Can a soul die (make choices that will lead to its being completely destroyed)?

The Zohar 1:131a states that the souls of transgressors will became ashen cinders under the feet of the righteous. From BT Rosh Hashana 17a

Transgressors of Jewish birth and also of non-Jewish birth, who sin with their body descend to Gehenna, and are judged there for twelve months; after that time their bodies are destroyed, their souls burnt, and the winds scatter their ashes under the soles of the feet of the righteous,

further citing Malachi 3:21

And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I do make, saith the LORD of hosts

but in Pirkei Avos 4:22 states not to believe the illusion that the grave will be one's escape

Let not your heart convince you that the grave is your escape; for against your will you are formed, against your will you are born, against your will you live, against your will you die, and against your will you are destined to give a judgement and accounting before the king, king of all kings, the Holy One, blessed be He.

If the former, could sinners ultimately claim their grave to be their escape (after the 12 months)?

1 Answer 1


The Ramchal believes that everyone has a tikkun, classical commentaries stick to your observation that the souls of the wicked are totally destroyed.

Rabbi Dessler's take on this seems to be that the more you buy into the olam ha'dimyon the more of a dimyon you become to the extent that you may not be able to survive le'asid lavo.

More to the point peshat seems to be that if you actually become one of the people who generates the dimyon then you are destroyed le'asid lavo however if you bought into the dimyon then you can survive.

As Rabbi Gifter said, 'Sometimes you don't know when you aren't existing.'

  • 1
    can you quote that ramchal. from what i remember in Derech Hashem he seemed to say there are exceptions
    – ray
    Dec 1, 2015 at 21:24
  • 2
    RaMHa"L (Ma'Amar Ha'Iqarim, BaGan 'Eden WeGehinnom) clearly states that there some souls, albeit a very minuscule number, that are completely destroyed.
    – Lee
    Oct 20, 2016 at 11:30

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