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Repentance without Sacrifices

August 13, 2014

One of the many tactics employed by missionaries, “messianic jewish” or otherwise, is to try and scare the uneducated Jews into converting through claiming that the only means of repentance is through blood sacrifice! Lets look at the reality behind that claim: Even in the days of the temple the sacrifice was for sins done accidentally (korban chatas) or if you were in doubt of you had sinned in a serious manner (korban asham tali). For a deliberate sin there was no sacrifice though many would bring a korban orlah as a voluntary offering when they repented such a deed. The most important aspect of any sacrifice was the INTENTION behind it- no proper repentance, then no amount of sacrifices would help! We see the importance of having the correct intention behind doing anything being stated by Rav Yitzchak Blazer in his introduction to Ohr Yisrael (Rabbi Yisrael Salanter’s book on Mussar) where he starkly states that someone keeping the Torah because they think it is a good idea and does not see it as having come from G-d and therefore does not have the intention to serve G-d in following it, has done nothing! additionally you could only bring a sacrifice for yourself- nobody could make a sacrifice for you. Remember what I said about repentance? Ony you can repent for yourself- nobody can do it for you as how can they have intention for you? (the sacrifices made by the Kohen Gadol on Yom Kippur, such as the scape goat sacrifice were for COMMUNAL sins, not individual sins. The thread changing colour was for the community not the individual see the Talmud, masechta Yoma) Another issue is that of the need for blood, it is NOT required. The Hebrew here is in the passive voice- not the imperative. It is stating ONE of the ways that atonement can be brought about. After all, even when the Temple stood and sacrifices were being offered- it was valid to bring an offering of FLOUR for a sin sacrifice (if you find blood in your flour- time to change where you buy it) and it is the only sin offering where the person bringing it is referred to as “nefesh” showing how this particular sacrifice is so dear to G-d since it is brought with the correct intentions. One way the missionaries try to get around the obvious fact that there is no blood in flour is to claim that the flour was put on top of the bold so it mingled- but that is completely incorrect. Blood was sprinkled on the wall if the altar and dabbed on the karnot (horns) with the rest being poured out at its base- none was actually put onto the main section of the altar where the flour was applied!

Another place we see it is in the half shekel donation given to the Temple every year which the Torah explicitly states is “an atonement for your souls”- no blood there. In the Torah Aaron achieves repentance for the Jews through an incense offering in the camp- no blood again. As for asking for forgiveness- the process is simple (in concept, difficult in reality): Repentance- truly repenting whatever you did and resolving to never do it again Prayer for asking forgiveness from God Restitution to the person you wronged or charity if you acted against the community. And for those who will go on to say I am making this up and it is nowhere in the Tanakh that we can replace sacrifcies with prayer, repentance and charity- here are a few quotes from the Tanakh.

Mishlei (Proverbs) Chapter 21 2. Man’s every way is straight in his own eyes, but the Lord counts the hearts 3. Performing charity and justice is preferred by God to a sacrifice

And in

Hosea Chapter 14 3. Take words with yourselves and return to the Lord. Say, “You shall forgive all iniquity and teach us [the] good [way], and let us render [for] bulls [the offering of] our lips.

And in Divrei Hayamim II (Chronicles II) Chapter 6 39. You shall hear from heaven, from Your dwelling place, their prayer and their supplications, and maintain their cause, and You shall forgive Your people who sinned against You. And in

Melachim I (Kings I) Chapter 8 49. And you shall hear their prayer and their supplication in heaven, Your dwelling place, and maintain their cause. מט. 50. And forgive Your people what they have sinned against You, and all their transgressions that they have transgressed against You, and give mercy before their captors, that they may have mercy on them. נ. 51. For they are Your people, and Your inheritance, whom You have taken out of Egypt, from within the smelting furnace of iron. נא. 52. That Your eyes may be open to the supplication of Your servant, and to the supplication of your people Israel, to hearken to them whenever they call to You.

And back to Hosea,

Chapter 6 6. For I desire loving-kindness, and not sacrifices, and knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.

and

Michah 6 6. With what shall I come before the Lord, bow before the Most High God? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with yearling calves? ו. 7. Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with myriad streams of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? ז. 8. He has told you, O man, what is good, and what the Lord demands of you; but to do justice, to love loving-kindness, and to walk discreetly with your God.

For those wanting to see more about why the location of sacrifices was fixed after the building of the temple see my previous blog post here

From → Tactic

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