Let My People Know

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz: “The soul, which is spiritual in nature, cannot be seared in fire or frozen in snow.”

When a soul completes the rectification process, it goes to the Garden of Eden.

Both Gehinnom (Hell) and the Garden of Eden are often spoken of as locations, or worlds.

They do not, however, belong to the realm of geography, or even physics.

Gehinnom is a “place” only in the metaphorical, almost mathematical sense of a platform or an infrastructure of a reality to which souls relate.

So the geographic or physical descriptions of Gehinnom really refer to states of being.

The soul can reach a state of Gehinnom and, also, a state of Eden.

Because human language and thought are confined to material metaphors and physical representations, we experience difficulty trying to comprehend these situations, let alone attributing emotional     v            significance to them.

This is why we use material imagery that is available to a person living within a body.

There isn’t much in traditional Jewish literature that shows us what Gehinnom (Hell) looks or feels like.

But in the wider world of folklore and legend, there is plenty, and it is embellished with elaborate descriptions and illustrations.

While these may be successful in awakening the imagination, they cannot be taken at face value.

The soul, which is spiritual in nature, cannot be seared in fire or frozen in snow, for instance, so any description should be understood as metaphor and representation, not as realistic depictions.

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz