Do Jews believe in reincarnation and the incarnation of the soul?

Did the Catholic Church ever come out with an official document that says anything to the contrary? Does the Holy Bible suggest anything to the contrary?

I usually read the Tanya every day and I find it interesting that Chabad believes in reincarnation and the incarnation of the soul. Not that they believe in reincarnation the way the Hindus do, but that they believe in it at all is something I now keep etched in my mind.

Taken from the Tanya:
All Jews are equally obliged to study the Torah and to observe its mitzvot; generally speaking, the resultant illumination from Above is likewise drawn down equally to them all. nevertheless, in a more specific way, in regard to this manifestation of light that radiates through the study of Torah and the performance of the commandments, not every nefesh (the lowest level of the soul) and ruach (“spirit”, a higher level of the soul) and neshamah (a yet higher level of the soul) is equal, for this depends on the period and time of their reincarnation and their coming into this world. Most souls of present generations are incarnations of souls that had descended into this world in earlier times; they descended once again in order to rectify some aspect of their previous incarnation. The degree of radiation the soul receives from Above through the performance of a particular mitzvah depends upon the era in which the soul finds itself in this world.

You might find this of interest :

Yes they believe in reincarnation. Called “Gilgul” or the wheel. I don’t know about Targum and Talmud but the Kaballah teaches it. I don’t know about any Tanaukh quotes.

Hello Robert,

In the interest of full disclosure I believe in a version of reincarnation.

Something to keep in mind when looking for literature by early writers with regards to reincarnation is that the church leadership didn't consider the belief in reincarnation to be conducive to their agenda therefore it was considered heresy.  People, including famous writers would have naturally been concerned about being burned at the stake.

And just as it is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgment

Hebrews 9:27

That’s not the t’noch.


The Talmud - all 70-odd volumes of it - is markedly silent on the issue of reincarnation, which says something about how little the Jews thought of the doctrine. The doctrine only entered mainstream Judaism in the eighth century AD. Perhaps the earliest mention in mainstream literature is in the tenth century by a rabbi who condemned it. So no, no support can be derived for reincarnation from the Talmud, historically the central Jewish text.

The kabbalists, of course, hold to reincarnation, and their text, the Zohar, lays claim to this. However, the Kabbalists are a minority sect within Judaism and do not represent the mainstream. Incidentally, the Zohar first appeared in the 13th century only, although claiming to contain writings that predate this by some centuries.

Hope this helps,

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