Study the Torah with Academic Scholarship

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Vidui (Confession)

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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Asham of False Oaths: Why Does the Offender Confess?

Drawing on biblical and ancient Near Eastern evidence about the consequences of swearing falsely, I suggest a new understanding of the asham case (Lev 5:20-26) involving property violation and a subsequent false oath.

Dr.

Yael Landman

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A Cognitive Confession (Vidui) for Yom Kippur

Seeking truth and thinking critically are spiritual endeavors that, like mitzvot and other deeds, require reflection and self-correction.

David Bar-Cohn

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