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Sukkat Shalom B'nei Noach




Discover How True Reconciliation is Achieved.

The story of Jonah being in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights is used by Jesus as evidence to demonstrate that he is the Messiah, indicating that he would also spend three days and three nights in the tomb. However, this comparison overlooks the fact that Jesus was crucified on Good Friday and resurrected on Easter Sunday, leading to deception.

In Matthew 12:38-40 (KJV), we read:

“Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”

This is the “proof” that Jesus himself provides to the people that he is the Messiah, namely, that he would be in the grave for 3 days and 3 nights.

As a child, I remember not understanding this comparison. But then hearing from adults that you had to be an adult to understand it. Now that I am an adult, I can only conclude that a child who can count to 10 has more wisdom than adults who cannot count to 3 because they are blinded by old traditions indoctrinated by the church.

The church teaches that Jesus died on “Good Friday” and rose on Sunday. But when we simply count, we cannot reach 3 days and 3 nights:

  • Good Friday – the first day
  • The night from Friday to Saturday – the first night
  • Saturday – the second day
  • The night from Saturday to Sunday – the second night
  • Sunday morning – the morning of the resurrection, at least according to the story of Matthew.

Because if we look at John’s story, the tomb is already empty on Sunday morning, and we cannot even count the second night. It is remarkable that Jesus uses this example of the story of Jonah to show that he is the Messiah, because precisely the story of Jonah teaches us that humans do not need a blood sacrifice – in any form – to receive forgiveness of sins.

After all, we read that when Jonah tells Nineveh that G-d will punish them for their sinful behavior, the people are forgiven without a blood sacrifice but by repenting.

Join me in reading Jonah 3:5-10.

And the people of Nineveh believed in G-d, and they proclaimed a fast and donned sackcloth, from their greatest to their smallest.
 הוַיַּֽאֲמִ֛ינוּ אַנְשֵׁ֥י נִֽינְוֵ֖ה בֵּֽאלֹקים וַיִּקְרְאוּ־צוֹם֙ וַיִּלְבְּשׁ֣וּ שַׂקִּ֔ים מִגְּדוֹלָ֖ם וְעַד־קְטַנָּֽם:
6And the word reached the king of Nineveh, whereupon he rose from his throne, took off his royal robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat on the ashes. ווַיִּגַּ֚ע הַדָּבָר֙ אֶל־מֶ֣לֶךְ נִֽינְוֵ֔ה וַיָּ֙קָם֙ מִכִּסְא֔וֹ וַיַּֽעֲבֵ֥ר אַדַּרְתּ֖וֹ מֵֽעָלָ֑יו וַיְכַ֣ס שַׂ֔ק וַיֵּ֖שֶׁב עַל־הָאֵֽפֶר:
7And he caused it to be proclaimed and published throughout Nineveh: By the counsel of the king and his nobles, saying: Neither man nor beast, neither cattle nor sheep shall taste anything; they shall not graze, neither shall they drink water. זוַיַּזְעֵ֗ק וַיֹּ֙אמֶר֙ בְּנִֽינְוֵ֔ה מִטַּ֧עַם הַמֶּ֛לֶךְ וּגְדֹלָ֖יו לֵאמֹ֑ר הָֽאָדָ֨ם וְהַבְּהֵמָ֜ה הַבָּקָ֣ר וְהַצֹּ֗אן אַל־יִטְעֲמוּ֙ מְא֔וּמָה אַ֨ל־יִרְע֔וּ וּמַ֖יִם אַל־יִשְׁתּֽוּ:
8And they shall cover themselves with sackcloth, both man and beast, and they shall call mightily to G-d, and everyone shall repent of his evil way and of the dishonest gain which is in their hands. חוְיִתְכַּסּ֣וּ שַׂקִּ֗ים הָֽאָדָם֙ וְהַבְּהֵמָ֔ה וְיִקְרְא֥וּ אֶל־אֱלֹהקים בְּחָזְקָ֑ה וְיָשֻׁ֗בוּ אִישׁ מִדַּרְכּ֣וֹ הָֽרָעָ֔ה וּמִן־הֶֽחָמָ֖ס אֲשֶׁ֥ר בְּכַפֵּיהֶֽם:
9Whoever knows shall repent, and G-d will relent, and He will return from His burning wrath, and we will not perish. טמִֽי־יוֹדֵ֣עַ יָשׁ֔וּב וְנִחַ֖ם הָֽאֱלֹקים וְשָׁ֛ב מֵֽחֲר֥וֹן אַפּ֖וֹ וְלֹ֥א נֹאבֵֽד:
10And G-d saw their deeds, that they had repented of their evil way, and the Lord relented concerning the evil that He had spoken to do to them, and He did not do it. יוַיַּ֚רְא הָֽאֱלֹקים֙ אֶת־מַ֣עֲשֵׂיהֶ֔ם כִּֽי־שָׁ֖בוּ מִדַּרְכָּ֣ם הָֽרָעָ֑ה וַיִּנָּ֣חֶם הָֽאֱלֹהִ֗ים עַל־הָֽרָעָ֛ה אֲשֶׁר־דִּבֶּ֥ר לַֽעֲשֽׂוֹת־לָהֶ֖ם וְלֹ֥א עָשָֽׂה:

