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Orthodox Judaism/The Afterlife And Exceptionally-Wicked People


On, I read:

"Hell is temporary -- not permanent.

"Hell is a therapy -- not an imprisonment.

"Hell is a consequence -- not a punishment.

"Hell is a washing machine -- not a furnace."

What about for exceptionally-wicked people such as Joseph Stalin (Y"Sh) and Osama bin Laden (Y"Sh)?

Hi Nicole

Great question!

In Judaism, we refer to a few different afterlife experiences. One is Gehinnom, which most people translate as "hell". A better translation might be purgatory, because the idea of Gehinnom is to cleanse the soul, so that it may enter Gan Eden (a.k.a. Heaven/ Paradise).

An exceptionally wicked soul loses the right to enter Gehinnom and, so, to be purified and elevated. Such a soul may remain in limbo for an indefinite period. At some point, these souls are destroyed altogether, as the prophets say, "G-d will remove the spirit of evil from the Earth".

Kind regards,

Rabbi Shishler

Orthodox Judaism

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Rabbi Ari Shishler


I am a rabbi who loves teaching, through writing and speaking. In 1999, my wife and I started our own Chabad House and it's grown exponentially. I'm also the learning director at Chabad House of Johannesburg, a high school teacher and the father of young children. As you can imagine, I get to answer lots of questions every day. I'd be glad to answer your questions on Judaism, Jewish spirituality and practice.


I have been a practicing Orthodox rabbi since 1997 and have headed my own community since 1999. I teach Talmud at a religious high school in Johannesburg and give daily lectures to adults on Jewish practice, spiritualty, Chassidic philosophy and Kabbalah. I'm the campus rabbi at our two major universities in Johannesburg.

Chabad-Lubavitch South African Rabbinical Association.

Monthly column in Jewish Life magazine, South Africa. Jewish Tradition, South Africa. Jewish Report, South Africa. South African Union of Jewish Students annual Holiday guide. Jewish Observer, South Africa. Nshei Chabad Newsletter, NY. Jewish Online Magazine.

After completing high scool, I spent six years studying in Rabbinical seminaries in South Africa, Israel and New York.

Past/Present Clients ChaiFM ( Jewish Life magazine

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