Heaven, Hell, Astral Projection, Prophetic Dreams and Reincarnation (In Judaism)

Does the title of this post bring Jewish beliefs to mind? Modern Judaism shies away from these topics, yet they all exist in Jewish theology and have been written about for ages in our religious texts.

Astral Projection: In Jewish thought the neshama (soul) leaves the body while we sleep and reunites with Source (GD) where it is spiritually recharged.

Have you ever dreamed you were speaking with deceased loved ones? Jewish Mystics said we can communicate with our deceased loved ones when our souls travel to Olam Habah while we sleep. Your soul returns to its corporeal vessel upon the onset of awakening.

…when they sleep their souls ascend to Him… in the morning He restores one’s soul to everyone.

Midrash Rabbah / Deuteronomy 5:15

The soul fills the body, and when man sleeps it ascends and draws life for him from above

Bereishit Rabah, 14:11

GD breathed the “nishmat chayim” (living soul) into humankind, making life-force of the soul eternally connected to its Divine Source. (Torah)

Reincarnation/Gilgul Neshamot (Wheel of Souls): Our eternal souls can transmigrate into a different host body after we depart this mortal coil.

A number of key figures in the Torah are believed to have received the transmigrated souls of those who passed before them.

Rabbi Yitzchak Luria, believed Lilith (Adam’s first wife) had many incarnations, reflecting the many interpretations of Torah.

Jewish mystics believed the soul of Abel/Hevel entered the body of Moses/Moshe, while Cain/Kayin transmigrated into the body of his father-in-law Yitro— thus rectifying the disasterous relationship between Cain and Abel.

Reincarnating in non-human form is a possibility, but was considered by the Kabbalists to be a lower form of Gilgul Neshamot. I disagree. I’d rather come back as a tortoise, plant or tree, than a human.

There are two basic types of reincarnation in Jewish beliefs.

1. Gilgul Neshamot: The soul of a deceased person reincarnates into a host body in Olam Hazeh (this world).

2. Ibbur: The soul of a righteous person (tzadik) leaves Olam Habah (The World To Come) to help elevate another soul that is already inside a host body. The ibbur isn’t there to mess around though. It will be outta there in a New York minute if the soul in the host body refuses to do the work.

Why do souls reincarnate? To ascend to a higher level as a human being, rectify and correct.

Is there a Heaven in Judaism? Yep. Olam Habah is a celestial Paradise where the souls of the departed return to Source (GD). Other names for heavenly realms are Shamayim and Gan Eden.

Sleep is 1/60 of death, fire is 1/60 of hell, honey is 1/60 of manna (from heaven), Shabbat is 1/60 of the World to Come and dreams are 1/60 of prophecy. Dreams are the buds of prophecy.

Talmud and Midrash / Brachot 57b

In the verse above we can see the intersection of two beliefs: The ascension of our souls to Olam Habah after death and our souls to traveling to Olam Habah while we sleep, rooted in the concept that sleep is 1/60th of death.

Is there a Hell in Judasim? Hell yes! Most contemporary Jews believe the concept doesn’t exist in Judaism, but it has been around for millennia.

Sheol: “The land of gloom and deep darkness” (Job 10:21). The Torah describes Sheol as a place where all souls go after death. Around the Second Temple period (500 BC – 70 AD) Sheol shifted to a realm for wicked souls, in contrast to Paradise, the realm for the virtuous.

Gehinnom: A punishing place where sinners and wicked souls go, that evolved into a “cleansing” place for souls before their debut in Olam Habah.

What the hell happens in the Jewish concept of hell? It’s only a temporary stopover (unless the deceased was incorrigibly evil), typically referred to as “purgatory” in modern Jewish terminology. Souls can serve a maximum sentence of 12 months in Gehinnom, before ascending to Olam Habah to be with GD.

What happens to truly evil people? Incorrigibly evil souls (people who committed heinous crimes and atrocities on earth) are said to be incinerated out of existence in Gehinnom, making it more like a mix between hell and purgatory. Helgatory.

Does Judaism profess to be ‘the one true faith’ or ‘one true pathto GD or Heaven?’ NOPE! We don’t roll like that. Judaism is simply considered to be the Jewish path. In Jewish thought, people of all faiths have their own path to GD and an equal share in Heaven. No soul is ‘unsaved’ based on religious beliefs or lack thereof.


I feel it’s important to provide a holistic Jewish view on these topics, even though mainstream Judaism has taken these topics off the table, in favor of an emphasis on life in This World. It’s a worthy emphasis, but I’ve found that people need to believe there’s more than our transitory experiences on this mortal coil. My class members were comforted to discover we have a heaven for dearly departed souls and even a place where souls atone for harm caused in this world. It was like the missing piece that completed the picture and fulfilled a basic human need.

20 thoughts on “Heaven, Hell, Astral Projection, Prophetic Dreams and Reincarnation (In Judaism)

  1. I love this post. And believe it or not have nothing to comment for it all aligns with my understanding.
    I’d love to know more about you.
    Except the first wife part. Awaiting that post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Phil Sutherland

    I love this post! I have felt for years that I have been reincarnated several times. The reason for this is that I have dreams of a life in earlier times, such as the middle ages, and my dreams are very vivid, with people that I know by name, clothing that is appropriate for the time, etc. These dreams often have occurred with little study or knowledge of the times dreamt about, but, when researching the accuracy of what I was dreaming, events, clothing and even the locations have been accurate and concise. I have had such dreams of multiple time periods dating back to the middle ages, up to times just before my birth. Apparently, I am still learning my lessons, according to you post of the reasons for reincarnation.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Soul Circle

      Wow. Love this! You should start a journal of your past life dreams and try to record as many details as possible. Some of the Sages said they remembered their past lives and knew they were reincarnated. Thanks for sharing and being on this journey with me!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Soul Circle

          Darn! I didn’t realize you commented! Sorry! I look foward to your input after Shabbat. I was so frustrated with the new editor, I ended up doing a new post. I simply wanted to change the title and the URL on the existing post, which I used to be able to do in the new fangled editor, but now it won’t let me do it!! Argh!! I don’t know why they took away the option to change the URL on an existing post. Bah. I pay for an upgraded plan, so not a happy FB camper right now.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Complain? I think I can change my URL’s and it’s the free version. Not that I try to. Yeah i wrote you a proper comment which is a shame but oh well. And now I can finally read about lilith!!! (Have a lil headspace. If I can’t concentrate it’ll have to wait again but hopefully I can)

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Soul Circle

              Would love to hear your feedback on both posts (Lilith and the dining tables as mini-temples post). I might do another food post entitled “conscious eating” as a sequel.

              I figured out how to change my URL — they moved it to a different place, instead of leaving where it was — which was obvious and easy to spot. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!! I actually changed it back to the original title it had when I taught the class. Wishing you a peaceful week and day. Shavua tov!


  3. Pingback: Judaism Q and A: Heaven and The Afterlife – The Wild Pomegranate

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