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Comment: Yom Kippur

September 16, 2010

Just what is repentance, and how does one go about it?

The most important point of repentance, is the ability to say sorry, to admit to wrongdoing and to correct ones actions. Repentance without understanding that one has done wrong is a meaningless exercise. No one can repent on your behalf, for the simple reason that without this intent, without the understanding that one has done wrong and needs to correct ones actions, there is no repentance. No amount of charity, no amount of sacrifices or prayers can make up this deficiency without an understanding that you have done wrong, without the intention to correct your actions, there is no repentance.

Just as importantly, is the realisation that the person you are asking to forgive you has the right and authority to forgive you! When it comes to asking your fellow-man to forgive you for the wrong you have done them, then it is easy. You recognise that you have wronged them, you recognise that they are the one you have to ask forgiveness off. When it comes to sinning against G-d, the realisation is slightly harder. Recognising G-d’s authority to forgive you is a recognition of multiple issues:
1) G-d is the ruler and king of the world and has the right to judge and punish
2) G-d is the author of Torah and thus since G-d is king and has the right to institute laws, he has a right to expect our compliance to the law
3) We do not have a right to alter or abrogate G-d’s law- only to perform it as he specified it to Moshe on Har Sinai in Torah she bichtav and Torah she b’peh.
4) We have to recognise that it applies to us and thus our actions have to adhere to it.
5) We have to recognise when we have done wrong and thus when we need to repent.

After we have realised our personal culpability and recognised the authority of those to whom we need to apologise and seek forgiveness from, we need to make restitution. When it is a sin against our fellow-man, this is easy to define when it is a monetary matter. When it is a non-monetary matter it may be more difficult- how do you repair the damage done by gossip and slander? How do you repair the damage done by enticing people into incorrect behaviour or abandoning Torah? Similarly, how do you make restitution to G-d? G-d has no need for anything we have, as the king of kings the entire world, the entire universe is his.  The answer to this is charity- when we cannot define a set monetary or action based restitution, we give charity. The Tanakh frequently calls on us to look after the disadvantaged in the community- and one way to do this is through giving charity and thereby helping our fellow Jews. As it states before each Chapter of Pirkei Avot quoting masechta sukkah “All of Israel is responsible one for another”

So how is this relevant to this blog? Why do I post this here? Mainly in the (hopefully not) vain hope that one of the many “messianic jews” who read this blog stop and think for a moment. I call on them to do that- to stop and think about what I have written above and to compare it to what they have been told from non-Jewish sources.  When you start questioning about why there are no sacrifices today; think- what did the Jews in exile between the destruction of the first Temple and the building of the second Temple do? Did they all see themselves as unable to repent or did they repent as we do today when there is no Temple? Stop and think- when the Jews that remained in Babylon instead of returning with Ezra and Nechemia were unable to offer sacrifices- did they think that they were doomed because they were too far from Jerusalem to travel there to offer sacrifices- or did they see themselves as being able to repent through prayer, repentance and charity as we do today?

A simple challenge for Yom Kippur- compare Jewish beliefs in repentance, realising that full repentance in Judaism requires no intermediaries, no sacrifices- and then look at the non-Jewish practices of your Christian sect and ask “How does this get to be so far from Jewish beliefs?”

From → Comment

  1. mama pajama permalink

    Excellent post my friend.
    G’mar Hatimah Tovah

  2. Pop permalink

    How demeaning to Christians.

    How are things in Loch Ness?

    • What are you going on about? The only people mentioned are “messianic jews” which have nothing to do with the hundreds of millions of Christians out there that are honest and do not behave in such a disgusting manner!

      Shame, you upset that someone is prepared to state what Jews believe and you scared that some of the Jews that have been lied to by “messianic jews” will read it and realise the deception they have been subjected to?

  3. jolie permalink

    g’mar chatimah tovah

    I believe what Pop said was based on your entire blog, not the meaningful words posted above.

    You did say ‘ “practices fo your Christian sect and ask “How does this get to be so far form Jewish beliefs?” ‘

    I read this regularly and my father is a Messianic Jew, the only one in our family. Messianics are Christians, but when they say they are here, you call them liars – kind of a double bind wouldn’t you say?

    All in all the ‘repentance’ write up above was excellent. Different from the rest of your blog in tone and wording.

    I feel Pop was overly critical, but if one reads all the posts here I can understand – but his wording was not appropriate.

    I’ve visited before.

    Just remember many who were born Jewish and believe in Christ are non-deceptive (?) and consider themselves Christians and do not hide that fact.

