Say for example a halalachly uneducated Jew intermarries and then years later realizes the marriage is a Torah violation and has great regret, yet he loves his wife and there are children involved. He cannot ever bring himself to leave his family.

Can this Jew receive forgiveness even though he has no intention of ending the marriage? Can he seek and receive atonement on Yom Kippur for something he feels he cannot change or is that just denial and hypocrisy?

  • 1
    This is an excellent question but probably best addressed to a rabbi, who can give you a real answer. We're just a bunch of people who try to learn halacha Commented Sep 26, 2019 at 0:17
  • @josh k Not really the answer I was hoping for but thank you.
    – Ephraim77
    Commented Sep 27, 2019 at 20:48

2 Answers 2


Yes and no. If he genuinely regrets the path that he chose and would never do a similar thing again knowing the halacha, he can be forgiven for the rebelliousness of his previous actions (as he didn't know, they were never rebellious in the first place. However, if he were not to have any regret, that would have been a rebellion).

However, as he persists in his transgression after knowing that it is forbidden and that loyalty to God should come before his family (however hard that may be), he can not be forgiven for the underlying perpetual sin that he commits (provided that he has the capability to do the right thing and is not considered anus).

I know I have not provided sources - this is because the answer is based almost entirely on common sense. If anyone has any logical disagreement I will be happy to answer.

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    I agree with your concept. See my answer below.
    – Turk Hill
    Commented Oct 1, 2019 at 18:07

To add authority (in case it matters to you) I would point to the Rambam, who says, that when a sin is committed (or transgressed) unintentionally, one should do Teshuva and aim not to repeat the sin again. They should also be prompted to ask forgiveness from a friend harmed, if any, and go on with their lives.

Additionally, Sin (Chet in Hebrew) means to miss the mark as if one were shooting an arrow and missed their target. If one misses the mark they can reach into their pouch and try again. Even if one sin deliberately, knowingly full-well that they have sinned with intent, they can still be forgiven so long as they make repentance, verbally asking forgivness. If, however, they refuse, all I have to say is 'good luck.'

  • What seems kinda peculiar and interesting to me is the fact that if a male Jew marries a non-Jewish woman and has kids with her, the children are considered not Jewish. If a Jewish woman marries a non-Jewish man and brings birth to children, her children are considered Jewish. Does this have any relation or impact on the question in the op?
    – user16556
    Commented Oct 1, 2019 at 19:20
  • @Ilja The children in this scenario I presented was just an additional "anchor," for lack of a better term, for this person who is deeply entrenched in intermarriage but has realized his or even her Torah violation. This question couid actually be applied to either gender.
    – Ephraim77
    Commented Oct 1, 2019 at 21:50
  • Authority on the level of the Rambam certainly matters to me, although I fail to see how the Rambam's words directly address the kind of regret that was asked about in the question. Although the Rambam requires an undertaking not to repeat the sin, the question was whether or not an undertaking not to repeat the sin in the same circumstances is sufficient.
    – tcdw
    Commented Oct 2, 2019 at 20:23
  • @tcdw I would think this same method applies to almost every sin.
    – Turk Hill
    Commented Oct 2, 2019 at 23:07

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