Most Read

Afterlife

The Dybbuk and Reincarnation of the Soul - Rabbi Zamir Cohen

Nowadays, the phenomenon referred to as Dybbuk is so rare it is almost extinct. There are those who claim that among the emotionally disturbed people on hospitals’ psychiatric wards some are not truly sick, but simply possessed by a wandering spirit

The Dybbuk and Reincarnation of the Soul - Rabbi Zamir Cohen
Nowadays, the phenomenon referred to as Dybbuk is so rare it is almost extinct. There are those who claim that among the emotionally disturbed people on hospitals’ psychiatric wards some are not truly sick, but simply possessed by a wandering spirit.

Still, we must differentiate between a Dybbuk and a reincarnated soul. A Dybbuk is the soul of a departed person who has not managed to find peace — usually because of the severity of the transgressions he committed while still alive. This spirit enters a living person’s body and afflicts it, causing the living person harm and confusion.

A reincarnated soul, on the other hand, is the process through which a person who has already lived and died, returns to this world, and is born again in another body.

The concept of reincarnation can provide answers to many of the dilemmas that people have, such as: “How can children be killed in car accidents or terror attacks? He was only a kid, what could he have done already to deserve such as end? Why did it happen to him?”

The morally righteous man, who serves Hashem, lives his life in this world. He generally does the right thing, but, unfortunately, he blemished his soul in certain ways which he didn’t manage to rectify before his soul was taken. Under certain circumstances such a person may be sent back down to the world of action, where he will be reborn as a new child — one who has no recollection of what he went through in his former existence. The infant grows a little and becomes a child… lad… man. Once his rectification is complete, he passes away — even if he is still a child, or a young man.

The pain is great. The family is heartbroken — they find it hard to endure the sorrow. They do not know that this soul has simply finished the task it was sent here to accomplish, and that is why it was called back up to heaven. This is one of the reasons behind the death of young children, lo aleinu. This is also why some babies are born with autism, or Downs’ Syndrome, or other forms of physical disability. Sometimes, the root cause lies in a former incarnation, which dictates that it is in this baby’s best interest to be born into this situation.
 
The Right Perspective Answers Various Questions

In his book Minchat Yehuda, Rabbi Yehuda Petayah, zt”l, wrote about a deceased man’s spirit that entered a live person in the form of a Dybbuk. Rav Petayah tried his utmost to assist the living man who was suffering dreadfully, and to help the poor spirit whose suffering was also great. At some point the spirit said to the Rav: “I would like to thank you for everything you have done for me, and to let you know that soon I shall no longer be a Dybbuk — I am about to exit this man’s body and I will be born anew in a reincarnation!” He then added: “Most of the sins that I committed — the ones I am currently suffering for — took place because I was a very good-looking lad, as a result I stumbled a lot, and caused others to stumble. I have, therefore, asked that in my next life I shall not be good-looking. Not only do I not want to be handsome in my new incarnation — I want my face to be seriously ugly, pockmarked and full of sores. My request has been granted and I am delighted!”

Rabbi Yehuda Petayah relates that he later scoured his town and he found a newborn baby that fit the Dybbuk’s description precisely.

Let’s imagine to ourselves this child growing up, and constantly complaining: “Why did Hashem create me this ugly? Am I any less deserving than anyone else?” He doesn’t realize that he was the one who begged to born this way, and he doesn’t recall the delight he felt when his request was fulfilled, knowing that he would now be able to rectify the transgressions he had committed in his former incarnation.

The correct perspective towards life’s events can explain many phenomena and settle various dilemmas. The more a person is in touch with his spiritual essence, aware of life’s purpose and of the significance of life after worldly life, the more he learns to appreciate what is truly important and what is only a relative triviality. To the extent that he recognizes the true meaning of life, he will focus on the material world only as far as he needs to make a reasonable living, and he will invest his greatest efforts in what matters most — Torah study, prayer, character refinement, mitzvot and charitable deeds.

Adapted from ‘Man and His Universe’ by Rabbi Zamir Cohen. Coming to you soon in English.

Click Here to purchase Rabbi Zamir Cohen's books in English