Vicarious Atonement: Origins and Correct Understanding

Apr 21, 2015 | Christian-Judaic Connections |

Audio Playlist for this discussion: Vicarious Atonement.

Introduction

In this article you will discover something that Judaic counter missionaries do not want believers of Yeshua (incorrectly called “Jesus”) to know.  It is also something contemporary Christian and Christianized Messianic leaders do not wish for such people to know since it corrects the seriously flawed understanding of atonement put forth by those leaders – a defective understanding that totally removes any and all responsibility for the “believer”.  In fact, it may be more unpleasant for them than it is for the Judaic counter missionaries.

Definition: Counter-Missionaries, or Anti-Misssionaries, are people who argue against Christianity. They may be atheists, agnostics, or any number of groups that do not accept Christianity.

Definition: Judaic Counter-Missionaries represent a subset of counter-missionary groups or individuals that argue against Christianity – and by extension the New Testament – from a position that allegedly represents Judaism.

The issue that will be discussed is a firmly entrenched teaching within Judaism’s Oral Torah that you rarely hear them discussing openly, despite the fact it can be found in Judaic literature. Exposure of it severely weakens a major strategy of the counter-missionary approach; thus, they purposely conceal its existence. However, the recent proliferation in translations of a wealth of Torah teachings into the more common language of English has made discovery of such things much easier, which is undoubtedly quite upsetting to Judaic based counter-missionaries since now people need not be ignorant of what they deceitfully conceal.

After reading this discussion you will have an enormous advantage when and if you come across someone with a Judaic mindset who scoffs at the atoning work of Messiah (Christ). Basically, you will be able to use their own material to disprove their argument; thus, an argument that is often difficult for believers in Messiah (Christ) to win will now become an easy victory.

Note: I would like to make it clear that this website does not represent a contemporary Christian organization which combats Judaic counter-missionaries. In fact, many Christians actually assume that we are anti-missionary – an assumption that is incorrect. Our primary purpose is to strive to help repair Christianity by reuniting Christians with the Torah and, thus, to return Christianity to its original form. We in no way wish to “convert” Jews into Christians.

However, a secondary purpose of this site is to make the case that the Jewish Community should be more welcoming to those of us who believe in the One True G-d in which they believe, who study and attempt to follow to the best of our ability the Torah we also love, but who also believe Yeshua (Jesus) to be the completed Tzaddik, Messiah ben-Yosef, and the future Messiah ben-David – but definitely not G-d.

Within this discussion I present a brief introduction to “Oral Torah” and why it is definitely a legitimate form of Biblical teaching. A much more in-depth discussion can be found here. I introduce it for the simple reason that it is from Oral Torah that the material used to prove the legitimacy of the atoning work of Messiah is most directly seen and proven. I very strongly advise reading the aforementioned, more dedicated discussion for a better grasp of the concept and legitimacy of “Oral Torah”.

Judaic Disagreement with Vicarious Atonement

One of the more often expressed disagreements from Judaic-based counter missionaries is with regard to the concept of atonement through Messiah. In fact, it may possibly be the foremost disagreement of all, and they will almost always use it in their arguments against those of us who accept and revere the atonement through Yeshua the Messiah as taught in the New Testament. They attack the concept by claiming that there is nothing within the Torah that indicates a man can atone for the sins of another. They are either uninformed of Torah themselves or lying.

To the unschooled in Torah, particularly those who rely exclusively on the New Testament, the arguments of counter-missionaries are actually impossible to clearly and directly refute. The “unschooled” are generally contemporary Christians who reject Torah and never study it beyond, perhaps, a cursory glance. Any Christian that brings standard Christian dogma into any such debate with a counter-missionary will lose. At best opinions will remain unchanged, and rare is the case that a Christian can sincerely win a debate with a well-schooled Judaic counter-missionary. Generally they end up looking like fools as they scramble and strive to prove their positions using what is actually a flawed understanding of Scripture due to their ignorance of Torah. They cannot refute with certainty most arguments from counter-missionaries, which is why truly sincere Christians are increasingly becoming ex-Christians and either sliding into anti-Paulism, Judaism, or into total abandonment of faith in the Bible.


