galgal.

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Post by Athol » Thu Feb 12, 2009 1:53 am

And if my memory is correct Gilgal is also mentioned in the story of Elijah who went up to Heaven in a fiery chariot.
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Post by Athol » Thu Feb 12, 2009 3:08 am

In Judaism their are different levels to the soul called nefesh, ruach, neshmah and coverings of the soul chayah and yechidah. The nefesh is the soul we are born with- or the vessel of the soul. The concept of Gilgul refers especially to the level of neshamah and Gilgul is also called Gilgul Neshamot. The four higher levels according to some are states the soul merits or attained to. It is also connected to the universal soul of Adam (Adam Klalit) in which all mankind shared but with Adam's sin it broke into many individual neshamot. So we see the idea of the soul as Neshamah is not what most of us think about when we use the term soul. Just as John the Baptist and Elisha shared in the spirit/soul of Elijah in some mystical way- this does not mean reincarnation in the sense of the person/nefesh of Elijah being reincarnated. We see that Elisha received the double portion of the spirit of Elijah and Elisha was alive at the same time as Elijah.
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Post by mikemac » Thu Feb 12, 2009 11:28 pm

Hmm. The Douay-Rheims Bible does not find Elisha or for that matter Elijah either. But it shows 95 occurrences for Elias. The King James Bible has both Elias and Elijah. The Douay-Rheims Bible shows Elias in the spots where the King James Bible shows Elijah. I'm not sure who Elisha would be in the Douay-Rheims Bible?

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Post by Athol » Fri Feb 13, 2009 12:51 am

Yes Elias is from the Greek version of the Hebrew Eliyahu which becomes Elijah in English. I think Elisha may be Eliseus or something similiar in the doauy-rheims. I don't have a Bible to check it out where I am at the moment.
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