Sin Offering

By Rabbi Dr. Hillel ben David (Greg Killian)

 


In this study I would like to examine sin sacrifices as they pertain to the future of HaShem’s people. The scriptures are clear that we have not seen the end of sin sacrifices. This subject is extremely important because it will affect our attitude towards the future Temple and altar.

 

What was the purpose of animal sacrifices? One answer is that anything a person purchases has a relevance to his soul, and can cause sin. Therefore, when a person sacrifices his property on the altar, and the fire burns it up, his soul is purified as well. This is what is said in the Talmud: “for you” excludes stolen property, which is not his-even if the owners relinquish their ownership, as it says, “his sacrifice,” and not one that is stolen.[1] This is also like what is said elsewhere: It is impossible to purify a soul until the zuhama is burned up and destroyed.[2] For other possible answers see korbanot.

 

We see Passover sacrifices offered at the dawn of creation by Cain and Abel:[3]

 

Bereshit (Genesis) 4:3-4 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to HaShem. But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. HaShem looked with favor on Abel and his offering,

 

How could they know what HaShem wanted, except that HaShem had already told them or their parents? It is obvious that HaShem looked with favor on Abel’s offering which clearly involved the sacrifice of an animal. So, what was the purpose of animal sacrifices?

 

The writer to the Bereans (Hebrews) indicates the reason for the sacrifices:

 

Bereans (Hebrews) 10:1-4 The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming--not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. If it could, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins, Because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

 

It appears as though the sin sacrifice will be done away with at the “end of the ages” probably on Yom HaKippurim.

 

Bereans (Hebrews) 9:22-28 In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Mashiach did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. Then Mashiach would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, So Mashiach was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

 

Yeshua, according to the above passage, will one day remove sin. It does NOT say that He has eliminated the sacrifices.

 

Yeshua was clearly our “sin offering”:

 

Romans 8:1-4 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Mashiach Yeshua, Because through Mashiach Yeshua the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, In order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.

 

So, Mashiach has not YET eliminated sacrifices! This is a necessary understanding in order to appreciate that there are clearly sacrifices in the future for HaShem’s people. Lets see these “future” sacrifices.

 

These passages in Yechezkel (Ezekiel) all are clearly in the future. Note that the size of the temple indicates that it has not yet been built.

 

Yechezkel (Ezekiel) 40:35-42 Then he brought me to the north gate and measured it. It had the same measurements as the others, As did its alcoves, its projecting walls and its portico, and it had openings all around. It was fifty cubits long and twenty-five cubits wide. Its portico faced the outer court; palm trees decorated the jambs on either side, and eight steps led up to it. A room with a doorway was by the portico in each of the inner gateways, where the burnt offerings were washed. In the portico of the gateway were two tables on each side, on which the burnt offerings, sin offerings and guilt offerings were slaughtered. By the outside wall of the portico of the gateway, near the steps at the entrance to the north gateway were two tables, and on the other side of the steps were two tables. So there were four tables on one side of the gateway and four on the other--eight tables in all--on which the sacrifices were slaughtered. There were also four tables of dressed stone for the burnt offerings, each a cubit and a half long, a cubit and a half wide and a cubit high. On them were placed the utensils for slaughtering the burnt offerings and the other sacrifices.

 

Yechezkel (Ezekiel) 42:13-15 Then he said to me, “The north and south rooms facing the temple courtyard are the priests’ rooms, where the priests who approach HaShem will eat the most holy offerings. There they will put the most holy offerings--the grain offerings, the sin offerings and the guilt offerings--for the place is holy. Once the priests enter the holy precincts, they are not to go into the outer court until they leave behind the garments in which they minister, for these are holy. They are to put on other clothes before they go near the places that are for the people.” When he had finished measuring what was inside the temple area, he led me out by the east gate and measured the area all around:

 

