KosherTorah School for Biblical, Judaic & Spiritual Studies


What is Enlightenment Series, Lesson 4

Secrets of the After-Life, Part 3

The Painful Reality of Hell


by Ariel Bar Tzadok

Copyright © 2015 by Ariel Bar Tzadok. All rights reserved.


How often, in anger or otherwise, do we say to another, “go to Hell.” How many of us realize that, for many, they already are in Hell, and it is only the distractions of living in this physical world that makes their self-made Hell less of a personal reality.


Like with Heaven, Hell is state of mind, and a state of being, as opposed to being an actual physical location, be it deep under the Earth, or in some parallel dimension. “Where one thinks, there one is at.” This is true of either Heaven or Hell, and it is equally true whether one be alive in the physical body, or not.

One can indeed, “go to Hell,” and stay there, if one's own mind and guilty conscience sentences one there. There is no greater Hell than the one that one creates for oneself.


Even the emotionless sociopath who feels no remorse for crimes done, and for pain inflicted, is nevertheless “haunted” by one's own higher, unconscious levels of soul that prosecute, and persecute, that one's own lower self. There is no escape. For how can one escape one's own inner self?

While in the physical body, the higher levels of the mind soul can be blocked out by the conscious mind. Yet, when the flesh is gone, so too is the physical brain with all its sensory distractions. All that is left is one's own mind.

When the lower conscious mind is full of such contaminants that one's own higher levels of mind/soul seems to be cut off from it, the higher levels of the mind soul take action to repair this breach. This process of repair, tikun in Hebrew, is never pleasant or easy. This is why it is called Hell.


As we have discussed in our previous lessons, the mind is divided between what we call the conscious and the unconscious. We have related this division to the five-level mind/soul, and have established how the unconscious part of the mind/soul is Kabbalistically referred to as the Ohr Makif, the surround light. This is often considered to be one's aura. However, there is far more to this level of the mind/soul beyond pretty astral lights.

Even though these higher domains of the mind/soul exist in what we call unconscious, these higher mind/soul levels are certainly conscious unto themselves, and exist their own very real realm. What exactly this other realm is like is beyond our conscious perception. But our higher “selves” live there, learn there, and work there. It is from “there” that each individual higher self, speaks to, and directs one's lower self. This relationship cannot be revoked.


One's higher self exists in a parallel reality outside of what which we know as time and space. That higher self exists in that domain which we have previously referred to as the Upper Eden, the domain of the enlightened mind. Yet, some souls are more enlightened than others, and thus there are variant grades of enlightenment, and thus variant experiences of the Upper Eden.

Some souls have, metaphorically speaking, “blemishes, or black spots” on them. These need to be cleaned like we would spot bleach a garment. These blemishes or black spots are aspects of consciousness that separate the lower aspect of the individual mind/soul from its higher self, causing it to take on a semi-independent existence in a domain created especially for its repair. That domain is this physical world, and this is why we our souls incarnate into bodies of flesh, here on Earth. This is why we are here, to repair the breaches that exist within a greater selves. This is also why souls “recycle” in reincarnation. Like the old saying, “if at first you don't succeed, try and try again.”


Understanding this foundation is important to our properly understanding the concepts, and experiences of Heaven (the lower Gan), and Hell. No soul can escape them. No soul can avoid them. There is a universal constant in existence to which all mind/souls are subject. Therefore, no matter what, no matter how, every soul receives its just rewards in the after-life. This is one of the thirteen principles of faith. There is justice in the universe. Souls will always learn, and be taught in accordance to instructions coming from on high.

Let me explain what it is like for the blemished soul once it leaves its mortal body. Upon leaving the body, the mind/soul experiences something similar to an awakening. It can be compared to the state of clarity in a dream. The experience will seem real, but at the same time, there is something unreal about it. It is a state from which one cannot wake up. Needless to say, this instills within many a mind/soul a subtle state of panic.

Often the mind/soul imagines itself still in a body, and sees itself in a world similar to, but not exactly the same as the world it left behind. In this subtle state of panic/fear, the soul begins to see, and experience its own worst nightmares, drawn from the depths of its own unconscious, brought to consciousness by none other than one's own higher self.

Needless to say, each type of this experience is highly individualized, with no two being the same. One's own higher self, which is the repository for all these repressed memories and fears, brings to the consciousness of the mind/soul those experiences, and lessons that it needs to learn. Needless to say, this personalized Hell is the most devastating, and effective to bring wanton souls the lessons necessary for its repair.


Depending on the individual, these after-life lessons can be most terrifying. Yet, this state of experience and learning is only temporary. In classical literature it is said that this state lasts only for the first year after death. But this is not a literal measure of time, but rather a metaphor to express this states non-permanence. This state is called in Hebrew, Gehinom. In the Catholic faith, it is called Purgatory. Remember, according to Torah, there is no one-stop permanent Hell, or Heaven.

