Job – Chapter 33

Reincarnation?

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

Elihu continues his response to Job :

“Just listen to me, since I am finally ready to speak. G-d has made me, just like you he made you, and He has kept me alive, so I will speak up for Him. You wanted to talk to G-d? I will represent Him, so answer my words, if you can. But I am also human, so you won’t be intimidated by being in awe of me like you would be if you spoke directly to G-d.”

“I heard what you said to your friends about being innocent and pure, without any sins. You said that G-d was making up pretexts to punish you. Well, guess what: you’re wrong. You think you must be right because G-d refuses to answer you? Well, G-d does speak to people, just not necessarily through words! He could speak to you in your dreams. If that fails, He might speak to you through punishments. People get sick, which robs them of the ability to carry out sins they had planned. Doing this actually spares a person from death! Instead of dying, one may suffer in pain on his bed. He may lose his appetite and become emaciated, or he may look horrible, but he has an opportunity to mend his ways. If not, he proceeds to the grave.”

“A person may have 999 angels testifying against him and only one on his side, but that’s enough for G-d to find favor and save this person.” (Alternatively, a person may have 999 faults and only one merit, but that’s enough for G-d to save him.) “When the person turns to G-d in prayer, he will be restored to health as in his youth. G-d will repay the person for his righteous deeds. The person will testify to others that he had sinned but that he did not profit thereby. Since the person changed his ways and saved his own life, he will see light.”

“G-d does this two or even three times with a person, bringing him back from the brink of death to live a renewed life. So don’t say that G-d doesn’t speak to people, because He does – you just have to listen to what He’s saying! Now I will address your other points, so keep listening. If you have questions, ask and I’ll answer them for you. If not, sit back and I will enlighten you.”

The Zohar Chadash on parshas Ki Seitzei (96a), uses verse 29 as a source for the concept of reincarnation. The verse says that G-d goes through this purification process with a person two or three times. There, it interprets this to mean that a soul can have two or three opportunities (i.e., lives) to rectify itself. After that, it cannot be rectified and it falls subject to kareis (spiritual excision).

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