Yechezkel (Ezekiel) 43:18-27 Then he said to me, “Son of man, this is what the Sovereign HaShem says: These will be the regulations for sacrificing burnt offerings and sprinkling blood upon the altar when it is built: You are to give a young bull as a sin offering to the priests, who are Levites, of the family of Zadok, who come near to minister before me, declares the Sovereign HaShem. You are to take some of its blood and put it on the four horns of the altar and on the four corners of the upper ledge and all around the rim, and so purify the altar and make atonement for it. You are to take the bull for the sin offering and burn it in the designated part of the temple area outside the sanctuary. “On the second day you are to offer a male goat without defect for a sin offering, and the altar is to be purified as it was purified with the bull. When you have finished purifying it, you are to offer a young bull and a ram from the flock, both without defect. You are to offer them before HaShem, and the priests are to sprinkle salt on them and sacrifice them as a burnt offering to HaShem. “For seven days you are to provide a male goat daily for a sin offering; you are also to provide a young bull and a ram from the flock, both without defect. For seven days they are to make atonement for the altar and cleanse it; thus they will dedicate it. At the end of these days, from the eighth day on, the priests are to present your burnt offerings and fellowship offerings on the altar. Then I will accept you, declares the Sovereign HaShem.”

 

Yechezkel (Ezekiel) 44:25-31 “‘A priest must not defile himself by going near a dead person; however, if the dead person was his father or mother, son or daughter, brother or unmarried sister, then he may defile himself. After he is cleansed, he must wait seven days. On the day he goes into the inner court of the sanctuary to minister in the sanctuary, he is to offer a sin offering for himself, declares the Sovereign HaShem. “‘I am to be the only inheritance the priests have. You are to give them no possession in Israel; I will be their possession. They will eat the grain offerings, the sin offerings and the guilt offerings; and everything in Israel devoted to HaShem will belong to them. The best of all the firstfruits and of all your special gifts will belong to the priests. You are to give them the first portion of your ground meal so that a blessing may rest on your household. The priests must not eat anything, bird or animal, found dead or torn by wild animals.

 

Yechezkel (Ezekiel) 45:13-25 “‘This is the special gift you are to offer: a sixth of an ephah from each homer of wheat and a sixth of an ephah from each homer of barley. The prescribed portion of oil, measured by the bath, is a tenth of a bath from each cor (which consists of ten baths or one homer, for ten baths are equivalent to a homer). Also one sheep is to be taken from every flock of two hundred from the well-watered pastures of Israel. These will be used for the grain offerings, burnt offerings and fellowship offerings to make atonement for the people, declares the Sovereign HaShem. All the people of the land will participate in this special gift for the use of the prince in Israel. It will be the duty of the prince to provide the burnt offerings, grain offerings and drink offerings at the festivals, the New Moons and the Sabbaths--at all the appointed feasts of the house of Israel. He will provide the sin offerings, grain offerings, burnt offerings and fellowship offerings to make atonement for the house of Israel. “‘This is what the Sovereign HaShem says: In the first month on the first day you are to take a young bull without defect and purify the sanctuary. The priest is to take some of the blood of the sin offering and put it on the doorposts of the temple, on the four corners of the upper ledge of the altar and on the gateposts of the inner court. You are to do the same on the seventh day of the month for anyone who sins unintentionally or through ignorance; so you are to make atonement for the temple. “‘In the first month on the fourteenth day you are to observe the Passover, a feast lasting seven days, during which you shall eat bread made without yeast. On that day the prince is to provide a bull as a sin offering for himself and for all the people of the land. Every day during the seven days of the Feast he is to provide seven bulls and seven rams without defect as a burnt offering to HaShem, and a male goat for a sin offering. He is to provide as a grain offering an ephah for each bull and an ephah for each ram, along with a hin of oil for each ephah. “‘During the seven days of the Feast, which begins in the seventh month on the fifteenth day, he is to make the same provision for sin offerings, burnt offerings, grain offerings and oil.

 

Yechezkel (Ezekiel) 46:19-20 Then the man brought me through the entrance at the side of the gate to the sacred rooms facing north, which belonged to the priests, and showed me a place at the western end. He said to me, “This is the place where the priests will cook the guilt offering and the sin offering and bake the grain offering, to avoid bringing them into the outer court and consecrating the people.”

 

We also know that HaShem’s plan calls for the altar to be rebuilt and the sacrifices to be resumed:

 

Daniel 9:23-27 As soon as you began to pray, an answer was given, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed. Therefore, consider the message and understand the vision: “Seventysevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy. “Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’ It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. He will confirm a covenant with many for oneseven.’ In the middle of the ‘sevenhe will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing [of the temple] he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.”

 

Since sacrifices are obviously in our future, it behooves us to understand HaShem’s purpose for sacrifices. At this point I would like to pose a question:

 

How was Abraham saved? How was King David saved? How are all of the righteous saved?

 

The answer is:

 

Ephesians 2:8-10 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- Not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Mashiach Yeshua to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

 

It may not have occurred to us, but, all of us are saved by GRACE through faithfull obedience! We are not saved by sacrifices. Unless we do the mitzvot (commandments) that HaShem detailed in His Torah, we can be reasonably sure that we are not saved. Salvation is demonstrated by works:

 

Yaaqov (James) 2:14-18 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.

 

Sacrifices are a reminder of sin, but they are also HaShem’s plan for drawing us closer to Him. If they helped Abraham, David, Solomon, and the prophets to draw closer to HaShem, would they not also help us to draw closer? It is also instructive to remember that we do the sacrifices because the Almighty has commanded us to!

 

There are many Jews who expect that the next altar will be set up by Mashiach, so who ever rebuilds the altar and restarts the sacrifices will be presumed to be Mashiach. The problem is that the altar will probably be rebuilt at the insistence of the anti-Mashiach.

 

There are many Christians who believe that the sacrifices were eliminated by Mashiach at His first coming. They believe this even though Mashiach clearly said that He would NOT eliminate them:

 

Matityahu (Matthew) 5:17-19 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

 

Since Mashiach has not eliminated them, we need to be very careful not to speak against the things that HaShem clearly commanded us to do in the Torah. By speaking against the altar we are speaking against drawing closer to HaShem.

 

So, be careful what you say about the things of HaShem. Be careful what you say about His altar, His Temple, and His sacrifices!

 

Now lets examine “when” a sin sacrifice is brought:

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 15:22-31‘Now if you unintentionally fail to keep any of these commands HaShem gave Moses-- Any of HaShem’s commands to you through him, from the day HaShem gave them and continuing through the generations to come-- And if this is done unintentionally without the community being aware of it, then the whole community is to offer a young bull for a burnt offering as an aroma pleasing to HaShem, along with its prescribed grain offering and drink offering, and a male goat for a sin offering. The priest is to make atonement for the whole Israelite community, and they will be forgiven, for it was not intentional and they have brought to HaShem for their wrong an offering made by fire and a sin offering. The whole Israelite community and the aliens living among them will be forgiven, because all the people were involved in the unintentional wrong. “‘But if just one person sins unintentionally, he must bring a year-old female goat for a sin offering. The priest is to make atonement before HaShem for the one who erred by sinning unintentionally, and when atonement has been made for him, he will be forgiven. One and the same law applies to everyone who sins unintentionally, whether he is a native-born Israelite or an alien. “‘But anyone who sins defiantly, whether native-born or alien, blasphemes HaShem, and that person must be cut off from his people. Because he has despised HaShem’s word and broken his commands, that person must surely be cut off; his guilt remains on him.’”

 

Vayikra (Leviticus) 4:1-35 HaShem said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites: ‘When anyone sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of HaShem’s commands-- “‘If the anointed priest sins, bringing guilt on the people, he must bring to HaShem a young bull without defect as a sin offering for the sin he has committed. He is to present the bull at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting before HaShem. He is to lay his hand on its head and slaughter it before HaShem. Then the anointed priest shall take some of the bull’s blood and carry it into the Tent of Meeting. He is to dip his finger into the blood and sprinkle some of it seven times before HaShem, in front of the curtain of the sanctuary. The priest shall then put some of the blood on the horns of the altar of fragrant incense that is before HaShem in the Tent of Meeting. The rest of the bull’s blood he shall pour out at the base of the altar of burnt offering at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. He shall remove all the fat from the bull of the sin offering--the fat that covers the inner parts or is connected to them, Both kidneys with the fat on them near the loins, and the covering of the liver, which he will remove with the kidneys-- Just as the fat is removed from the ox sacrificed as a fellowship offering. Then the priest shall burn them on the altar of burnt offering. But the hide of the bull and all its flesh, as well as the head and legs, the inner parts and offal-- That is, all the rest of the bull--he must take outside the camp to a place ceremonially clean, where the ashes are thrown, and burn it in a wood fire on the ash heap. “‘If the whole Israelite community sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of HaShem’s commands, even though the community is unaware of the matter, they are guilty. When they become aware of the sin they committed, the assembly must bring a young bull as a sin offering and present it before the Tent of Meeting. The elders of the community are to lay their hands on the bull’s head before HaShem, and the bull shall be slaughtered before HaShem. Then the anointed priest is to take some of the bull’s blood into the Tent of Meeting. He shall dip his finger into the blood and sprinkle it before HaShem seven times in front of the curtain. He is to put some of the blood on the horns of the altar that is before HaShem in the Tent of Meeting. The rest of the blood he shall pour out at the base of the altar of burnt offering at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. He shall remove all the fat from it and burn it on the altar, And do with this bull just as he did with the bull for the sin offering. In this way the priest will make atonement for them, and they will be forgiven. Then he shall take the bull outside the camp and burn it as he burned the first bull. This is the sin offering for the community. “‘When a leader sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the commands of HaShem his God, he is guilty. When he is made aware of the sin he committed, he must bring as his offering a male goat without defect. He is to lay his hand on the goat’s head and slaughter it at the place where the burnt offering is slaughtered before HaShem. It is a sin offering. Then the priest shall take some of the blood of the sin offering with his finger and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering and pour out the rest of the blood at the base of the altar. He shall burn all the fat on the altar as he burned the fat of the fellowship offering. In this way the priest will make atonement for the man’s sin, and he will be forgiven. “‘If a member of the community sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of HaShem’s commands, he is guilty. When he is made aware of the sin he committed, he must bring as his offering for the sin he committed a female goat without defect. He is to lay his hand on the head of the sin offering and slaughter it at the place of the burnt offering. Then the priest is to take some of the blood with his finger and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering and pour out the rest of the blood at the base of the altar. He shall remove all the fat, just as the fat is removed from the fellowship offering, and the priest shall burn it on the altar as an aroma pleasing to HaShem. In this way the priest will make atonement for him, and he will be forgiven. “‘If he brings a lamb as his sin offering, he is to bring a female without defect. He is to lay his hand on its head and slaughter it for a sin offering at the place where the burnt offering is slaughtered. Then the priest shall take some of the blood of the sin offering with his finger and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering and pour out the rest of the blood at the base of the altar. He shall remove all the fat, just as the fat is removed from the lamb of the fellowship offering, and the priest shall burn it on the altar on top of the offerings made to HaShem by fire. In this way the priest will make atonement for him for the sin he has committed, and he will be forgiven.

 

Vayikra (Leviticus) 5:14-19 HaShem said to Moses: “When a person commits a violation and sins unintentionally in regard to any of HaShem’s holy things, he is to bring to HaShem as a penalty a ram from the flock, one without defect and of the proper value in silver, according to the sanctuary shekel. It is a guilt offering. He must make restitution for what he has failed to do in regard to the holy things, add a fifth of the value to that and give it all to the priest, who will make atonement for him with the ram as a guilt offering, and he will be forgiven. “If a person sins and does what is forbidden in any of HaShem’s commands, even though he does not know it, he is guilty and will be held responsible. He is to bring to the priest as a guilt offering a ram from the flock, one without defect and of the proper value. In this way the priest will make atonement for him for the wrong he has committed unintentionally, and he will be forgiven. It is a guilt offering; he has been guilty of wrongdoing against HaShem.”

 

The Torah is clear: There is no sacrifice for intentional sin:

 

Bamidbar (Numbers) 15:29-31 One and the same law applies to everyone who sins unintentionally, whether he is a native-born Israelite or an alien. “‘But anyone who sins defiantly, whether native-born or alien, blasphemes HaShem, and that person must be cut off from his people. Because he has despised HaShem’s word and broken his commands, that person must surely be cut off; his guilt remains on him.’”

