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Cow Poke
03-19-2014, 10:11 AM
In another thread, NORM posted a comment that goes against everything (very little, I admit) I understood about Yom Kippur:


I just finished reading this entire thread. A couple of observations:

1. I think there is support for Mickiel's proposition on universal salvation. Christians claim that it is the fulfillment of Judaism. Well, in Judaism, we believe that G-d forgives sins completely and without condition. Yom Kippur is a service we have every year just after New Year in which G-d forgives our corporate sins - those intentional and unintentional toward G-d. It is not conditioned on anything - G-d simply promises to forgive. We repent of our sins after the fact. This is why the atonement theories in Christianity make no sense to us Jews. There is no need to do anything to receive G-d's forgiveness, so therefore; there is nothing from which to be saved.

NORM

In trying to understand this, I looked at some Jewish sources, and found, among others, this...


Yom Kippur is probably the most important holiday of the Jewish year. Many Jews who do not observe any other Jewish custom will refrain from work, fast and/or attend synagogue services on this day. Yom Kippur occurs on the 10th day of Tishri. The holiday is instituted at Leviticus 23:26 et seq.

The name "Yom Kippur" means "Day of Atonement," and that pretty much explains what the holiday is. It is a day set aside to "afflict the soul," to atone for the sins of the past year. In Days of Awe, I mentioned the "books" in which G-d inscribes all of our names. On Yom Kippur, the judgment entered in these books is sealed. This day is, essentially, your last appeal, your last chance to change the judgment, to demonstrate your repentance and make amends.

As I noted in Days of Awe, Yom Kippur atones only for sins between man and G-d, not for sins against another person. To atone for sins against another person, you must first seek reconciliation with that person, righting the wrongs you committed against them if possible. That must all be done before Yom Kippur.

It doesn't seem that Yom Kippur is an event where "It is not conditioned on anything".

Sparko
03-19-2014, 10:29 AM
and what if you die before the next Yom Kippur? Or if you are not Jewish?

Sparko
03-19-2014, 10:34 AM
Also, in Lev 23, where it is supposed to come from:

26 The Lord said to Moses, 27 “The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly and deny yourselves, and present a food offering to the Lord. 28 Do not do any work on that day, because it is the Day of Atonement, when atonement is made for you before the Lord your God. 29 Those who do not deny themselves on that day must be cut off from their people. 30 I will destroy from among their people anyone who does any work on that day.

That doesn't sound like universalism to me. Sounds pretty conditional.

RBerman
03-19-2014, 10:47 AM
I had questions along the same lines:


I just finished reading this entire thread. A couple of observations:

1. I think there is support for Mickiel's proposition on universal salvation. Christians claim that it is the fulfillment of Judaism. Well, in Judaism, we believe that G-d forgives sins completely and without condition. Yom Kippur is a service we have every year just after New Year in which G-d forgives our corporate sins - those intentional and unintentional toward G-d. It is not conditioned on anything - G-d simply promises to forgive. We repent of our sins after the fact. This is why the atonement theories in Christianity make no sense to us Jews. There is no need to do anything to receive G-d's forgiveness, so therefore; there is nothing from which to be saved.

Doesn't the Talmud say that "Yom Kippur atones for those who repent, and does not atone for those who do not repent"? It would seem, at least for some Jews, to be more than a ceremony celebrating some universal forgiveness/atonement, but to actually be a means by which sins are forgiven only upon conditions of participation and of sincere repentance. This fits with the text of Leviticus 16, which describes the Yom Kippur scapegoat as actually carrying off the sins of the people into the wilderness, so that the people are cleansed thereby. In the New Testament book of Hebrews, God explains that the Yom kippur rituals prefigured the propitiating work of Jesus:

Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly place of holiness. For a tent was prepared, the first section, in which were the lampstand and the table and the bread of the Presence. It is called the Holy Place. Behind the second curtain was a second section called the Most Holy Place, having the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron's staff that budded, and the tablets of the covenant. Above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail.

These preparations having thus been made, the priests go regularly into the first section, performing their ritual duties, but into the second only the high priest goes, and he but once a year, and not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the unintentional sins of the people. By this the Holy Spirit indicates that the way into the holy places is not yet opened as long as the first section is still standing (which is symbolic for the present age). According to this arrangement, gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper, but deal only with food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until the time of reformation.

But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood. For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, “This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you.” And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

NormATive
03-19-2014, 09:32 PM
It doesn't seem that Yom Kippur is an event where "It is not conditioned on anything".

Here is my answer to you in the other thread. As a non-theist, I'm not supposed to be in this side.



What am I missing? It really doesn't look like a "It is not conditioned on anything" situation.
You're missing about 15 years of diligent Talmudic study!

The ritual of forgiveness is for the HUMANS, not G-d. G-d does not need our repentance. G-d is well aware of our sinfulness, and well aware that we will continue to sin. The thing we are taught to keep in mind is that G-d is ALWAYS faithful, and will ALWAYS forgive. That is the essence of Yom Kippur:

כִּרְחֹק מִזְרָח, מִמַּעֲרָב הִרְחִיק מִמֶּנּוּ, אֶתפְּשָׁעֵינוּ - Tehillim (Psalms) 103:12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
Cow Poke, I think you would find attending a Yom Kippur service for yourself very enlightening - and beautiful. The symbolism is intense. It is very difficult concept to explain to folks who have a preconceived notion of what the Jewish understanding of "atonement" means. You are interpreting the word from your own Christian perspective. It is 180 degrees opposite.

Adin Steinsaltz' Essential Talmud (sorry, it's not available online) has the best explanation for non-Jews that I can recommend. You will not find much in-depth insight into Judaism on the Internet. That's not how we roll. We are known as the "people of the Book" for a reason! The ultra-orthodox have a "thing" about non-Jews using the words of the Tanakh and Talmud out of context.

Judaism 101 is an OK source, but its intent is to not make Judaism seem so silly (and complicated) to young people. Unfortunately, it is complicated.

Sorry.

