Until recently, I have always understood the process of reincarnation/gilgulim to be like an iceberg melting into the ocean; the iceberg representing the origin - 'beginning' of time (as we know it) - aka the past; the ocean represents the present and future.

Are there any commentators that have argued that a neshama can also - in its journey til the end of its reincarnation cycle - be 'placed' in the future and then return next time into the present/past?

The idea was somewhat inspired by trying to explain 'old souls' - people who seem a lot more mature than the people in their generation. I understand one rebuttal being the 'essence' of the righteous extending to/creating these old souls. But then I am also looking to understand people that are 'before their time' - individuals that possess knowledge and intelligence surpassing their generation.

  • I don’t have a reference or citation but I am certain that Traditional Judaism teaches EVERYTHING that existed in the past, exists in the present, and will exist in the future was created “in the beginning”. That includes all souls. Souls are placed into a physical body at a predetermined time and some of the souls created have not yet been placed into a body. In that sense, there are souls that in the future will be attached to a body. But in actuality, those future souls have already existed
    – JJLL
    Commented Dec 2, 2018 at 1:55

1 Answer 1


Just some thoughts:

  1. If a soul is placed in the future what does it mean "then/later" placed in the past?

  2. It is true that in the eyes of G-d (maybe angels too) the creation is [at least] 4 dimensional (3D+time) simultaneously and does not proceed in time as we humans perceive it. This explains a lot of things like prophecy and more. So in this view, all souls are placed in their places, and there's little meaning to past/future.

  3. I heard it from my Rabbi that Ariz"L mentioned people appearing in "wrong times" similar to Choni Hameagel that slept for 70 years and found himself unfit for the new generation. So you might look for more answers there.

  • This does not provide an answer to the question. To critique or request clarification from an author, leave a comment below their post. - From Review Commented Dec 3, 2018 at 0:25
  • @sabbahillel #1 doesn't but #2 and 3 answer it perfectly.
    – Al Berko
    Commented Dec 3, 2018 at 10:12

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