What Happens When You Die?

What happens when we die? Where do we go immediately after death? What happens to our mind, our spirit and our soul when we die? Do we fly up into an eternal heaven, or fall into an eternal hell? Do we reincarnate in this world as other people, or even animals, plants or rocks? Do we keep living the life we led over and over again? Do we simply disappear into nothingness?

Different teachings offer different answers to these questions. Science details how the body decomposes when we die. In general, the discussion around this topic falls into two main categories:

  1. People who have had near-death experiences and lived to describe what they saw and felt;
  2. Religious beliefs, philosophies and other theories offering concepts about the afterlife, reincarnation and consciousness.

This page is dedicated to investigating the question—”What happens when you die?”—from the perspective of the wisdom of Kabbalah, which offers a fundamentally different approach to the current discussion. We will look into Kabbalah’s take on:

  • What is common to all near-death experiences and what we can learn from them?
  • What is the soul? Do we have a soul, or do we get one when we die, or can we can attain one during our lifetime?
  • What happens to our corporeal existence when we die?

…as well as other frequently asked questions about what happens when we die and life after death.

What Can We Learn from Near-Death Experiences?

People who have survived clinical death have reported a range of feelings, such as a sleep-like nothingness, a peaceful floating sensation in the sky or in a tranquil scenery like a garden, a bright light or a tunnel heading toward a bright light, seeing and speaking with loved ones who had passed away, as well as out-of-body experiences where they could see what was happening in the room where they were pronounced clinically dead.

What do all these sensations have in common?

They are all sensations of freedom from the corporeal body. In near-death experiences, the corporeal body is no longer a disturbance. People feel as if they belong to something other than what they identified as their body. The mind continues working and processing corporeal information, albeit differently.

Near-death experiences express a boundary between our corporeal life and its death. It is a boundary where we end our contact with information we received through our body, mind and corporeal senses.

In such states, our desire diminishes, and its disappearance equates to the person’s disappearance. In other words, the feeling of life we experience in our individual desires (food, sex, family) and social desires (money, honor, control, knowledge) fully vanishes and we agree with its withdrawal, ceasing to receive, feel, live and enjoy.

The sensation of freedom from the corporeal body marks a shift to a new state. This new state, however, is still not death, neither is it spirituality nor eternity.

According to Kabbalah, it is purely psychological. Whatever we feel in such states is limited and miniscule compared to the sensations of eternity and wholeness, which Kabbalah states we can attain a lot more vividly while we’re still alive in this world.

How? It is by attaining our soul.

What Is the Soul? Does It Belong to Our Body? Does the Body’s Death Mark the Soul’s Birth, or Can We Attain Our Soul While We’re Alive?

According to Kabbalah, the soul is not something we enter after our body’s death. Instead, it is something we need to attain a clear perception and sensation of while we’re alive. If we don’t attain our soul while we’re alive, then it’s considered that we don’t have one.

The soul is a desire above our egoistic, corporeal desires. That is, above our desires for food, sex, family, money, honor, control and knowledge, there is a small desire that asks about the meaning and purpose behind everything we experience: the meaning of life. This desire is a small point, called “the point in the heart” in Kabbalah, which we have an opportunity to develop. The full development of this point is considered the attainment of the soul.

Attaining the soul is like feeling an additional life to our current one, a life that was hidden from us. When we attain contact with the soul, it becomes the center of our life. We reevaluate our current life and start relating to it on a completely different level. Death of the physical body then becomes like changing one’s shirt. In other words, when our physical body dies, we continue reincarnating in a new body until the full extent of the soul is attained, called in Kabbalah, “125 degrees of spiritual attainment.”

If we don’t attain spirituality, then all that remains is a Reshimo (a “reminiscence” or “record”). It is a spiritual informational gene, similar to DNA. This Reshimo clothes in new bodies until it surfaces in us as the question, “What is the meaning of life?” This question eventually urges us to seek its answer: to find a method and an environment for the soul’s development.

What Happens to Our Corporeal Existence When We Die?

When we die, we lose awareness of everything we sensed in our corporeal lives. However, does it mean that we lose it all? No. It is being passed on in the form of personality attributes. This explains why, in every new generation, children are better adapted to life than adults. For example, children are instinctively proficient with the latest technologies and gadgets, while the older generation finds them more complicated.

In each successive generation, the will to receive undergoes an upgrade. If the will to receive fails to bring a person to spiritual development, then it shifts to a new stage, to another opportunity. All the problems, pains and knowledge gradually accumulate from one generation to the next, toward the need for spiritual development.

