Ask the Rabbi

  • Torah and Jewish Thought
  • The Resurrection of the Dead and World to Come



Rabbi Ari Shvat

Tevet 24, 5782
What’s with all these NDEs (Near Death Experiences) and LBLs (Life Between Lives) "visions"? Are they All false prophets, or are there Any that aren’t (and if so, which/who?)? It’s obvious that all the non-Jewish ones are false prophets, but can you explain what the ones are that are? -an unobservant Jew who had an NDE which seems to be in alignment with the Torah and doesn’t say anything against the Torah (if necessary I can send you a link to this example). So the question here is, if they aren’t an observant jew, why would they have merited ruach hakodesh? And if it’s not ruach hakodesh, then... what is it? -an unobservant Jew who only had a little torah in their NDE, but who also came back with some things to say that seem like they could be anti-Torah?
They are not prophecies and don't claim to be prophets, so it doesn't matter if they are Jewish or not, and there's apparently no reason not to believe many of these testimonies (some have actually been documented empirically by several respected academic universities, but that doesn't mean that all are true). Accordingly these "out of the body experiences", are not Ruach HaKodesh (which needs to be merited), but rather a one-time gift from our loving Father in Heaven, explicitly granted to "normal" or non-Jewish people, & apparently meant to strengthen our belief in the eternity of the soul, reward and punishment, and the world-to-come. The documented stories that I have read and seen, actually corroborate and verify similar descriptions from ancient traditional Jewish sources (like seeing a long dark tunnel with a warm appealing light at the end; having one's relatives great him into the next world; seeing one's life flash in front of him like a movie; having discussions via thoughts and not words, etc.). Our belief in Judaism and her traditions do not depend upon such "proofs" and accordingly, if someone here or there "sees" things which seem to contradict the Torah or tradition, it need not bother you, for that account may in fact, not be true, and possibly even just imagined or fabricated. On the other hand, the fact that the academically proven and documented experiences do explicitly verify Jewish traditions, is interesting and worth noting, and like everything, should be used to our benefit to scientifically strengthen our age-old beliefs.
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