 

Even the offering on the Day of Atonement only atoned for unintentional sins:

 

Bereans (Hebrews) 9:2-9 A tabernacle was set up. In its first room were the lampstand, the table and the consecrated bread; this was called the Holy Place. Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place, Which had the golden altar of incense and the gold-covered ark of the covenant. This ark contained the gold jar of manna, Aaron’s staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant. Above the ark were the cherubim of the Glory, overshadowing the atonement cover. But we cannot discuss these things in detail now. When everything had been arranged like this, the priests entered regularly into the outer room to carry on their ministry. But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still standing. This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper.

 

So, if you sin intentionally you were NOT required to bring a sin sacrifice. If you sinned unintentionally, you MUST bring a sin sacrifice! What is going on? To understand why we have this situation, you must understand what a sin sacrifice did for the sinner. Sacrifice, comes from the Hebrewkorban”, which means “to draw close”. A sin sacrifice causes us to draw near to HaShem when we move away because we have not been careful to do as He asked. All sin, intentional or unintentional, requires repentance.

 

Berachoth 23a Nahmani also said in the name of R. Jonathan: What is the meaning of the verse, Guard thy foot when thou goest to the house of God?[4] Guard thyself so that thou shouldst not sin, and if thou dost sin, bring an offering before Me. And be ready to hearken.[5] Raba said. Be ready to hearken to the words of the wise who, if they sin, bring an offering and repent. It is better than when the fools give![6] Do not be like the fools who sin and bring an offering and do not repent. For they know not to do evil,[7] — if that is the case, they are righteous? — What it means is: Do not be like the fools who sin and bring an offering and do not know whether they bring it for a good action or a bad action. Says the Holy One, blessed be He: They do not distinguish between good and evil, and they bring an offering before Me. R. Ashi, — or, as some say, R. Hanina b. Papa — said: Guard thy orifices[8] at the time when thou art standing in prayer before Me.

 

For intentional sin, all we can do is repent and put ourselves at HaShem’s mercy:

 

I Melakim (Kings) 8:46-49 “When they sin against you--for there is no one who does not sin--and you become angry with them and give them over to the enemy, who takes them captive to his own land, far away or near; And if they have a change of heart in the land where they are held captive, and repent and plead with you in the land of their conquerors and say, ‘We have sinned, we have done wrong, we have acted wickedly’; And if they turn back to you with all their heart and soul in the land of their enemies who took them captive, and pray to you toward the land you gave their fathers, toward the city you have chosen and the temple I have built for your Name; Then from heaven, your dwelling place, hear their prayer and their plea, and uphold their cause.

 

Yeshayah (Isaiah) 59:20 “The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,” declares HaShem.

 

Luqas (Luke) 13:1-5 Now there were some present at that time who told Yeshua about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Yeshua answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them--do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”

 

The Talmud supports the Torah:

 

Berachoth 10a There were once some highwaymen[9] in the neighborhood of R. Meir who caused him a great deal of trouble. R. Meir accordingly prayed that they should die. His wife Beruria[10] said to him: How do you make out [that such a prayer should be permitted]? Because it is written Let hatta’im cease? Is it written hot’im?[11] It is written hatta’im![12] Further, look at the end of the verse: and let the wicked men be no more. Since the sins will cease, there will be no more wicked men! Rather pray for them that they should repent, and there will be no more wicked. He did pray for them, and they repented.

 

Shabbath 153a We learnt elsewhere, R. Eliezer said: Repent one day before your death.[13] His disciples asked him, Does then one know on what day he will die? Then all the more reason that he repent to-day, he replied, lest he die to-morrow, and thus his whole life is spent in repentance. And Solomon too said in his wisdom, Let thy garments be always white; and let not thy head lack ointment.[14] R. Johanan b. Zakkai said: This may be compared to a king who summoned his servants to a banquet without appointing a time. The wise ones adorned themselves and sat at the door of the palace. [‘for,’] said they. ‘is anything lacking in a royal palace?’[15] The fools went about their work, saying, ‘can there be a banquet without preparations’?[16] Suddenly the king desired [the presence of] his servants: the wise entered adorned, while the fools entered soiled. The king rejoiced at the wise but was angry with the fools. ‘Those who adorned themselves for the banquet,’ ordered he, ‘let them sit, eat and drink. But those who did not adorn themselves for the banquet, let them stand and watch.’ R. Meir’s son-in-law said in R. Meir’s name: Then they too would [merely] look as being in attendance.[17] But both sit, the former eating and the latter hungering, the former drinking and the latter thirsting, for it is said, Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, my servants shall eat, but ye shall be hungry: behold, my servants shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty: [behold, my servants shall rejoice, but ye shall be ashamed:] behold, my servants shall sing for joy of heart, but ye shall cry for sorrow of heart.[18] Another, interpretation: ‘Let thy garments be always white’ — this refers to fringes; ‘and let not thy head lack ointment’ — to tefillin.

 

Pesachim 54a Yet was the fire of the Gehenna created on the eve of the Sabbath? Surely it was taught: Seven things were created before the world was created, and these are they: The Torah, repentance, the Garden of Eden, Gehenna, the Throne of Glory, the Temple, and the name of the Mashiach. The Torah, for it is written, The Lord made me [sc. the Torah] as the beginning of his way.[19] Repentance, for it is written, Before the mountains were brought forth, and it is written, Thou turnest man to contrition, and sayest, Repent, ye children of men.[20] The Garden of Eden, as it is written, And the Lord planted a garden in Eden from aforetime.[21] The Gehenna, for it is written, For Tophet [i.e., Gehenna] is ordered of old.[22] The Throne of Glory and the Temple, for it is written, Thou throne of glory, on high from the beginning, Thou place of our sanctuary.[23] The name of the Mashiach, as it is written, His [sc. the Mashiach’s] name shall endure for ever, and has exited before the sun![24] — I will tell you: only its cavity was created before the world was created, but its fire [was created] on the eve of the Sabbath.

 

Yoma 85b MISHNAH. THE SIN-OFFERING AND THE GUILT-OFFERING [FOR THE] UNDOUBTED COMMISSION OF CERTAIN OFFENCES[25] PROCURE ATONEMENT, DEATH AND THE DAY OF ATONEMENT PROCURE ATONEMENT TOGETHER WITH PENITENCE.[26] PENITENCE PROCURES ATONEMENT FOR LIGHTER TRANSGRESSIONS: [THE TRANSGRESSION OF] POSITIVE COMMANDMENTS AND PROHIBITIONS. IN THE CASE OF SEVERER TRANSGRESSIONS IT [PENITENCE] SUSPENDS [THE DIVINE PUNISHMENT], UNTIL THE DAY OF ATONEMENT COMES TO PROCURE ATONEMENT. IF ONE SAYS: I SHALL SIN AND REPENT, SIN AND REPENT, NO OPPORTUNITY WILL BE GIVEN TO HIM TO REPENT.[27] [IF ONE SAYS]: I SHALL SIN AND THE DAY OF ATONEMENT WILL PROCURE ATONEMENT FOR ME, THE DAY OF ATONEMENT PROCURES FOR HIM NO ATONEMENT. FOR TRANSGRESSIONS AS BETWEEN MAN AND THE OMNIPRESENT THE DAY OF ATONEMENT PROCURES ATONEMENT, BUT FOR TRANSGRESSIONS AS BETWEEN MAN AND HIS FELLOW THE DAY OF ATONEMENT DOES NOT PROCURE ANY ATONEMENT, UNTIL HE HAS PACIFIED HIS FELLOW. THIS WAS EXPOUNDED BY R. ELEAZAR B. ALARIAH: FROM ALL YOUR SINS BEFORE THE LORD SHALL YE BE CLEAN,[28] I.E., FOR TRANSGRESSIONS AS BETWEEN MAN AND THE OMNIPRESENT THE DAY OF ATONEMENT PROCURES ATONEMENT, BUT FOR TRANSGRESSIONS AS BETWEEN MAN AND HIS FELLOW THE DAY OF ATONEMENT DOES NOT PROCURE ATONEMENT UNTIL HE HAS PACIFIED HIS FELLOW.[29] R. AKIBA SAID: HAPPY ARE YOU, ISRAEL! WHO IS IT BEFORE WHOM YOU BECOME CLEAN? AND WHO IS IT THAT MAKES YOU CLEAN? YOUR FATHER WHICH IS IN HEAVEN, AS IT IS SAID: AND I WILL SPRINKLE CLEAN WATER UPON YOU AND YE SHALL BE CLEAN.[30] AND IT FURTHER SAYS: THOU HOPE OF ISRAEL, THE LORD![31] JUST AS THE FOUNTAIN RENDERS CLEAN THE UNCLEAN, SO DOES THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE, RENDER CLEAN ISRAEL.

 

* * *


This study was written by

Rabbi Dr. Hillel ben David

(Greg Killian).

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[1] Succah 30a

[2] Bava Kamma 66b

[3] The midrash Pirkei D’Rabbi Eliezer (ch.21) relates: Kayin enjoyed working the ground and Hevel enjoyed shepherding sheep. This one gave the fruits of his labor to the other one to eat, and the other one gave the fruits of his labor to the first one to eat. When the night of Pesach arrived, Adam said to his sons, “On this night Israel is destined to offer Pesach offerings. You, too, should offer offerings before your Creator.” Kayin brought the leftovers of his meal--flax seed, while Hevel brought the best of his flocks--lambs which had never been shorn. Kayin’s gift was despised by HaShem and Kayin’s gift was found to be desirable, as is written (verse 4), “HaShem turned to Hevel and to his offering.”

[4] Eccl. IV, 17.

[5] Eccl. IV, 17.

[6]  Ibid.

[7] Ibid. This is the literal rendering; E.V. ‘for they know not that they do evil’.

[8] This is an alternative rendering of the word ragleka (thy foot) which is taken in the same sense as in I Sam. XXIV, 4.

[9] Baryone, a word of doubtful meaning.

[10] Valeria.

[11] Pres. part. of the verb hata, to sin. Hence meaning sinners.

[12] Which can be read oohtyj sins. M.T. vocalizes hotyuj (sinners).

[13] A similar thought is expressed in the Book of Ben Sira, V, 8.

[14] Eccl. IX, 8.

[15] The summons to enter may come at any moment.

[16] Lit., ‘trouble’.

[17] Their punishment would not be so great.

[18] Isa. LXV, 13f.

[19] Prov. VIII, 22.

[20] Ps. XC, 2f. ‘Before’ etc. applies to ‘repent’.

[21] Gen. II, 8.

[22]  Isa. XXX, 33.

[23] Jer. XVII, 12.

[24]  Ps. LXXII, 17. — Thus the Gehenna was created before the world. — The general idea of this Baraitha is that these things are indispensable pre-requisites for the orderly progress of mankind upon earth. The Torah, the supreme source of instruction; the concept of repentance, in recognition that ‘to err is human’, and hence, if man falls, the opportunity to rise again; the Garden of Eden and the Gehenna, symbolizing reward and punishment; the Throne of Glory and the Temple, indicating that the goal of Creation is that the Kingdom of God (represented by the Temple) shall be established on earth, as it is in heaven; and finally, the name of the Mashiach, i.e., the assurance that God’s purpose will ultimately be achieved.

[25] Cf. Lev. V, 15 and VI, 6, as opposed to the suspensive guilt-offering, due in the case of doubtful commission of sin, which postpones punishment until that doubt is removed, when a sin-offering is due to procure atonement. Among the guilt-offerings due for undoubted commission of certain offences are: one for illegal appropriation of private property, after reparation has been made; one for misappropriation of sacred property; one for carnal connection with a bondwoman betrothed to another man; the offering of a nazirite who had interrupted the days of his avowed naziriteship by levitical impurity.

[26] Penitence is essential; it consists of genuine regret, and determination to improve one’s conduct. In the case of any offering (sin or guilt) such penitence is taken for granted, for without it no sacrifice has any meaning or value.

[27] Because this statement indicates that he never experienced genuine regret.

[28] Lev. XVI, 30.

[29] The verse is thus taken to mean ‘From all your sins before the Lord’, (i.e. , as between man and his Creator) will the Day the Atonement procure you forgiveness; but not for those which are committed not ‘before the Lord’, and ‘before man’, viz., sins committed against our fellow-man.

[30] Ezek. XXXVI, 25.

[31] Jer. XVII, 13. The word ‘mikveh’ is a homonym meaning both ‘fountain’ thus ritual bath, and ‘hope’.