Q&A: Forgiving vs. Fixing – Part I

 Q: onionsoupmix asked, “The child produced from an adulterous union has to die before teshuva is fully accepted. Why isn’t G-d more flexible?”


A: Thanks for the tough questions. They’re always the best.

You ask why G-d cannot be more forgiving in the instance where a child is born illegitimate.

For starters, here’s an important point:

I assume you were referring to the Talmud’s statement, “What is a deviation that cannot be corrected? It is giving birth to a child through incest or adultery.”  The Teshuva is not complete as long as the child is alive.

But notice, the Talmud is not speaking of sin. The Talmud uses the word “Meuves”, which is a deviation, something crooked that needs straightening. And the question is not whether Teshuva brings forgiveness. The question is how we erase the consequences of the sin after being forgiven.

In other words, the question is Tikkun. You break someone’s arm and he forgives you. Yet as long as his arm is in a cast you cannot forgive yourself.

So G-d is forgiving even for sins of adultery or incest. The problem is cleaning up the mess.

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