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Original Sin

According to Judaic Teachings


 


"The term original sin is unknown to the Jewish scriptures.... The doctrine of original sin is profoundly hostile to the central teachings of the Jewish scriptures. Over and over again the Torah loudly dismisses the notion that man has lost his divinely endowed capacity to freely choose good over evil, life over death. This is not a hidden or ambiguous message in the Jewish scriptures. On the contrary, it is proclaimed in virtually every teaching that Moses directs to the children of Israel.

In fact, in an extraordinary sermon delivered by Moses in the last days of his life, the prophet stands before the entire nation and condemns the notion that man's condition is utterly hopeless. Throughout this uplifting exhortation, Moses declares that it is man alone who can and must merit his own salvation. Moreover, as he unhesitatingly speaks in the name of God, the lawgiver thoroughly rejects the notion that obedience to the Almighty is "too difficult or far off" and declares to the children of Israel that righteousness has been placed within their reach.
Deuteronomy 30:10-14 states:

"If you will hearken to the voice of the Lord your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this book of the law; if you turn unto the Lord thy God with all your heart and with all your soul. For this commandment which I command you this day is not too hard for you neither is it too far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say: 'Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it to us, and make us hear it, that we may do it?' Neither is it beyond the sea that you should say: 'Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, and make us to hear it that we may do it?' But the word is very near to you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it."

The Jewish people have drawn great comfort and encouragement from this uplifting promise.  .......Torah unambiguously declared that man possessed an extraordinary ability to remain faithful to God?

In fact, the Jewish scriptures repeatedly praised numerous men of God for their unwavering righteousness. For example, the Bible declared that men like Caleb, King Hosiah... . Job was a man who was severely tested by Satan and endured unimaginable personal tragedies, yet despite these afflictions, Job remains the model of the righteous servant of God. It is an insult to the Creator to label all of God's human creations depraved.
Soon after the rejection of Cain over Abel on the sacrifice God told Cain:

"If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you shall master over it." (Genesis 4:6-7)

Torah places these assuring words immediately following the sin in the Garden of Eden:

"I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess." (Deuteronomy 30:16)

Abraham, the father of the Jewish nation, remained intensely loyal to God's commandments, and as a result, the Torah regards our first patriarch as the paradigm of faithfulness.

"And I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed; because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws." (Genesis 26:4-5)

The Almighty did not give us desires that we cannot govern or commandments that we could not keep. The Torah was not delivered to angels, it was given to the children of Israel long after our first ancestors transgressed in the Garden of Eden.
All through the Torah righteousness is treated as an ever present reality which is easily attainable to every human being. It is defined and explained clearly in the Prophecy of

Ezekiel 18:5 "Suppose there is a righteous man who does what is just and right. 6 He does not eat at the mountain shrines or look to the idols of the house of Israel. He does not defile his neighbor's wife or lie with a woman during her period. 7 He does not oppress anyone, but returns what he took in pledge for a loan. He does not commit robbery but gives his food to the hungry and provides clothing for the naked. 8 He does not lend at usury or take excessive interest. He withholds his hand from doing wrong and judges fairly between man and man. 9 He follows my decrees and faithfully keeps my laws. That man is righteous; he will surely live, declares the Sovereign LORD. 10 "Suppose he has a violent son, who sheds blood or does any of these other things 11 (though the father has done none of them): "He eats at the mountain shrines. He defiles his neighbor's wife. 12 He oppresses the poor and needy. He commits robbery. He does not return what he took in pledge. He looks to the idols. He does detestable things. 13 He lends at usury and takes excessive interest. Will such a man live? He will not! Because he has done all these detestable things, he will surely be put to death and his blood will be on his own head. 14 "But suppose this son has a son who sees all the sins his father commits, and though he sees them, he does not do such things: 15 "He does not eat at the mountain shrines or look to the idols of the house of Israel. He does not defile his neighbor's wife. 16 He does not oppress anyone or require a pledge for a loan. He does not commit robbery but gives his food to the hungry and provides clothing for the naked. 17 He withholds his hand from sin and takes no usury or excessive interest. He keeps my laws and follows my decrees. He will not die for his father's sin; he will surely live. 18 But his father will die for his own sin, because he practiced extortion, robbed his brother and did what was wrong among his people. 19 "Yet you ask, 'Why does the son not share the guilt of his father?' Since the son has done what is just and right and has been careful to keep all my decrees, he will surely live. 20 The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him. 21 "But if a wicked man turns away from all the sins he has committed and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, he will surely live; he will not die. 22 None of the offenses he has committed will be remembered against him. Because of the righteous things he has done, he will live. 23 Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live? 24 "But if a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits sin and does the same detestable things the wicked man does, will he live? None of the righteous things he has done will be remembered. Because of the unfaithfulness he is guilty of and because of the sins he has committed, he will die. 25 "Yet you say, 'The way of the Lord is not just.' Hear, O house of Israel: Is my way unjust? Is it not your ways that are unjust? 26 If a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits sin, he will die for it; because of the sin he has committed he will die. 27 But if a wicked man turns away from the wickedness he has committed and does what is just and right, he will save his life. 28 Because he considers all the offenses he has committed and turns away from them, he will surely live; he will not die. 29 Yet the house of Israel says, 'The way of the Lord is not just.' Are my ways unjust, O house of Israel? Is it not your ways that are unjust? 30 "Therefore, O house of Israel, I will judge you, each one according to his ways, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall.

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In Jewish terms, No man will be held responsible for another man's sin.
If a man sins he should pay for it in kind. The elaborate sacrifice system that cuts deep into the person's ability were imposed so that theyh represented the kind of repentance God expected. Yet if a man is poor he could still pay for it. Thus sin brings with it a penalty which ultimately will be death. But no man is born with sin. Man is born into a sinful society. Yet he may remain righteous. But he may acquire and follow the ways of the wicked. The choice is entirly on the person.