(c) 2000 Dr Hendel; 1st appeared in Torah Forum (c) Project Genesis
Date: Mon, 10 Apr 2000 23:51:04 -0400 (EDT)
From: Russell Hendel <  rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu>
Subject: Re: Vicarious Atonement?

QUESTION: The following was asked:
<  <  I am told that the sages said that - under certain circumstances - the
death of a tzaddik can atone for an entire generation. Exactly what does
this mean, and how can this be so in view of Jeremiah's promise that "every
man shall die for his own sin"?>  >

This is an excellent question. First let us make it clear "every man
does die for his own sin". In particular G-d will NEVER take away someones
life if he does not deserve it.  BUT..if G-d takes away a righteous
person's life and he deserves it then the people, by mourning this person
and contemplating the saintly life he led, may end up doing repentance. It
is this repentance that atones for the generations sins. In other words the
statement that "a righteous person's death atones for his generations"
means that the mourning on a righteous persons death can lead to repentance
which will atone for the generation.

Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA; RHendel@Towson.Edu
Moderator Rashi is Simple