Magic Jewball

all signs point to no


Jew & A – Repentance

Filed under : Jew & A,Judaism
On August 8, 2008
At 5:30 pm
Comments : 7

And now, a Canadian Cuestion. I deduced this because of the SpelLing.

Dear Becca

Am I dreaming in techicoloUr, or is it true that in order to be forgiven, according to Judaism, you must actually apologize to the wronged person? I think this is so much cooler than the Catholic version where you can be forgiven your sins via the middleman (priest).


OK, it could be British, but I just sold some US Open tickets to the Deases and I had to send them to Canada, not the UK. I’m such a detective!


This is a good question and not just because all questions are good questions. No, it’s because it allows me to tell you about the two kinds of commandments in Judaism.

1. Between a person and God.
2. Between a person and another person.

So, for example, the rules about lighting candles before the Sabbath starts or eating Kosher food fall under #1 and the rules about not lying or stealing would be #2. Lots of really religious people like to think #1 is more important but Rabbi Hillel (a famous Rabbi in the Talmud… maybe the most influential and wise) was once asked if he could summarize the entire Torah in brief and he answered, “Treat others as you would want to be treated. The rest is just commentary.” And so, we know that #2 is the most important.

What happens if you break the rules? Just as in Catholicism, you need to repent. If you transgress against the first category of commandments, you need to ask forgiveness from God. This is done during daily services and on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. If you have broken a rule from category #2, you also need to ask forgiveness from the one against whom you’ve sinned, only this time, it’s a human. Otherwise, what does it really mean?

But what if that person says suck it? Can you repent anyway? Well, you need to ask three times and if it’s still no and you are truly sorry then it’s considered enough. I like to say no the first two times just to make people sweat. Kidding, kidding.

Either way, no, there is no middleman, just people and people and God. And so if Mr. Deas ends up getting bad matches, I may have to try this out on you.

Thanks for asking!

Depeche Mode – The Sinner In Me