We all make mistakes in our lives, mistakes for which we need forgiveness. But we should not place our hope in intermediaries, sons of men, as we can read in Psalm 146:3.

Do not trust in princes, in the son of man, who has no salvation.
 גאַל־תִּבְטְח֥וּ בִנְדִיבִ֑ים בְּבֶן־אָדָ֓ם | שֶׁ֚אֵ֖ין ל֥וֹ תְשׁוּעָֽה:

But we lift our eyes to God, and like the people of Nineveh, we confess our sins to Him. They did not need a blood sacrifice, we do not need a blood sacrifice. In fact, at the dedication of the Temple by King Solomon, an alternative was already given to forgive the sins of the people if the sacrifices could no longer be made. Let’s see what Solomon, the wise king, tells us in I Kings 8:46-50:

And they shall bethink themselves in the land where they were carried captive, and repent, and make supplication to You in the land of their captors, saying, ‘We have sinned, and have done perversely, we have committed wickedness.’
 מזוְהֵשִׁ֙יבוּ֙ אֶל־לִבָּ֔ם בָּאָ֖רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֣ר נִשְׁבּוּ־שָׁ֑ם וְשָׁ֣בוּ | וְהִֽתְחַנְּנ֣וּ אֵלֶ֗יךָ בְּאֶ֚רֶץ שֹֽׁבֵיהֶם֙ לֵאמֹ֔ר חָטָ֥אנוּ וְהֶעֱוִ֖ינוּ רָשָֽׁעְנוּ:
48And they shall return to You with all their heart, and with all their soul, in the land of their enemies, who led them away captive, and pray to You toward their land, which You gave to their fathers, the city that You have chosen, and the house which I have built for Your Name. מחוְשָׁ֣בוּ אֵלֶ֗יךָ בְּכָל־לְבָבָם֙ וּבְכָל־נַפְשָׁ֔ם בְּאֶ֥רֶץ אֹיְבֵיהֶ֖ם אֲשֶׁר־שָׁב֣וּ אֹתָ֑ם וְהִֽתְפַּֽלְל֣וּ אֵלֶ֗יךָ דֶּ֚רֶךְ אַרְצָם֙ אֲשֶׁר־נָתַ֣תָּה לַאֲבוֹתָ֔ם הָעִיר֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר בָּחַ֔רְתָּ וְהַבַּ֖יִת אֲשֶׁר־בָּנִ֥יתִי (כתיב בָּנִ֥יתִ) לִשְׁמֶֽךָ:
49And you shall hear their prayer and their supplication in heaven, Your dwelling place, and maintain their cause. מטוְשָׁמַעְתָּ֚ הַשָּׁמַ֙יִם֙ מְכ֣וֹן שִׁבְתְּךָ֔ אֶת־תְּפִלָּתָ֖ם וְאֶת־תְּחִנָּתָ֑ם וְעָשִֹ֖יתָ מִשְׁפָּטָֽם:
50And forgive Your people what they have sinned against You, and all their transgressions that they have transgressed against You, and give mercy before their captors, that they may have mercy on them. נוְסָלַחְתָּ֚ לְעַמְּךָ֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר חָֽטְאוּ־לָ֔ךְ וּלְכָל־פִּשְׁעֵיהֶ֖ם אֲשֶׁ֣ר פָּשְׁעוּ־בָ֑ךְ וּנְתַתָּ֧ם לְרַחֲמִ֛ים לִפְנֵ֥י שֹׁבֵיהֶ֖ם וְרִֽחֲמֽוּם:

