Orthodox Judaism/sacrifices

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Question
I was told that the sacrifices in the Temple weren't good
enough because sacrifices made by sheep and goats didn't
atone for sins and that it took the sacrifice of Jesus
to do that.

Were the Temple sacrifices about atoning for sins, or
were they about something else?

I would appreciate it if you would respond to the
comment that was made.

Thank you very much.

Answer
Hi Jennifer,

The sacrifices of animals in the Temple were brought for a number of reasons, among those was the reason of unintentional sin. The Torah spells it out:
If a person sins unintentionally, then he shall offer a one-year-old female goat for a sin offering. The priest shall make atonement before the Lord for the person who goes astray when he sins unintentionally, making atonement for him that he may be forgiven …The person who does anything defiantly, whether he is native or an alien, that one is blaspheming the Lord; and that person shall be cut off from among his people, because he has despised the word of the Lord and has broken His commandment, that person shall be completely cut off; his guilt shall be on him. (Numbers 15:27 - 31).

Thus,the sin sacrifice was inadequate to atone for a transgression committed intentionally. The brazen sinner was barred from the sanctuary, and had to bear his own iniquity because of his rebellion against God.

There were other sacrifices in the Temple, a majority of sacrifices frankly were made for other reasons than atonement. Certain sacrifices were brought purely for the purpose of communing with G-d and becoming closer to Him. Others are brought for the purpose of expressing thanks to G-d, love or gratitude. Others were used to cleanse a person of ritual impurity (which does not necessarily have anything to do with sin).

I understand the underlying reason for your question, so let me just address it. Jesus could not die for anyone’s sins, whether they were committed intentionally or accidentally. The Jewish people were strictly prohibited from offering human sacrifices under any circumstances. There is not one place throughout the entire Jewish Scriptures where human sacrifices are condoned. In fact, over and over again, the Bible warns the Jewish people that it is a grave sin to bring a human being as a sacrifice.

Furthermore, the prophet Ezekiel warned the Jewish nation that a righteous man could not atone for the sins of the wicked. Wouldn’t we consider a father cruel if he punished an obedient child for the misdeeds of another? Only an unjust society would pardon its criminals while imprisoning the innocent. The prophet therefore warns that no innocent person can die for the sins of the wicked!

"The soul that sins, it shall die! The son shall not bear for the sin of the father, nor the father bear for the sin of the son. The righteousness of the righteous person shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked person shall be upon him. 21As for the wicked man, if he should turn away from all his sins which he did, and safeguard all My decrees, and do justice and righteousness; he shall surely live. He will not die. 22All his transgressions which he committed will not be remembered against him. For the righteousness which he did, he shall live. 23Do I desire at all the death of the wicked man — the words of my Lord, God — is it not rather his return from his ways, that he might live?" (Ezekiel 18:20-23)

I credit Rabbi Tovia Singer for the above write-up.

Hopefully this helps. Please let me know if I can address more in detail.

Eli

Orthodox Judaism

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Eli Hadar

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If you are a Jewish person who has been approached by missionaries and who is considering leaving the Jewish faith, please let me know and I will help you see how beautiful and moreover how right the Jewish religion is. Don't leave the truth of your fathers before you resolve the facts for yourself, and I can help you on that journey.

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I have been involved in counter-missionary activity for several years, counseling many Jews who have left or have considered leaving Judaism having been attracted by other religions. I have been able to show the truth to these people through the correct reading of the texts (vs. deliberately wrong translations used by missionaries), through showing how missionaries manipulate the Jewish scriptures to achieve their goals, and through helping you rediscover the beauty and truth of authentic Judaism.

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Chabad synagogue in Atlanta

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Largely self-taught, I still am and will be learning for a long, long time. I have educated myself through a wealth of resources, including Nachmanides' Disputation, Hyam Maccoby's writings on Christianity and Judaism, as well as such vast resources as Outreach Judaism, Torah Atlanta, and a great number of others.

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