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People often say (e.g. at s'machot and other such events) things like "Grandpa Chaim would have loved to be here today, but we know he is smiling down on us from shamayim"

Is this really a traditional Jewish belief? Is there some sort of one-way window between olam ha'ba and olam ha'zeh? Where are the sources for this?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

The G'mara in B'rachos 18 says that the deceased are [at least] aware in the sense that they are alive and sentient.

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can you clarify the antecedent of "they"? –  Double AA Mar 12 at 19:22
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The Zohar says they come down for simchas.

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Can you cite that? –  Double AA Jul 18 '12 at 16:30
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