But, thanks be to G-d (blessed be He!) some are correctly aligning with the actual Torah, embracing truth, which does not require their rejection of New Testament teaching. May The Most High show favor to those of us who struggle against powerful spiritual forces of deceit and awaken more and more to the glorious truth so long corrupted by Christianity.

I realize many Christians naively claim that they can adequately refute counter-missionaries as they point to various alleged Messianic passages in the Tanakh for their proof. While a few Tanakh passages, such as the Isaiah 53 verses, may (and do) suggest atonement through suffering, they do not irrefutably state it. All of those passages have other potential interpretations, though bias often blinds Christians to realizing it.

Rashi

I must deviate slightly from the discussion to point out that the normal interpretation from Judaic sources is not entirely forthcoming for passages such as Isaiah 53. They fail to mention that much of modern day Judaism’s ideology originates from the opinions of Rashi.

Shlomo Yitzchaki (Hebrew: רבי שלמה יצחקי‎; 22 February 1040 – 13 July 1105), in Latin Salomon Isaacides, and today generally known by the acronym Rashi (Hebrew: רש”י‎, RAbbi SHlomo Itzhaki), was a medieval French rabbi and author of comprehensive commentary on the Talmud and the Tanakh (what Christianity irreverently calls the “Old” Testament).
Rashi

16th-Century Depiction of Rashi

He is largely considered the “father” of all commentary that followed the Talmud.  Proof of this is found in, for instance, the Preface of The Stone Edition Chumash published by Mesorah Publications, Ltd., which is pictured as the primary graphic for this discussion at the top of the page.  Within that Preface is the following quote:

“The new translation in this volume attempts to render the text as our Sages understood it.  Where there are differing interpretations, we follow Rashi, the ‘Father of Commentators,’ because the study of the Chumash has been synonymous with Chumash-Rashi for nine centuries.  As Ramban (Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman – Nachmonides) says in his introduction, ‘to him [Rashi] belongs the right of the firstborn.’  …”

As you can see, modern day Judaism depends heavily upon Rashi’s opinions.  However, as is implied in the above quote, Rashi’s opinions differ with other esteemed rabbis of history – a fact that Judaic counter-missionaries often fail to fully divulge when stating Judaism’s current Rashi-based opinion regarding passages of Scripture. Throughout Judaism’s history other rabbis,  unlike Rashi, have firmly held to the belief that Isaiah 53 refers to Messiah and/or to a suffering servant “tzaddik” (righteous one).

One of the more deceitful tactics used by Judaic based counter missionaries is their concealment of significant historic backing from within their own teachings which actually supports a legitimate Torah-based interpretation of the New Testament.  But please do not confuse such correct New Testament interpretation with the severely flawed contemporary Christian interpretation which seriously corrupts the true teachings of those first century Messianic writings.

I do not wish to demean Rashi. I respect and honor his many contributions to the understanding of The Eternal’s Torah, and I dare not equate myself to even a crushed bug on the bottom of his shoes with respect to my Torah knowledge or piety. I will even be using Rashi’s commentary within this article. Nevertheless, I would be remiss were I not to point out that, based upon my studies, Judaism favors Rashi because he is among the foremost of all anti-Christian rabbis in the sense that his opinions sometimes differ more strongly with the messianic interpretations of various Tanakh passages than do those of other less publicized rabbis.

Isaiah 53 is a perfect example. Basically, if Judaic counter-missionaries want to argue against Yeshua’s work and the New Testament, Rashi is often their “go-to-guy” since his tendency is to interpret many possible messianic passages as being non-messianic, despite the fact other rabbis of antiquity saw them as being very much messianic. His commentary somewhat overturns or reverses the messianic interpretations found elsewhere in Judaic literature.

