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"The Great Day of Judgment"
What is the “Great Day of Judgment” and who will be judged on it?

In classical Jewish sources, there are three opinions about the “Great Day of Judgment” referred to in the Prophets. According to Rabbi Yitzchak Abarbanel, there will be no grand Day of Judgment when Moshiach comes, since each person is judged individually after death. The sources referring to a “day of judgment” are talking about a day of punishment and retribution.

According to the famous Kabbalist, the Arizal, there will be a day of judgment, but not for the Jewish People: “Since the soul has already been through the Day of Atonement, and suffering cleanses, and then the soul has been through a number of transmigrations, why is there a need for the soul to return and be judged on a Great Day of Judgment!” In the book Nishmat Chaim, he adds: “And if you say, what will be with those who die close to the time of resurrection, and they have not yet been through the cleansing process or transmigration?... My answer is that instead of a lengthy process of judgment, they will receive their punishment in one intense burst of short duration.”

Therefore, the Arizal establishes that the Great Day of Judgment will be only for the gentile nations of the world.

The Ramban holds that a massive Day of Judgment will be held before the resurrection of the dead. In his opinion, the judgment will be held for every person to determine “if he is worthy of resurrection and the pleasantness of body and soul in that time.”

The Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak, offers his view of the ultimate Day of Judgment: “The judgment will be made by Moshiach himself, on whom the verse was said, ‘He will not judge by the sight of his eyes or rebuke by the sound of his ears’…. Moshiach will place himself into the difficulties of the Jewish People in exile, and will arouse mercy upon them and find merit for them, that they did not desire to sin but could not withstand their evil inclination.”

 

 


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