Joy and Repentance

1000 Verses - a project of Judaism Resources

Joy and Repentance

The holiday of Sukkot (Tabernacles) follows immediately after Yom Kippur, a day dedicated for repentance and forgiveness. Sukkot is called “the time of Joy” and it is understood that the connection between these two holidays is that the forgiveness from God that we merit on Yom Kippur gives us the joy that we celebrate on Sukkot.

This is certainly a true sentiment but there is much more to the joy of Sukkot and there is much more to the connection between joy and repentance.

Although repentance is generally associated with grief and regret but repentance is also intimately tied up with joy. Repentance means reentering the service of God after having left it. It means regretting specific actions of violation of God’s will and it means regretting a path of life that was not in conformance with God’s will.

There are different aspects of regret. One could…

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9 Responses to Joy and Repentance

  1. CP says:

    I have a couple of questions. I didn’t know where to ask this, so I hope you don’t mind me posting here.

    I was reading Haazinu last week, verse 12 caught my attention. The Stone Edition translates:

    “HASHEM alone guided them, and no other power was with them.”

    I checked the notes; Ramban says; “Unlike the rest of Creation, Israel was not placed under the stewardship of angels; God himself guides Israel.

    Now I’m even more confused!

    1) I think I disagree with Ramban because Exodus chapters 14, 23, 32, and 33 all say God sent an angel. I know Ramban is no dummy, so what am I missing?

    2) I thought the Stone Edition was the “Gold Standard” for translations. I checked a number of other translations and thought they were closer to the Hebrew. The words נֵכָר nekar and אֵל ‘el are clearly in the Hebrew so why does the Stone Edition translate as “no other power” when it clearly says ‘no foreign god’? Again I’m just a beginner in Hebrew, so what am I missing?

    Thank you in advance.

    • CP
      Thank you for your questions – I have no problem with you posting them here.
      1 – God almost always uses angels as “messenger boys” this is not “stewardship”
      2 – The word “el” simply means power – see for example 2Kings 24:15 and Ezekiel 32:21

  2. CP says:

    Thank you R’B for taking the time to answer.

    Please don’t think I’m trying to debate, but I do have more questions in light of your answer.

    1)What about the angel in Exodus 23:21? He seems a little more than a messenger.

    “I am going to send an angel before you to protect you as you journey and to bring you into the place that I have prepared.
    Take heed because of him, and obey his voice; do not rebel against him, for he will not pardon your transgressions, for my name is in him.

    2) What about the word “nekar”? Why is this translated as “other” rather than foreign?

    (I’m sure you can appreciate the thought crossing my mind the choice of translation might be in response to Christianity using this verse for a Christophany. Even though I agree this view is unsupportable, I still want the translation to be as accurate as possible)

    • CP Thanks for your excellent questions 1 – You also have in the book of Daniel (10:21) where Michael is described as “your” (Israel’s) prince. Again – it seems that this is still not “stewardship.” My understanding of the difference is that in the case of stewardship – the nation who is under the stewardship of the angel finds success with actions that fit the angel’s nature and failure when they do actions that go against the angel’s nature – regardless of how this fits in with God’s own will (of-course -ultimately everything boils down to obedience to God – but in the short term there is this other map of success failure). Israel on the other hand never finds success with disobeying God and never finds failure in obedience to God. 2 – I can’t answer for the Artscroll translation – I would imagine that in the context of contrasting this other power with the power of God they felt that the word “other” is less open to misinterpretation (foreign would perhaps imply that local powers were involved – and that is clearly not the intent of the verse) Please keep on asking if this is not clear or if you have other questions 1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >

  3. CP says:

    Thank you R’B for the great answers. You’ve answered the translation question 100% but on the angel question you’ve opened a can of worms for me. You’ll see below (lol).

    To explain; the angel in Exodus 23:21 is the ‘only’ angel ever said to have God’s name in him. Therefore there is something unique going on here. But what? What does it mean to have God’s name in a angel? Does it mean the angel can act independently in the authority God has given him because God trusts him to do what HE would do? Or does it mean God has infused a angel with HIS SPIRIT?

    Which on a side note brings up a interesting varient of Deuteronomy 32:8

    “When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance,
    When He separated the sons of man,
    He set the boundaries of the peoples
    According to the number of the sons of Israel.


    When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance, when he divided up humankind, he set the boundaries of the peoples, according to the number of the heavenly assembly.

