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by Esther Wein in After-Life
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The soul embarks on a mysterious journey once it departs the body.  We can best describe it as the reunion of the soul with its source, the Creator.

Sometimes a single word can speak volumes. We find that the Hebrew word for grave, kever, is also used frequently in the Mishna and Talmud to refer to a Womb. How are we to understand this? Is birth really about death? I think the opposite is the case:  It is not that the birth process is likened to a grave, but rather that the death process is likened to a birth.

 

Imagine if you were a fetus still in the womb. If you already had the gift of intelligence and rational thought, what would be your most troubling question? Not much troubles you. Everything is provided - nutrients, a warm and sheltered environment. Who could ask for more? If anything troubled you, it might be this: Who is giving this all to me? You hear a heartbeat; you hear conversation; and you know someone is taking care of you, cushioning you; but WHO?  Who is my mother? 
 
  We all live our lives breathing G-d’s air, walking G-d’s earth, hearing G-d’s messages spoken by the prophets of old and recorded in our Holy books.  We, like the fetus in the womb, live our lives asking a similar question, and we yearn to come face to face with our “mother”. Often this yearning is muffled. It grows stronger when we experience personal moments of enlightenment. We ask this question most furtively when we don’t understand the contradictions inherent in this world. We ask this question when we contemplate the complexity and intricacies of nature.

 

  We know intuitively that we have a “mother” and we yearn to see “her”, but we can’t, not here and now. As the body is put into the kever, the grave, the soul begins to go through its rebirth.  It begins a process like birth that will bring it face to face with its source and the source of all life and truth. Like a new born baby, it enters a new world that it could never have imagined. All the impressions that seemed so hazy before will be understood in sparkling clarity, as it’s “eyes” gets used to seeing in a whole new way. Finally, the soul after death achieves the answer to all those questions — through the ultimate reunion with its creator.

 

It is a general rule of human nature that preparation pays off; preparation always yields a more satisfying experience in the end.  The more one yearns to know and be connected to one’s “Mother”, the more joyful the eventual reunion. When we find ourselves confronting experiencing that makes us ask who created us and what our responsibilities to our Creator are, we would be wise to embrace those situations. They are our most precious gifts!