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Purgatory

The Jewish Rabbi believed that the soul of the deceased was consigned to a sort of purgatory for twelve months after death, during which time it was allowed to visit its dead body and the places or persons it especially loved. This intermediate state they called by various names, as “the bosom of Abraham,” “the garden of Eden,” “upper Gehenna.” The Sabbath was always a free day, and prayer was supposed to benefit those in this intermediate state.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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