[Avodah] Gilgul Hanefesh

Richard Wolberg cantorwolberg at cox.net
Mon Nov 6 23:30:51 PST 2017

I have heard many conflicting opinions about our belief in 
reincarnation. I hope and pray it is not true. “One life is enough!”
Is there a definitive Jewish belief?
I have even heard some believe in “Transmigration of the Soul” which
is even more scary. As an impressionable kid, I once had a rabbi tell me
that if you don’t wash netilat yadayim prior to eating, you will come back 
as a dog.  

The following is an excerpt by an article in
the Aish.com Newsletter by Sara Yoheved Rigler.

there are hints to reincarnation in the Bible and early commentaries (1), while in Kabbalah, 
Judaism’s mystical tradition, overt references to reincarnation abound. The Zohar, the basic text of Jewish mysticism (attributed to Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, a 1st century sage) 
assumes gilgul neshamot [the recycling of souls] as a given, and the Ari, the greatest of all Kabbalists, whose 16th teachings are recorded in, Shaar HaGilgulim, 
traced the reincarnations of many Biblical figures. While some authorities, such as Saadia Gaon (10th century) denied reincarnation as a Jewish concept, from the 17th century onward, 
leading rabbis of normative Judaism, such as the Gaon of Vilna and the Chafetz Chaim (2), referred to gilgul neshamot as a fact.

	(1)• See Deut. 33:6, and Targum Onkeles and Targum Yonosson on that verse. Also see Isaiah 22:14.
	(2)• Mishnah Berurah 23:5 and Shaar HaTzion 622:6

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