I have a question about Gehinnam/Gehinnom which is often pictured as a big washing machine, a place for purification, a purgatory. But once I came across a teaching/scripture describing that at this moment of cleansing one would see his errors; one's sins would become known to himself, HaShem and to the public, revealed in the open, which causes a deep embarrassment, pain and sorrow.

Point is, I can't find the sources describing this. The closest thing I could find is a story/description about R'Yisrael Shklover page 74-77 who's talking about the custom to do and recite viduy (confession) and says: If we openly confess our sins, the embarrassment we feel as a result of their being made public will in itself be an atonement for us. In its merit we will go directly to Gan Eden, and not to Gehinnom.

Does anyone know any sources which talk about this kind of 'healing, cleansing, purifying from the pain of being confronted with one's sins' ?

  • Sounds like kaf hakela "the sling shot"
    – mroll
    Commented Feb 21, 2018 at 19:17
  • @mroll although it's certainly a part describing cleansing it's not totally what I meant; I'm looking for something which describes the part were all the bad, wrong and evil things we did, our transgressions and sins "get in the open" so that one cannot escape the confrontation with them. One who's truly devoted to G-d will experience great shame, pain, and his conscious will bring one to experience great emotions, embarrassment and feelings of guilt. Such an experience would cause a refining of some sort. But I will look more into it, thank you.
    – Levi
    Commented Feb 22, 2018 at 9:41

1 Answer 1


Found this on the Chabad website (it's to large to post here) but I think this quote will show you it's about the things you ask:

The truth hurts. The truth also cleanses and heals. The spiritual pain of Gehinnom—the soul’s pain in facing the truth of its life—cleanses and heals the soul of the spiritual stains and blemishes that its failings and misdeeds have attached to it. Freed of this husk of negativity, the soul is now able to fully enjoy the immeasurable good that its life engendered, and “bask in the divine radiance” emitted by the G‑dliness it brought into the world.

Maybe someone else can help finding the exact sources for such statements describing the purifying through the pain and anguish of a guilty conscience. But this might be a good start to understand more of it.

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