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Shalom!

Is it true that in the afterlife, there will be video tapes played in front of everyone, showing our most embarrassing and most shameful acts that we've committed in this lifetime?

  • 2
    Welcome to Mi Yodeya! I have heard of this before, but I never heard a source for it. Thank you for coming to learn with us, and hope to see you around! – DonielF Feb 17 at 0:49
  • Thanks for cheering me up/making me laugh. Incredibly sweet formulated. A video tape in an ethereal world of spirits!! :'D – Ilja Feb 17 at 15:53
  • please consider adding some details as to why you think this concept exists – Dr. Shmuel Feb 17 at 23:40
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Zohar 3:120b

תָּא חֲזֵי, בְּשַׁעֲתָא דִּבְנֵי נָשָׁא דְּמִיכִין, וְטַעֲמִין טַעֲמָא דְּמוֹתָא, וְנִשְׁמְתָא סַלְּקָא לְעֵילָּא, קַיְּימָא בַּאֲתָר דְּקַיְּימָא, וְאִתְבְּחִינַת עַל עוֹבָדָהָא דְּעַבְדַּת כָּל יוֹמָא, וְכַתְבִין לְהוּ עַל פִּתְקָא. מַאי טַעְמָא. בְּגִין דְּנִשְׁמְתָא סַלְּקָא לְעֵילָּא, וְאַסְהִידַת עַל עוֹבָדוֹי דְּבַּר נָשׁ, וְעַל כָּל מִלָּה וּמִלָּה דְּנָפִיק מִפּוּמֵיהּ.

When people die, and taste death, and the soul goes up high... things that were done everyday are written down..

In masechet chibut hakever, in ch. 1, it discusses, too, how ones life’s actions are announced in front of him and are used to embarrass him. See there for more detailed details on dying.

[As a side note, I recall that this concept of a video tape originated with 20th century rabbis. If I recall correctly, somewhere in the book ‘Ish HaAshkolot’ (the book which covers the life of Rabbi Weismandl) it mentions that he made such an analogy to ‘film’. However, I have read other things recently, and thus I may be misquoting the source.

On a related note, Chofetz Chaim writes similar concepts in the last chapter of Shem Olam. He discusses how to look at certain new technologies (such as photography, the train and the phonograph etc.) in relation to Torah ideas. So, it seems many rabbis attempted to use new technologies to expand on Torah related ideas.]

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The exact details of the afterlife are shrouded in mystery. Sources indeed describe a review of once's life. That there will not be video tapes is pretty clear from the words of the Rambam (Hilchot Tshuva 8:2)

In the world to come, there is no body or physical form, only the souls of the righteous alone, without a body, like the ministering angels. Since there is no physical form, there is neither eating, drinking, nor any of the other bodily functions of this world like sitting, standing, sleeping, death, sadness, laughter, and the like.

The Rambam describes how souls will go back to their Godly source and experience the ultimate good, which is to be close to God's presence (see further in Hilchot Tshuva).

Other sources describe a phase of judgement after death where souls are indeed judged, or judging themselves.

See how chabad.org describes it (section What is Heaven and Hell?)

After death, the soul returns to its divine Source, together with all the G‑dliness it has “extracted” from the physical world by using it for meaningful purposes. The soul now relives its experiences on another plane, and experiences the good it accomplished during its physical lifetime as incredible happiness and pleasure, and the negative as incredibly painful. [...]

When the soul departs from the body, it stands before the heavenly court to give a “judgment and accounting” of its earthly life. But the heavenly court does only the “accounting” part; the “judgment” part—that, only the soul itself can do. Only the soul can pass judgment on itself; only it can know and sense the true extent of what it accomplished, or neglected to accomplish, in the course of its physical life. Freed from the limitations and concealments of the physical state, it can now see G‑dliness; it can now look back at its own life and experience what it truly was. The soul’s experience of the G‑dliness it brought into the world with its mitzvot and positive actions is the exquisite pleasure of Gan Eden (the “Garden of Eden”—Paradise); its experience of the destructiveness it wrought through its lapses and transgressions is the excruciating pain of Gehinnom (“Gehenna” or “Purgatory”).

See there at length. You might also be interested by this video.

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Yes and no:

  1. Generally, we have very little idea of what happens in the World to Come (afterlife/afterdeath). There's are lots of metaphors and comparisons but none of them claim exact knowledge of the process. Most of the Rabbis' claims are motivational and not informational.

  2. One of the basic assumptions of Judaism (see Rambam's 13 principles of the Jewish faith) is that the afterworld serves the principle of reward and punishment through some kind of the "Final Judgement" before G-d. Nobody knows exactly what happens there and if the hearing is opened or closed and what tapes are played.

  3. We also assume that G-d Himself does not break His own laws and because public embarrassing is against His Laws as prescribed in our Oral tradition (איסור אונאת דברים) we can assume a person will not be embarrassed in front of others.

  4. On the other hand, we can also conclude based on #2, that a person will be embarrassed for his misdeeds even if before G-d and His entourage (angels, maybe our forefathers etc).

  • 3. It’s not public embarrassment if nobody else is around. Besides, is a witness not allowed to testify to someone’s detriment in court, since revealing that information will embarrass him? – DonielF Feb 17 at 0:54
  • From m what I can remember learning I think a Likutei Sicha on Pirkie Avos on the words Din V’cheshbon that a person 1. Taught the Halachos 2. Is then shown a “film scenario based” and they are asked what should be that judgement and once that person has decided then heavenly court then pass judgement on them. Also i’m told that the court will comprise of Rabbis of that generation as they will know that particular gerneration limitations. – Daniel Ross Feb 17 at 12:02
  • @DanielRoss 1. Taught Halochos according to whose opinion? I can always claim קין לי - I think differently from any Rabbi I have my own hierarchy of Mitzvos. 2. It's very vague to be real. Too many questions unanswered I can't even start discussing the Heavenly court. 3. My biggest question about that situation is whether my consciousness will be altered. For example if I'm secular and don't care for Halachah will I care in the WTC? WHY, what will make me change my attitude? – Al Berko Feb 17 at 13:42

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