Is there any rabbinic literature on the details of the concept of Hades, which is also commonly understood as Hell; and what kind of people deserve to be punished there?

  • Also are you asking about reward and punishment in general or particular metaphors for punishment? Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 18:19
  • 3
    I don't think the concept of gehinom is synonymous with the concept of Hades.
    – user6591
    Commented Sep 20, 2016 at 18:37
  • The question is clear about the concept of Hell which means divine punishment in afterlife. You should explain why do you think it is different than Hades and explain whether or not there are rabbinic literature mentioning of hell.
    – Michael16
    Commented Sep 21, 2016 at 8:26
  • All conceptions of hell fundamentally work with the principle of "eternal punishment for the soul," barring unique events in which individuals or groups are "saved" from there. The principle of Gehenna is much closer to the idea of Purgatory, in which sins are extirpated to facilitate the reunion of the soul with God. If a soul is so corrupted that cleansing is impossible [Hitler being a common example] ... that's a different story, and usually is addressed as the specific soul being destroyed/excised. Commented Sep 21, 2016 at 10:58
  • Are your referring to some subset of rabbinic literature, such as the Talmud, or Maimonides' summary of the Oral Law, the Mishneh Torah?
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Sep 22, 2016 at 14:04

2 Answers 2


Here's a few statements from Rabbinic literature about the concept of Geheinom who goes there and how it differs from Hades.

Who goes there:

  • Rabi Yehoshuah ben Levi said, 'Anyone who speaks about the beds of the Sages, falls to Geihinom.'(Talmud Brachos 19a)
  • The Rabbis taught, 'anyone who passes money to a woman from his hand to her hand in order to gaze at it, even if he has Torah and good deeds like Moses, he will not be cleansed from the judgment of Geihinom. (Talmud Brachos 61a)
  • Rabbah ben Shilo said, 'Anyone who makes his mouth disgusting, they will deepen Geihinom for him. (Talmud Sabbath 31a)

Some details:

  • Fire is 1/60 of Geihinom (Talmud Brachos 57b)
  • And some say, it has no measurement.

How it differs from Hades

  • They sat for 12 months. They said, 'The judgement for a wicked person is 12 months in Geihinom. (Talmud Sabbath 33b)
  • Rabi Yehoshuah ben Levi said, 'There are seven names for Geihinom and these are they: She'ol and Avadon and B'er Shachas and Bor She'on and Tit HaYaven and Tzalmaves and Eretz HaTachtis. (Talmud Eiruvin 19a)
  • That Rabi Chaninah said 'Everyone goes down to Geihinom except for three.' Do you mean to say 'everyone'? Rather say, 'everyone who goes down to Geihinom rises [from it], besides three, and these are they: someone who has relations with a married woman, someone who embarrasses his friend in public and someone who calls his friend by a nickname. (Talmud Bava Metziah 58b)
  • The Holy One blessed be He judges the wicked in Geihinom for 12 months. First He puts in them boils (?), then He places them in fire and they say "hoi, hoi". Then He places them in snow and they say, "vai, vai". (Jerusalem Talmud Sanhedrin 10:3)

there is extensive discussion in the book Reishis Chachma, Section Yira (fear)

  • Is it available online to read? can you quote it here.
    – Michael16
    Commented Sep 22, 2016 at 17:51
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    @Michael16 not that i know of. not so clear if these things are just metaphors anyway so its not for internet as it will be misinterpreted
    – ray
    Commented Sep 22, 2016 at 18:18
  • you are not even sure then. This means you don't know for sure what exactly is the rabbinic teachings on afterlife punishment of the soul or hell or hades whatever one calls it.
    – Michael16
    Commented Sep 22, 2016 at 18:23
  • @Michael16 these are spiritual matters that are currently unknowable to us. just like we cant picture what life is like without a physical body. our sages gave us analogies of fire and lots of other nasty things so we have at least some idea of it on our level
    – ray
    Commented Sep 22, 2016 at 18:27

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