That is what the wisdom of Kabbalah was made for. Through the wisdom of Kabbalah, we can gain access to the eternal and whole system of the soul, discover its inner power, and become its active part, revealing spirituality as a clear perception and sensation, and this is the purpose of our development.

Today marks a very significant moment in humanity’s development toward this purpose, one which Kabbalists described as the time when humanity en masse would start awakening with questions about its meaning and purpose, and when Kabbalah would be revealed and open to everyone to allow us to realize this opportunity in our lifetime and gain eternal life.

New to Kabbalah?

If you’re interested in the wisdom of Kabbalah and everything it has to offer at a deeper level, we recommend starting with a beginner course in the fundamentals of Kabbalah. Course is available for self-study and as live video classes. Sign up for a course here »

Dr. Michael Laitman

PhD in Philosophy and Kabbalah. MSc in Medical Bio-Cybernetics. Founder and president of Bnei Baruch Kabbalah Education & Research Institute.

What Happens After Death?

Life after Death. Dr. Michael Laitman in an interview with Larry King.


Life After Death – Dr. Michael Laitman in an episode of New Life.

What Happens When You Die? FAQ 

What Happens to the Soul After Death?What Happens to the Soul After Death?

People who can perceive their soul live in it because of its disconnection with the body’s death.

People who have never attained their souls, have only a Reshimo (from the Hebrew word, “Roshem” [record]), which is a certain code similar to DNA including all attributes a person had ever consisted of.

When the body dies, this informational part (the Reshimo) must connect with a new body in this world and start all over. Every person has a Reshimo, the particle from which we eventually develop a soul.

Out of our corporeal, egoistic desires for food, sex, family, money, honor, control and knowledge, we have a small particle of information that works inside this corporeal desire that urges us to build a soul. In the wisdom of Kabbalah, this particle of information is called a “point in the heart.” It is characterized by the questions “What is the meaning of life?” “What do we live for?” Ultimately, it is a desire to perceive our soul and figure out the source of our existence.

The more intensely this point in the heart awakens in us, the more we address our egoistic desire and seek out means where we can realize this desire. Eventually, we come across the authentic wisdom of Kabbalah, which teaches a methodological approach on how to build a soul.

What Will Happen to Me When I Die?What Will Happen to Me When I Die?

If you attain the revelation of the soul—the smallest spiritual property, the smallest development of the soul from a point, its real existence—then when your body dies, you will continue perceiving your soul. This is because your soul will then have acquired volume and light (spiritual force of love and bestowal) inside it. It will then once again dress in another body, born by a woman, in order to attain all 125 steps of its development while existing in this body, since this can only be done while being physically present in our world.

However, if you don’t attain the revelation of the soul from the point, then you will once again appear in this world, just like you did this time, and you will have another opportunity (a point in the heart) to reveal and develop it.

Why Do We Die?Why Do We Die?

The body goes through renewal because its inner qualities are renewed. These qualities cannot go through the change while in the same body, since a particular body is always the most suitable for realizing a particular set of qualities.

What Is Hell?What Is Hell?

Hell depends on how a person defines it. There are those who suppose that Hell is when everything that they had in this world disappears and they regret that life passed by without any benefit.

There are those who suppose that Hell is not here in this world, from an emotional point of view: good or bad, with all kinds of observations. Rather, it waits for us in the future, after the body dies. They think that after the body dies, Heaven or Hell awaits.

In Kabbalah, Hell is the name given to the most undesirable spiritual state. Through progressing on the spiritual path using the method of Kabbalah, we strive to reach a state where values are changed so that Heaven and Hell acquire a different identity in comparison to what is conventionally accepted. Many people believe that when the body dies, some kind of door opens to Heaven or Hell. But is this wretched beast at fault for having died or because it was alive?

However, Kabbalah speaks about life or death in terms of the desire to receive in the situation when we have free choice. The illusion that I am in a physical body and feel this world is intentionally given so that I will leap above it and see myself as alive and existing only in a spiritual Kli (vessel) in relation to Light (spiritual force of love and bestowal).

It is perfectly fine, even beneficial, to imagine and see Hell differently all the time. When I am under the control of the desire to receive, which doesn’t let me bestow, this is called Hell. 

What Happens to Our Consciousness When We Die?What Happens to Our Consciousness When We Die?

Nothing disappears in nature. It only changes its structure, design, just as our body decomposes into basic elements. It passes from one state to another. There is no such concept as “disappear.” Therefore, consciousness passes from one form to another, from one carrier to another—if it exists within us at all.

It can be stated that consciousness exists not in a person, but that it is around him, or maybe even in a completely different dimension, in another space. Our brain is kind of a modem that picks up the general consciousness to the extent that it needs to realize itself in the current moment.

