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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.

The people of Nineveh believed G-d. They proclaimed a fast, and great and small alike put on sackcloth.
 וַיַּֽאֲמִ֛ינוּ אַנְשֵׁ֥י נִֽינְוֵ֖ה בֵּֽאלֹקים וַיִּקְרְאוּ־צוֹם֙ וַיִּלְבְּשׁ֣וּ שַׂקִּ֔ים מִגְּדוֹלָ֖ם וְעַד־קְטַנָּֽם
When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his robe, put on sackcloth, and sat in ashes. וַיִּגַּ֚ע הַדָּבָר֙ אֶל־מֶ֣לֶךְ נִֽינְוֵ֔ה וַיָּ֙קָם֙ מִכִּסְא֔וֹ וַיַּֽעֲבֵ֥ר אַדַּרְתּ֖וֹ מֵֽעָלָ֑יו וַיְכַ֣ס שַׂ֔ק וַיֵּ֖שֶׁב עַל־הָאֵֽפֶר
And he had the word cried through Nineveh: “By decree of the king and his nobles: No human or animal—of flock or herd—shall taste anything! They shall not graze, and they shall not drink water! וַיַּזְעֵ֗ק וַיֹּ֙אמֶר֙ בְּנִֽינְוֵ֔ה מִטַּ֧עַם הַמֶּ֛לֶךְ וּגְדֹלָ֖יו לֵאמֹ֑ר הָֽאָדָ֨ם וְהַבְּהֵמָ֜ה הַבָּקָ֣ר וְהַצֹּ֗אן אַל־יִטְעֲמוּ֙ מְא֔וּמָה אַ֨ל־יִרְע֔וּ וּמַ֖יִם אַל־יִשְׁתּֽוּ
They shall be covered with sackcloth—human and animal—and shall cry mightily to G-d. Let everyone turn back from their own evil ways and from the injustice of which they are guilty. וְיִתְכַּסּ֣וּ שַׂקִּ֗ים הָֽאָדָם֙ וְהַבְּהֵמָ֔ה וְיִקְרְא֥וּ אֶל־אֱלֹהקים בְּחָזְקָ֑ה וְיָשֻׁ֗בוּ אִישׁ מִדַּרְכּ֣וֹ הָֽרָעָ֔ה וּמִן־הֶֽחָמָ֖ס אֲשֶׁ֥ר בְּכַפֵּיהֶֽם
Who knows but that G-d may turn and relent? [G-d] may turn back from wrathfulness, so that we do not perish.” מִֽי־יוֹדֵ֣עַ יָשׁ֔וּב וְנִחַ֖ם הָֽאֱלֹקים וְשָׁ֛ב מֵֽחֲר֥וֹן אַפּ֖וֹ וְלֹ֥א נֹאבֵֽד
G-d saw what they did, how they were turning back from their evil ways. And G-d renounced the punishment that had been planned for them, and did not carry it out. וַיַּ֚רְא הָֽאֱלֹקים֙ אֶת־מַ֣עֲשֵׂיהֶ֔ם כִּֽי־שָׁ֖בוּ מִדַּרְכָּ֣ם הָֽרָעָ֑ה וַיִּנָּ֣חֶם הָֽאֱלֹקים 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.

Put not your trust in the great, in mortal man who cannot save.
 אַל־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 then they take it to heart in the land to which they have been carried off, and they repent and make supplication to You in the land of their captors, saying: ‘We have sinned, we have acted perversely, we have acted wickedly,’
 וְהֵשִׁ֙יבוּ֙ אֶל־לִבָּ֔ם בָּאָ֖רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֣ר נִשְׁבּוּ־שָׁ֑ם וְשָׁ֣בוּ | וְהִֽתְחַנְּנ֣וּ אֵלֶ֗יךָ בְּאֶ֚רֶץ שֹֽׁבֵיהֶם֙ לֵאמֹ֔ר חָטָ֥אנוּ וְהֶעֱוִ֖ינוּ רָשָֽׁעְנוּ
and they turn back to You with all their heart and soul, in the land of the enemies who have carried them off, and they pray to You in the direction of their land that You gave to their ancestors, of the city that You have chosen, and of the House that I have built to Your name— וְשָׁ֣בוּ 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
oh, give heed in Your heavenly abode to their prayer and supplication, uphold their cause, וְשָׁמַעְתָּ֚ הַשָּׁמַ֙יִם֙ מְכ֣וֹן שִׁבְתְּךָ֔ אֶת־תְּפִלָּתָ֖ם וְאֶת־תְּחִנָּתָ֑ם וְעָשִֹ֖יתָ מִשְׁפָּטָֽם
and pardon Your people who have sinned against You for all the transgressions that they have committed against You. Grant them mercy in the sight of their captors that they may be merciful to them. וְסָלַחְתָּ֚ 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.
 קְח֚וּ 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:
Proverbs: 10:2

Ill-gotten wealth is of no avail,
But righteousness saves from death.
 לֹא־י֖וֹעִילוּ אוֹצְר֣וֹת רֶ֑שַׁע וּ֜צְדָקָ֗ה תַּצִּ֥יל מִמָּֽוֶת

Hosea 6:6

For I desire goodness, not sacrifice;
Devotion to G-d, rather than burnt offerings.
 כִּ֛י חֶ֥סֶד חָפַ֖צְתִּי וְלֹא־זָ֑בַח וְדַ֥עַת אֱלֹהִ֖ים מֵֽעֹלֽוֹת

Proverbs: 11:4

Wealth is of no avail on the day of wrath,
But righteousness saves from death.
 לֹא־יוֹעִ֣יל ה֭וֹן בְּי֣וֹם עֶבְרָ֑ה וּ֝צְדָקָ֗ה תַּצִּ֥יל מִמָּֽוֶת׃

Daniel 4:24 (4:27 in KJV)

Therefore, O king, may my advice be acceptable to you: Redeem your sins by beneficence and your iniquities by generosity to the poor; then your serenity may be extended.”
 לָהֵ֣ן 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 

Atonement in the Absence of Sacrifices?

By Shmuel Kogan

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