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At some point I read a very interesting post somewhere about this, but cannot remember where it was or what sources it used (or if they were even reputable). It stated that the spilling of blood in the Temple Sacrifices was for unintentional sin, inward repentance for intentional sin, and charity for grave sins.

Is there any basis to this? If so, where is it sourced? Is it clear from Torah?

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Mishna Kereitot 2:2 – Double AA May 7 '14 at 14:30
@DoubleAA. Any way you know where I can read that in English? – Yochanan Michael May 7 '14 at 21:46
Any translation of the Mishna will have it. Try en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mishnah#English_translations – Double AA May 7 '14 at 22:01
up vote 1 down vote accepted

This is documented in the Rambam - Hilchot Teshuva, 1st chapter.

In summary:

  • The שעיר המשתלח - goat that was sent to Azazel atones on all sins if Teshuva was done.
  • Else it only atones on "light" sins.
    • "Serious sins" being defined as those for which one could get killed by Bet Din, or one deserves Karet, as well as false or unnecessary oaths.
    • Everything else is defined as a "light sin".
  • For those sins which one brought a sacrifice - in the time of the Bet HaMikdash - the sacrifice only atoned if one also did Teshuva.
  • For those sins for which one got lashes by Bet Din, the atonement was only achieved after Teshuva was done, too.
  • For any sin against a fellow man, one also needs to ask for their forgiveness, after which Teshuva atones.
  • If one owes them money, then the money must be paid too, for atonement to happen.
  • Nowadays that we cannot bring sacrifices:
  • For "light" sins:
    • If it involves not-doing a positive Mitzva, then one is forgiven as soon as one has done Teshuva.
    • For transgressing, one is forgiven as soon as one has done Teshuva and Yom Kipppour has passed.
      • Note that in the Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippour prayers we mention that Teshuva, Prayers and Charity ease the severity of the decree.
  • For "serious sins" one needs Teshuva, Yom Kippour and Yisurin - some sort of aggravation in one's life, for atonement to be complete. - However, for Chillul HaShem - desecrating His Name - one needs all the above as well as death for complete atonement.
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