This understanding is in dramatic contrast to Christianity’s doctrine of original sin. From a Christian point of view, man, by definition, is a sinner. He is damned from birth, born into purgatory, and can only be saved in the life to come. This teaching dooms mankind from the start and lays the foundation for the moral decadence and corruption rampant throughout the Christian world. Just as a gloom and darkness fills Christianity’s famous cathedrals and Notre Dames, the doctrine of original sin has hung a suffocating cloud of guilt and repression over human existence.
In contrast, Judaism teaches that original sin is not original. T’shuva came first. Before sin appeared in the world, a remedy had already been prepared. This means that a man is born, not into a prison of sin, but into a condition of t’shuva, into a world of hope, of improvement, and progress. Man is not doomed to despair. Should he fall, t’shuva is there to raise him and to restore his connection to God.
This is one of the lights that Israel will bring to the nations. The light of t’shuva. The example of Israel will offer hope for the world, salvation from Christian doctrines of purgatory, and a truly, purifying, living connection to God here on earth.
We have learned in this series of blogs that the t’shuva of the Jewish People is certain. Furthermore, it is the t’shuva ofIsraelwhich will lead the world to universal perfection. But how will this great t’shuva come about? What causes the scattered, exiled Jewish Nation to return to the glorious days of our past? Rabbi Kook cites two interrelated paths: first, the Nation’s return to the Land of Israel, and secondly, our mass return to Torah.
With God’s help, we will expand on these two paths and continue our exploration of t’shuva in the remaining two days before Yom Kippur.Tzvi Fishman
About the Author: Tzvi Fishman was awarded the Israel Ministry of Education Prize for Creativity and Jewish Culture for his novel "Tevye in the Promised Land." A wide selection of his books are available at Amazon. His recent movie "Stories of Rebbe Nachman" will be available soon as a DVD.The author's opinion does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Jewish Press.
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