Life After Death

Judaism, as well as other philosophies, agrees that death is a physical occurrence, one which does not affect the metaphysical, meaning the soul. A soul is not physical, and being such, is not affected by physical death

It all begins for us at birth. We are thrust from the womb onto the carousel of life, carried away in a blur of activities from childhood to adulthood and then to old age. Each of us have our dreams, our relationships and we go to school; we work and play, day after day, week after week, year after year. Life is certainly busy. And yet we tend not to think about the fact of our inevitable death. It doesn’t seem to make any sense that we will no longer exist as we know it. The fact is we will die and there is no way to avoid it. Like the child being born, we have no choice but to yield ourselves to the unknown. Like the seventy billion who have already passed this way through life, we will join their ranks at the rate of 130,000 a day. And in that same day, 400,000 new lives will be born. The cycle of life and death continues at an ever-increasing pace….

- Norman Van Rooy, the producer of the NDE (Near-Death Experiences and the Afterlife) documentary “Shadows”.

Dr. Raymond Moody’s (Ph.D, M.D.) research

The person whose best-selling book, Life After Life, first focused public attention in 1975 on the near-death experience and what it is telling the medical profession was Dr. Raymond A. Moody. Moody was the one who actually coined the term “near-death experience”. You can read more about Dr. Moody at his website. He is currently the head of the Consciousness Studies program at UNLV. Besides his ground-breaking book, Life After Life, he is also the author of the books, The Light Beyond, Reunions, Life After Loss, Coming Back, Reflections, and The Last Laugh,

Moody recorded and compared the experiences of 150 persons who died, or almost died, and then recovered. His research describes the results of decades of inquiry into the NDE (near-death experience) phenomenon. He outlines nine elements that generally occur during NDEs.

A strange sound:  A buzzing, or ringing noise, while having a sense of being dead.

Peace and painlessness:  While people are dying, they may be in intense pain, but as soon as they leave the body the pain vanishes and they experience peace.

Out-of-body experience:  The dying often have the sensation of rising up and floating above their own body while it is surrounded by a medical team, and watching it down below, while feeling comfortable. They experience the feeling of being in a spiritual body that appears to be a sort of living energy field.

The tunnel experience:  The next experience is that of being drawn into darkness through a tunnel, at an extremely high speed, until reaching a realm of radiant golden-white light. Also, although they sometimes report feeling scared, they do not sense that they were on the way to hell or that they fell into it.

Rising rapidly into the heavens:  Instead of a tunnel, some people report rising suddenly into the heavens and seeing the earth and the celestial sphere as they would be seen by astronauts in space.

People of light:  Once on the other side of the tunnel, or after they have risen into the heavens, the dying meet people who glow with an inner light. Often they find that friends and relatives who have already died are there to greet them.

The Being of Light:  After meeting the people of light, the dying often meet a powerful spiritual being whom some have identified as God, or some religious figure. 

The life review:  The Being of Light presents the dying with a panoramic review of everything they have ever done. That is, they relive every act they have ever done to other people and come away feeling that love is the most important thing in life.

Reluctance to return:  The Being of Light sometimes tells the dying that they must return to life. Other times, they are given a choice of staying or returning. In either case, they are reluctant to return. The people who choose to return do so only because of loved ones they do not wish to leave behind.

Jewish Afterlife Beliefs (see the Jewish sources for the above phenomenon)


Posted in: Jewish Beliefs & Philosophy