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Atonement

Atonement

[1]This paper tries to see why the Yom Kippur celebration is disappear in the new testament.
As it is understood that Judaism’s way of thinking and life based on an oral torah, which can be paralleled as “tradition” in the way Christian (catholic and Protestant) understand it. The written torah (Pentateuch) is the last one to be consulted, left alone the rest of the Tanakh. Therefore this paper starts with Judaism understanding of the basic meaning of Yom Kippur in which the idea of atonement is focused. Talking about atonement is talking about human and God. Human is the one who needs an atonement and God is the one who gives the atonement. The question is why human need atonement? Is that very crucial thing to do in the matter to keep the relationship with God?[1][2] Does human has to have the atonement? Wait is sin? Can human be without being sin?
When we talk about Judaism, we talk about Jews’ people. The question is, is the atonement an individual need, in other word, universal need, everybody, every where if human have to have the atonement? Or is this just an act of Jews’ people as the one who understood that Jews have relationship with God, and in this relationship there is a commitment that they have to be in “a special stage/ in a special way of life” to be still staying in that relationship?[3]
If it is the idea, it means that the idea of Yom Kippur must have connection with ethics.[4] The Israelite misunderstood this undesratnding in the prophetic times, so that misbehavior condemned by the prophets[5]. There is no separation between faith and dead how could you do sacrifice to God and abuse your fellow-it is a split personality. Initially, ritual act and everyday bevaiour are one. Worship, ritual things, and way of life is one as a faith’s expression.[6] Later, when life is more complicated, and worships and ritual acts become more institutionalized and legalized, the wholeness idea is almost gone. This division is alwsy understood since we believe that this is more important that. This fragmentaris way of thinking will keep us in this stage (status quo). It is the time for us to see something in the holistic way. The fragmentarical way of thinking makes us value one thing more and try to ignore other things (Methode berpikir yg fragmentaris inilah yg menyebabkan selalu ada faktor yg diutamakan dan ada faktor yg diabaikan). Then the valuable things we try to legalize them. This is our problem in the modern era, even post modern.
Theological reflection that the writers wrote in the exilic and a post exilic era is the Israelite had not done what God’s wanted them to do. Therefore, it is no wonder that since the exilic time, the emphasize to live as a chosen people is heightened and there is a demand to live as holy nation (cf.: god is holy). Based on the understanding that worship, ritual and the way of life are one, makes the function of the temple is very important. Worship, ritual and socialize activities are done in the temple. Therefore it is not surprised that the idea/need to rebuild the temple in Judah at the post exilic time, is strong. To have an idea that the idea of a synagogue appeared in the exile can be understood. The exclusiveness of Israelite at and after the time of Ezra and Nehemiah make the torah as a foundation of way of life and thinking, and later the torah became legalized and dogmatized. Worship, ritual and the way of life try to be done exactly as it is written in the torah. The emphasis to live based on God’s way for the sake of “being in the relationship” between Israel/invodual with God makes the factor of sacrifice is important. The purpose of sacrifice is usually to reconcile the relationship between human and God.[7] Therefore they do not surprise that the day of atonement is done in the sacrificial form and in the temple.[8] Later when there is no temple to make them being able to perform the sacrifice, the rabbis transform the idea of sacrifice into prayer, fasting and do charity. Though the form is different but the meaning of the content of celebration is remained the same, asking God’s forgiveness.[9] Because lev.16 as a basis of the meaning and content of the celebration, how is understood the meaning of the animals (bull and goat/ram Lev. 16:3, 5-11, 14-15), animals’ blood and kipper (Lev. 16: 14-16,18-20,27) can be see in Lev. 17:11. Why in this celebration is united two kinds of sacrifices, purification/sin and burnt offerings (Lev. 16:3,5)? We understood that based on this understanding so that later Christian claimed that Jesus is the lamb of God; the idea of blood Jesus in the cross symbolized in the wine at the holy communion as blood of Christ understood as redemption once for all and once you become Christian means you are in the new covenant/new relationship between the christian-god/through Jesus. As it is stated that the goats that does the expiation are the live ones and still alive. They are not the ones that sacrificed (Lev. 16, 10,21).
Milgrom in his commentary emphasizes that it is no way the animals can be as a substitute for human’s sin. The idea of a gift is still here and animals just still as a gift for to the god to ask the purge action (kipper) from God. Lev. 16:10
(To perform the expiation/ Upon it) he understands that “the purgation of the sanctuary is completed when the goat, laden with the sanctuary’s impurities, is dispatched to the wilderness. As will be shown in the note on vv. 21-22, the expressed purpose of the scapegoat is to carry off the sins of the Israelites transferred to it by the high priest’s confession.[10] Here, then kipper takes on the more abstract notion “to expiate.” In effect, the original purpose of the scapegoat, to eliminate the impurities removed from the sanctuary[11], has bee altered to a new theological notion-once a year, on the tenth of Tishri, the purgation rites of the sanctuary also remove Israelis’ sins, provided the people show their remorse through acts of self-denial and cessation from labor.