It is therefore no coincidence that most modern translations of the Jewish Bible (Tanakh) follow the lead of Rashi in their interpretations of various Hebrew passages. To its credit, Judaism does not completely hide this fact. They are open about their reliance upon Rashi. If you read the preface or introductions of various Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) publications, such as the Artscroll series Stone Edition Tanach also published by Mesorah Publications, Ltd., you will see that it, like the The Stone Edition Chumash we quoted earlier, follows the understanding of Rashi. I wish it were so that Christianity was as open about the actual sources for its doctrines – sources that originate from fourth century Rome and later.

Yet, as you will see, even Rashi’s commentary, which will be shown from within the Stone Edition Chumash, supports the atoning work of Messiah.

The Best Defense

The key to defending against a Judaic counter-missionary is to meet them on their turf, not on Christianity’s. One must be willing to engage from within Judaism’s own teachings, utilizing the vast wealth of material available for study. Basically, one must use the Torah as taught by Judaism to prove the New Testament to be true. (And if that were not possible, I would flee from the New Testament today!) But since Christianity is firmly and irrevocably anti-Torah, it is poorly armed for such a struggle. The winning strategy is to carry the battle out of the territory of Christian defects and distortions and into the territory of Torah truth.

If it were not possible to utilize the Torah to prove the truth and efficacy of the New Testament, I would flee from the New Testament today.

Basically, Christians lose debates with Judaic-based counter-missionaries (whether they admit it or not) because of their gross ignorance and rejection of Torah. If they would rightly, and finally, embrace Torah, they would find themselves not simply winning such debates, but actually establishing much more common ground with Judaism and, therefore, growing closer in fellowship and appreciation of the immense treasure of understanding within Judaism.

Anti-Judaic Counter-Missionaries

There are some Christians and also Muslims who do use the entirety of Torah (written and “Oral”) for study, but they use it incorrectly, ignorantly, and specifically for the purpose of slandering Judaic thought. With such an agenda they base their search on their bias. They find ridiculous and sometimes offensive material within the Talmud, or other Judaic sources, and use these minority viewpoints as weapons against Judaism.

The Talmud (/ˈtɑːlmʊd, -məd, ˈtæl-/; Hebrew: תַּלְמוּד talmūd “instruction, learning”, from a root lmd “teach, study”) is a central text of Rabbinic Judaism. It is also traditionally referred to as Shas (ש״ס), a Hebrew abbreviation of shisha sedarim, the “six orders”. The term “Talmud” normally refers to the Babylonian Talmud, though there is also an earlier collection known as the Jerusalem Talmud.

However, there is a major flaw to such a strategy: it does nothing to prove Christianity to be true. But that isn’t their objective. All it does is expose some Judaic error or, more commonly, expose the inability of such people to understand how Oral Torah is to be studied, what it is really teaching, and the wide variation of opinion it presents. That strategy contributes nothing to proving the New Testament teachings to be legitimate. Those who use such a tactic seek only to hurt Jews and Judaism. Their motives are evil, purely to cause damage, and of the worst sort of lashon hara (evil talk). Their sole intent is to foster antisemitism and hatred.

Pandora’s Box

When the facts presented herein are brought into a discussion with a Judaic-based counter-missionary it opens what to them is a “Pandora’s box” that they wish could be closed. They have no rebuttal, since to do so would require them to declare Judaism’s teachings to be incorrect. They would literally have to reject a major teaching within the Oral Torah. So, they usually want to change the subject or suggest that the understanding of the material this article presents is erroneous. However, as you will see, Judaism’s own teachings make it extremely direct and clear. It is quite simple. There is no misunderstanding, and to prove it I will be quoting directly from respected Judaic sources.

Before going further please read our disclaimer relating to Oral Torah that can be found within the article in which I prove the legitimacy and necessity of Oral Torah. It is found immediately preceding the “Premise 1” section of that discussion. Please refrain from assuming the extent to which we embrace Oral Torah until you read the disclaimer.

Oral Torah

The subject of atonement is one of many examples of issues for which enormous value can be found within Judaic literature. It is evidence of the urgent need for believers in Messiah to repent of their desecration of The Eternal Creator through their rejection of His eternal teachings (Torah). It exemplifies the need for Christians to lay aside forever their extreme bias against anything “Judaic” and to embrace Torah, since only by doing so will advancement of the coming Kingdom of God, Yeshua (Jesus) the King-Messiah, and the true teachings of the New Testament succeed. Until then all that will be advanced is continued contemporary Christian error and desecration of The Eternal through outright rejection of His teachings.

This is particularly true of the “Oral Torah” of Judaism, which Christians spurn and consider “traditions of men”. They take specific negative references in the New Testament to “traditions of men” and then wrongly expand them to assume those negative comments apply to anything and everything within Judaism’s Oral Torah. They do not. And to claim that they do is to misread and misapply those few New Testament verses.

The fact is, contemporary Christianity, anti-Paulists, and others do not actually reject “Oral Torah”, they simply reject those verbal teachings (Oral Torah) that conflict with their own.

This is proven in the article mentioned earlier in which I establish the legitimacy of the concept of ***Oral Torah***. I will not at this time elaborate, but will reserve such explanation to that discussion. Now let us pursue the hidden Judaic proof of atonement through Yeshua.

I will be quoting from two books which are highly revered with Judaism. There is actually more proof to be found; however, what I provide should be enough to prove the point of this discussion. But first, I must explain a fundamental concept which, although there are hints found within the written Torah, is most clearly seen within the Oral Torah.

The Power of a Tzaddik’s Merit:

The Hebrew term “tzaddik” (tzah-deek) is roughly translated as a “righteous person”; however, “righteous” doesn’t really capture the depth of meaning. It is used to refer to those who stand before G-d as being much holier than their contemporaries. The meaning of the word actually goes far beyond the somewhat overused term “righteous”. The tzaddik is a person who possesses an elevated soul – a soul of superior purity that is only slightly tainted by the stain of sin or not tainted at all. Throughout history there have been very few true tzaddikim (tzah-deh-keem), which is the plural term for tzaddik.

There are many levels of a tzaddik, and those levels are determined by the degree of holiness and righteousness they demonstrate. Their holiness is a measure of the extent to which they have overcome the yetzer hara (evil inclination) within them and which all humans possess. This evil inclination is the “self”, or ego, within us. As a tzaddik achieves righteousness he or she grows closer to God by aligning their will with God’s while, at the same time, “dying to self”.

A tzaddik transforms himself or herself from being selfish to being selfless. As this transformation occurs, the power of temptation and the resulting sin that may occur by succumbing to it is reduced. This is because sin – at the most basic level – is the elevation and satisfaction of the desires of “self”. As “self” is extinguished, so too is the power of temptation. A tzaddik is someone who demonstrates very high levels of self-control and purity from sin.

The greatest of all tzaddikim is the “completed tzaddik”. Such a person is a perfected human who has completely overcome the power of temptation. This makes them truly perfect – sinless – and therefore “one” with God. I will touch upon this later.

Numbers 13:20

I first will briefly illustrate the fundamental concept of the power of a tzaddik using The Stone Edition Chumash, published by Mesorah Publications, Ltd. I will do so by showing comments within that publication in which a tzaddik (righteous person) is mentioned. Whether you agree or disagree with the commentary I will present from the Chumash is irrelevant. The point I wish to prove is that Judaism very directly teaches how people are benefited, and even atoned for, through the devotion and holiness of a single individual.

Chumash - Numbers 13:20

Note the first picture. This comes from page 801 of The Stone Edition Chumash. The comment is with respect to passages from Torah which describe certain men being sent into the land of Israel to spy it out prior to the Israelites going in to possess it. This particular comment is referring to Numbers 13:20.

The comment speaks for itself. Take note of how the renowned Judaic rabbi, Rashi, explains that the deeper meaning of the question, “Are there trees in it?”, is that Moses was asking whether or not the land possessed a tzaddik which, if it did, may cause the people of the land to be protected from the Israelites. The merit of such a tzaddik would be the reason for that protection; therefore, obviously the power of the tzaddik would have extended to encompass and benefit other inhabitants of the land that the Israelites were entering. Also note that this tzaddik would not have been an Israelite, which clearly implies that there are righteous people (tzaddikim) among the gentiles.

Numbers 20:1-2

Now let’s look at the next example, which is taken from page 843 of the Chumash. It is a portion of the commentary from Numbers 20:1-2.

Chumash - Numbers 20:1-2

Please note the words highlighted in blue where the commentary directly and unambiguously states that the death of a righteous person atones for the nation! My friend, it cannot be more clearly stated.

So here, within one of Judaism’s primary English language Torah commentaries is a comment from a rabbi (Rashi), who is among the most exalted Torah Sages of Judaic history, in which it is plainly and undeniably stated that atonement for others can be achieved through the death of righteous people. There is no way to misunderstand the statement, and there is likewise no way a Judaic based counter-missionary can deny it.

Chumash - Numbers 20:2 - 2

As a final example from that commentary, please notice the continuation of the comments for verse two. It actually continued onto the following column of comments, which is why the picture seems to show a discontinuity.

The comment states that Miriam’s  (Moses’ & Aaron’s sister) merit as a righteous person (tzaddik) was such that when the Israelites failed to properly mourn her death, the water stopped flowing. Once again we see an example of the power of a tzaddik’s merit.

Summary thus Far:

The merit of a tzaddik can assist others. More accurately stated, a tzaddik can extend his or her merit to other individuals. It is a form of merit sharing whereby the tzaddik’s merit and, by extension the righteousness, is shared with others.

By virtue of the power of a tzaddik to transfer or share merit, it is possible for a tzaddik to bring about protection for others or atonement for their sins.

However, it must be understood that “atonement” is not to be defined in the way common to Christianity. A primary error of Christianity is the defective definition it applies to atonement. That will be explained further as you continue reading this discussion.

The Correct Concept of Atonement through a Tzaddik

Now I will quote from the primary source for this discussion which expands upon the obvious examples already shown. The book from which I will be quoting is The Way of God, by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto. It is considered a “Torah classic” and is sold as such by Feldheim Publishers. I list it among the books on the Recommended Reading page of this site.

Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto (Hebrew: משה חיים לוצאטו, also Moses Chaim, Moses Hayyim, also Luzzato) (1707, Padua – 16 May 1746, Acre (26 Iyar 5506)), also known by the Hebrew acronym RaMCHaL (or RaMHaL, רמח”ל), was a prominent Italian Jewish rabbi, kabbalist, and philosopher. RaMCHaL is among the foremost of Judaism’s past masters of Mussar and Kabbalah. He is highly revered and his writings popular and widely read.

His writings and similar material found elsewhere within Judaic literature more properly explains atonement by clarifying details that are absent from the New Testament. It corrects the overly simplistic and generally defective understanding Christianity imposes. However, it nonetheless directly supports – and I do mean directly – most of the teachings of the apostle Paul, the gospels, and basically the entire New Testament. Of course, when I say this I am referring to the New Testament as properly understood from its actual Hebraic/Judaic mindset versus the distorted contemporary Christian mindset which severely misrepresents those writings. The New Testament is correct. Christianity’s interpretation of it, and thus Christianity itself, is incorrect.

The rift between Judaism and Christianity actually has more to do with what contemporary Christianity teaches than it does with what the New Testament teaches. For certain, there are a few things in the New Testament that would be rejected by Judaism anyway, the primary fact being the identity of Messiah. Be that as it may, the tragically incorrect interpretation of those writings by contemporary Christianity due to the defective mindset present since the fourth century of the Common Era is, overwhelmingly, the real reason for the division between those two great world religions.

The Way of God

To limit the amount of quoted material I am not including those sections of the aforementioned book which detail all the mechanics of how atonement is achieved. Instead, I strongly advise you to obtain the book and read it for yourself. However, even within the portion that I do quote the clarification can be seen to some extent.

“Besides this, there is also another concept that stems from both the individual and general aspects of Providence discussed earlier.

