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    Vicarious atonement – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. Can another person reduce or eliminate the guilt for my sins?

    A. Every human being has free will. It is up to us to choose our own way and to bear the consequences.

    In Biblical times there was a concept of vicarious atonement, i.e. guilt being transferred elsewhere, but with the end of the sacrificial system that doctrine lapsed. The rule is, “The soul that sins, it (we emphasise ‘it’) shall die” (Ezek. 18:4).

    Our fate can be mitigated by the righteousness of others, but the only things we can really depend upon are our own repentance and God’s forgiveness.

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