The world rests, among other things, on the pillars of Avodah (meaning prayers or service) and Gemilut Chassadim (acts of loving-kindness and charity). These are tools we can use when seeking forgiveness from G-d.

Avodah: We replace the sacrificial “service of G‑d” with prayer, the service of the heart articulated in words. In the words of the prophet Hosea 14:3

Take words with yourselves and return to the L-rd. Say, “You shall forgive all iniquity and teach us [the] good [way], and let us render [for] bulls [the offering of] our lips.
 גקְח֚וּ עִמָּכֶם֙ דְּבָרִ֔ים וְשׁ֖וּבוּ אֶל־יְ”הֹוָ֑ה אִמְר֣וּ אֵלָ֗יו כָּל־תִּשָּׂ֚א עָו‍ֹן֙ וְקַח־ט֔וֹב וּנְשַׁלְּמָ֥ה פָרִ֖ים שְׂפָתֵֽינוּ:

Gemilut Chassadim: Giving charity, giving of oneself, is also considered to be a method of finding atonement. One who gives his hard-earned money to charity is, in a sense, truly giving of himself—sacrificing himself for the greater good. This might be the ultimate form of sacrifice, as he is really giving something of himself—money that could have been spent for his personal benefit and gain.

The above is confirmed by, among others:
Proverbers: 10:2

Treasures of wickedness will not avail, but charity will save from death.
 בלֹא־י֖וֹעִילוּ אוֹצְר֣וֹת רֶ֑שַׁע וּ֜צְדָקָ֗ה תַּצִּ֥יל מִמָּֽוֶת:

Hosea 6:6

For I desire loving-kindness, and not sacrifices, and knowledge of G-d more than burnt offerings.
 וכִּ֛י חֶ֥סֶד חָפַ֖צְתִּי וְלֹא־זָ֑בַח וְדַ֥עַת אֱלֹהִ֖ים מֵֽעֹלֽוֹת:

Proverbers: 11:4

Daniel 4:24 (4:27 in KJV)

Indeed, O king, may my counsel please you, and with charity you will remove your sin and your iniquity by showing mercy to the poor; perhaps your tranquility will last.”
 כדלָהֵ֣ן מַלְכָּ֗א מִלְכִּי֙ יִשְׁפַּ֣ר עֲלָ֔יךְ וַֽחֲטָאָךְ֙ (כתיב וַֽחֲטָיָךְ֙) בְּצִדְקָ֣ה פְרֻ֔ק וַֽעֲוָֽיָתָ֖ךְ בְּמִחַ֣ן עֲנָ֑יִן הֵ֛ן תֶּֽהֱוֵ֥ה אַרְכָ֖א לִשְׁלֵֽוְתָֽךְ:

Learning Points

  • Traditional interpretations of the events between Good Friday and Easter are misleading.
  • Reconciliation is not necessarily achieved through ritual sacrifices, but rather through sincere prayers, repentance, and acts of charity.
  • It is vital to uncover the truth and base our faith on thorough understanding and reflection, rather than on traditional assumptions.

By Angelique Sijbolts

See also the blog:



Lets Get Biblical Volume 1, Part III by Rabbi Tovia Singer
Judaism and Christianity: A Contrast by Rabbi Stuart Federow 
Chabad Article: Atonement in the Absence of Sacrifices? By Shmuel Kogan

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