 

When the Highest Wisdom considered everything needed to rectify the human race and make it into the Perfected Community discussed earlier, it saw that this goal will be furthered if some people could benefit others and help them attain a place in this Community.

 

The rule that the Community of the Future World be restricted only to those who attained perfection in their own right is therefore not absolute. For it was also decreed that an individual can reach a level where he can partake of perfection and be included in this Community as the result of his association with a more worthy individual. The only difference is that he will remain on a lower level, since he is not included in this Community in his own right, but only through association with another.

The Way of God
Taken from Part 2 – Chapter 3
Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto

Here we see RaMCHaL continuing a discussion of rewards and punishment and how “rectification” (correction) is achieved for individuals and, to a grander extent, creation in general. The Hebrew word for rectification is tikkun (tih-KOON), and you will often read discussions of tikkun within Judaic literature. The “community” to which he refers is the olam haba (World to Come). Roughly speaking, as a result of Christianity’s pagan Greek/Roman mindset, this is what Christians would mistakenly consider “heaven”.

The Backstory

The Torah-based faith teaches that mankind shares in creation. Briefly stated, mankind broke it, so mankind has got to fix it. Of course that repair does not occur without the substantial assistance of the Almighty Creator.

The concept of tikkun (repair) is a central and foundational ingredient. Each and every person has a role to play. There are no exceptions. Each one of us provides sustenance to one of two realms: the realm of holiness and light or the realm of impurity and darkness. Every action, word, and thought empowers one of those two realms and contributes to either repair or further damage.

ego [ee-goh, eg-oh]: noun, plural egos

1. the “I” or self of any person; a person as thinking, feeling, and willing, and distinguishing itself from the selves of others and from objects of its thought.

The primary tikkun (repair) is within oneself. We are born with a will to receive from God for ourselves alone – ego and a selfish nature. The task of us all is to transform that into a will to receive for the sake of heaven and our fellow man (dying to “self” and becoming selfless). To the extent that we succeed or fail one of those two realms is strengthened. Ultimately, we are responsible for ourselves; however, The Eternal has a plan to assists us, and that plan is to utilize the purity of a tzaddik (righteous one) to take upon himself/herself the suffering that we are due. That is the concept currently being discussed.

I cannot in a few paragraphs properly explain the concept of tikkun. I recommend the book being quoted for more information as well as the book In the Shadow of the Ladder. Both of those books and others can be seen on the Recommended Reading page. In time, if The Most High wills, I hope to eventually have the time and energy to show that tikkun (spiritual correction and repair) is actually the central focus of the New Testament and that if the New Testament is properly interpreted it can be shown to be a basic manual for undertaking tikkun – an understanding that largely agrees with what is taught today within various Judaic faiths.

“The only ones who are cast aside completely from perfection, therefore, are those who are not worthy of it at all, neither through their own merit nor through association with another. Because of this, the number who are saved from annihilation and allow the ultimate bliss is maximized.”

The Way of God

Torah-based Faith vs Misinterpreted New Testament Faith

In the last quote we see the superior “grace” and love that an embrace of Torah brings to the faith versus Christianity’s faulty rejection and hatred of Torah. There are many such teachings of mercy and grace found in Torah-based literature. Christianity has often forced itself on others, damned and shown cold hatred to those who differ, and condemned their opponents to the eternal torture of “hell” administered by the god of torture it promotes. The Judaic Torah faith exhibits more mercy and kindness and properly represents the true God as being far more compassionate, kind, merciful, and just than does contemporary Christianity. In fact, the Christian faith has such a bloody history that to put the bulk of its followers, past and present, next to the bulk of Jews, in terms of decency, kindness and love, is a gross disservice to Jews everywhere, at every point in history.

