Do devout Jews believe in purgatory?

Full Question

I was told that devout Jews believe in purgatory. Is this true?


In essence, yes, though they do not call it purgatory. Jews do believe in a purification (a purgation) which takes place after death. When a Jewish person’s loved one dies, it is customary to pray on his behalf for eleven months using a prayer known as the mourner’s Qaddish (derived from the Hebrew word meaning “holy”). This prayer is used to ask God to hasten the purification of the loved one’s soul. The Qaddish is prayed for only eleven months because it is thought to be an insult to imply that the loved one’s sins were so severe that he would require a full year of purification.

The practice of praying for the dead has been part of the Jewish faith since before Christ. Remember that 2 Maccabees 12:39-46, on which Catholics base their observance of this practice, shows that, a century and a half before Christ, prayer for the dead was taken for granted. Unlike Protestantism, Catholicism has preserved this authentic element of Judeo-Christian faith.


  1. Francis Pope Reply

    Jews do not believe in purgatory. Their souls go straight to heaven. Hell is for Christians.

    1. Vicki Sawarin Reply

      Really? The Jews do not believe in Jesus but believe that God will take them into the Kingdom of Heaven when they crucified our Lord, His Son?

      1. Robert Reply

        It was the Romans who invented crucifixion.

    2. Lea Leger Reply

      have u read the article???? They believe Purification of sins after death. The pray for their dead ones for 11 months. Purgatory means purification of sins, after death u go through cleansing fire as stated in the scripture because all of us are sinners and only the righteous can enter heaven. in order to go heaven you must go through to the cleansing fire (those who are just, those who believe in Jesus and follow his command) but those who committed mortal sin and did not repent will go straight to hell after death.

  2. dongszkie Reply

    But why did Moses and the Levitical Priest did not mentioned nor made any hints about Purgatory, Prayer for the Dead, and immortal Soul in the Hebrew Scriptures?

Leave a Reply