Why is the place that that wicked are punished for their sins after death termed Gehinnom? Is there is an association with Gei ben Hinnom where idolatry was performed? If so why was this place singled out?

  • 1. Yes. 2. I don't recall.
    – Seth J
    Commented Mar 18, 2013 at 15:06

2 Answers 2


Why is it called "Gehinom" (lit. valley of screams)? Because the screams "hinom" roar out from one end of the world to the other. - meseches Gehinom quoted from Reishis Chachma - Shaar Yira Ch.13

found here http://dafyomireview.com/gehinom.php footnote 1

  • Maseches Gehinom? "Hinom" means "screams"? What root is that?
    – Double AA
    Commented Mar 18, 2013 at 19:07
  • @DoubleAA I have heard of meseches gehinnom (though it seems to be out of print) but I agree with you on the fishy etymology
    – user2110
    Commented Mar 18, 2013 at 19:30
  • @DoubleAA - "ולמה נקרא שמו גיהנם שקול נהמתה הולך מסוף העולם עד סופו". Also see my comment on Gershon's answer below.
    – Fred
    Commented Mar 19, 2013 at 2:06
  • 1
    dont know but i do know that the Reishis Chacham is a reliable source.
    – ray
    Commented Mar 19, 2013 at 5:41

Chizyonos HaRama connects it to Gei ben Hinnom that those who receive it after death are themselves responsible for this punishment.

  • 1
    I was once told that this is where child sacrifices had been made in ancient times, but I don't have the reference handy. But that was why it was the Hebrew term for hell.
    – Dennis
    Commented Mar 18, 2013 at 15:49
  • @Dennis - This is found in Yalkut Shim'oni on Nach (277) which describes the child's screams (the term for which the medrash etymologically relates to the word Hinnom): והיו נותנין את הבן לפני המולך והיה מסיק מבפנים עד שהיו ידיו נעשות כאור ונוטלין את התינוק ונותנים אותו לתוך ידיו והיו מביאים תופים ומקישים בהם בקול גבוה כדי שלא יהא קולו של נער יוצא ואביו שומע ומעיו הומים עליו, ולמה נקרא שמו בן הנם שקולו של תינוק היה נוהם מכח האש. דבר אחר שהיו העומדים נוהמים ואומרים יהנה לך יערב לך יבסם לך, לכך נקרא בן הנם
    – Fred
    Commented Mar 19, 2013 at 2:07

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