NORM

RBerman
03-19-2014, 09:42 PM
The ritual of forgiveness is for the HUMANS, not G-d. G-d does not need our repentance. G-d is well aware of our sinfulness, and well aware that we will continue to sin. The thing we are taught to keep in mind is that G-d is ALWAYS faithful, and will ALWAYS forgive. That is the essence of Yom Kippur:

כִּרְחֹק מִזְרָח, מִמַּעֲרָב הִרְחִיק מִמֶּנּוּ, אֶתפְּשָׁעֵינוּ - Tehillim (Psalms) 103:12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

I haven't seen any Christian try to frame their position in terms of God needing our repentance in some existential sense. However, he does command our repentance and obedience, and even makes them conditions of our forgiveness in the very Psalm from which you quoted only two lines. Here is a larger section so that you can see what kind of person is in the "us" whose transgressions are removed.

He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
13 As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
14 For he knows our frame;
he remembers that we are dust.
15 As for man, his days are like grass;
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
16 for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
and its place knows it no more.
17 But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
and his righteousness to children's children,
18 to those who keep his covenant
and remember to do his commandments.

The natural inference from this repeated limiting of the text is that those who do not fear God, keep his covenant, and remember to do his command should have no expectation that their sins will be removed from them, or that they will ultimately be objects of God's compassion. I'm sure you are aware that the bit about God's "steadfast love" appears repeatedly in the Bible in contexts distinguishing between those who enjoy God's mercy and those who do not:

“The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation.”

Very similar sentiments appear a dozen times throughout the Old Testament. Some receive forgiveness, and some do not, and God graciously does not leave us guessing how we can be on the right side of that equation.

Cow Poke
03-20-2014, 02:09 AM
Here is my answer to you in the other thread. As a non-theist, I'm not supposed to be in this side.

As thread starter, I would ask that the moderators allow NORM to post here as long as he is presenting his understanding of Jewishness. :smile: I apologize that I didn't ask this PRIOR to starting the thread, and will endeavor to do better in the future.

OingoBoingo
03-20-2014, 05:56 AM
Here is my answer to you in the other thread. As a non-theist, I'm not supposed to be in this side.


You're missing about 15 years of diligent Talmudic study!

The ritual of forgiveness is for the HUMANS, not G-d. G-d does not need our repentance. G-d is well aware of our sinfulness, and well aware that we will continue to sin. The thing we are taught to keep in mind is that G-d is ALWAYS faithful, and will ALWAYS forgive. That is the essence of Yom Kippur:

כִּרְחֹק מִזְרָח, מִמַּעֲרָב הִרְחִיק מִמֶּנּוּ, אֶתפְּשָׁעֵינוּ - Tehillim (Psalms) 103:12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
Cow Poke, I think you would find attending a Yom Kippur service for yourself very enlightening - and beautiful. The symbolism is intense. It is very difficult concept to explain to folks who have a preconceived notion of what the Jewish understanding of "atonement" means. You are interpreting the word from your own Christian perspective. It is 180 degrees opposite.

Adin Steinsaltz' Essential Talmud (sorry, it's not available online) has the best explanation for non-Jews that I can recommend. You will not find much in-depth insight into Judaism on the Internet. That's not how we roll. We are known as the "people of the Book" for a reason! The ultra-orthodox have a "thing" about non-Jews using the words of the Tanakh and Talmud out of context.

Judaism 101 is an OK source, but its intent is to not make Judaism seem so silly (and complicated) to young people. Unfortunately, it is complicated.

Sorry.

NORM

I hope this is not too off topic, but it might help readers to know your background in Judaism. From what I've been able to glean from other posts on this forum, you were raised in a Christian (Catholic?) family. In adulthood you found out that your mom was part ethnically Jewish, so you decided to convert to Judaism, and remained in the faith for 15 years. At some point recently you became an atheist, though you still go to Temple and view yourself as ethnically, though not religiously Jewish. Is that correct or am I totally off base?

NormATive
03-20-2014, 07:49 PM
I hope this is not too off topic, but it might help readers to know your background in Judaism. From what I've been able to glean from other posts on this forum, you were raised in a Christian (Catholic?) family. In adulthood you found out that your mom was part ethnically Jewish, so you decided to convert to Judaism, and remained in the faith for 15 years. At some point recently you became an atheist, though you still go to Temple and view yourself as ethnically, though not religiously Jewish. Is that correct or am I totally off base?

Very good, OingoBoingo! The only thing you missed is that I was raised in a Baptist Christian family. And, it has only been about 8 years since converting to Judaism. I'm not THAT old!

BTW, I am non-theist, not atheist. There is a difference. I do not "know" there is no G-d. I'm just more convinced there isn't than that there is, and life gets along just fine without a deity.

Also, I find value in the secular side of religious philosophy. The moral ideas taught by Hillel and Jesus are examples that come to mind. Again, belief in theism is not necessary to take advantage of these philosophies.

NORM

NormATive
03-20-2014, 08:11 PM
I haven't seen any Christian try to frame their position in terms of God needing our repentance in some existential sense. However, he does command our repentance and obedience, and even makes them conditions of our forgiveness in the very Psalm from which you quoted only two lines. Here is a larger section so that you can see what kind of person is in the "us" whose transgressions are removed.

He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
13 As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
14 For he knows our frame;
he remembers that we are dust.
15 As for man, his days are like grass;
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
16 for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
and its place knows it no more.
17 But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
and his righteousness to children's children,
18 to those who keep his covenant
and remember to do his commandments.


You've done this before, as I recall. You read scripture from a Christian perspective - with western eyes. The words you have bolded are adjectival phrases, not conditions. If you read it in the original Hebrew, you would easily see this. "Those who keep his covenant" is a very popular phrase throughout the Tanakh that DESCRIBES the Jewish people. You commit the same errors with Isaiah 53, by imposing the Christian understanding of the suffering servant (Israel) upon the one man; Jesus.






The natural inference from this repeated limiting of the text is that those who do not fear God, keep his covenant, and remember to do his command should have no expectation that their sins will be removed from them

And yet, we are instructed, G-d does just that - faithfully.



