It is said that those who don't believe in Olam haba can't get there.

But what about gilgul, can atheists get another chance?

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    According to the Arizal in Shar HaGilgulim, atheism is treated similarly to other sins and can indeed result in reincarnation depending on the person's other actions. The entire work is available in English here: chabad.org/kabbalah/article_cdo/aid/380302/jewish/… May 13, 2023 at 18:20
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    How can an atheist be blamed for something they didn't know? If I didn't tell you to get me a snack and you came back empty-handed (without the snack) what right is it of mine to barrage you for forgetting my snack? God doesn't judge you for something you didn't know.
    – Turk Hill
    May 22, 2023 at 21:31
  • How could a just and fair God allow one to lose out on eternal reward simply because he didn’t believe in him. Unless the atheist was intentionally lying to himself and acted as though he didn’t believe even though he did. The atheist acted as he should and it would be wrong to punish him. Jun 22, 2023 at 13:34

2 Answers 2


Rabbi David Rosenfeld suggests in an article published on Torah.org that atheist Jews are perhaps reincarnated into babies born to Orthodox families to get a "second chance" to come close to HKBH.

He explains, "To be honest, I don’t have an answer to this dilemma. The only feeble suggestion I can make is that G-d attempts — using all means at His disposal — to give every Jew an opportunity to find out about his or her heritage. G-d tries to reach every one of His children. Of course there are quite a few of them and much apathy and many misconceptions between them and the truth. Yet G-d never gives up on us — in spite of the huge distance which must be spanned.

Perhaps we can also invoke the Kabbalistic concept of reincarnation — that G-d will eventually give such souls a second chance: the opportunity to be raised in a committed, religious home. (I even once heard a rabbi suggest that this is G-d’s reason for granting the Orthodox such enormous families today. This is almost His only chance — working behind the scenes in a way only He can — to reintroduce the masses of Israel to their G-d.)"

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    I can't recall the source, but I heard or read something similar that people who are baal teshuva who grow up in anti-religious families in which they really have to struggle to be frum and deal with parental adversity and various difficulties in keeping kosher, Shabbos, etc with lots of fights and drama are reincarnations of people who had a Jewish life handed to them on a silver platter and either took it for granted or threw it away. May 22, 2023 at 20:40

Would you leave your son if he doesn't believe in you? Why would Hashem leaves atheists?

They live - that's a greatest sign that He doesn't leave them and they receive light to live.

It's just another sin that person need to work on, no more or less than others.

"Know, that if a person merits obtaining his Nefesh, Ruach, and Neshama, and then blemishes them through sin, he will have to be reincarnated to rectify the damage... Righteous people are greater in death than during their lifetimes. ..." Gilgulim and Righteous. Chapter One, Section 10. By Rabbi Yitzchak Luria as recorded by Rabbi Chaim Vital; translation from Sha'ar Hagilgulim by Yitzchok bar Chaim; commentary by Shabtai Teicher

  • If I'm following your logic, there are no people alive who have committed severe sins?
    – shmosel
    Jun 22, 2023 at 0:04
  • @shmosel sever sins means - severe punishments for him and for everybody. But it doesn't mean they need to die. Someone needs to work on those sins. If someone is live then he still receives tiny light from Hashem and he has a chance to work. Jun 22, 2023 at 0:12
  • The question was about reincarnation after death.
    – shmosel
    Jun 22, 2023 at 0:22
  • @shmosel those especially need to come back. Jun 22, 2023 at 0:26
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    Any sources for your position?
    – Harel13
    Jun 22, 2023 at 3:25

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