• December 2, 2022
  • 8 5783, Kislev
  • פרשת ויצא

Examples of Forgiveness in Tanach

Examples of Forgiveness in Tanach

This series of classes will look at the concept of forgiveness in Tanach by examining a series of incidents in which a person or group sin, repent in some way, and ask God for forgiveness. In particular, we will focus on the story of Yona, David’s sin with Batsheva, the sin of the spies, the sin of the golden calf, and the incident of Yehuda and Tamar. A close examinination of how God reacts (or doesn’t) to these incidents may provide insight into what repentance means and how we might achieve it.

August 31, 2009 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Examples of Forgiveness in Tanach: Lesson 1
Class description

Introduction and Yonah: The first class will examine various characters who do, or do not, repent from real and imagined sins in the book of Yonah. We will talk about Yonah himself, the people of Ninveh, the boatsmen, and (of course) the animals (who always seem to do what they are told). In particular, we will examine how God reacts to their sins and their teshuvah, and see what kind of repentance is viewed as heroic in the story. I would appreciate it if everybody would read the book of Yonah in advance of class. Yoel

September 7, 2009 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Examples of Forgiveness in Tanach: Lesson 2
Class description

King Shaul and King David: In this class, we will focus on the “moment of truth” after both King Shaul and King David face up to their respective sins. Shaul has failed to fulfill the command of wiping out the nation of Amalek, and is confronted by the prophet, Shmuel. David has sinned with Batsheva and arranged for her husband, Uriah, to be killed in battle. What is the nature of their respective sins? How do they confess their sins? What do they do to repent? How do the prophets and God react? Please read Shmuel Alef (First Samuel), chapter 15 and Shmuel Bet (Second Samuel), chapters 11 and 12. Yoel

September 14, 2009 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Examples of Forgiveness in Tanach: Lesson 3
Class description

Moshe and the People’s Sins: Hi Everyone, Last week, we didn’t cover everything I wanted to address, and I would like to spend the first part of class covering briefly the interchange between Shaul and Shmuel that we didn’t deal with last week. In particular, I am interested in why David seems to be able to get partial forgiveness for his sin, while Shaul seems to be greeted with a “zero-tolerance” policy. Then I want to move on to the Humash itself. In several places, Moshe goes to battle with God on behalf of the Jewish People, arguing that God should not destroy the people despite their sins. The most famous examples occur after the sin of the golden calf and after the sin of the spies. These are more examples of an attempt at repentance and forgiveness. What kind of arguments does Moshe bring? Does God change his mind? Why? How can one person beg for forgiveness on behalf of someone elses sin? Please take a look at Shemot (Exodus) chapters 32-34 and Bemidbar (Numbers) chapters 13 and 14. Yoel

September 21, 2009 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Examples of Forgiveness in Tanach: Lesson 4
Class description

Yehudah, Tamar, and the Missing Repentance: In some ways, the story of Yehudah and Tamar is the trickiest of all of our examples, because the pesukim are silent about how God reacts. What can we derive from between the lines? What does the silence teach us? I also want to look at one other thing – the way in which the Torah, particularly in Vayikra (Leviticus) describes the relationship between sacrifices and forgiveness. I hope that this will lead to some conclusion, perhaps even some practical advice, on the nature of repentance. Please take a close look at Breishit (Genesis), chapter 38 in advance of class. Yoel