Very similar sentiments appear a dozen times throughout the Old Testament. Some receive forgiveness, and some do not, and God graciously does not leave us guessing how we can be on the right side of that equation.

This is where having a document like the Talmud is superior to reliance on scripture alone. The Tanakh, if you read it chronologically, clearly shows an evolution in how we view G-d. It is important to realize that the Tanakh is man's idea of who and what G-d is.

I say this realizing that there is a rather small ultra orthodox community within Judaism who read the Tanakh literally, and do not agree with some of our Reformed theology. These are the "fundamentalists" of our faith. Every religious community is plagued with those!

NORM

OingoBoingo
03-20-2014, 08:48 PM
Very good, OingoBoingo! The only thing you missed is that I was raised in a Baptist Christian family. And, it has only been about 8 years since converting to Judaism. I'm not THAT old!

BTW, I am non-theist, not atheist. There is a difference. I do not "know" there is no G-d. I'm just more convinced there isn't than that there is, and life gets along just fine without a deity.

Also, I find value in the secular side of religious philosophy. The moral ideas taught by Hillel and Jesus are examples that come to mind. Again, belief in theism is not necessary to take advantage of these philosophies.

NORM

Oh okay. Glad I got all of the pertinent details. I was in a similar situation finding out about my Jewish heritage on my mother's side. I've been to synagogue, and am fascinated with ancient Jewish history, but never converted.

NormATive
03-21-2014, 07:22 PM
Oh okay. Glad I got all of the pertinent details. I was in a similar situation finding out about my Jewish heritage on my mother's side. I've been to synagogue, and am fascinated with ancient Jewish history, but never converted.

The good news is that if you do decide to convert, since your heritage is on your mother's side (as is mine), you don't have to - you know; ... snip!

Learning Hebrew was the most difficult part for me.

NORM

RBerman
03-24-2014, 11:32 PM
You've done this before, as I recall. You read scripture from a Christian perspective - with western eyes. The words you have bolded are adjectival phrases, not conditions. If you read it in the original Hebrew, you would easily see this. "Those who keep his covenant" is a very popular phrase throughout the Tanakh that DESCRIBES the Jewish people. You commit the same errors with Isaiah 53, by imposing the Christian understanding of the suffering servant (Israel) upon the one man; Jesus.
I would certainly read Isaiah 53 in light of God's revelation of Jesus in the New Testament. Adjectival phrases are conditions which apply to the object they modify. A red ball is in the condition of being red. Those who keep the covenant are in the condition of being covenant-keepers, and the text says that they are the ones who are forgiven. You are of course correct that Psalm 103 in its original context has the Jewish people in mind, to the extent that they kept the covenant which God made with them through their Father Abraham. Mind you, God speaks in Hosea 6:7 of Jewish people who have broken the covenant rather than keeping it, so it's not as if keeping the covenant is simply a matter of birthright. It's a matter of faithfulness. And even if it were a matter of birthright, Psalm 103 would not be a promise that God forgives the sins of those who live outside of His covenant people.


And yet, we are instructed, G-d does just that - faithfully.
You may believe it to be true that God forgives those who do not keep his covenant, but you have not shown that the Bible teaches such a thing.


This is where having a document like the Talmud is superior to reliance on scripture alone. The Tanakh, if you read it chronologically, clearly shows an evolution in how we view G-d. It is important to realize that the Tanakh is man's idea of who and what G-d is. I say this realizing that there is a rather small ultra orthodox community within Judaism who read the Tanakh literally, and do not agree with some of our Reformed theology. These are the "fundamentalists" of our faith. Every religious community is plagued with those!
It sounds to me like operationally, the Talmud supplants the Scriptures for you. I do not doubt that such an approach results in deviation from what the Bible teaches in and of itself; we probably differ as to whether a positive term like "evolve" is appropriate to describe the Talmud's variance from the Bible. Christians do not believe the Tanakh to be merely man's opinions about God, but rather God's self-revelation, through his prophets, of what He is about, and what we are like as well. I do not doubt that you are correct that modern Judaism has a universalist bent, but it does so despite what the Bible says on the matter, not because of it.

Cerebrum123
03-25-2014, 07:40 AM
I mean, even the covenant of the Promised Land was conditioned on obedience to God. There is a whole list of blessings and curses in Deuteronomy 28 based on whether or not Israel would follow God as they had agreed to do. I don't see why God would treat us in the afterlife in a way that does not resemble what He has done for us in our earthly lives. Or, for that matter based on His justice.

NormATive
03-28-2014, 07:28 PM
Christians do not believe the Tanakh to be merely man's opinions about God, but rather God's self-revelation, through his prophets, of what He is about, and what we are like as well. I do not doubt that you are correct that modern Judaism has a universalist bent, but it does so despite what the Bible says on the matter, not because of it.

Precisely why we do not rely on the Tanakh alone. The ultra orthodox (our version of your fundamentalists) believe the Tanakh is superior to the Talmud, and many interpret it literally.

You are like our fundamentalists in your approach to the Bible. It is a book that does not evolve along with humanity, and you are OK with that.

NORM

siam
03-31-2014, 10:53 PM
Very good, OingoBoingo! The only thing you missed is that I was raised in a Baptist Christian family. And, it has only been about 8 years since converting to Judaism. I'm not THAT old!

BTW, I am non-theist, not atheist. There is a difference. I do not "know" there is no G-d. I'm just more convinced there isn't than that there is, and life gets along just fine without a deity.

Also, I find value in the secular side of religious philosophy. The moral ideas taught by Hillel and Jesus are examples that come to mind. Again, belief in theism is not necessary to take advantage of these philosophies.

NORM


This may be off-topic. I apologize....(I am Muslim but interested in Judaism)

Can you elaborate on "the moral ideas taught by Hillel an Jesus"...?....

If you were raised Christian, did you feel surprise/dissonance at how different Judaism was?---if so, how did you deal with it?

My understanding may be incorrect, but in a conversation with a Jewish person, I understood that after death, the souls go to a "place"/home explained to me as a womb/protected resting place, place of sleep until Judgement..?.....what is your opinion? (In Islam such a place is called Barzakh(= barrier, separation))

Could you explain the concept of Shekhina (It is used in the Quran and is translated as spirit/state of tranquility/peace, but I understand it is more complex concept in Judaism ?)

