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Salvation from What?

The concept of salvation from sin as it is understood in Christianity has no equivalent in Judaism.

Salvation from sin is unnecessary in Judaism, because Judaism does not believe that mankind is inherently evil or sinful or in need of Divine Intervention in order to escape eternal damnation. In fact, Judaism does not even believe in eternal damnation.

Judaism recognizes that people have sinful impulses, but Judaism also recognizes that people have an inclination to do good and to be good, and that people are able to choose whether to follow the evil inclination or the good inclination.

It is within our ability to be righteous. The Torah itself says, "The word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it." (Deut. 30:14). And if we miss the mark, when we fail to fulfill the good laws that G-d has provided for us, then we can obtain forgiveness through prayer, repentance and good deeds.

When the Torah speaks of G-d as our Salvation or our Redeemer, it is not speaking of salvation or redemption from sin; rather, it speaks of salvation from the very concrete, day-to-day problems that we face, such as redemption from slavery in Egypt, or salvation from our enemies in war.

For more information about the evil inclination and the good inclination, see Human Nature - The Dual Nature.

For more information about the Jewish idea of the afterlife, see Olam Ha-Ba: The Afterlife.

For more information about how Jews obtain forgiveness, see Qorbanot: Sacrifices and Offerings, especially the Frequently Asked Questions about how Jews obtain forgiveness in the absence of animal sacrifice.


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