McDonald’s Hell

With the successful expansion of McDonald’s into many international markets, the company has become a symbol of globalization and the spread of the American way of life. Its prominence has also made it a frequent subject of public debates about obesity, corporate ethics and consumer responsibility.

Judaism does not have a specific doctrine about the afterlife, but it does have a tradition of describing Gehenna. Gehenna is not hell, but rather a sort of Purgatory where one is judged based on his or her life’s deeds. The Kabbalah describes it as a “waiting room” (commonly translated as an “entry way”) for all souls (not just the wicked). The overwhelming majority of rabbinic thought maintains that people are not in Gehenna forever; the longest that one can be there is said to be 11 months, however there has been the occasional noted exception. Some consider it a spiritual forge where the soul is purified for its eventual ascent to Olam Habah (heb. עולם הבא; lit. “The world to come”, often viewed as analogous to Heaven). This is also mentioned in the Kabbalah, where the soul is described as breaking, like the flame of a candle lighting another: the part of the soul that ascends being pure and the “unfinished” piece being reborn.