RBerman
04-04-2014, 09:53 AM
Precisely why we do not rely on the Tanakh alone. The ultra orthodox (our version of your fundamentalists) believe the Tanakh is superior to the Talmud, and many interpret it literally. You are like our fundamentalists in your approach to the Bible. It is a book that does not evolve along with humanity, and you are OK with that.

That is correct. The Tanakh is God's own word about God, whereas the Talmud is man's word. No comparison as to which should have primacy.

Xtian Rabinovich
04-13-2014, 01:30 PM
Hi Norm,


I think you would find attending a Yom Kippur service for yourself very enlightening - and beautiful. The symbolism is intense. It is very difficult concept to explain to folks who have a preconceived notion of what the Jewish understanding of "atonement" means. You are interpreting the word from your own Christian perspective. It is 180 degrees opposite.


To speak of unconditional atonement on Yom Kippur is to miss the symbolic import of the blood of the bull that's brought into the most holy place to affect the atonement. The atonement is not there if the blood is not spilled. The blood is the symbol related to God's willingness and ability to forgive the sins. The blood of the bull is a substitutionary atonement . . . substituting for the death of the sinner. . . . Which is to say that there is a condition to forgiving sins. Blood must be spilled. If not the blood of the sinner, then substitutionary blood.

Xtian Rabinovich
04-13-2014, 01:51 PM
Hi Norm,


This is where having a document like the Talmud is superior to reliance on scripture alone. The Tanakh, if you read it chronologically, clearly shows an evolution in how we view G-d. It is important to realize that the Tanakh is man's idea of who and what G-d is.

The Tanakh must be interpreted. It's nothing without interpretation; and eisegesis will always legitimately affect exegesis. The Talmud is one interpretation, the New Testament is another. Both are based on the Torah primarily, and the Tanakh secondarily.

The problem with the Talmud is that it's based on the punctuation added to the consonantal text and codified by the Masoretes. But when the Torah was given to Moses it was strictly forbidden for any punctuation to be added to the text. The un-pointed text is a cipher and not a readable text. The Masortic Text (MT) is based on one version of the Torah such that the Talmud itself becomes extremely limited (interpretively) according to the placement of the punctuation.

Jesus often said, you've heard it said (and then he quotes the interpretation that is codified in the Talmud) but I tell you. . . . This is what got Jesus nailed down. I.e., his pointing out that by nailing down the consonants with one set of points (vowels and punctuation) the Pharisees had crucified the spirit of the Torah so that they could control the authorized reading even as they sought to control him. When he wouldn't be controlled, they added points to his body, even as they had previously nailed down the body of the Torah text (against the very commandment not to add points). They silenced the living body of the Torah and nailed down what was previously a living meaning subject to almost infinite interpretation. Then they nailed down the virgin born Jew who pointed out their pin-headed abused of the sacred Torah text.

Xtian Rabinovich
04-13-2014, 02:13 PM
Hi OingoBoingo,


Oh okay. Glad I got all of the pertinent details. I was in a similar situation finding out about my Jewish heritage on my mother's side. I've been to synagogue, and am fascinated with ancient Jewish history, but never converted.

A Christian converting to Judaism because he finds out his mother is Jewish is like a man reading Darwin's Origin of the Species only to begin a diet primarily of bananas. It's simply bananas!

OingoBoingo
04-13-2014, 03:16 PM
Hi OingoBoingo,



A Christian converting to Judaism because he finds out his mother is Jewish is like a man reading Darwin's Origin of the Species only to begin a diet primarily of bananas. It's simply bananas!

That made me chuckle.

NormATive
04-23-2014, 06:18 PM
This may be off-topic. I apologize....(I am Muslim but interested in Judaism)

Can you elaborate on "the moral ideas taught by Hillel an Jesus"...?....

Sure, here is a little story about Hillel that will nicely illustrate the point:


One of famous account in the Talmud (Shabbat 31a) tells about a gentile who wanted to convert to Judaism. This happened not infrequently, and this individual stated that he would accept Judaism only if a rabbi would teach him the entire Torah while he, the prospective convert, stood on one foot. First he went to Shammai, who, insulted by this ridiculous request, threw him out of the house. The man did not give up and went to Hillel. This gentle sage accepted the challenge, and said:

"What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation of this--go and study it!"

Like Hillel before him, Jesus often taught that one must internalize the Law rather than blindly follow it.


If you were raised Christian, did you feel surprise/dissonance at how different Judaism was?---if so, how did you deal with it?

Yes. I had been taught to believe that Christianity is the fulfillment of Judaism. Nothing could be further from the truth. Christianity is a western philosophy, while Judaism (as is Islam) is an eastern philosophy. The approach to the nature of mankind, sin, the nature of G-d, and the relationship between G-d and mankind is radically different. I felt like I had been on the very edge of "something" my whole life, but without much more than a tiny glimpse of it being revealed. My favorite part of the Christian Testament has always been the Sermon on the Mount. That's the closest the Christian Testament comes to Judaism.


My understanding may be incorrect, but in a conversation with a Jewish person, I understood that after death, the souls go to a "place"/home explained to me as a womb/protected resting place, place of sleep until Judgement..?.....what is your opinion? (In Islam such a place is called Barzakh(= barrier, separation))

Where to begin! I have heard of this, but not very often. Mostly, Jews have traditionally believed that when one dies, he or she goes to GeHinnom or Sh'eol, a place of purification (some say we are tormented by devils of our own creation) that cannot last more than 12 months before then going to Gan Eden or Olam-Ha-Ba (the World to Come). Gan Eden has been translated as Garden of Eden, but it's not the same place as where Adam and Eve lived (it's complicated!).

I am Reformed, so we don't really have much to say about the afterlife. Our focus is only on living this life properly - tikkun olam (mending of this world).


Could you explain the concept of Shekhina (It is used in the Quran and is translated as spirit/state of tranquility/peace, but I understand it is more complex concept in Judaism ?)

