by Rabbi Stephen M. Wylen, Temple Beth Tikvah, Wayne, NJ
Judaism permits a variety of beliefs concerning life after death. Some of our Talmudic Sages believed that the souls of the righteous are kept in a treasury under the throne of God. Others believed that the righteous sit on thrones, enjoying the heavenly light that shines from the Blessed Holy One.
Many of our forbears anticipated sitting at the table in the Yeshiva on High, where the righteous of all ages discuss the teachings of Torah. The Pharisees taught that at the end of time all the dead would be resurrected to earthly life, while other Jewish movements, including the modern Reformers of Judaism, taught that the soul separates from the body at death and, after submitting to judgment, goes to its eternal reward. The various Jewish teachings agree that we live on in some manner after death, and that there is reward for obedience to the Torah.