Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Purim Reincarnation Story

Mystical Judaism believes in reincarnation, the notion that souls come back to clear up unfinished business. In this way a single individual can inhabit a series of bodies spanning the course of human history – like a person changing his or her clothing many times over.

Some years ago, on a Purim past mid-night, as hot tears streamed down my face, I appealed to the Creator that death and suffering were a useless waste and all humans should have a very sweet life. I cried until I could not take it anymore.

Realizing the late hour and that my Wife had long gone to sleep, I concluded that it was probably a good idea for me also to join the dreamers. On my way to bed, I picked up a picturesque coffee table book about Jewish history and proceeded to the restroom. While flipping through the large glossy pages, I noticed a medieval illustration which I found intensely disturbing. The scene depicted a Jew imprisoned in a dungeon. Coming down the steps were two figures. One wielded a torch, showing the way, while the other brandished a large knife, ready to murder the helpless prisoner.

After praying so hard for an end to all human suffering, I was much too sensitive to gaze at such a painful scene. I screamed in horror and rage.

While caught in misty stream of emotions, I dragged myself into bed. On a pillow, my tear filled eyes dropped moisture, while my closing lids exposed a world of dreams.

In the early dawn, I saw my toddler daughter about 15 years earlier. She was a middle aged Orthodox Jewish woman, with a slightly stocky build. She was sitting in the back seat of a car.

Dreams often arrive with non-visual information in order to provide a context for the scene. As part of this non-visual narrative, I learned that she was living in New York / New Jersey area and she was the victim of a serious car accident at some point during that life. It was unclear whether or not she survived. 

The next morning, on Purim day, I shared with my Wife the highlights of my three nocturnal events: my prayer, the illustration and the dream.

Laughingly, she rhetorically asked, “Don’t you see why you had the dream?”

“No”, I shrugged.

She explained, “The dream was the answer to your prayers and to your outrage at the illustration. The Creator was communicating to you that your precious gift, your sweet daughter, needed to finish up her previous life in order to be born to you. Without people passing away, no children are born.”

With that thought, I saw in the illustration a very different message, “The Creator was already planning the prisoner’s next incarnation or place in paradise. (In some sense) the murder was just a means to free him up for his very next opportunity.


  1. Receptive wife.

    When my younger daughter was 2 1/2, (she didn't speak many words before then--then she started talking in adult sentences) she preceded to tell me of her previous life. She lived in a very cold climate, hated it, and didn't like her mother very much. She was almost five and was about to start kindergarten. Her best friend was her younger cousin, age three. Then, she and her dad were driving to some store, and both were killed. She went to this place that had merry-go-rounds and other kid things. She was asked if she'd like to be born to me. She pleaded that she did not want that, but finally agreed when this person kept persuading her. This eternal being told her that she didn't have to go to a place where it was always cold, ever again. So she finally agreed to be born to me. She said she was upset that her three year old cousin would now start kindergarten before she would.

    My paternal grandmother had died several years before this little girl was born in this previous life, and I almost swear she's also my grandmother. She talked/talks almost identical to her. I never really got along with this grandmother. My daughter told me she just didn't like me (age 2 1/2). She'd also told me she didn't like her previous mom, but she really didn't like me because I didn't keep her room as neat as her previous mother. She said we didn't have nearly as much money.

    I think she was guided to be born to me, so I can make some kind of amends with my paternal grandmother.

    When my younger daughter joined the Navy, (this was her desire from childhood) she first spent almost two years in Bahrain. While she was home on leave, she told me she was going to Iceland. Then she added, "Ya know. I don't ever have to go back where it's always cold, but I chose to." (She has no memory of telling us this when she was a toddler).

    Well, we're still trying to correct what went wrong way back when.................

  2. Did you tell her about her own previous life yet?

    I think for now my daughter still too young to really confront the concept of her own reincarnation. However, her teens might be a good time to tell her. Then it can become another building block as she's working to shape her identity.