Maamar HaIkarim by Rabbi Moshe Chayim Luzzatto Chapter 5 - Gan Eden and Gehinom


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Translated by Ralph Anzarouth and an anonymous friend

5. Gan Eden and Gehinom

And we find that there are places ready for the souls upon their leaving the body. One where it can rest, if it has thus deserved, until the time of the Tchiat Hametim, and the other where it can receive its punishment if it has sinned in such a way as to prevent it from attaining rest. The place for rest is called Gan Eden [note of the translators: this is often improperly translated as "paradise"], and it is divided into various levels. There is also a lower Gan Eden and an upper Gan Eden. In the lower one, the souls dwell in their previous bodily form, and enjoy certain kinds of spiritual benefits; and this place has been adapted for the enjoyment of this kind of benefits as they have been decreed to be found there. And in the upper Gan Eden the souls reside in a totally spiritual form and enjoy spiritual benefits of a sort greatly superior to those enjoyed in the lower Gan Eden. There we find various benefits, in varying degrees as befits each recipients: these benefits and degrees of enjoyment change at different points in time.

And Gehinom [note of the translators: this is often improperly translated as "hell"] is the place for the souls which deserve punishment, and there they undergo trouble and pain, each as befits its particular case. There are different levels of pain, just as there are different levels of pleasures; and through that pain the sinners will expiate their sins. And thus, if after this they are deserving to receive some reward, they will have been cleansed of their transgressions and they will go their [place of] rest. And if they are not so deserving, they will be punished until their demise. And this will not affect the Jewish people, except to a very tiny minority.

Original text in Hebrew
Nostra traduzione in italiano - Our translation into Italian