Gehinom, the Hebrew term for this temporary Hell, serves as a domain, actually a domain of consciousness, wherein which one's lower self is purged of all the impediments that disconnected it from its own higher self. Once the mind/soul has been cleaned in this way, it can then move into a semblance of rest in the lower Gan Eden, there to rest, until its time arrives to return to Earth, and to better its lot.

There is however a problem. Some souls when they pass from this world are still extremely attached to it. They have absolutely no desire, or intent to move on. They essentially flee the pull of their own higher selves, even to the breaking point. If such a break occurs, these souls then become detached. These are what we call lost souls. These disconnected souls embrace all the worst of their previous lives, and refuse to let it go.

In the state of this dark embrace, these lost souls desperately seek to find new homes for themselves, inside human bodies. Being filled with harmful intent, they care not that they harm the living. These lost, and disconnected souls are the ones who seek to possess human bodies. They become what is called in Hebrew, a Dibbuk. This is the foundation of the experience known as possession.


From certain religious points of view, possession is considered to be the domain of the demons, the loyal minions of the Satan. Yet, from a Torah point of view this belief is mere myth, without any real foundation in truth. Possessions are not caused by demons, but rather by earth-bound malevolent human souls, seeking to steal a body to possess. Exorcisms can be real, but circumstances must first be properly understood in order for an exorcism to be successful.

A Dibbuk is a tormented soul. In a state of panic it flees all chances to improve and correct itself. It seeks to hide inside the mind and body of a living person. Unlike in the movies, it does not act in ridiculous ways to draw attention to itself. On the contrary, it does whatever it can to conceal its presence, to remain unnoticed. Now, stop and ask the necessary question. Who or what are the Dibbuk souls hiding from?


Like I have mentioned previously, the realm of the after-life, similar to this realm of life, is governed by laws, and all laws have their enforcers. Human law is enforced by the powers of government. The laws that rule over souls in the after-life is similarly enforced by a body of enforcers. These enforces are called a species of angel. Their specific task is to pursue and collect lost, wandering souls, and to prevent them from harming the living.


This is who the Dibbuk soul hides from. If the angels in charge of collecting lost souls were to grab the Dibbuk soul in its attempt to escape, they can impose upon it a state of mind, which is even more painful than Hell itself. This mental state takes the form of being beaten, and tortured. The lost, earth-bound soul is a tormented soul. While it needs to face justice for the crimes it committed, it will never be able to come to this state until it can first be healed somewhat, thus enabling it to move on.


Part of a proper and successful exorcism must include a negotiated settlement between the Dibbuk soul, and its angelic pursuers. The Dibbuk must be willing to leave its host willingly, without causing it harm, and surrender peacefully to these angels, who in turn will do it no harm. They in turn then escort the lost soul into a mental realm wherein which it can address its issues (Gehinnom), and from there then proceed along its paths towards enlightenment. Real exorcisms follow a universal path, that applies equally to all human souls, regardless of whatever form that they inhabited while living on Earth.

How much of the Dibbuk experience is real, psychological, projection, or self-conceived is a matter of opinion. Whatever the reality of the experience be, for the mind/soul going through the torment of it, it is very real, regardless of the source, or type of its reality.


Gehinnom is not a fate that one who deserves it can avoid. Even the the most corrupted of souls that seek to escape all kinds of reckoning, are eventually brought to justice by the mind/soul's own higher self. For although one's lower self can loose sight of one's higher self, and seem to get lost, one's higher self never lets this happen forever.


The panic and flight of the lost soul may indeed last for a long time, but all during this time the disembodied mind/soul knows nothing but pain, a pain that it seeks to often inflict upon others. This is why Torah ordained the prohibition against certain occult practices that can in any way engage the souls of the dead. Recognizing the actual danger there possibly may be in doing this, safeguards were put into place.


To sum up, those souls not able to embrace peace in the after-life, will have to go through a process of refinement and repair to enable them to eventually do so. They will pass through a mindset of thoughts, and feelings that, for them, will be pure hell. This then is Hell, a temporary, but very excruciating experience.


Other souls so attached to this world that they desperately seek to return at whatever costs, and regardless of the consequences, seek to run away from all growth, and moving on. In the crowded and controlled parallel dimension of souls, this is not done with the greatest of ease, and therefore, these souls flee, trying to become lost. This running around, with the forces of the universe pursuing them, is a state of mental/emotional panic and torment, called in traditional literature as being “flung from a slingshot,” in Hebrew, Kaf HaKelah.


Souls can stay in this tormented state, harming themselves, and others, all the while that the they receive no repair, either from the higher forces meant to protect against such things, or from living human beings, who work with these lost souls to bring them to healing and justice.


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The Written Works of Ariel Bar Tzadok
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