Originally posted by shibbo
I've been wanting to ask someone with a Jewish background this for a long time. Does Judaism teach any concept of hell? I mean the traditional idea of eternal torment, fire and brimstone.
Hell is called Gehinna after the Valley of Gehnom (check ou the spelling). It is not a place of eternal torment. After people dies, some people go there as a type of purgatory for sins committed.
Jews say the Kaddish over their parents for 11 months because a wicked person would have to stay in Gehinna for 12 months and you don't want to say your parents are evil, so you only infer that they are there for a maximum of 11 months.
Also, from what I've heard, hell is a state of mind. You don't have to be physically anywhere for it to happen. You could even be physically or spiritually in Heaven but if you state of mind is off, you're still "in hell".