Unlike Christianity as it currently exists, the faith of Torah opens wide the doors to eternal life and does not shut them in the face and cast to “hell” those who dare to disagree. It has been my experience that many Christians revel in a sense of glee and satisfaction when they tell others that they are “going to hell”. For sure many of the past popular preachers did (and still do). But praise be to the Eternal, that is not because the New Testament teaches such treacherous and maniacal nonsense. Instead it is because the truths of the New Testament and the original true faith of and in Yeshua (Jesus) have simply been grotesquely misinterpreted and misapplied for the reasons I’ve discussed elsewhere on this site. May The Eternal Creator hasten the day that contemporary Christianity is corrected and returned to its original purity and truth – a truth that is entirely based on Torah – a truth devoid of the severity and wide ranging extent of error.

The Torah-based faith gives far more grace and mercy. It teaches the truth that only the most evil will actually be completely destroyed to a state of nonexistence. All others will go through a purification that occurs in two places – in this world and after death in a place set aside for purification before one is allowed entry into the world to come.

The most wicked will be “destroyed forever” (the energy given them by God purified into a state that it can then be reabsorbed by God) in the hereafter. Basically, the extent of their wickedness leaves them incapable of purification that they can withstand – like a garment so stained and filthy than it cannot be cleaned. This causes them to forfeit any hope of eternal life and loss of that life during the purification process. Nevertheless, that purification occurs over a finite period of time, unlike Christianity’s eternal, never-ending torturous “hell”. See our discussion on Is Hell Real? for more on this topic.

Leaders in the World to Come

“Those who cause others to partake in that World-to-Come will definitely be the foremost in that community. They will be the leaders, while those who enter by virtue of their association with them will be beholden and dependent on them.”

The Way of God

RaMCHaL is referring here to what the New Testament also teaches, which is that those who assist (most notably Messiah) will be the leaders in the world to come. Additionally, all who are gifted with eternal life through the suffering of the tzaddik will be beholden and dependent to them.

Responsibility to the Community

“In order for this to be possible, all men were originally bound to each other, as our Sages teach us, “All Israel are responsible for one another.” As a result of this, each individual is bound to everyone else, and no man is counted separately. God’s Attribute of Good is the stronger, however, and if the guilt for sin is shared by others, this must certainly be true of the merit associated with good deeds.”

The Way of God

The last quote is self-explanatory. All mankind is bound to one another for either the good or the bad – the blessings or the sufferings. It is this “oneness” or “unity” which all mankind shares with one another that allows atonement through a tzaddik to occur due to that tzaddik being a fellow human sharing in humanity’s “unity”. That being the case, the benefits of the supreme righteousness and devotion of a tzaddik can benefit all who attach themselves to him. (By the way, this is one reason Messiah MUST be 100% human and not a man-god. Otherwise, he would not be able to properly accomplish tikkun.)

“As a result of this principle, suffering and pain may be imposed on a tzaddik (righteous person) as an atonement for his entire generation. This tzaddik must then accept the suffering with love for the benefit of his generation, just as he accepts the suffering imposed upon him for his own sake. In doing so, he benefits his generation by atoning for it, and at the same time is himself elevated to a very great degree. For a tzaddik such as this is made into one of the leaders in the Community of the Future World, as discussed earlier.”

The Way of God

The one through whom atonement occurs accepts with love the suffering he must endure for the benefit of others. If such a tzaddik is not entirely perfect there is a small amount of suffering he must undergo for his own purification. However, as you will soon see, such is not the case for the most exalted level of a tzaddik – what is termed a “completed” tzaddik – since such a tzaddik is indeed perfect and deserving of nothing but good. It is the completed tzaddik who is able to effect the most far-reaching atonement for others.

Note also again that such a tzaddik is a leader in the Future World of eternal bliss.

Atonement for a Generation

“Such suffering also includes cases where tzaddik suffers because his entire generation deserves great punishments, bordering on annihilation, but is spared via the tzaddik’s suffering. In atoning for his generation through his suffering, this tzaddik saves these people in this world and also greatly benefits them in the World-to-Come.”

The Way of God

Again we see how the tzaddik saves people in this world and then benefits them in the world to come.

“In addition, there is a special, higher type of suffering that comes to a tzaddik who is even greater and more highly perfected than the ones discussed above. This suffering comes to provide the help necessary to bring about the chain of events leading to the ultimate perfection of mankind as a whole.”

