11 “But if he cannot afford two turtledoves or two pigeons, then he shall bring as his offering for the sin that he has committed a tenth of an ephah  of fine flour for a sin offering. He shall put no oil on it and shall put no frankincense on it, for it is a sin offering. 12 And he shall bring it to the priest, and the priest shall take a handful of it as its memorial portion and burn this on the altar, on the Lord’s food offerings; it is a sin offering. 13 Thus the priest shall make atonement for him for the sin which he has committed in any one of these things, and he shall be forgiven. And the remainder  shall be for the priest, as in the grain offering.”
Odd, isn’t it? How the smallest little things can make you question major decisions in your life? The above passage was the final straw. I had questioned so many of the church’s doctrinal stances, that I had given up going to church, had even stopped calling myself a Christian, as I didn’t believe that God would ask a human, or even a god-human to give such a sacrifice for our sins. The punishment Y’shua took before and during the crucifixion were so extreme, that I could not conceive of God being that cruel to his begotten. And here it is, right there in the Torah, God didn’t require it.
I could be forgiven if I simply offered a 1oth of an ephah of fine flour. Now, to be sure, it needed to be exhibited with a turning from deliberate sin, and with a heart that wanted to serve the Holiest of Holies, but, there didn’t need to be blood shed for my sins. God did not require bloodshed. OK, now I could believe beyond all questioning that God was good, loving, kind, and merciful to the full extent. This is a God with true compassion toward his created.
Yet, there was the story of Cain and Abel. How do you reconcile that? The rabbis explain it. Abel gave gladly of the finest in his herd, while Cain gave of the rotten leftovers from his garden. So, it is an attitude of the heart that God is looking for, not blood. When I realized this, I fell in love with God all over again. God is simply awesome! There are other passages that echo this, for instance, from Psalms 40 6 Sacrifice and offering you did not desire— but my ears you have opened[c]— burnt offerings and sin offerings[d] you did not require.
I don’t know how, in all my reading of the scriptures I missed the significance of these passages. I guess I had been taught so long that God required blood to forgive, that I missed it. The rest of that Psalm speaks of the same change of heart that is looked for in all of those passages that speak of sin. It isn’t about sin, it’s about loving God so much we love our neighbors as equals in the eyes of that same Holy One. We quit wanting to harm others, we quit wallowing in our own mud puddle and start looking at the love we have been given, and are grateful.So, if I read these passages correctly, and according to the rabbi’s whose work I have read, it isn’t blood that gets you into heaven, it’s an attitude of the heart!