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How Can Divine Forgiveness Be Purchased?

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Buying Atonement

In the Book of Exodus, the Jewish people are instructed to contribute a half-shekel coin towards the building of the tabernacle as “atonement for their souls,” and the commentaries explain that it atoned for the grievous sin of the golden calf.
Ki Tisa, Parshat Shekalim, Half Shekel, Lubavitcher Rebbe
How Can Divine Forgiveness Be Purchased?
Disc 189, Program 756

Event Date: 26 Nissan 5746 - May 05, 1986

In the Book of Exodus, the Jewish people are instructed to contribute a half-shekel coin towards the building of the tabernacle as “atonement for their souls,” and the commentaries explain that it atoned for the grievous sin of the golden calf.

Now, the very fact that a half-shekel, worth around five dollars today, can bring atonement for the worst sin in Jewish history, tells us something about the nature of the relationship between a Jew and G-d. Apparently, it’s not about the money.

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2 Comments
Esty Steier Lakewood April 19, 2024

What is the technical difference between atone and forgive our sin, the Chumash often uses those two words together- is it the same thing? Reply

Eliezer Zalmanov for Chabad.org May 6, 2024
in response to Esty Steier:

Practically speaking, it means the same thing. But perhaps "atone" reaches a much higher divine level, a place where sin never had any affect in the first place. Reply

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