Reincarnation III


Moshe Ben-Chaim



Reader: “I place before you today; life and goodness and death and evil,” which you interpret as final death. That is OK for the case of choosing death, but what does it mean to choose “life”? Could one not interpret that “life” in this context means reincarnation; that is, life over and over again? I don’t see how logic forces the conclusion you draw. Secondly you point to Karase (death of the soul) as proving the end of the soul, therefore foreclosing the possibility of reincarnation. OK again, but could one not logically conclude that only those subject to Karase don’t come back, and others do? Again I don’t see how logic forces your conclusion versus one that proves reincarnation. I look forward to understanding how these pasukim conclusively prove your point.



Mesora: Moses tells the Jews they might choose one option: life or death. Choosing “one” – life or death – means they are mutually exclusive. Thus, if I choose death, which Moses says is “not life”, then life cannot be experienced by me any more: no reincarnation. My death is terminal.


Alternatively, if I choose life, and I will not experience death, this means I will experience no successive deaths: meaning no reincarnations. Again, choosing life means the alternative of death. Therefore, death will not be included in what I receive. To suggest this means a successive cycle of deaths and lives, and this is the “life” to which Moses refers, is a rejection of the plain meaning of Moses’ words. For Moses said life is not death.


You suggest that those who do not receive Karase (spiritual death) may experience reincarnation, since their souls are not destroyed. However, Moses’ ultimatum as explained above teaches this is not the case. Additionally, what proof do you have that reincarnation is a reality, that you should suggest this? In fact, the converse is true: nothing in Torah supports reincarnation, and it is actually traced back to Pythagoras and Egyptian culture.


We should do Moses justice and remain true to Moses’ words. When he gives an ultimatum of life or death, it must be understood as just that: one or the other. There are no grounds to project onto Moses’ any notions of reincarnation, a belief Moses never mentioned.