In Christian influenced Western culture, there’s an idea that when people die they become angels. Does this have any basis in Judaism?
The Hebrew term: malach, often translated as angel, literally means a messenger and is usually used symbolically when a certain thing or concept is utilized as an instrument to carry out a Godly mission. On the other hand, when people die, their souls go “up” to the “World of the Souls” to continue their spiritual development, and are basically removed from this world. According to kabbalistic sources the souls do spiritually hover around this world for another 12 months, and occasionally “visit”, like at the weddings of their descendents, but those are passive roles. In any event, we don’t believe in “little figures with wings”. Happy Israel Independence Day! Rabbi Ari Shvat