Entrance To The Underground Cave At The Tomb Of The Patriarchs (in Hebrew, Maarat Hamachpelah)

The Experience of People Who Were Clinically Dead

And Came Back to Life

Dovid: Rabbi Yitchak Chalamish brings various testimonies of people who were

Pavlov: Do you have any evidence that heaven really exists?

clinically dead and then were later saved to show that Heaven really does exist.

Here are some translated excerpts from his book,Ha-Chaim She-l’achar

Researchers have identified some basic points that come up repeatedly in most
of the testimonies of those that were clinically dead and then revived.

  1. There is a sense of very rapid transit within a long and dark tunnel.
  2. The person suddenly realizes that he is located outside his physical body,
    yet he is still in the same physical environment. His body is seen from a
    certain distance, and he looks at it.
  3. He sees everything that transpires in connection with his body and the
    attempts being made to restore it to life.
  4. After a while he begins to grow accustomed to his new situation; he
    realizes that while he does have a “body”, it is a new body very different in
    its nature and its characteristics from the physical body he had during his
  5. At that very same time additional things are taking place: the deceased
    sees that the spirits of his father and mother and closest relatives, as well
    as his already deceased friends, coming to meet him, to accompany him in his
    new situation – and to assist him.
  6. The deceased person senses that he is encountering an “entity-reality” of
    light, a wonderful light beaming tremendous love, good warmth, of a kind he
    has never encountered before.
  7. This “entity” asks him various questions in a non-verbal manner in order
    to bring him to review the story of his life and the deeds he did while he was
    alive, and while the deceased reviews his deeds, there passes before his eyes
    a “panorama” that reconstructs before him all the major, important events of
    his life.
  8. At a certain stage the deceased feels that he is drawing near to something
    like an end, a border, a boundary, which seems to represent the borderline
    between earthly life and the life thereafter. But here it becomes clear to the
    deceased that he has to return to the world of the living – this world, for
    the hour of his death has not yet arrived.
  9. When he discovers this, he objects and does not want to go back, for he is
    attracted to the situation in which he has found himself – in this new and
    wonderful reality of life after death, and he has no desire to return to his
    former situation.
  10. Yet, despite his reluctance, he returns and is joined once again to his
    physical body, and he returns to This World.

It is very important to
remember, these studies say, that this description of testimony is not the
testimony of a single person restored to life, but rather a comprehensive and
inclusive representation of very many testimonies of “people restored to life”.
[Ha-Chaim She-l’achar Hamavet, pp. 13-14]

Pavlov: Are there reports of people, who were not religious Jews, who also
experienced, what you described ?

Dovid: Yes.

Pavlov: You know then what this implies ?

Dovid: Rabbi Chalamish was aware of the issue you’re hinting to and touches
upon it in chapter 5 of his book.

Here’s my translation of chapter 5.

The Deceased Passes Through a Dark Tunnel As He is Dying

The Testimonies of Those Who Return – of the Transit of
their Souls while Dying – in a Tunnel – a Cave

Those who return relate in their testimony that they felt, while in the
process of dying, as if their souls were passing along “a dark tunnel”, to which
they were drawn very quickly.

They describe the experience as a transit within a space resembling a cave, a
well, a trough of water, a tunnel, a valley, and other descriptions of this

Passing Through the Cave of the Machpela

When the soul leaves the body – it enters the Cave of the Machpela
which is where the entrance to the Garden of Eden is to be found; the Cave is
full of light coming from the illumination of the Divine Presence; the soul
meets Adam Ha-Rishon and the Holy Patriarchs

And thus taught the Zohar (Lekh L’kha 81, 1) that when the soul leaves this
world, it enters the Cave of the Machpela where the entrance to the Garden of
Eden is to be found, and there it meets Adam Ha-Rishon and the Holy Patriarchs.
If the soul is found worthy (i.e., if the person has done that which he was
supposed to do in this world), they rejoice in it, and they open the gateway to
the Garden of Eden and it enters into the Garden, but if, Heaven forbid, the
soul is found unworthy, they push it outside so that it does not enter the
Garden of Eden.

And so too, was it explained in the Zohar (Vay’hi 250, 2), that when our
forefather Yaakov entered the Cave of the Machpela, the Cave was filled
with light
emanating from the illumination of the Divine Presence, and
there is one candle –which is the mystical secret of the light of the Divine
Presence, that illuminates there and when the Patriarchs, Avraham and Yitzhak
left the cave and came to Yaakov in Egypt to be with him during his dying
moments, –so that his bed would be counted as full then that same
candlelight, which is the illumination of the Divine Presence, left the Cave.
And when Yaakov entered the Cave, the candle returned to its place and
continued burning, thus – by means of the illumination of the Divine Presence –
completing the Cave with all it required.