Also, in terms of remembering your own self, your “I” exists in consciousness, not in the physical body. Consciousness per se is information. Informational connection exists beyond time and field. It permeates the entire universe.

Information does not disappear, it can only change its medium. We cannot say for certain in what form and where it exists. 

The wisdom of Kabbalah teaches that nothing else exists. Our bodies and the whole corporeal world are only an illusion. This world is called “an illusory world” and is considered nonexistent. Everything else exists in the consciousness.

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  1. David Zachery

    This may have been the greatest thing I have ever heard.

  2. arek

    We all have a soul, were not just 1 trillion loving molecules just made. God speaks to us with silence. hard for us humans to believe becuase we want to see something to have proof. Just believe

  3. chima obi

    please can i have some books on this teaching, i like it alot

  4. Addison Thomas

    Does suicide mess up the process or is it planned by the path of the spirit? If I were to kill myself would I be messing everything up for myself and those who were to follow me? Does killing myself help quicken the release or does it just make things much worse?

    • sydney

      ummmmm welp you should be thinking of doing this bc your should live a long and happy live

    • Lady

      Hope you are okay.

      Going by this article and several other “sources” on this topic.. it does seem that killing oneself does screw up the process. Read the article again but slower and think about it.. it says our souls are here specifically to learn how to open ourselves up and “attain the highest volume and light (spiritual force of love and bestowal)”. Death by another would certainly put a wrench in this process, especially early death (young vs old age), but death by oneself I think would really screw it up because the body/mind/spirit knows it was by choice. In a sense you are choosing to give up this effort to sort of “find yourself” spiritually, you are willingly saying with this action “I quit this project of spiritual development that is my true purpose on this physical plane.” Thus, when your spirit is returned to a new body aka a new chance at completing this “soul journey”, you would have also transferred the traits of the last “person” you were. Now think of how much harder it would be for the new spirit, tainted with it’s past history/traits from a body/mind that willingly chose to self-destruct, just how harder it would be for this soul to gain clarity? It would even more lost than the last time it was here.. it will be harder for it to fight those traits that caused the person/body it was contained in to make a different choice… and what would most likely happen is that history would repeat itself.. causing that particular soul to push back further and further from it’s true purpose. This is why it is so important for us all to seek this spiritual connection and purpose; so that each generation brings with it traits of a past generation that became closer to attaining complete spiritual development. To simplify all of this, what we do in this life does affect the next generation. Every single one of us plays a part in the grand scheme. The more we all make a collective effort to individually complete this journey, the closer and easier it would be for each future generation to do the same. I do hope this inspires you to continue pushing on.. you have purpose and now you know what it is. Don’t give up.

  5. Kevin Sorbo

    Interesting View.
    But why are we limiting this only to humans and to the planet earth. In my opinion that can be applied to life per se and since the univers is so vast geting reborn just on earth as a human is not the right way to look at it. I think life itself follows something that you are describing here and we are only one steping stone in an endless ocean of soul progression.

  6. Ang

    This is not true. You do not have to back down to this place you called earth if you don’t want to. When you die just keep playing that in the back of mind and you won’t have to come back down here. Choose to help the world in a different way. Don’t listen to anyone that tells you. You have to come back down here

    • Lady

      interesting.. please continue.. i’d like to understand more of what you are thinking/saying here. thanks!

  7. IdPnSD

    “In each successive generation, the will to receive undergoes an upgrade.”
    “Every person has a Reshimo, the particle from which we eventually develop a soul.”

    Kabbalah theory seems to match closely with Vedas. Bible also talk about spirit, which is same as soul. But you have not discussed about destiny, which is included in both Bible and Vedas. Destiny guides everything in our life, we do not have any freewill. How a soul will progress in one life is already predefined and nobody can change it. Life can be precisely predicted moment by moment and also for long term by any high level yogi.

    I am wondering why we have to consider this as religion, when everything about soul, reincarnation, destiny, yogic power, etc., can be observed in nature exactly the way religious books describe. These things should be considered as real and true science. For many examples take a look at the free book on soul theory at https://theoryofsouls.wordpress.com/

    • Tracy

      I suggest, thinking about it honestly, suicide “seems” wrong, because it is. At the least it is a less than suboptomal alternative, and one could penalize or do permanent damage to ones soul.

  8. Ravali

    I agree to the topic because the same thing is said by lord Sri Krishna but in different manner in “BHGAVADGITA”.A human being when he analysis and come to conscious of thoughts he do .He can act in better way. The truth, purity,unselfish all these things helps to feel the existence of soul.

