Here’s an interesting passage on modern Judaism and the afterlife, from Wikipedia;
“In explaining the Orthodox view of the afterlife, Irving Greenberg, a Modern Orthodox rabbi, discussed both the ‘world to come’ and the belief in punishment and reward in a Moment Magazine ‘Ask the Rabbis’ forum:
‘Belief in the afterlife – a world to come in which the righteous get their true reward and the wicked get their deserved comeuppance – is a central teaching of traditional Judaism. This belief stems from the conviction that a loving God would not allow injustice to win.
‘When the facts of life did not fit the Bible’s emphasis on reward and punishment in the here and now, this faith in the afterlife was emphasized. In the Middle Ages, when Jews suffered so much while enemies ruled the world, the stress on the world to come grew stronger. Some religious teachers taught that this life is ‘unimportant,’ and that one should live only to be worthy of eternal bliss. This view spilled over into asceticism and less respect for the body and material activity.
‘Early modernizers reversed direction. They validated Judaism and dismissed Christianity by insisting that Judaism is interested only in doing well in earthly life. Christianity was criticized as otherworldly, repressive and dreaming only of getting to heaven. It was described as cruel for condemning people to eternal damnation. This modern one-sided emphasis on mortal life robbed Jews of the profound consolation of eternal life and justice for all who suffered unjustly and innocently.
‘What is needed is the classical Jewish ability to hold both sides of the tension. Such Judaism would inspire people to find God in the secular, to unite body and soul, to work for tkkun olam (repairing the world) in the here and now. At the same time, it would uphold the reality of the spirit and the immortality of the soul. This faith offers the consolation of a final reunion – with those we have loved and lost with the El Maleh Rachamim, the Infinite God of Compassion.’
“Conservative Judaism both affirms belief in the world beyond (as referenced in the Amidah and Maimonides’ Thirteen Precepts of Faith) while recognizing that human understanding is limited and we cannot know exactly what the world beyond consists of. Reform and Reconstructionist Judaism affirm belief in the afterlife, though they downplay the theological implications in favor of emphasizing the importance of the “here and now,” as opposed to reward and punishment.”
In love, light and joy,
I Am of the Stars
Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Judaism, afterlife, eschatology, myths, myths of creation,