The Way of God

This last quote introduces the completed tzaddik – the perfectly-devoted man of God. Through such a man ALL of mankind is benefited – not simply a finite number of generations.

“According to the original plan, the sequence of worldly events require that man undergo at least some suffering before he and the world could attain perfection. This was required by the very fact that one of the basic concepts of man’s predicament was that God should hold back His Light and hide His Presence, as discussed earlier. This became all the more necessary as a result of the corruption and spiritual damage caused by man’s many sins, which held the good back even more and caused God’s Presence to become all the more hidden. The world and everything in it are therefore a degraded evil state, and require that God’s unfathomable wisdom bring about the numerous chains of events to achieve their rectification.

Among the more important elements of this sequence is the requirement that man must be punished for his wickedness until the Attribute of Justice is satisfied. God arranged matters, however, so that select perfect individuals could rectify things for others, as discussed earlier. The Attribute of Justice therefore relates to them rather than to the rest of the world in general.”

The Way of God

Once again, we see how God arranged matters to allow for tikkun (rectification, correction, repair) to be performed by a select few in particular so as to assist the majority who are not so strong in faith.

“Individuals such as these, however, are themselves perfect, and are therefore worthy only of good. The only reason they suffer is because of others, and the Attribute of Justice must therefore be satisfied with a small amount of suffering on their part as with a large amount on the part of those who actually sinned.”

The Way of God

We see clearly that these select tzaddikim suffer only because of the sins of others and not due to any sins they committed. Because of their absolute perfection, even a small amount of suffering by them, since it is unwarranted, effects an enormous amount of purifying correction (atonement) for others who justly deserve to suffer. And all this is a consequence of the sharing “unity” of man and the availability among that “unified” humanity of the shared merit of the tzaddik which reduces the deserved suffering of others if those others attach themselves to him. (Attachment to him: what the New Testament would call being “Christ-like” or “following” Christ.)

Atonement for All Generations

“Beyond that, the merit and power of these tzaddikim is also increased because of such suffering, and this gives them even greater ability to rectify the damage of others. They can therefore not only rectify their own generation, but can also correct all the spiritual damage done from the beginning, from the time of the very first sinners.”

The Way of God

NOW! Here we go! The perfect tzaddik can atone all the way back to Adam! Doesn’t the New Testament and Paul say the same thing?

2 Corinthians 5:18-19 (CJB)
18 And it is all from God, who through the Messiah has reconciled us to himself and has given us the work of that reconciliation, 19 which is that God in the Messiah was reconciling mankind to himself, not counting their sins against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. (Emphasis mine.)

1 John 2:2 (CJB)
Also, he is the kapparah (“means of atonement”) for our sins — and not only for ours, but also for those of the whole world. (Emphasis mine.)

“It is obvious that individuals such as these will ultimately be the foremost leaders in the Perfected Community, and the ones who are the very closest to God.”

The Way of God

They are the “very closest to God”, which is one reason Yeshua could say he and God are “one”. There is much more on the “oneness” principle that Christianity, as often is the case, completely misunderstands, but I will reserve that for another discussion.

“All this is not only the result of justice, but also follows from the actual order of things, as discussed earlier. As a result of man’s sins, corruption is increased and incorporated into both man and the world. This in turn causes God’s Light to be increasingly retracted and hidden. The more this corruption is cleansed, on the other hand, and the more people are purified of it, the more God’s Light is once again revealed, step-by-step.

Suffering is the thing that God created to cleanse this pollution, both in general and in particular. Thus, through the suffering of these select individuals, creation in general is cleansed and step-by-step the world is brought closer to perfection.”

The Way of God

And there you have it. Atonement through the suffering of Messiah (or to be exact, a tzaddik) is the product of the Torah-based faith of Judaic thought, not of anti-Torah contemporary Christianity. Christianity simply hijacked, redefined, distorted, and distributed it. May God grant us a speedy return of truth and an end to contemporary Christianity’s corruption of it.

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