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Repentance

Does an Intentional Sinner Attain Atonement?

Leviticus 16 describes how the scapegoat ritual on Yom Kippur attains atonement for all of Israel’s sins, even acts of rebellion. Numbers 15, however, states that a person who sins unintentionally can bring an offering and be forgiven, but the person who sins intentionally is cut off from the people.

Prof. Rabbi

David Frankel

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The Book of Jonah: God’s Didactic Lesson on Repentance

The book begins with Jonah running away and ends with YHWH rebuking the prophet, but the book is unclear as to whether Jonah ever repents. Why?

Prof.

Yitzhak (Itzik) Peleg

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Why Does “Our” God Send Jonah to Save the Assyrians in Nineveh?

The Book of Jonah is unique in describing an Israelite prophet sent to an Assyrian city to rebuke them for their sins and persuade them to repent. Were the Assyrians merely bit players in the divine plan for Israel, or does God really care about the sins of non-Israelites? Radak, Abravanel, and ibn Ezra have very different theological approaches to this question.

Rabbi

Steven Bob

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Confessing Sins You Didn’t Commit

The few examples of confessions in the Bible use only generic language about sin. In contrast, the post-biblical Yom Kippur liturgical confessions, written as long alphabetical lists, include detailed admissions about specific sins, many of which the petitioner likely never committed. This kind of confession goes back to the second millennium B.C.E. ancient Near Eastern texts for people suffering from illness.

Dr.

Yitzhaq Feder

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Reading Lamentations with Inner-Biblical Exegesis

By identifying biblical intertexts and parallel phrases, we can better understand the flow, the imagery, and even the core message of Eichah, Lamentations.

Prof. Rabbi

Reuven Kimelman

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Rahab the Faithful Harlot

Rahab is a Canaanite prostitute who becomes faithful to the God of Israel, hiding two Israelite spies when the king of Jericho sends men to capture them. The rabbis imagine her as a superhumanly seductive woman who knows the secrets of all the men in Jericho, as well as the ultimate example of repentance. The biblical story, however, suggests a more complex character, who worked within the power structures around her.

Dr.

Amy Cooper Robertson

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How Much Forgiveness Can We Expect From God?

Prof.

Marc Zvi Brettler

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Recasting the Temple Purification Ritual as the Yom Kippur Service

Leviticus 16 – ויקרא טז

Prof. Rabbi

David Frankel

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Why Does God Really Spare Nineveh?

The Book of Jonah depicts the animals being dressed in sackcloth and mourning along with the people. Are the Ninevites fools or repentants?

Prof. Rabbi

David Frankel

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Teshuva and “Returning to the LORD” - Are They One and the Same?

Dr.

David Lambert

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Yom Kippur and the Nature of Fasting

Jewish tradition places a strong emphasis on the importance of repentance on Yom Kippur. It finds its way into Yom Kippur through a post biblical association between fasting and repentance. But what does fasting signify in the Bible and what did it mean originally in the context of Leviticus 16?

Dr.

David Lambert

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Is Israel’s Repentance a Foregone Conclusion?

Deuteronomy 28 imagines the possibility of Israel disappearing, and eventually assimilating into the nations where it is exiled. Deuteronomy 30:1-10, however, predicts Israel’s future repentance and consequent restoration.

Prof.

Marc Zvi Brettler

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