In some groups in Judaism, prior to the day of atonement [12]sephardi and eastern communities still maintain the kapparot ritual and some orthodox ashkenazim. This entails the symbolic transfer of guilt from a person to a fowl. Some do substitute coins for the fowl, and in some traditional congregations many charity boxes are available at the morning and early afternoon services preceding the day of Atonement. Based on this we understand that Judaism understood the role of animals as gift to persuade God to forgive them. The act to start doing it as a needy sign for forgiveness. So the animal itself does not consider as a substitute, instead the value/the price of the animals is valued. This idea later developed into the catholic system to sell a confession letter to ask God’s forgiveness. Therefore the aspect of human repentance[13] is still the most important aspect to renew the status of relationship (reconciliation) with God, especially after the destruction of the temple. The day of atonement itself atones. That day becomes the day of judgement but also the day of salvation. There is forgiveness from God to human and from human to human. This is the day of the new creation.[14]
There is no Yom Kippur celebration in the Christian tradition. It seems that the early Christian communities (Paul) still celebrate Yom Kippur (perhaps in Acts 27:9) but later the idea of Yom Kippur it is given into the meaning of Jesus’ death such as in Rom. 3:24-25; 5:8,11.[15] By God’s grace[16], every Christian automatically be as a new creation. (cf.: the meaning of Yom Kippur, cf. : Rom. 6, and Paul’s undesratnding that there is always tension between yezer hara and yezer hatob in Rom. 6:15-22; 7:7-25[17], and the impact as a new creation/covennat, people have to live based on love Rom. 13:8-10; 1 Cor. 13). to be able to win the war with yezer hara though through torah and doing charity (cf. his understanding of law and the way of his react how people misused the law, see Rom. 2:17-29; 3:19-20) so that he claims that only God’s grace can be justifice human (Rom. 3:21-31; ) and live in the new covenant (2Cor 5:17).
[1]
[1]
[2]Cf: the concept of atonement in Encyclopedia Judaica, vol.3, 830.
[3] The emphasis on invidual atonement is found after there is no temple. It can be said starting in the exile and then continue till in Judah, and in the rabbinic tradition.However the idea of the individual atonement can not be separated from the idea that Israel is God’s people.
[4] Cf: the concept of between man and God in encyclopedia Judaica, vol 7, 650-51. It is stated that “at the highest level Israel’s ethic and theology are indissolubly linked.”
[5] See Hos 6:6; Amos 5:21-24 cf: Amos 5:11-12; Isa 1:15-17; 58:Mic 6:6-9; Jer 7:4-10
[6] Cf: the idea of covenant in the hebrew bible.
[7] Though difficult for Milgrom to get a single idea of the meaning and purpose of sacrifice, however he can claim that he rejects the ideas of doing sacrifice as 1/ to provide food for the god; 2/to assimilate the life force of the sacrifical animal (the substitute idea) and 3/to effect union with the deity. He more in agreement with Taylor by sttaing that based on the its’ connote (sacrifice/gift) and the motivation in the ola (burn offering), minha (grain offering), selamim (peace offering) and isseh ( ) the purpose of sacricice is more in undesranding “toB induce the aid of the deity by means of a gift.” Because there is no one statement of sacrifice he ended by stating that “Sacrifice is a flexible symbol which can covey a rich vaiety of possible meanings.” See Jacob Milgrom, Leviticus 1-16. AB. New York: Doubleday, 1991, 440-443; see also