Sunday, December 26, 2010

Reincarnations and their Purpose

Photo: Miriam Woelke


Jewish Basics:
Does Judaism believe in the reincarnation of souls ?
Absolutely. The famous medieval Kabbalist, Rabbi Yitzchak Luria (1534 - 1572) was discussing the matter in length. 
Purpose of the reincarnation of a Jewish soul is a rectification. A Jew did something wrong in his former life and now the soul is reincarnated in order to undergo a retification. If not, the soul may be damaged again. Even worse than before.

Usually the Jewish Kabbalah refers to reincarnations of Jewish souls and I cannot say whether the whole transmigration issue also applies to the Gentile world. The only point the Jewish Kabbalah is referring to that having a Jewish soul reincarnated in a Christian body would be seen as a punishment. The same with being reincarnated in a stone, a plant, an animal or in another human being. 

The most perfect way for such a Jewish soul caught in a Gentile body seems to undergo a conversion to Judaism but who can decide that today. In the days of Rabbi Luria until Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto in the 18th century, great Rabbis were still able to recognize reincarnations. Today, however, no one knows for sure. 

However, I have met Gentiles claiming to have a "Jewish" soul but those ideas are nothing but illusions, as a Gentile is not able to recognize such a kabbalistic issue.

The main purpose of the transmigration of souls is to rectify some omissions of one's previous earthly existence. A man can live a lifetime without being aware of what he has to rectify or amend. If, however, he encounters some difficulties in the performance of certain Mitzvot, he then has a clear indication of the true purpose of his reincarnation (Rabbi Shmuel of Zwolyn).

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