Netzach: eternity. Malchut or Shechinah: close divine spiritual presence.
I think about the afterlife sometimes. As in life after death. I’ve had some visions of it. So I know? believe? hope? it’s another kind of life. And it goes on forever.
When my father died, my son was five years old. One day, about a month after the funeral, my son and I were sitting on the floor playing. My thoughts wandered, my feelings followed. And I began to cry. “Don’t worry, Mom,” my son said. “Grandpa’s soul is part of God now.”
My son, now grown, does not remember saying this. So, he can’t really tell me what he meant. But I imagine he intuited exactly what my visions show.
My visions of the afterlife are not just dreams. Yes, I have those, too, where precious family members visit. Sometimes those dreams are numinous. That is, they are filled with deep feeling and a sense of spiritual presence. I wrote an academic paper about them once. A little philosophy, psychology, and Jewish thought, mixed with a lot of experience. You can read it here.
But the visions are different. The most powerful one came a few years ago. It was a new perception of reality that lasted for five hours. A spiritual perception of the essence of consciousness. A consciousness shared by everything that exists. And, among other things, I saw: of course there is life after death, because the source of life does not die.
Last week I had another vision. At first, I thought it was a dream, but a dream expert corrected me.
That night, I had been sleeping on the floor, near my ailing cat. He was curled under the rocking chair. At some point I woke up. I saw that the cat had moved just a few feet, and curled up against my body.
“Unusual!” I thought. “He’s not a cuddly cat. But he wants comfort, and he can only walk a few steps now. So I shouldn’t be surprised.”
Then the cat began to tremble. I felt him vibrate against my body. Then he started to vibrate faster. And I started to vibrate. And I felt his energy fill my body. When the vibration stopped, I understood. He had transferred his life energy into me.
Then, I looked again. There he was, still curled up under the chair.
Of course there is an afterlife. It’s another kind of life. A life of energy. And it goes on forever, because the source of life does not die.
Netzach she’b’Malchut: Shechinah is forever.
Today is day 46 of the Omer, i.e., six weeks and four days.
New to counting the Omer? Here’s a primer.
Want to learn more about Jewish views of the afterlife? If so, I recommend the work of Dr. Simcha Paull Raphael.