The Cave of the Machpela never accepted another person to be buried in it,
and it will never do so either, for if attempts be made to bury another person
there, the Cave will be blocked before the burial procession and will drive the
deceased away, for this Cave is the site of the Or Ha-Ganuz,
the Light which has been hidden away, by virtue of which people see throughout
the world.

The souls of the righteous pass before the Patriarchs in the Cave, for the
Cave is the gateway to the Garden-of-Eden, so that the Patriarchs can wake up
and see their descendants who merited to ascend with virtues of holiness, and
for this they rejoice before the Holy One Blessed be He.

Do the Souls of the Wicked also pass through the Cave of the Machpela and
see Adam Ha-Rishon?

Regarding the question of whether it is only the righteous that see Adam
Ha-Rishon when they depart this world, or whether the souls of the evil do so,

The Zohar explains (Tosephet 303, b etc.), that all human beings, whether
righteous, pious and innocent or sinners and wicked, pass through the air at
their hour of death to see Adam Ha-Rishon, and after they see him each is sent
to the place he deserves – the righteous to the Garden-of-Eden and the wicked to

The Wicked, too, during the hour of their death, see the face of the Divine
Presence – the Great Light.

Furthermore, we learn from our holy Sages, that even the sinners and the
wicked, at the hour of their decease, behold the face of the Divine Presence and
the great Light of the Glory of the Almighty.

The Midrash tells us (Shocher Tov, end of psalm 22): “Rabbi Yochanan said…
Both righteous and evil are received by the Divine Presence. However,
the evil who rebelled against the Almighty are shown the Divine Presence at
their hour of death and are told: Come and see the face of the King against whom
you rebelled and who will yet take His vengeance of you,
while the
righteous, at the hour of their death, are shown the Divine Presence and are
told: Come and see the face of the King whom you serve and who will shortly
repay you… and even little children are received by the Divine Presence, as the
verse says: “The seed which will serve Him, it should be told of the L-rd to the
coming generation.” (Psalms 22:31).

The Wicked are found worthy of being received by the Holy Presence by virtue
of having given to Charity.

The Midrash teaches us (Shocher Tov, psalm 17) in connection with the verse
in Psalms (17:15): “As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness:” (or in
Hebrew Tzedek) I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with beholding thy
likeness”: One must appreciate the power of Tzedaka , charity, by
means of a coin of little value, that one gives to the poor, one is found worthy
to be received by the Divine Presence…
for it was stated: As for me, I
will behold thy face in righteousness,( Tzedek) I shall be satisfied,
when I awake, with beholding thy likeness”… to teach us that even the wicked,
who have no other positive virtue than having given to charity, are
found worthy of being received by the Holy Presence,
as said by Isaiah
(40:5): And the glory of the Hashem is revealed – to everyone, both
righteous or wicked.

The Evil Person Sees the Divine Presence at Hour of His Death so that He
will Justify the Verdict that Was Decreed Upon Him.

The writer of Hesed l’Avraham added

that the evil person sees the Divine Presence at the time of his
death, because they do not punish him until he has seen his Creator, and
understood to whom he has sinned, and what he caused by his sin, and he will
therefore justify the verdict that was decreed upon him.

Pavlov: There is a Reform Rabbi in my neighborhood who makes no demands on
his followers to change their lifestyles. In fact , for a little money, he’ll
register Non-Jewish atheists as converts to Judaism.

Until now, I had no need for him, but now, in light of your words, what do
you think if I went to learn a little about Judaism from him. Since he
doesn’t scare me.

Dovid: My attitude to your proposal, can be compared to the attitude of a
normal government to an impostor, who impersonates a judge and tells criminals
that they are free to do death-penalty crimes.

Pavlov: I also heard there is a liberal Orthodox Rabbi in my neighborhood,
named Zecharia, that might also be willing to teach me about Judaism. What do
you think about him?

Dovid: I know of him, and he’s an improvement, but still unacceptable in my

Pavlov: Why?

Dovid: Because, in the name of “winning people over to love Judaism” he’s
willing to make unacceptable compromises on details of Jewish Law and he’s
willing to distort the ideals of Judaism.

In particular it bothers me, that he advocates “groundless love” for
everybody, no matter how evil he might be.

I also wish to make it clear my intentions is not to slander but just to save
you from the harmful spiritual influences of Rabbi Zecharia, as spelled out in
Hilchot Lashon Hara 4:10.

Pavlov: What’s so bad about groundless love? Perhaps, his opinion is also
within the range of acceptable Orthodox opinions?

If you have the patience, I’m willing to show you an article on the subject
of Hatred; and why I’m against groundless love to everyone.

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