2

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?

3

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.
-2

This is a deliberate and superficial distinction to divide atonement methods for unintentional and intentional sins. There are two facts which this modern tradition deny: 1) there is no atonement without blood; the act of personal repentance is not substitute to the sacrificial system, but both are two sides of same coin; both are necessary for forgiveness. (2) the sacrificial atonement covers all sins. However the scholars created exception for exceptional rebellious people.

Writing in the Encyclopedia Judaica, Anson F. Rainey, a professor at Tel Aviv University and a foremost biblical and Semitic scholar, provided these important insights: The prophets of the First Temple period often spoke out against sacrificial ritual (Amos 5:21-27; Hos. 6:6; Micah 6:6-8; Isa. 1:11-17; Jer. 6:20; 7:21-22). Righteous and just behavior along with obedience to the Lord are contrasted with the conduct of rituals unaccompanied by proper ethical and more attitudes (Amos 5:24; Micah 6:8; Isa. 1:16-17; Jer. 7:23). It has thus been assumed by many scholars that the prophets condemned all sacrificial rituals. [The Catholic biblical scholar Roland] De Vaux has shown the absurdity of such a conclusion since Isaiah 1:15 also condemns prayer. No one holds that the prophets rejected prayer; it was prayer offered without the proper moral commitment that was being denounced; the same holds true for the oracles against formal rituals. Similar allusions in the Psalms which might be taken as a complete rejection of sacrifice (e.g., 40:7-8; 50:8-15) actually express the same concern for inner attitude as the prophets. The wisdom literature sometimes reflects the same concern for moral and ethical values over empty sacerdotal acts (Prov. 15:8, 21:3, 27). Certain other statements by Amos (5:25) and Jeremiah (7:22) have been taken to mean that the prophets knew nothing of a ritual practice followed in the wilderness experience of Israel. De Vaux has noted that Jeremiah clearly knew Deuteronomy 12:6-14 and regarded it as the Law of Moses. The prophetic oracles against sacrifice in the desert are really saying that the original Israelite sacrificial system was not meant to be the empty, hypocritical formalism practiced by their contemporaries. The demand by Hosea for “mercy not sacrifice…knowledge of God more than burnt offerings” (Hos. 6:6; cf. Matt. 9:13; 12:7) is surely to be taken as relative, a statement of priorities (cf. also I Sam. 15:22). The inner attitude was prerequisite to any valid ritual expression (Isa. 29:13). Foreign elements that had penetrated the Israelite sacrificial system, were of course, roundly condemned by the prophets. Such was especially the case with Israel (Amos 4:5; Hos. 2:13-15; 4:11-13; 13:2) but also in Judah (Jer. 7:17-18; Ezek. 8; et al.). 124

also

The rabbis (see b. Shevu’ot 2b; 6b-14a) comment specifically on the words rebellion (transgressions in Hebrew) and sins, explaining that “transgressions” refers to acts of rebellion – which are certainly intentional – while “sins” refers to inadvertent acts. 232 And it is the goat whose blood is sprinkled in the Most Holy Place that effects atonement for the people, just as the blood of the bull offered up by the High Priest effects atonement for him (m . Shevu’ot 1:7, following Lev. 16:11, “Aaron shall bring the bull for his own sin offering to make atonement for himself and his household, and he is to slaughter the bull for his own sin offering.”). – Brown, Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus, Volume 2, Theological Objections, p. 131 To further emphasize the vital connection between blood and atonement, let me cite the observations made by the two most important Talmud commentaries (Rashi and Tosafot) to this Rabbinic dictum that “there is no atonement without blood.” Rashi states that “the fundamental principle (‘iqqar) of atonement is in the blood” (b. Yoma 5a). Tosafot, also discussing the Talmudic statement that there is no atonement without blood, makes reference to a passage found elsewhere in the Talmud (b. Pesahim 59b) that indicated that the priests had to eat certain specified sacrifices if those offering were to have their atoning effect. 180 Tosafot then concludes, “But in any case, the fundamental principle [again, ‘iqqar] of atonement doesn’t exist without blood.” (b. Zevahim 6a). – Brown, Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus, Volume 2, Theological Objections, p. 109-110

The offense outline here [in Lev 5:17-19 , or 6:1-7 in most English translations] were quite definitely intentional! A person misappropriated property or funds entrusted to his safekeeping, or defrauded another, or failed to restore lost property he had located….If, subsequently, the accused came forth on his own and admitted to having lied under oath – thus assuming liability for the unrecovered property – he was given the opportunity to clear himself by making restitution and by paying a fine of 20 percent to the aggrieved party. Having lied under oath, he had also offended God and was obliged to offer an ‘asham sacrifice in expiation….God accepts the expiation even of one who swears falsely in His name because the guilty person is willing to make restitution to the victim of his crime. 224 – Brown, Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus, Volume 2, Theological Objections, p. 128

As codified and explained by Maimonides almost one thousand years later (Laws of Repentance, 1:2):

Since the goat sent [to Azazeil] 229 atones for all of Israel, the High Priest confesses on it as the spokesman for all Israel, as [Lev. 16:21] states: “He shall confess on it all the sins of the Children of Israel.” The goat sent to Azazeil atones for all the transgressions in the Torah, the severe and the lighter [sins]; those violated intentionally and those transgressed inadvertently; those which [the transgressor] became conscious of and those which he was not conscious of. All are atoned for by the goat sent [to Azazeil]. This applies only if one repents. If one does not repent, the goat only atones for the light [sins]. Which are light sins and which are severe ones? Severe sins are those which are punishable by execution by the court or by premature death [karet]. [The violation of] the other prohibitions that are not punishable by premature death are considered light [sins]. 230 – Brown, Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus, Volume 2, Theological Objections, p. 130

for more sources and details see http://www.biblestudying.net/rabbinic1.html

Lev (16:5, 16) Since the goat sent [to Azazel] atones for all of Israel, the High Priest confesses upon it as a spokesman for all of Israel as [Leviticus 16:21] states: "He shall confess upon it all the sins of the children of Israel."

The goat sent to Azazel atones for all the transgressions in the Torah, the severe and the lighter [sins]; those violated intentionally and those transgressed inadvertently; those which [the transgressor] became conscious of and those which he was not conscious of. All are atoned for by the goat sent [to Azazel]. http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/911888/jewish/Teshuvah-Chapter-One.htm

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .