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2. The Key to Change

March 26, 2014 | by Rochelle Lev and Rabbi Benjamin Blech

Debunking the concept of vicarious atonement.


Required ReadingUnderstanding Judaism – Introduction p. xvii - xxii

Required Reading Exodus 32:31-33 (p. 501 ArtScroll Chumash, Stone Edition)

Moses returned to God and said: "I implore! This people has committed a grievous sin and made themselves a god of gold. And now, if You would but forgive their sin! But if not, erase me now from this book that You have written."

God said to Moses: "Whoever has sinned against Me, I shall erase from My book."



(1) In Christianity, how does one achieve forgiveness and atonement for sins?

(2) What is "vicarious atonement"?

(3) In Judaism, how does a person achieve atonement for their sins?

(4) In Judaism, is it possible for someone to take responsibility for another's sins?

(5) How do we understand the story of the 10 Martyrs who were punished for the sin of the sale of Joseph centuries before?

(6) What does the story of the Akeidah (Binding of Isaac) add to the issue of Vicarious Atonement?

(7) What are 'Yissurim shel ahava'?

(8) How are 'Yissurim shel ahava' different from Vicarious Atonement, and why are they allowed?

See Answers

Deed and Creed
Article #2 of 18

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