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What are your thoughts on the Young Justice TV show?
I never watched much of it, honestly!
From what I’ve seen, there are some things I really like about it, others not so much. (The characterization of certain characters - like Dick and Clark - is so different from the versions I love in the comics that it’s a bit hard for me to adjust, for example.)
Can I ask a religious question to you? I know that Jews can have different belief systems (like, if I'm not mistaken, some Jews only go by the books of the Bible the Moses wrote, where some go by the entirety of the Hebrew Scriptures), but in general, what is the belief system for what happens after death?
As far as I know, there aren’t any Jews who only go by the books of the Bible that Moses wrote - there could be some small sect that I haven’t heard of, but it’s definitely not a majority opinion. At the very least, most accept the full Tanakh (the five books of Moses + Prophets + Writings) as true. Most of the disagreement I know about comes with regards books that aren’t officially considered part of the Tanakh, like Maccabees. (And, obviously, we don’t go by the New Testament.)
You’ll find a fair bit of variation about what Jews believe about the afterlife, but one basic difference between us and Christianity is we do NOT believe in eternal damnation. Our idea of hell (Gehinnom) is rather different than the Christian idea - it’s more about the soul being purified and repenting than about punishment. Because of that, it’s not permanent. The maximum anyone stays there is 12 months.
Ideas of heaven are vague and vary considerably, but the bottom line is that it’s a place where the soul connects with God. Who exactly goes to heaven is also a source of disagreement. The Mishnah in Tractate Sanhedrin states “All Israel has a share in the world to come”, but there is disagreement about whether this means that all Jews are definitely going to heaven, or just that there is a place reserved for them in heaven if they merit it but they can forfeit it by being bad people.
Likewise, there is disagreement over whether heaven is only for Jews or if it’s for anyone who’s a good person. Sanhedrin also contains a debate about this topic between Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Joshua, with Rabbi Joshua holding the opinion that “the righteous of all peoples have a share in the World to Come”. I can’t speak for all Jews but on a personal level, this is the opinion I hold with.
Although we believe the soul moves on to heaven, we believe it is still in some sense connected to the body that once housed it, so visiting gravesites is considered meaningful and we have strict rules about not desecrating corpses.
Judaism also does include a concept of reincarnation, known as gilgul, so it’s not outside the realm of our beliefs to accept the idea that some souls don’t go straight to heaven or hell after they die, but are instead brought back to earth as a different person (or even an animal, according to some concepts of gilgul!)
Finally, there is the concept of Techiyat Hametim (Resurrection of the Dead), the idea that at some point in the future - generally considered to coincide with the coming of the Messiah - the dead souls will be brought back to life. While this is considered a fundamental belief in Judaism (it is one of Maimonides’ Thirteen Basic Principles of Jewish Faith), it’s a difficult concept to understand and it’s unclear exactly when or how this will happen, or how humanity will go forward from that point.
Beliefs about the afterlife are complicated and hard to understand sometimes, but I hope that helped!
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