When God created mankind, He gave them freedom. Freedom is a good thing, but if human beings are meant to be free, it is impossible to force them to obey God. Adam and Eve were the first human beings who were given this enormous power of free will, and they took advantage of it; they rebelled against God’s command in the Garden of Eden, and the tragic consequences of their choice affected us all. This is what is known as “Original Sin”, which is thought to be a very Christian concept, and not Jewish. But is that really true?
The bad choices that we all make cover the world and affect all of humanity in many ways and forms. This is not a case of Christian interpretation. See the words of Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu who wrote: “The Original Sin, meaning the sin of the first man in the Garden of Eden, is the root of all sins.” Just like a plague passes from one person to another, and at times affects hundreds of millions of people, so the Original Sin which was committed by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden affects and infects us all. Sin is the most deadly and widespread plague ever, and it destroys the hearts of all people, all over the world, at all times, and with no exceptions.
In the Garden of Eden, after the first sin and before Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden, God promised that the solution to the plague of sin will come from the seed of a woman. Moses, the Old Testament prophets, and all of the Bible’s heroes waited in anticipation for the time of One who was called “The Messiah”.
Also the Sages said that: “all the prophets which have spoken have foretold the days of the Messiah.” (Babylonian Talmud, San. 99, 71) This Messiah must have a different kind of human nature from other human beings; a godly nature, which the plague of sin can’t affect. And indeed, as we saw in the piece about the virgin birth of the Messiah, even the Sages interpreted that the Messiah would be miraculously born without a biological father.
The problem is that “Original Sin”, “a Messiah with a godly nature”, and “a Messiah without a biological father”, is all starting to sound too “Christian” for certain modern rabbis who decided, not for the first time, to contradict the Old Testament and the ancient Jewish Sages. See for example Rabbi G. Sigal who is known for his objection to Messianics, and strongly claims: “Jews do not believe in the doctrine of the Original Sin!”
We want to prove to you that Jews actually do believe in Original Sin. The Sages had very deep faith in this. It is the modern rabbis who will do everything in order to hide Jesus from you, and argue against it. The New Testament validates many sections of the Old Testament in reference to the Original Sin, but we want to focus on how it exists in Jewish thought. Here are the writings of the Sages about the Original Sin of Adam and Eve.
“Yalkut Shimoni” draws us into an interesting rabbinic discussion regarding the question: “When does evil nature enter a man – at the time of birth, or at the time of creation?” The Sages are asking, does evil nature control us from the time the fetus is created, or only from the time the baby comes out into the world?
Midrash Deuteronomy Rabbah also proves beyond any doubt that the Sages understood that sin is inherited: “Moses said: ‘LORD of the World, there are thirty-six decrees, that if a man breaks one of them he must be put to death. I did not break any of them, why do you sentence me to death? He said to me: ‘In the sin of the first man you die, as he brought death unto the world.’”According to this Midrash, Moses complains that he was sentenced to death. When he asks to know what sin he committed that he should suffer death for, God answers that because of the sin of the first man, he will die.
In Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 131:1, in the halacha instructions for Yom Kippur Eve (Day of Atonement): “It is customary to carry out the ‘Kapparot’ (sacrifices) in the pre-dawn hours of the day before Yom Kippur, as then (the attribute of) mercy is greatest. One takes a non-castrated rooster for a man, and a hen for a woman. For a pregnant woman (both) a rooster and a hen.”We are told here that a pregnant woman must have two chickens for ‘kaparot’, one for her and one for the baby in her womb. Just like a pregnant woman with AIDS passes the virus to her baby, so sin passes through the human genome, from the woman to her fetus.
To conclude, this is not a foreign Christian invention, but ancient Jewish thought also recognizes the need of atonement and sacrifice for the Original Sin, which lives in us all. The One they are trying to hide from you, Jesus, is the solution to the Original Sin.