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No one is punished only because of ancestral sins. The Torah very clearly says לא יומתו אבות על בנים and איש בחטאו יומתו (Devarim 24:15) The Gemara (Sanhedrin 27B) asks about "אֵל קַנָּא פֹּקֵד עֲוֺן אָבֹת עַל־בָּנִים עַל־שִׁלֵּשִׁים וְעַל־רִבֵּעִים לְשֹׂנְאָי and answers that this is speaking about a situation where the children are continuing to do ...


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Perhaps to show that god was trying to be compassionate: He was willing to listen to all of Avraham's pleas. God was looking for an excuse to spare the cities. The verse specifically says that God only left Abraham after he finished his pleas. If God's attributes of judgment would have prevailed, perhaps He would have not have been inclined to hear out ...


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Because we as readers of the story always take for granted that what happened in the story was either necessary to happen, or supposed to happen for some reason. Very few people actually ask the question of whether any of it was actually necessary. For example, did Isaac even need to bless his Jacob or Esau? Isaac was never blessed by Abraham before Abraham ...


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According to the Ramban (Exodus 20:3, Leviticus 18:25), God appointed ministers over the different lands, apart from Israel, which he attends to himself. It may be that Jephthah was referring to the appointed ministers, who are also called "gods" (he identifies these as the "other gods" of the second commandment).


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