    I believe you are a man with a cause, but please keep posting objectively and people will learn much more. Again, the Repentence write up was excellent. The last paragraph could have read:

    “A simple challenge for Yom Kippur- compare Jewish beliefs in repentance, realizing that full repentance in Judaism requires no intermediaries, no sacrifices. “Then look at the some of the non-Jewish beliefs and ask “How does their ideas about repentance differ and why?”

    Then nobody gets

    • Its always funny to se ehow people try to misrepresent what i have written.

      This blog does NOT attack Christianity. Pointing out that Christian beliefs are different to Jewish ones is hardly offensive- there is a reason they are different religions! The only people offended are those that would try to pretend you can be Jewish and try to claim that you can be Jewish and Christian at the same time. And quite frankly, I have zero issues offending people trying to push that nonsense!

      As for the person claiming to be a Christian when i said they were a “messianic jew”- do read that in context! The person is a “messianic jew” who then tried to undo the damage she had done by claiming that she wasn’t a “messianic jew” despite stating it clearly in a few places!

      As for Jews who convert to Christianity, call themselves Christian but do not call themselves Jewish still- I pity them, and hope that they will repent and return to Judaism but I do not address the entire missionary movement here- just the “messianic jews”.

      As for my last paragraph- I am perfectly happy with it- too bad if the “messianic jews” are offended at the fact that there beliefs do not match up to authentic Judaism!

  4. jolie permalink

    (continued) ….offended.

  5. mama pajama permalink

    Honest Christians do not deceive others to claim they are following a form of Judaism and do not identify themselves deceptively as “Messianic Jews”.

    Calling oneself a “Messianic Jew” and claiming that they follow “Messianic Judaism” is a clear and purposeful attempt to identify their belief in the New Testament replacement theology as compatible with Judaism and Torah observance when it’s core doctrine of faith is directly forbidden IN the Torah and antithetical to Judaism.

    Of course, as a regular reader, I am sure jolie knows this.

    Judaism has the prophetic promise of the Davidic Messiah who will perform specific jobs outlined in the Tanakh ( Holy Scriptures of Judaism). Believing Jews who follow the Jewish concept of messiah could not possibly follow the New Testament redefinition of the nature of God, the nature of the Davidic Messiah, the prophetic vision of the Tanakh and the commandments of Torah directly violated in considering a human as divine, a human sacrifice to atone for sin, vicarious atonement, being born with a burden of sin, and many other conradictory concepts.
    Therefore, someone who is Christian in faith/belief/doctrine can not identify their religion ( faith ) by the qualifiers Jew, Judaism or Jewish..even if they’re a direct descendent of Moshe or King David himself. One estranged through avodah zarah may not speak for the Jewish people or be counted among the Jewish people….unless or until repentance of their foreign/forbidden worship (divine human/human sacrifice/deicide etc) and return to worship of God.

    It is not a concern of honest people whether or not they offend people who are purposely setting out to deceive others, especially with deception regarding attempt to negate the right of the world’s Jews to maintain 3500 year old and eternal laws of the covenant nation people given by God in the Torah.

    Christians believe they have a “new” covenant that can alter the terms of the eternal covenant. That’s their choice..that’s why it is a different religion…entirely separate from the eternal covenant of Israel. It never has and never shall have the ability or authority to negate God’s eternal covenant for Klal Yisrael.

    The Ancient Egyptian Empire, the Babylonian Empire, the Phillistines, the Persian Empire, the Assyrian Empire, the Roman Empire, the Greek Empire, the Byzantine Empire, the Spainish Empire, the Crusaders , Nazi Germany, and Russia were each at one time the dominating force in the world. Each of those have all gone down to ruin from their former status as a dominating force in the world…and what is their common tie?

    Each of those empires or forces tried to wipe out the tiny Jewish people with many different methods.

    The Jewish people remain one of the smallest of nation peoples, but we’ve a Friend in the highest of places, so play nice.

    Am Yisrael Chai

  6. virtuoso permalink

    The rabbanim have always taught moderation instead of this type of violent retaliation. Live in peace with the Messianics, rather than pursue this profane mindless & war-like blog.

    • Heh- clearly you are unaware of the fact that this blog is mild compared to some of the statements from the countermissionary community! Oh wait- you expect me to just mildy accept having lies told about me, having them try to track me down, have them threaten me- because then it would be all nice and peaceful for the deceptive missionaries in the “messianic jewish” bait and switch scam. Sorry- but they are going to have their tactics exposed, they are going to have their misbehaviour exposed, they are going to have a light shone on the manner in which they attack Jews, Judaism and any who expose them for what they are!

    • Hey, that post leaves me feilneg foolish. Kudos to you!

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