What happens to the soul after death?
Torah emphasizes life in this world, our responsiblity to God as His earthly stewards, making us His partners in this physical realm. However, it also tells us of the eternality of the human soul.
Everything mortal must die; their bodies will decompose. Our chemical particles are merely "dust." But life is more than just gathered stardust. The soul, the animating spirit in all life, is not mortal. "Behold, all souls are Mine," God tells us (Ezekiel 18:4). "The dust returns to the earth as it was, and the soul returns to God, Who gave it." (Ecclesiates 12:7)
The human soul has qualities different from all the rest of God's Creation, in Heaven or on Earth. Man, created in the image of his Maker, has what is called a "speaking spirit," a personality capable of thinking and making his thoughts known. Further, every human being has a Heavenly spark or spirit of God in man, which makes him a responsible moral being.
Generally, Israel believes that a purgation, or purging process, may lie before most souls (for up to one full planetary year). Based upon the Kabbalah, many Jews also believe that an incomplete soul may be reborn, or reincarnated.
As a matter of principle, Israel believes in the resurrection of the dead. This is affirmed in Israel's Thirteen Articles of Faith, which is found in every Hebrew prayerbook.
The righteous of all nations have a share in the World to Come.
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