The Shekhina is something the Kabbal cult groups are into. There is an obscure couple of places in the Tanakh and Talmud that makes mention of a male / female Spirit that was the being used to "breathe the breath of life in to mankind." It's really not something we hear too much about in the Reformed community. Again, it's all about the here and now.

I hope this helps.

NORM

NormATive
04-23-2014, 06:21 PM
That is correct. The Tanakh is God's own word about God, whereas the Talmud is man's word. No comparison as to which should have primacy.

The Tanakh was also written by men. The Talmud more accurately describes humanity.

NORM

NormATive
04-23-2014, 06:36 PM
Hi Norm,



To speak of unconditional atonement on Yom Kippur is to miss the symbolic import of the blood of the bull that's brought into the most holy place to affect the atonement. The atonement is not there if the blood is not spilled. The blood is the symbol related to God's willingness and ability to forgive the sins. The blood of the bull is a substitutionary atonement . . . substituting for the death of the sinner. . . . Which is to say that there is a condition to forgiving sins. Blood must be spilled. If not the blood of the sinner, then substitutionary blood.

Whoa, dude!!! We haven't sacrificed animals for thousands of years. And, you have it all wrong. The sacrifice is just that - a sacrifice. Think of it like you do your tithe (actually that's where you get your idea of a tithe from - it means one tenth of your livestock, grain, etc.). You give it because you are thankful that G-d has given you all that you have.

You've totally distorted Yom Kippur. G-d ALWAYS forgives sins. That's what G-d does! The blood is because that's what falls out when you slit the animal's neck. It is simply not true that forgiveness can only come through "blood sacrifice." This is confusing the "ritual" for the action. The blood is a symbol that an animal was sacrificed and that it was not consumed (because that would be a sin). In I Kings 8:46-50, prayer is offered as an alternative to sacrifice.

And, this is how Jews do the "ritual" today - offering prayers to G-d instead of animal sacrifice.

Where did you get all that crap?

NORM

NormATive
04-23-2014, 06:46 PM
Hi Norm,



The Tanakh must be interpreted. It's nothing without interpretation; and eisegesis will always legitimately affect exegesis. The Talmud is one interpretation, the New Testament is another. Both are based on the Torah primarily, and the Tanakh secondarily.

The problem with the Talmud is that it's based on the punctuation added to the consonantal text and codified by the Masoretes. But when the Torah was given to Moses it was strictly forbidden for any punctuation to be added to the text. The un-pointed text is a cipher and not a readable text. The Masortic Text (MT) is based on one version of the Torah such that the Talmud itself becomes extremely limited (interpretively) according to the placement of the punctuation.

Jesus often said, you've heard it said (and then he quotes the interpretation that is codified in the Talmud) but I tell you. . . . This is what got Jesus nailed down. I.e., his pointing out that by nailing down the consonants with one set of points (vowels and punctuation) the Pharisees had crucified the spirit of the Torah so that they could control the authorized reading even as they sought to control him. When he wouldn't be controlled, they added points to his body, even as they had previously nailed down the body of the Torah text (against the very commandment not to add points). They silenced the living body of the Torah and nailed down what was previously a living meaning subject to almost infinite interpretation. Then they nailed down the virgin born Jew who pointed out their pin-headed abused of the sacred Torah text.

This is a very interesting commentary. I am wondering if this is coming from you, or from someone else. I've heard something eerily similar once from a guy who was high up in the J4J movement of the 70s and 80s. He actually posited trying to subvert a local synagogue by planting Christian spies in their Shul in order to convert children to Christ.

Nevertheless, even though I strongly disagreed with his evangelistic attempts, I did think he had some valid assertions regarding the difference between the Sadducees and the Pharisees (Jesus). I think Jesus was right on in his contempt for the self-righteous, legalistic, Shammai school.

NORM

NormATive
04-23-2014, 06:52 PM
Hi OingoBoingo,



A Christian converting to Judaism because he finds out his mother is Jewish is like a man reading Darwin's Origin of the Species only to begin a diet primarily of bananas. It's simply bananas!

Funny, as I was reading through some of your other posts in the language section, I was wondering how someone who can actually understand the Hebrew (better than me!) could not see the beauty and simplicity of Judaism.

NORM

OingoBoingo
04-23-2014, 07:23 PM
Norm, if you're a non-theist, why do you make references to Judaism and God as though you are still a theist? Force of habit, or something else?

For example, in post #22 you write, "I am Reformed, so we don't really have much to say about the afterlife.", but as a non-theist, even if the Reformed had something to say about the afterlife, you personally, wouldn't have anything to say about it. Correct? Also, how can you be a Reformed Jew and also a non-theist? I understand you're ethnically Jewish, but wouldn't putting "Reformed" in front of word "Jew" indicate that you're implying that you're also religiously Jewish? How can you be religious if you don't believe in God (and presumably all of the supernatural elements that go with Judaism)? Also in a number of your posts you spell God, "G-d", which is a religious way of not taking the name of the Lord in vain, and/or to show his name honor and reverence (don't want to mistakenly erase the name of God and all that), but as a non-theist, God is a mythological character, no more real than Thor or Odin. Why bother with the hyphen?

In post #24 you write, "In I Kings 8:46-50, prayer is offered as an alternative to sacrifice. And, this is how Jews do the "ritual" today - offering prayers to G-d instead of animal sacrifice."
But isn't it true that there are Jews who look forward to the rebuilding of the temple and a return to the sacrifice system?

Paprika
04-23-2014, 09:11 PM
Norm, if you're a non-theist, why do you make references to Judaism and God as though you are still a theist? Force of habit, or something else?

Because he wants to sustain a Jewish critique of Christianity.

robrecht
04-24-2014, 05:55 AM
Because he wants to sustain a Jewish critique of Christianity.I think there are valid Jewish critiques of Christianity. I believe both sides lost out as the religions grew apart. Over time, we lost touch with much of the context that is so helpful in understanding the teachings of Jesus.

