Judaism does believe in Reincarnation as well as in the Resurrection of the Dead (Hebrew: Techiat Ha’Metim). The Talmud Tractate Sanhedrin 97 teaches about the Resurrection of the Dead and the Ge’ulah (Redemption as well as the arrival of Meshiach).
Fact is that none of us knows how the Resurrection as well as the arrival of Meshiach is really going to happen. Of course, there are plenty of commentaries and opinions but the only thing we can do is speculate. Example: Is the Resurrection of the Dead going to take place before Meshiach is coming or afterwards? Who is really being resurrected? Everybody or just the Zaddikim (Righteous)? And if there are reincarnations, which one is being resurrected in what body?
We don’t have an answer and the only thing we can do is wait until the time comes.
The famous kabbalistic Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto (the RAMCHAL) writes in his book “The Way of G – d” that body and soul are being separated as soon as someone dies. The two need to be separated because they are undergoing a separate purification process. The body returns to dust and the soul returns to the spiritual World of Souls.
The RAMCHAL writes that, without life in this world, man could never attain perfection. Our task is to fulfill Mitzvot. Jews and Gentiles alike. Being Gentiles, however, is much easier than being Jewish, as Gentiles only have to keep the Seven Noachide Laws. 🙂
Man can gain perfection when he lives a moral G – dfearing life. On the other hand, man will never reach a total perfection in his lifetime because he is always vulnerable to fail. Complete perfection can only be attained after death. With the Resurrection, the soul reenters the body and the body will immediately be on a higher level than it could ever attain in its lifetime. However, the degree of enlightenment will depend on the individual’s good deeds in his first life (The Way of G – d, 1:11 – 13).
But even after the Resurrection, soul and body will be able to elevate themselves. – This concept by the RAMCHAL was unknown to me and I have always learned that one can only fulfill Mitzvot during his lifetime. As soon as a person dies, there is no more fulfilling Mitzvot. Game over, so to speak!
By the way, the body after the Resurrection is not going to be the same body we had when we were still alive. It will be a new body but I cannot say whether it is going to look the same as before. I have no idea and, once again, we have to wait and see. 🙂