Why are the Jewish concepts - of what often is translated as - 'Hell' and which is often seen as a place for cleansing, purification, refining and correcting the soul (purgatory), related and connected to such a horrible place where some people used to sacrifice children)? How does the latter reflect what has become the first?

  • 1
    could you add sources for for the ideas in the question; such as Hinnom being connected to sacrificing children?
    – mevaqesh
    Mar 26 '17 at 4:43
  • sefaria.org/… Mar 26 '17 at 5:03
  • I don't want to know why it's called Ben Hinnom, I want to know why this valley and the references to it are connected with a place of cleansing while the stories teach that it was a place of defilement and Avodah zarah
    – Levi
    Mar 26 '17 at 11:06
  • 1
    Simple. Because hell is believed to be a fiery furnace where people die in the blazing flames, and the only place the Jews were able to imagine to be like hell was the valley of Hinnom where people burnt thier children, thus the name גיא הינום. And if i remember correctly, later on it was used for sanitation, where they burnt all the garbage of the nearby cities.
    – Bach
    Jun 28 '17 at 1:46

It seems you're alluding to the discussion on this answer and the comments there. The Midrash quotes in Fred's comment there explains that fathers would place their children in fires as offerings for the idol Molech, and the children's screams would reverberate from the fire (shekolo shel tinok nohem min ha'eish). Alternatively, the priests would chant incantations (nohamim) during this process. Therefore this valley was called Ben Hinnom, and it was in this valley that an entrance to Hell can be found (Eruvin 19a).

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