Paprika
04-24-2014, 05:58 AM
I think there are valid Jewish critiques of Christianity. I believe both sides lost out as the religions grew apart. Over time, we lost touch with much of the context that is so helpful in understanding the teachings of Jesus.
Oh, I agree - if we grant that "Christianity" needs sharper definition in such a context. But is quite interesting, to say the least, for an agnostic to do the type of Jewish critique that NormAtive has.

OingoBoingo
04-24-2014, 06:39 AM
I think there are valid Jewish critiques of Christianity. I believe both sides lost out as the religions grew apart. Over time, we lost touch with much of the context that is so helpful in understanding the teachings of Jesus.

Well, not only grew apart, but also evolved in their own right. Judaism in the common period looks radically different to the Judaism of the 1st century, and no doubt the Judaism of the 1st century looked radically different to the Hebrew religion a millennium before then. Likewise, modern Christianity looks quite different to what we read about of the early church. I realize that there are sects in both religions which have made attempts to get back to their roots, but I wonder how successfully.

OingoBoingo
04-24-2014, 06:39 AM
Oh, I agree - if we grant that "Christianity" needs sharper definition in such a context. But is quite interesting, to say the least, for an agnostic to do the type of Jewish critique that NormAtive has.

Agreed, it is interesting.

robrecht
04-24-2014, 07:22 AM
Well, not only grew apart, but also evolved in their own right. Judaism in the common period looks radically different to the Judaism of the 1st century, and no doubt the Judaism of the 1st century looked radically different to the Hebrew religion a millennium before then. Likewise, modern Christianity looks quite different to what we read about of the early church. I realize that there are sects in both religions which have made attempts to get back to their roots, but I wonder how successfully.
Yes, indeed, where there is no evolution, there is no growth, only eventually death. It is interesting that one of the most well known reformers of Christianity expected the conversion of the Jews but ended up bitterly hating them. Compare that with St Francis' attempts to rebuild the Church. There are some good reasons to believe that Francis may have been of Jewish heritage and that his family was Christian in name only. He preached the gospel by his communal life of service and did not engage in inter-religious polemics. He even got along with Muslims during an age of crusades.

Xtian Rabinovich
04-24-2014, 11:41 PM
Hi Norm,


We haven't sacrificed animals for thousands of years. And, you have it all wrong. The sacrifice is just that - a sacrifice. Think of it like you do your tithe (actually that's where you get your idea of a tithe from - it means one tenth of your livestock, grain, etc.). You give it because you are thankful that G-d has given you all that you have.

As is the case with ritual circumcision, which is what animal sacrifice is all about, it's the blood that's the key signifier and symbol. The blood is taken into the most holy place. The blood is placed on the doorposts, the blood is placed on the high priest. The blood is sprinkled on the children of Israel as an ornament of glory.

Moses takes the golden calf and sacrifices it like he would the bull on Yom Kippur. He burns the flesh. And since there's no blood in the golden calve, he manufactures it . . . he must manufacture it, since it's the primary symbol of atonement. ----- How does he manufacture blood? ----- He smelts the golden calve and turns it into "powder" fine as the dust of the earth.

For what purpose? ----- A careful reader will note that he sprinkles the powdered gold into the stream when he smites the Rock to get water for the children of Israel. A knowledgeable reader will know that if gold is powdered "fine as the dust of the earth" and placed into water it becomes colloidal gold. Colloidal gold is red like blood. The children of Israel drink the blood of the sacrifice (John 6:53), they fill their mikvahs with colloidal gold such that they're purified by the blood when they baptize themselves in the mikvah filled with the blood of the sacrifice.

Someone familiar with the ancient ritual of bris milah will know that these same symbols carry over to the rite upon which all others are based, ritual circumcision. Therefore the mohel not only performs metzitzah to symbolize drinking the blood of the sacrifice, but in the middle ages (and probably up until modern times) the mohel placed some of the blood on the lips of the circumcisee.

RBerman
04-27-2014, 09:44 PM
The Tanakh was also written by men. The Talmud more accurately describes humanity.

Well, we each appear to have made clear the authorities from which our respective beliefs are derived. That's something.

Nehemiah 8 says that "the law of Moses" is also "the law of God." Do you feel free to disregard or re-edit the law of God?

mitzi
07-12-2014, 04:45 PM
In another thread, NORM posted a comment that goes against everything (very little, I admit) I understood about Yom Kippur:



In trying to understand this, I looked at some Jewish sources, and found, among others, this...


Yom Kippur is probably the most important holiday of the Jewish year. Many Jews who do not observe any other Jewish custom will refrain from work, fast and/or attend synagogue services on this day. Yom Kippur occurs on the 10th day of Tishri. The holiday is instituted at Leviticus 23:26 et seq.

The name "Yom Kippur" means "Day of Atonement," and that pretty much explains what the holiday is. It is a day set aside to "afflict the soul," to atone for the sins of the past year. In Days of Awe, I mentioned the "books" in which G-d inscribes all of our names. On Yom Kippur, the judgment entered in these books is sealed. This day is, essentially, your last appeal, your last chance to change the judgment, to demonstrate your repentance and make amends.

As I noted in Days of Awe, Yom Kippur atones only for sins between man and G-d, not for sins against another person. To atone for sins against another person, you must first seek reconciliation with that person, righting the wrongs you committed against them if possible. That must all be done before Yom Kippur.

It doesn't seem that Yom Kippur is an event where "It is not conditioned on anything".



:eh: What do you mean that Yom Kippur isn't conditioned on anything? The whole purpose is on repentance between God and mankind (individuals) and not to mention it is about God's judgment. This event or high holy day is not only called "great" but "terrible" because we "all" are being judged.

Cow Poke
07-12-2014, 06:51 PM
:eh: What do you mean that Yom Kippur isn't conditioned on anything? The whole purpose is on repentance between God and mankind (individuals) and not to mention it is about God's judgment. This event or high holy day is not only called "great" but "terrible" because we "all" are being judged.

Yeah

Darth Executor
07-12-2014, 07:03 PM
You're missing about 15 years of diligent Talmudic study!

Thank you for succinctly explaining how modern Judaism is pretty much a cargo cult about as Jewish as, well, you know.


