DISCLAIMER: I am not Jewish nor am I a follower of Judaism. I have read the Torah, prophets and writings with Rashi commentary, also have read some of the Midrash, and read/watch some of today's Rabbis teachings. While I won't call myself Christian, because of all the lies taught in so-called churches today, I do hold to the teachings in their Gospels. I ask that you please not judge me on this as I often look to Judaism to help me understand.

QUESTION: does Judaism have any beliefs about "original sin" and whether all people are born with it? I am interested in any information from the Talmud to Midrash or any other teachings that address this question.

NOTE: I am also asking this on the Christianity site here. So please don't migrate it

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    Duplicate of this (unanswered) question: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/93517/… – Joel K Oct 11 at 7:46
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    Please elaborate on what exactly you call the Original Sin. Do you refer to eating the fruit or intimate relations or else? – Al Berko Oct 11 at 9:43
  • Welcome to MiYodeya. Great to have you learn with us! – mbloch Oct 11 at 13:30
  • @AlBerko "Original sin, also called ancestral sin, is the Christian doctrine of humanity's state of sin resulting from the fall of man, stemming from Adam's rebellion in Eden." (Wikipedia) – user14172 Oct 11 at 16:54
  • @user BTW nobody cares that your Christian. As long as you don't believe in multiple gods and practice all of the seven Noahide laws you're good. Though most sects of Christianity are arguable believing in multiple gods with their weird father son God thing. – Orion Oct 11 at 22:48
up vote 2 down vote accepted

There is no concept of "Original Sin" in Judaism. This does not mean that humans do not have a sinful nature (cf. Psalms 51:7), rather it means that we are capable of overcoming our evil inclination and attain righteousness, without the aid of an intermediary.

From what I understand, Xianity teaches that humans all fall short in the eyes of G-d, tainted by the "original sin" of Adam and Eve, and are unable of achieving salvation by themselves, so Yoshke died to take away the sins of anyone who believes in him.

However, it's interesting to note that after Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden, G-d tells their son, Cain, that it is possible to overcome one's evil urge:

(Genesis 4:6-7, emphasis mine)

And the Lord said to Cain, "Why are you annoyed, and why has your countenance fallen? Is it not so that if you improve, it will be forgiven you? If you do not improve, however, at the entrance, sin is lying, and to you is its longing, but you can rule over it."

Aish.com has an answer to a question asked of their Rabbi:

Question

I want to know about the concept of "sin" due to Adam and Eve eating from the Tree of Knowledge. The Christian concept of sin revolves around the fall of the man and the "original sin." Does Judaism view it the same way?

The Aish Rabbi Replies:

Adam and Eve were punished according to their actions. In other words, God laid down the conditions for Adam and Eve to live in the garden, provided they would not eat from the Tree of Knowledge. However, if they were to eat from that tree they would be punished by experiencing death. (If they had not eaten from the tree, they would have remained immortal.)

This sets down the basic principle in Judaism of Reward and Punishment. Basic to this is that every person has the choice of doing good or bad. When a person chooses "good" – as defined by God – he is able to draw close to God. In other words, every individual has a chance to "gain salvation" through his own actions.

My understanding of Christianity, however, is that the Original Sin has infected all of mankind to the point where individuals are incapable of achieving salvation through their own initiative. Man is "totally depraved" and therefore his only hope of salvation is through the cross.

This belief is contrary to the teachings of Judaism. From the Torah perspective, an individual does not need to rely on anyone else to atone for them. In Judaism, sins can be "erased" altogether by sincere repentance and a firm resolution never to repeat the mistakes.

For more on this, read "Their Hollow Inheritances" by Michael Drazin – www.drazin.com

The conclusion is clear: we are not born with any original sin.

  • I don't know that the conclusion is as clear as you say inasmuch as we know "yetzer lev haAdam ra m'neurav", which is traced back to Adam haRishon and the new norm that the yetzer hara accompanies man from birth. The distinction lies in the fact that a) we don't see each individual as starting off with a strike against him although the drive and capacityfor sin is there and b) we have the free will to choose not to sin and the agency to repent and make things right . – Shmuel Brown Oct 11 at 15:53

In the sense that all individuals start with a "black mark" on their ledger, there is no original sin.

However, God judges people in a manner that we would consider subjective (though is actually objective due to his omniscience) and the circumstances of one's birth will alter the relative values of sins and good deeds. For example, an Indian, raised in a sea of a billion Hindus, worshiping idols will be treated more leniently than a Jew raised in suburban New Jersey who decides to rebel against his parents and Jewish Day School upbringing by worshiping idols.

The actions of Adam and Eve had consequences, but consequences are not the same as punishments. If I pour water on myself, I am wet, but that is not my punishment. The curses of eating the fruit are downgrades from living in an Elysian paradise, but they are necessary for understanding the distinction between Good and Evil.

OF COURSE, we invented it. I'm not allowed to provide the details but only outline the general Jewish worldview.

  1. Adam was created in the Eden and was "destined" to stay in Eden and enjoy eternally while enjoying G-d's presence while keeping some basic commandments.

  2. Adam [and Eve] sinned [AKA the Original sin] and were cursed required to fix their misdeed. So Adam and Eve and their kids and all the following generations were expelled from Eden and commanded new commandments to fix the consequences of that Original sin.

  3. The humanity failed many times but still, slowly and steadily we progress to the point where all the curses consequences will be fixed/atoned and we will return to the state of Adam BEFORE the Original sin (and be allowed back to Eden, probably).

  4. The whole idea of keeping the commandments in Judaism is the result of the Original sin (AND the Golden Calf, see Exodus story).


The Kabbalistic explanation of the Original sin hints on the forbidden intimate relations b/w Adam and Eve, which is the source of referring to intimate relations in general as "the Original sin".

  • Adam and Eve were forbidden from having relations? – Clint Eastwood Oct 12 at 16:58
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    Sources would GREATLY improve this answer. As is stands there's nothing backing up your claims. IMO, this is NOT the traditional Jewish view. – ezra Oct 12 at 19:03
  • @ClintEastwood According to the Lurianic tradition, they should have waited for Shabbos. – Al Berko Oct 13 at 20:05
  • @ezra When I reply to a Nochri, I'm greatly limited of what I can say. I don't know your background, but please, don't pretend presenting the "traditional" Judaism. Ask your Rabbi if the whole idea of the TOrah and keeping Mitzvos is not an atonement for the Original sin + 130 of Adam (if you know what it means) + the Golden Calf. THat's why Rashi says on Mt Sinay they were close to אדם הראשון לפני החטא. But they sinned even more. – Al Berko Oct 13 at 20:09
  • @AlBerko why are you limited? I understand some rabbis have stated you shouldnt teach christians certain things, but can u please offer references so i can look them up? – user14172 Oct 14 at 9:10

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