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What is the purpose of punishments in the afterlife (Gehinom, kaf hakela, gilgulim, etc.)? Are all of them for cleaning up the person from the consequences of his bad deeds and therefore for his benefit? Or are there any instances where these are a kind of retribution/revenge?

if there are such instances, then how can we reconcile this with the notion of God being the furthest extreme of kindness.

(as implied in the book Tomer Devorah and explicitly stated in the tov halevanon commentary to Shaar Bitachon ch.2 factor #7 - That the one he trusts is absolutely generous and kind to those deserving and to those who are not deserving, and that his generosity and kindness is continuous, never ending and without interruption. (Tov Halevanon commentary: the most possible extreme of generosity and kindness... see there)

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Did you ever learn Mesilat Yesharim ch. 4? –  Hacham Gabriel Aug 16 '13 at 3:41
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kol yisroel yesh lohem chelek lolam habo. Every Jewish person in the end goes to paradise or gan eden. But before he can go there for the first year his soul has to be 'cleansed'. That is why we say kaddish the first year. Therefore they are for his ultimate benefit. I must add although I wrote originally every Jewish person in the end goes to gan eden, I must qualify this. This is only if he is part of the klal but happens to do aveiros and the gemoro says that only four people ever existed who never did any. If he is not part of the klal, meaning orthodox Jewry, then he will never get into paradise whatever mitsvot he may have done in this world.

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Hello and welcome to Mi Yodeya. Do you have a source that the purpose of the first year is to cleanse his soul? Your answer would be stronger if you could edit that in. –  Monica Cellio May 17 '13 at 1:16
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Sources for your last sentence would be nice. I thought the klal was us Rachmastrivka Chassidim but I didn't know that not being part of the klal was so bad. –  Double AA May 17 '13 at 17:15
    
So did nobody ever get into paradise before the 19th century? –  Daniel Aug 15 '13 at 19:35
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