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Hell is a culturally pervasive term referring to a metaphysical location where a person after death may eternally suffer at the judgement and wrath of non-human entities.

Is there a basis to this concept in judaism?

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  • Its a similar question but the answers to that question don’t address the full implication of how hell is popularly conceived and how judaism’s conception of Gehennom is similar or different. For instance are there daemons in Gehennom? Or should that be a separate question?
    – Nephilim
    Aug 5, 2021 at 11:40
  • Also is Gehennom an actual place? How is it also a metaphysical place of suffering?
    – Nephilim
    Aug 5, 2021 at 11:43
  • To answer your second question, you first need to differentiate between the spiritual and physical worlds and planes of existence. Entire books can and have been written ok the subject, and I can't do it justice in a 600-character comment; but suffice it to say, that is the beginning of the answer to that question.
    – Yehuda
    Aug 8, 2021 at 13:45

2 Answers 2

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There is a term called Gehennom which is commonly assumed to be Hell (although there are different interpretations). It is mentioned extensively in the Talmud and beyond.

Here is one example from Avoda Zara 14B; (translation - Sefaria)

אמר רבי שמעון בן לקיש כל המתלוצץ נופל בגיהנם שנאמר (משלי כא, כד) זד יהיר לץ שמו עושה בעברת זדון ואין עברה אלא גיהנם שנאמר (צפניה א, טו) יום עברה היום ההוא

Shimon b. Lakish said: He who scoffs will fall into Gehennom, as it is said, “The proud, insolent man, scoffer is his name, Acts in a wrath of insolence” (Proverbs 2 :24). And “wrath” refers to Gehennom; as it is said, “That day is a day of wrath” (Zephaniah : 5).

אמר ר' אושעיא כל המתייהר נופל בגיהנם

Oshaia said: He who is haughty falls into Gehennom, as it is said, “The proud, insolent man, scoffer is his name, Acts in a wrath of insolence” (Proverbs 2 :24). And “wrath” refers to Gehennom; as it is said, “That day is a day of wrath” (Zephaniah : 5).

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Rambam, the big rationalist, felt that hell does not exist. Wicked souls simply cease to exist.

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    Be'mechilas kevod toraso, I don't think this is correct.
    – pcoz
    Aug 5, 2021 at 6:03
  • Are you able to support this answer with references?
    – Nephilim
    Aug 5, 2021 at 10:32
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    @pcoz Rav Assaf Bednarsh explains the positions well. It seems that Turk Hill is citing the Rambam's commentary in Sanhedrin 10. The Ramban seems to be so shocked by this position that he reads a completely different understanding of the Rambam; however, based solely on the explicit writings of the Rambam, it is as Turk Hill wrote.
    – Yehuda
    Aug 5, 2021 at 18:22
  • @Nephilim see my comment above.
    – Yehuda
    Aug 5, 2021 at 18:23
  • I see, thank you
    – Nephilim
    Aug 5, 2021 at 18:32

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