Sheol

“We learned Rabbi Eli’ezer says: Repent one day before your death. Rabbi Eli’ezer’s disciples asked him: But does a person know the day he will die? He said to them: All the more so he should repent today lest he die tomorrow; and one will find all his days [are spent] in repentance. And Solomon also said in his wisdom: At every season let your garments be white, and let oil on your head not be lacking (Ecclesiastes 9:8).

Rabban Yoḥanan son of Zakkai said: A parable: A king summoned his servants to a banquet and did not set a time for them. The wise among them adorned themselves and sat at the entrance to the king’s house. They said, ‘Is anything lacking in the house of the king?’ The fools among them went to their work, saying, ‘Is there such a thing as a banquet without [the] trouble [of preparations]?’ All of a sudden the king asked for his servants. The wise among them entered before him adorned and the fools entered before him soiled. The king rejoiced to greet the wise and was furious to greet the fools. He said, ‘These who adorned themselves for the banquet shall sit and eat and drink. Those who did not adorn themselves for the banquet will stand and watch. Rabbi Me’ir’s son-in-law said in the name of Rabbi Me’ir: Also, they look like servants. Rather, these and those sit. These eat, and those are hungry; these drink, and those are thirsty, as is said, [Therefore,thus said YHWH: Look, My servants shall eat and you shall hunger. Look, My servants shall drink and you shall thirst. [Look, My servants shall rejoice and you shall be shamed.Look, My servants shall sing gladly with a cheerful heart, and you shall cry out for heart’s pain and from a broken spirit howl (Isaiah 65:13–14)” (BT Shabbat 153a).

“In truth, to some of them it was a פַּרדֵס (pardes), paradise, and to others it was שְׁמָד (shemad), destruction. And the secret depends on the secret of the שֵׁם ד״ (shem dalet), Four Letter Name [of God]” (Rabbi Yosef Gikatilla, Perush ha-Niqqud).

“[Yet] see how great is the compassion of the blessed Holy One for His creatures! For even if he is extremely wicked, and contemplates teshuvah but cannot do it and dies, he surely receives punishment for having left without teshuvah, but afterwards that desire he felt to perform teshuvah does not depart from the presence of the supernal King, and the blessed Holy One prepares a place for that wicked one in the abode of Sheol, and there he chirps teshuvah. For that desire descends from before the blessed Holy One and breaks all the beams of the gates of the divisions of Hell and reaches the place where that wicked one lies. It knocks him, arousing in him that desire as before, and then that soul twitters and rises from the abode of Sheol” (Zohar 2:150b).