QUESTION 3: JEWISH RELIGIOUS TRADITION AND THE AFTERLIFE 4
Question3: Jewish Religious Tradition and the Afterlife
JewishReligious Tradition and the Afterlife
Thebelief in the life after death is a phenomenon that does not have anexpress explanation without the involvement of traditions, religionand cultural beliefs. The role of culture and religion is to providean explanation of the life after death. In addition, culture andreligion provides a conception that is meant to influence how peopleshould live their life in preparation for the life after death(Becker,1973).This is achieved through the formulation of a consistent belief inspiritual religion that gives human beings a hope in death and in theafterlife. This discussion will explore the issue of life after deathby analyzing the Jewish tradition and religious conceptionof the afterlife and how it shaped their behavior and practices.
TheJewish religion is one of the main religions in the world thatstrongly believe in life after death. According to the Jews, thedeath of a person is appreciated as the gateway to the new life.Their belief that there is new life means that they see death as theentry to the afterlife. Their belief in the afterlife is so strongthat they consider a person is not dead, but just passed to the otherlife (Dosick,2010). Inregard to the relationship with God, the Jewish tradition believesthat the death of a person introduces him to the life with thecreator. This makes the religion have a perception of God as thebeing that can only be reached by man through death.
TheJewish religion views the afterlife as more superior life than thecurrent earthly life. According to the Jews, the afterlife is aspiritual kind of life that can only be accessed by those who havedied. Therefore, they regarded the dead as the superior beings whohad higher spiritual abilities than the living (Dosick,2010). Whilesome went to God, there was controversy over the lives of those whodid not live with God. Therefore, the most logical explanation wasthat those who did not live their superior life after death with Godlived with the evil one. As a result of this belief, there was a needfor living a good life on earth.
AccordingtoDosick (2010), theJewish teachings showed that the life one lived on earth determinedthe life that the person will live after death. If a person lives agood life that adhered with the commandments of God, then hequalified to live a happy and joyful life in the afterlife. On theother hand, if a person lived a bad, immoral and sinful life, hewould not qualify to live with God but with the evil one. Accordingto Dosick(2010), theparameter that determined whether a person lived a good life or a badlive is the adherence to the laws that they called the “Torah.”Therefore, the belief in the afterlife shaped the behavior andcharacter of the living by requiring them to live ethically accordingto the laws.
Whilelife after death is a mystery to human beings, religion, cultures andtraditions have provided a sufficient explanation of the phenomenon.In the Jewish traditions and religion, life after death wasconsidered to be real and more spiritually superior to the earthlylife. The religion teaches that the behavior of the earthly lifedetermines the life he or she will live after death. Therefore, thereligion shapes the behavior of people by requiring leading goodlives on earth for a better life after death.
Becker,E. (1973). TheDenial of Death.New York: Simon & Schuster
Dosick,W. (2010). LivingJudaism: The Complete Guide to Jewish Belief, Tradition and Practice.New York: HarperOne