Reincarnation in Judaism and Holocaust Reincarnation Cases



Anne Frank | Barbro Karlen Past Life CaseReincarnation and Judaism

Article by: Walter Semkiw, MD from Born Again and Return of the Revolutionaries

Holocaust Reincarnation or Past Life Cases

Anne Frank | Barbro Karlen Reincarnation Case

Historian Josephus: Essenes & Pharisees Believe in Reincarnation

As described in the section on Reincarnation and Christianity, reincarnation was part of Jewish thought at the time of Jesus. The Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus (37–100 A.D.), wrote that there were three sects of Jews during that era, the Sadducees, Essenes, and Pharisees. Josephus wrote that two of the sects, the Essenes (of Dead Sea Scroll fame) and the Pharisees both believed in reincarnation. Josephus wrote:

“The Pharisees believe that souls have an immortal vigour in them and that the virtuous shall have power to revive and live again: on account of which doctrines they are able greatly to persuade the body of people.” (1)

Josephus himself, who served as a soldier, once rallied his men to fight by citing the doctrine of reincarnation. Josephus said to his men:

“Do ye not remember that all pure Spirits when they depart out of this life obtain a most holy place in heaven, from whence, in the revolutions of ages, they are again sent into pure bodies.” (2)

Reincarnation, the Zohar & Kabbalah

star-of-davidReincarnation is also a part of the Zohar, a classic Kabbalahistic text, thought to be written by Rabbi Simeon ben Jochai, in AD 80, with contributions made by medieval Hebrew scholars. The Kabalistic movement focused on hidden wisdom of the Jewish faith. The Zohar was edited and first published by Rabbi Moses de Leon, in 1280. Here are sample passages from the Zohar, regarding reincarnation:

“All souls are subject to the trials of transmigration (reincarnation); and men do not know the designs of the Most High with regard to them; they know not how they are being at all times judged, both before coming into this world and when they leave it. They do not know how many transmigrations and mysterious trials they must undergo.” (3)

“Souls must reenter the absolute substance whence they have emerged. But to accomplish this end they must develop all the perfections, the germ of which is planted in them; and if they have not fulfilled this condition during one life, they must commence another, a third, and so forth, until they have acquired the condition which fits them for reunion with God.” (4)

Reincarnation & Rabbi Manasseh ben Israel

Another prominent Jewish theologian who believed in reincarnation was Rabbi Manasseh ben Israel (1604-1657). It was this rabbi who convinced Oliver Cromwell to remove the Crown’s prohibition of Jews from residing in England, a policy that had existed for 150 years, since the time of Edward I. In his book Nishmath Hayem, Rabbi Manasseh ben Israel wrote:

“The belief or the doctrine of the transmigration of souls is a firm and infallible dogma accepted by the whole assemblage of our church with one accord, so that there is none to be found who would dare to deny it. . . . Indeed, there are a great number of sages in Israel who hold firm to this doctrine so that they make it a dogma, a fundamental point of our religion. We are therefore in duty bound to obey and to accept this dogma with acclamation . . . as the truth of it has been incontestably demonstrated by the Zohar, and all books of the Kabbalists.” (5)


1. Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book 18, Chapter 1, No. 3.
2. Flavius Josephus, Jewish War, Book 3, Chapter 8, No. 5.
3. Zohar, Vol. II, fol. 99.
4  Sylvia Cranston, Reincarnation, The Phoenix Fire Mystery, Theosophical University Press, Pasadena, 1998, p. 132–133.