  9. Mary Miesem

    The idea presented here that there is a part of us, deep inside, that creates a yearning to figure out the source of our existence is comforting and mind-blowing at the same time. To me it makes perfect sense that the Creator would instill such a thing in us. Otherwise, why exist?

    I grew up in a religion that held over our heads descriptions of our post-death eternal states—either heavenly bliss or the horror of being burned forever. It was always scary because I found it impossible to be a “good girl” all the time, at least according to the church’s definition of good and bad.

    What is suggested here, however, is that these states do not await us, but exist throughout our lives. Most people have experienced “hell on earth” as well as its opposite. To know that I can achieve the state of eternal connection with the Creator during this lifetime is so reassuring and heartening.

    Death then becomes achievement of that sublime connection or an exit and re-entry into corporeal life so that I can continue my quest. Thank you for this beautiful and informative series of articles.

  10. Olga

    Wow. Lots of new and very unusual information.
    Not easy to absorb it all at once. Will have to come back and go over it again.
    Very interesting though… Keep it up please!

    • Shelly

      Looks like we have to hurry and reach the sensation of the spiritual world while we are still living in this body…

      • Ang

        Sounds crazy to me

  11. James Owolabi

    It is a very enlightening topic, keep it up please.

  12. Scott Hankins

    Death. Physical death. This is a scary thought when you just sit and think about it. I am born into a family, start a new family, go to school to find a job that might give me some satisfaction, make money, be kind, be respected, come to understand mind blowing intellectual pursuits, do the right thing, have fun. All of this inside the body. I feel pleasure with all of this inside the body. But the body dies. All of this pleasure felt inside this body and it dies. So, now what?

    The obvious answer to me is I need to find a way to escape my body while still living in the body so when my body dies, it’s like taking off a shirt. I found the escape route out of the body or as they call it in Kabbalah, exiting Egypt. Sound familiar? Come study Kabbalah and found out what escaping Egypt is all about. The sages of Kabbalah promise you, if you escape Egypt, it will be like taking off your shirt when your body dies. Come and see!!!

  13. robin

    This topic is THE topic. It is the thing that we all hurtle towards whether we want it or not.
    We do take life for granted. Overlooking the fact that life, like death we do not create.
    Personally, I have many patterns in my mind that could be interpreted in line with reincarnation however the other illusionary qualities of this life make me reticent to rely on those thoughts.
    But the acquiring of sensations and relationships between us all is undeniable. And when we move toward each other in particular fashions particular results are displayed. No doubt about that.
    If all my love for peoples is nothing………I chose it anyway because without love, life is meaningless. If love IS the underlying form of life that all the better……..So I choose life,
    Right now I just view my body as a thermometer. That helps me feel the whole common soul of humanity. And the more I can integrate with that than the more life I feel. Perhaps this is what is refered to in these articles.
    And if these relationships I am sewing now last,…… past my body…..WOW, that is awesome!

    • Tracy

      If you feel like a thermometer , then that is what you are here to do, (intuit and guide lessor souls). as such you have an obligation to pass on your knowledge

  14. VeronicaE

    So interesting! I will be bookmarking this site so I can come back to this site time and time again!

  15. Margarita

    Just to be born, struggle, and die without any reason does not match the finely tuned complexity on any level of this Universe. There must be more to to this short life we live than just die and nothing. Thanks for this site that dears to bring up the subject with thought provoking questions and answers. Definitely it is worth looking more into it .

  16. Amber

    The death of my 8 year old sister when I was 19 left me devastated. I was left asking what is the point and purpose of life? Why would a loving God do this?

    It was a moment that changed the course of my life, I can see now that it actually saved me from the self-destructive path I was on.

    I didn’t have drive or motivation for anything, I wasn’t able to find satisfaction in the things other people did. As much as I tried to fill my emptiness with the usual distractions of this world, still these questions kept persisting inside me, what I am supposed to be doing here? What is my purpose?

    For years I searched through various spiritual practices and philosophies that helped me feel more calm, but none answered my bigger questions, it wasn’t until I found and started learning about Kabbalah from Dr. Michael Laitman’s articles and books that I finally felt things click and start to make sense for me.

    I found that searching for meaning in our lives is built into our design and that having a loving relationship, a family and work is all part of life, but it is not our “soul” purpose, which is why I was had this yearning but didn’t know for what.

    Now I am able to see that all events in my life, my sister’s death and all the other challenging situations and experiences we are given, are not punishments but lessons that are guiding and developing us like a life training obstacle course.

    When I realized there is more to life than what we’ve been led to believe by society, it gave me a new sense of confidence and a clear direction to be working towards.