We are known as the "people of the Book" for a reason!

You call yourselves that but nobody except Muslims know you as that, and Muslims don't limit that term to Jews.

mitzi
07-13-2014, 02:15 PM
In another thread, NORM posted a comment that goes against everything (very little, I admit) I understood about Yom Kippur:



In trying to understand this, I looked at some Jewish sources, and found, among others, this...


Yom Kippur is probably the most important holiday of the Jewish year. Many Jews who do not observe any other Jewish custom will refrain from work, fast and/or attend synagogue services on this day. Yom Kippur occurs on the 10th day of Tishri. The holiday is instituted at Leviticus 23:26 et seq.

The name "Yom Kippur" means "Day of Atonement," and that pretty much explains what the holiday is. It is a day set aside to "afflict the soul," to atone for the sins of the past year. In Days of Awe, I mentioned the "books" in which G-d inscribes all of our names. On Yom Kippur, the judgment entered in these books is sealed. This day is, essentially, your last appeal, your last chance to change the judgment, to demonstrate your repentance and make amends.

As I noted in Days of Awe, Yom Kippur atones only for sins between man and G-d, not for sins against another person. To atone for sins against another person, you must first seek reconciliation with that person, righting the wrongs you committed against them if possible. That must all be done before Yom Kippur.

It doesn't seem that Yom Kippur is an event where "It is not conditioned on anything".

Cow Poke - Sorry for the last post. My bad :sigh: In respect of, and depending on which affiliation sect you belong to, there are conditions in a human and spiritual way (read high lighted boxed area):

In order to apologize to God, one must: 1.Pray; 2.Repent; 3.Give to charity. This sounds very easy – but it’s not. We know that sin “blinds” the soul from the salvation that God brings, right? Well that sin or our multitude of sins (whichever) gives distance. Sometimes a sin can blind us for many years or it can bring us to back in “a” day. There are no conditions on forgiveness or when salvation comes to us. It is the fact that we can recognize it and know what that sin is doing in our life and the lives around us. Is God’s forgiveness conditional or non conditional?

Exodus 4: The LORD said to him, "Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the LORD?

This verse can be read in a physical way of God giving sight or blindness and in a spiritual way....My point being is that the "Act of Forgiveness" isn't an easy route when we (ourselves) become aware of our own sins!" It not a matter of "steps" per se – it just a matter of when we become aware of God and His presence in our lives. Perhaps there are steps – and sometimes not. Even when all communication seems to shut off between God and ourselves – and even then, we should not stop praying. The right prayer (with the help of the Holy Spirit - ruacḥ haqodes,) will give us the courage and sincerity to stand before him and ask to be forgiven. It’s not as easy as it sounds…..Think of King David and Nathan and what David said, “I have sinned against the Lord.”

The very act of recognizing and reasoning is Rosh Hashanah (New Year - and new slate) and Yom Kippur – Teshuvah, repentance, is within David's statement! It is both “Great” and it is a “Terrible” day when God comes to judge us.



In Orthodox Judaism, accordingly, studying the Temple ritual on Yom Kippur represents a positive rabbinically ordained obligation which Jews seeking atonement are required to fulfill.

In Orthodox synagogues, most Conservative, and some progressive [17] a detailed description of the Temple ritual is recited on the day. In most Orthodox and some Conservative synagogues, the entire congregation prostrates themselves at each point in the recitation where the Kohen Gadol (High Priest) would pronounce the Tetragrammaton (God’s holiest name, according to Judaism).

**Orthodox liturgies include prayers lamenting the inability to perform the Temple service and petitioning for its restoration, which Conservative synagogues generally omit. In some Conservative synagogues, only the Hazzan (cantor) engages in full prostration. Some Conservative synagogues abridge the recitation of the Avodah service to varying degrees, and some omit it entirely. Many Reform and Reconstructionist services omit the entire service as inconsistent with modern sensibilities.

NormaTive, when it comes to G-d's forgiveness - and in all sincerity, and with many tears, He hears the prayers of his people when they call to him for help. Remembering the Exodus,

"The LORD said, "I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering.

But also, in the same stroke....and remembering this verse,

". For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture and the flocks of His hand, today, if you hearken to my voice.
8. Do not harden your heart as [in] Meribah, as [on] the day of Massah in the desert.
ח. אַל תַּקְשׁוּ לְבַבְכֶם כִּמְרִיבָה כְּיוֹם מַסָּה בַּמִּדְבָּר:
9. When your ancestors tested Me; they tried Me, even though they had seen My work.
ט. אֲשֶׁר נִסּוּנִי אֲבוֹתֵיכֶם בְּחָנוּנִי גַּם רָאוּ פָעֳלִי:
10. Forty years I quarreled with a generation, and I said, "They are a people of erring hearts and they did not know My ways."


Another thought to Yom Kippur:

13 Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” Nathan replied, “The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. 14 But because by doing this you have shown utter contempt for[a] the Lord, the son born to you will die.” 15 After Nathan had gone home, the Lord struck the child that Uriah’s wife had borne to David, and he became ill. 16 David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and spent the nights lying in sackcloth on the ground. 17 The elders of his household stood beside him to get him up from the ground, but he refused, and he would not eat any food with them.

18 On the seventh day the child died. David’s attendants were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they thought, “While the child was still living, he wouldn’t listen to us when we spoke to him. How can we now tell him the child is dead? He may do something desperate.” 19 David noticed that his attendants were whispering among themselves, and he realized the child was dead. “Is the child dead?” he asked. Yes,” they replied, “he is dead.” 20 Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. Then he went to his own house, and at his request they served him food, and he ate. 21 His attendants asked him, “Why are you acting this way? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept, but now that the child is dead, you get up and eat!”

22 [B]He answered, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live.’ 23 But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.”


So what did you read in both scenarios? God heard the cries of the people and responded with a deliverer, Moses. In the desert, the people rebelled against God, They turned against God so often in the desert and grieved him there." (which if you read from the Acts of the Apostle, Paul tells even us as his people "not" to grieve God, Ephesians 4:30-32 the Bible states, "And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.")