    I’m just musing here:
    So if the Dead Sea Scrolls are considered; God perhaps divided the nations according to the number of the Ben Elohim, putting them individually in charge of individual nations. Then called Abraham and made a people for himself, the Nation of Israel. This would perhaps explain the animosity between the nations and Israel if these Ben Elohim are being used to test Israel or perhaps some are in rebellion to God.

    To sum things up; my question is: What does it mean to have God’s name in a angel?

    I posted the below link not to convince anyone of anything but only because I thought you would find it interesting and would like your opinion on it if you have the time. Thanks again for your help.

    • CP I think that the angel having God’s name in him means that the angel is less independent and more directly subservient to God – see also Isaiah 63:9 – I wrote about this angel in The Council of My Nation

      1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >

  4. CP says:

    I went and re-read the Council of Nations and your right, it is God’s words that the Angel of Exodus 23 speaks. So it seems that God gives the Angel instructions ahead of time and therefore can act on God’s behalf without having to wait for further instructions. I did some research on Isaiah 63:9 and don’t see any reason to believe it is the same Angel although there is no reason to think it isn’t, except he is described different as being before the face of God. Makes me realize what a special relationship Moses had with God since he needed no Angel as a go between.

    On a side note; I was reading Isaiah to get the context; coming across Isaiah 65:1-7 I was surprised how much with a little tweaking it could be made to represent Christians. What was even more surprising is I’d never noticed it before.

    Thank you R’B for your help. It is nice to be able to start seeing the Jewish perspective rather than just reading about the Jewish perspective; big difference!

    PS, I hope I didn’t offend you in any way with the above link. I know there is some stuff you would immediately disagree with, but hoped you’d get past it to the more interesting idea of created powers in the heavenly realm above angels but lower than God. Do you think it is possible?

    • Concerned Reader says:

      CP, the angel who speaks G-d’s words as the subservient agent is the biggest stumbling block for the Christians, because it is this that serves as the building block for their christology, thanks to the likes of Philo.

      Some traditions even conflate an angel like this with a human being, (such as Enoch who in some sources becomes this angel.) In other second temple texts this angel is Daniel’s “one like a son of man.” Check out the lecture at the bottom of this post.

      Angels in the Tanakh are a tricky phenomenon, because the “whole host of heaven,” is what the nations worship.

      (which is why rabbi B says we need to focus on the verses where G-d clearly defines the proper worship relationship IE Deuteronomy 4.)

      There are some verses where the angel of the presence speaks as if it is G-d himself. The angel that was in the burning bush is an example, in fact its as if it weren’t even present.

      As to the angel in Exodus, Moses says “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.” Moses essentially tells G-d here that he doesn’t want to be lead by the Malach hashem who may treat Israel harshly. “he will not pardon your transgressions.”

      But, it can be confusing for people outside of Judaism’s context, because that same angel comes back in Joshua 5 and Judges 6. IE its an angel that appears independent to a degree. (Judges 6 can be particularly difficult, because it looks like Gideon is focusing on an angel even though Hashem is present.

      The rabbis usually say that an angel can only do one task. However, an angel designated for similar tasks with a similar theme can do more than one task. This agent angel who hears words directly from G-d, appears more independent, though it appears he isn’t really.

      This theological complex was where the Christians got their christology notions from thanks to the likes of Philo of Alexandria, and also because of speculation in second temple times about Daniel’s son of man.

      Check this lecture out

  5. Dear Pharisee Friend,
    I have just finished carefully reading the entire Torah. (It took me a few weeks.)
    It’s an amazing collection of writings, and I was very blessed.

    Regarding Sukkot, I understand it is on of the “Big 3” festivals, with Passover and the Feast of Weeks. I was surprised how many times these 3 festivals were singled out throughout the Torah, and also the list of 7 “appointed feasts” which includes the “Big 3”, (which we usually quote form Leviticus 23.)

    It seems to me that God is establishing his order or priority this way:
    .1) Big 3 + Sabbath, important for everyone to be present together and observe
    .2) First Fruits, Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement- mostly for priests to worry about the details
    .3) New Moon festivals – only mentioned once, I think – not really important.

    Also, it seems to me that “the Testimony” in Exodus 16:34 refers to the testimony of the Patriarchs, that today we call the Book of Genesis, which Moses must have received through Joseph’s descendants in Egypt.
    Your thoughts?

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