For the Record
To my fellow member of the human race
It has come to my attention that certain members of my people have been promulgating a doctrine that distorts the essence of the teaching that we were entrusted with.
You have heard how the Creator of all took us out of Egypt with signs and wonders and how He taught us His Torah through national revelation and through His prophet. The open miracles that God preformed for us spread our reputation as the possessors of God’s Law. These men of whom I speak, exploited our reputation as possessors of God’s truth, and they spread a teaching that has no basis in the Torah that God has bequeathed to us.
These teachers taught you that all of mankind is damned before God to eternal punishment. They taught that if a person commits one sin it is as if he or she violated all of the commandments. These men taught that the God of Israel will not forgive your sins unless you present a blood sacrifice. These men taught that the God of Israel is unapproachable. And they taught that the good deeds that you do will not bring you any closer to God.
All of these teachings are blatant falsehoods. As a member of the people who were entrusted with God’s Law, I see it as my duty to correct these falsehoods that were taught as if they were the Law of my God.
God does NOT condemn everyone to the fires of eternal damnation. You can search the Jewish Scriptures from cover to cover; you will not find one verse that supports such a teaching.
A person who commits one sin is NOT equivalent in God’s eyes as if they violated the entirety of the Law. The Scriptures explicitly teach that God judges every deed, both bad and good (Ecclesiastes12:14). The conscience that God breathed into all of us tells us that there is a great difference in God’s eyes between a person who lived a moral life on the one hand and a person who lived a life of cruelty and immorality on the other hand.
The Jewish Scriptures do NOT teach that God requires blood sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin. The Scriptures openly declare that if you turn to God in sincere repentance, God will forgive you (Isaiah 55:7).
The Jewish Scriptures do NOT teach that God is unapproachable. On the contrary, our prophets declare that God is close to all who call upon Him in truth (Psalm 145:18).
If I were to say that the good deeds that you do will bring you closer to God, I will not have said enough. Our prophets taught us that the practice of justice IS intimacy with God (Jeremiah 22:16). When we follow the universal principle of justice: “that which you hate done unto yourself, do not do unto others”, we allow God’s truth to penetrate into our psyche. When we recognize the grace of God’s goodness that is expressed in every detail of existence, and we are moved to take the goodness that we were blessed with and allow it to flow towards another creation of God, we have then connected to the kindness and love of God. It is not that these activities bring us closer to God. The practice of kindness and truth are a connection to God in and of themselves.
There is one more false teaching that these men have propagated in the name of the Torah of my God. They have encouraged people to direct their hearts in worship of and in devotion to a man who walked God’s earth and breathed God’s air like the rest of us.
If there is any teaching that is contrary to the Torah with which we were entrusted it is this one.
My nation was called upon by God to serve as His witnesses (Isaiah 43:10). God taught us that there is none beside Him that is worthy of our worship and devotion (Deuteronomy4:35). Our core duty as a witness nation before God is to remain loyal to the truth that all created beings are equally subservient to the One Creator of all. Every facet of our existence, including our ability to love and to worship belongs to God and to God alone. It is my duty as a Jew to testify to you that your heart belongs to the One Almighty God who loved your heart into existence in the first place.
There is no greater joy on earth than approaching your Creator in heartfelt prayer. You don’t need anyone to plead for you and you don’t need to bring Him a blood sacrifice. The One who lovingly created every facet of your existence will accept you. All you have to do is to trust in His love.
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Yisroel C. Blumenthal