    To realize that everything that happens to us…everything we think, feel, desire, is coming from a loving force guiding us towards finding the answers and true fulfillment we are seeking.

    Studying Kabbalah has changed my life completely. To me it’s like finding a manual for living that I didn’t realize existed and the more I learn the clearer things come into focus. I have so much gratitude and I wish I could share it with everyone who is seeking to learn their true purpose in life.

  17. eugene levich

    Profound as only Kabalah can be in conjunction with Torah.

  18. Jocelyne Steeves

    Explaining why we live and what happens after death is well done here. I will need to reread this blog again. A great summary; thank you.

  19. Brenda Jones

    Although I didn’t know it at the time, my point in the heart stated awakening 18 years ago when I sat on my bed thinking that there must be more to life than working, eating and sleeping. My search for an answer to this question about the meaning of life took me through Christianity, Messianic Judaism, Hasidic Judaism, and finally the authentic wisdom of Kabbalah—which I have been studying (and now practicing) for the last 10 years.

    If you choose to accept the invitation to learn more, I think your progress will be much quicker than mine, like how it says here that “in every new generation, children are better adapted to life than adults.” I hope so because the pleasures (sensations of eternity and wholeness) associated with acquiring your soul while in this world are the reason—and boundless joy, delight—of our existence.

    So even if you’re not quite sure, please, accept the invitation to learn more by clicking on the word “Kabbalah” highlighted in blue. We need you. And together we can experience true, eternal life here and now in this world, even after our physical body dies.

  20. Mary Miesem

    Oh my. There actually is an answer to this question, this fear, this mystery that has always haunted humankind.

    The idea that the corporeal body is a “disturbance” in the field of reality shook and shifted me. But it makes so much sense. If I understand correctly, the soul potential moves to a new, fresh corporeal body when this body’s resources are exhausted. Each new body has a stronger potential for succeeding in reaching infinity.

    This suggests that there’s a partnership here, God and the human mind and heart. Thus, there are actions I can take, efforts I can make, in this life in order to reach infinity this time around. Is this so? I also accept Dr. Laitman’s invitation so I can find out, then get to work.

  21. Edward Ponderer

    I have read much about the evidence gathered over recent decades, and particularly recent years, that the reality that we perceive is holographic, and/or a simulation—that reality is ultimately a no dimensional infinity of information, where “time” is timeless cause and consequence in the sense of 1 + 1 = 2, and “space” is similarity of form. Further there is a new theory atop this, with a surprising amount of circumstantial evidence, by Professor of Cognitive Sciences, Donald D. Hoffman of the university of California, Irvine. His thesis is that nothing actually exists but conscious (information) agents, which actually can actually connect into higher general conscious agents. There is some much more on how this page matches the details of these matters that I can’t even begin to do justice to it in a single comment.

    This sounds so much like what you are saying here that to say that I am mere “impressed” just doesn’t seem to cut it. That Kabbalah spoke like this from ancient times without any of the available models and data of modern science from quantum mechanics and relativity, to the calculus of variations and information theory, to insights from computer science, psychology, and neurology–is absolutely amazing.

    Lacking indirect evidence, the only way that it could have been known was by direct evidence. Something of these higher levels must have been attained in this life by this method!

    I’m with Larry King, Dr. Laitman—I accept your invitation!!

  22. Deb Zemke

    Thank you for this page… there are so many thoughts, fears and misconceptions surrounding life and death in today’s society that it is hard to sort through them all to find the truth. This page is not only welcomed, but needed.

  23. Zsolt Hermann

    I can’t imagine a Human being that would not be interested in this topic. We could even say that the “fear of death” defines us, it motivates us doing most things in life, especially when “death touches us” by getting older, becoming sick or losing loved ones…
    Personally I turned to religion, spiritual teachings, all kinds of methods for the specific reason to try figuring out “how to cheat death”, or what we can expect in that “nothingness”.

    After going through the material provided here (I went through it like binging on a TV series, a book one can’t abandon…) completely new thoughts opened in my mind:

    – death, eternity is not a physical concept, rather it is a state of consciousness, perception of reality
    – it is actually possible to acquire a new consciousness, perception of reality that opens up eternity, infinity in a realistic, tangible manner while still living, breathing, seeing, hearing, touching and tasting with our present biological body
    – if I understood correctly basically we are actually “dead” while living inside ourselves, only existing for our own, inherently self-centered, self-serving sake, while we can acquire that infinite, eternal state of being by existing, perceiving through others…
    – the most exciting prospect is that we can put the theory to the test, trying to break through “eternity” here and now and we do not need any special preparation, talent except an overwhelming desire to live forever…


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