the idea of sacrifice in the Encyclopedia of Judaism in which try to get the general and neutral idea by stating the oiginal hebrew of sacrifice is korban (karab) which means to bring closer human to God and vise versa (the eccyclopedia of Judaism. Jerusalem: The Jerusalem Publishing House,1989, 615-16.) Based on this general undersatnding it is understood that the underline of doing sacrifice is to make the relationship between human and god closer/better. Judaism itself understood sacrifice into there board categories: “sacrifice brought as a sign of submission to God; those brought as thanks; and those brought as part of the repentance fo asin commited inadvertently, through negligence.”
[8] See Lev.16. Milgrom states that yom kippur was celebrated since pre-exilix time, though he is not really sure when the changing tone from the happy day to be a day of penitence happened, see Milgrom, 1065-1071.
[9] The segments of the yom kippur celebration are: the fast, the penitential prayers, the bible readings, the formulas of confession, see: encyclopedia judaism, 192.
[10]According to Rabbinic Theology, sacrifices are always accompanied by repentance. Moreover though forgiveness can be achieved in various ways, but repentance is the most divine aspect, see Solomon, 294, so that on the yom kippur day is the new creation day, 304.
[11] Milgrom writes, “instead of being an offering or a substitute, the goat is simply the vehicle to dispatch Isreal’s impurities abd sibs to the wilderness/netherworld.” see, Milgrom, 1021.
[12]Torah and charity (loving kindness) can be used as substitute of sacrifice, see solomon, 312.
[13] Cf. Lev 16:21. The term of repentance in rabbinic understanding is teshuvah ( ). This term implies that human has been endowed by God with the power of “turning”. He can turn from evil to the good, and the very act of turning will activate god’s concern and lead to the forgiveness. see: Encyclopedia Judaica, vol. 6, 1434; see also Solomon, 334-339. There is an optimist belief to get God’s forgiveness. It is to be based on their undesratnding on the covenant idea. Our question is not on God’s side, but on the human’s side. How can human to do teshuvah? The idea of free will is emphasized strongly in judaism belief. So it is human to choose whether he/she wants to do good or evil (this idea expressed the idea God’s justice). See encyclopedia judaica vol. 7, 126-131 (free will); vol 8, 1318-19 (inclination good and evil). There is a general undesratnding that the yezer hara (yezer hara is not sin. Sin is understood as a rebellion against the majesty of God, based on yezer hara, Gen 6:5; 8:21; Deut 3:21; Ps 103:14) is part of human’s exietence, while the yezer hatob makes first appearance on the bar/bat mitzvah (cf: the idea of confirmation in the protestant church). See: Solomon Schechter. Aspect of Rabbinic Theology. Woodstock: Jewish Light Publication, 1993/1909 first publication, 242. Start from the bar/batmitzvah time, it is a time to study torah to make it as a weapon against the yezer hara, though finally the conquest come from God (based on God’s grace) See, Solomon, 273,278,280. All of these complicated existence of humans make them diferent from the angel being and the rest of the creations, and by conquering the yezer hara the humans enter into close communion with God, see, Solomon, 292.
[14]See Solomon, 302-4.
[15]Based on the idea of the role of blood as a kipper, cf. Davies, 234-35.
[16] Cf David Flusser, “The Dead
[17]See W. D. Davies, Paul and Rabbinic Judaism, 30-31.

Juli 2, 2008 - Posted by | artikel teologia dan sdm

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