In the story of David - which I found remarkable, David did not fight Nathan when it came to his sin even when most people would. However, after David admitted his sin before Nathan - what happened? Where there any conditions? and What did David do? “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows?

It's true, in a sense, there are "NO" conditions to God's forgiveness - but we must live with the consequences of our own actions and how they will affect others. Moses said it best, choose life not death. Only God can resurrect the dead!

mitzi
07-14-2014, 05:29 AM
Here is my answer to you in the other thread. As a non-theist, I'm not supposed to be in this side.


You're missing about 15 years of diligent Talmudic study!

The ritual of forgiveness is for the HUMANS, not G-d. G-d does not need our repentance. G-d is well aware of our sinfulness, and well aware that we will continue to sin. The thing we are taught to keep in mind is that G-d is ALWAYS faithful, and will ALWAYS forgive. That is the essence of Yom Kippur:

כִּרְחֹק מִזְרָח, מִמַּעֲרָב הִרְחִיק מִמֶּנּוּ, אֶתפְּשָׁעֵינוּ - Tehillim (Psalms) 103:12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
Cow Poke, I think you would find attending a Yom Kippur service for yourself very enlightening - and beautiful. The symbolism is intense. It is very difficult concept to explain to folks who have a preconceived notion of what the Jewish understanding of "atonement" means. You are interpreting the word from your own Christian perspective. It is 180 degrees opposite.

Adin Steinsaltz' Essential Talmud (sorry, it's not available online) has the best explanation for non-Jews that I can recommend. You will not find much in-depth insight into Judaism on the Internet. That's not how we roll. We are known as the "people of the Book" for a reason! The ultra-orthodox have a "thing" about non-Jews using the words of the Tanakh and Talmud out of context.

Judaism 101 is an OK source, but its intent is to not make Judaism seem so silly (and complicated) to young people. Unfortunately, it is complicated.

Sorry.

NORM


Norm - Aish.com: Teshuva: Dry Cleaning for the Soul (http://www.aish.com/h/hh/gar/atonement/48954551.html)

As an intelligent, thinking, imaginative being, man has all sorts of thoughts flashing constantly through his mind. Even sublime thoughts of remorse and self-improvement are not strange to him, but they do not last. For his thoughts to have lasting meaning, he must distill them into words, because the process of thought culminates when ideas are expressed and clarified.

That is not as easy as it sounds. It is usually excruciatingly difficult for people to admit explicitly that they have done wrong. We excuse ourselves. We refuse to admit the truth. We shift blame. We deny the obvious. We excel at rationalizing. But the person who wrenches from himself the unpleasant truth, "I have sinned," has performed a great and meaningful act.

mitzi
07-14-2014, 05:52 AM
Here is my answer to you in the other thread. As a non-theist, I'm not supposed to be in this side.


You're missing about 15 years of diligent Talmudic study!

The ritual of forgiveness is for the HUMANS, not G-d. G-d does not need our repentance. G-d is well aware of our sinfulness, and well aware that we will continue to sin. The thing we are taught to keep in mind is that G-d is ALWAYS faithful, and will ALWAYS forgive. That is the essence of Yom Kippur:

כִּרְחֹק מִזְרָח, מִמַּעֲרָב הִרְחִיק מִמֶּנּוּ, אֶתפְּשָׁעֵינוּ - Tehillim (Psalms) 103:12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
Cow Poke, I think you would find attending a Yom Kippur service for yourself very enlightening - and beautiful. The symbolism is intense. It is very difficult concept to explain to folks who have a preconceived notion of what the Jewish understanding of "atonement" means. You are interpreting the word from your own Christian perspective. It is 180 degrees opposite.

Adin Steinsaltz' Essential Talmud (sorry, it's not available online) has the best explanation for non-Jews that I can recommend. You will not find much in-depth insight into Judaism on the Internet. That's not how we roll. We are known as the "people of the Book" for a reason! The ultra-orthodox have a "thing" about non-Jews using the words of the Tanakh and Talmud out of context.

Judaism 101 is an OK source, but its intent is to not make Judaism seem so silly (and complicated) to young people. Unfortunately, it is complicated.

Sorry.

NORM



Norm - Aish.com: Teshuva: Dry Cleaning for the Soul (http://www.aish.com/h/hh/gar/atonement/48954551.html)

"As an intelligent, thinking, imaginative being, man has all sorts of thoughts flashing constantly through his mind. Even sublime thoughts of remorse and self-improvement are not strange to him, but they do not last. For his thoughts to have lasting meaning, he must distill them into words, because the process of thought culminates when ideas are expressed and clarified.

That is not as easy as it sounds. It is usually excruciatingly difficult for people to admit explicitly that they have done wrong. We excuse ourselves. We refuse to admit the truth. We shift blame. We deny the obvious. We excel at rationalizing. But the person who wrenches from himself the unpleasant truth, "I have sinned," has performed a great and meaningful act."



Honestly, you make it sound like its a system of process to repentance. What is Nehemiah 9 saying? What is Daniel 9 saying in the same breath? and in 3rd Maccabees,"19 Wipe away our sins and disperse our errors, and reveal your mercy at this hour. 20 Speedily let your mercies overtake us, and put praises in the mouth of ..." Some of these prophet were recalling and confessing the sin of the people and as Nehemiah said recalling God's great mercies, "So you delivered them into the hands of their enemies, who oppressed them. But when they were oppressed they cried out to you. From heaven you heard them, and in your great compassion you gave them deliverers, who rescued them from the hand of their enemies.. But what does it take for God to respond back - how many times has God responded back - Jesus said it, Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times." Seventy times seven. No specific number, but practically unlimited. There is no measure to forgiveness; it must be practiced whenever the occasion arises.


Solomon's prayer:

"Yet give attention to your servant’s prayer and his plea for mercy, Lord my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence this day. 29 May your eyes be open toward this temple night and day, this place of which you said, ‘My Name shall be there,’ so that you will hear the prayer your servant prays toward this place. 30 Hear the supplication of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven, your dwelling place, and when you hear, forgive." - 1 Kings 8:22