Will the Jewish messiah save us from hell?

Is there any basis the Jewish Messiah will save people from Hell? I guess this could be interpreted before death or after? It appears hell isn't the same as other religions and just means non-existence

I have seemed to established he won't have supernatural powers but didn't know where that line might be drawn.


Judaism has an afterlife of sorts, other than Heaven, in Gehinnon, as described in more detail in this answer.1 Gehinnon is not like the Christian Hell, however.

While some get no afterlife at all (see note below), for most, Gehinnon is a temporary residence, while the departed is under divine judgement. The departed stays there for no more than one year before moving on to Heaven, which is why our custom is to say Kaddish Yatom, the mourners' prayer, for a maximum of only eleven months -- lest we give the impression that the person was so wicked as to require the full twelve months. I don't know a lot about Christian afterlife ideas, but our Gehinnon is probably closer to your Purgatory.

Judaism doesn't condemn souls to eternal damnation and torment. Judaism recognizes that teshuva, repentance, is possible and that divine punishment is not permanent. No external force is required to "save" a soul; we are each responsible for our own salvation, by clinging to God and doing as He commands. If we messed up in life (as we all do), we can still recover. (So what's Kaddish Yatom about? It's more about asking for leniency than "saving" the person. Only God saves us.)

The Messiah, on the other hand, redeems us on Earth, by gathering the exiles, building the Temple, bringing peace, and more. Sometime after the coming of the Messiah we reach the end times, which includes resurrection of the dead, but that's all done by God, not by a mere human.

1 Your question was about Hell, not the afterlife in general, but I'll add here what DonielF said in a comment:

The relevant passage by Maimonides regarding the afterlife for Jews is in Mishnah Torah, Hil. Teshuvah 3 and 8, and regarding the afterlife for non-Jews is in Hil. Melachim 8:11. To summarize the more pertinent points, the afterlife is not one size fits all. For Jews, one who sins goes to Gehinnom for some amount of time and then goes to Heaven, but it depends on his good deeds in this world what level of Heaven he gets. However, one who does one of 24 specific sins loses his entire afterlife and ceases to exist upon his death. Non-Jews can earn their share by fulfilling just 7 mitzvos.

  • hmm so a nonbeliever isn't destined to an aternity of hell very interesting. – William Jul 30 '18 at 1:50
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    @William correct. That would be disproportionate, and God is both just and compassionate. – Monica Cellio Jul 30 '18 at 1:52
  • but surely put evil name here wouldn't end up in heaven? – William Jul 30 '18 at 2:48
  • @William it appears from the answers to the linked question that the Rambam (Maimonides, a prominent 12th-century rabbi), at least, believed that evil people just cease to exist (no afterlife). I understood your question to be asking about "ordinary" people, those of us who certainly don't have spotless records but also haven't committed gross evil. – Monica Cellio Jul 30 '18 at 2:54

(To clarify Ezra a bit)

The Jewish Messiah does not change anything on a personal level! One who sinned would be still accountable to G-d, and stand before the Heavenly Court and bear the consequences.

The Messiah acts on the public level, symbolizing a start of a new era where G-d's presence and supervision are apparent to all.


In Christianity, the Messiah is seen as a figure who redeems people from their sins and saves them from punishment for them in Hell.

In Judaism, however, the Messiah is purely a political figure. We do not see proof from the Tanach that the Messiah's job will be to "save people from sins", however we do see that he will conquer Israel's enemies and re-establish the Davidic line of kings of which he will be descended.

I recommend reading the following: Messiah in Judaism.

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    Moshiach is clearly not just a political figure in Judaism so this is wrong – Dude Jul 30 '18 at 0:36
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    @dude what else is he exactly? – Double AA Jul 30 '18 at 1:19
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    @Dude Oh? What is supposed to do that's not political? – ezra Jul 30 '18 at 1:22
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    @ezra are you referring to moshiach rebuilding the beis hamikdosh, getting all peoples to serve hashem... (things of religious nature but not supernatural) as political? – mroll Jul 30 '18 at 2:37
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    @mroll certainly! In what way are the religious components of running a theocracy not political? – Double AA Jul 30 '18 at 12:13

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