- Moshe Ben-Chaim
- Reader: At any time in the history of Judaism, did Jews
practice baptism as a ritual for cleansing from sin? I have been told
that the description of the baptism of Jews by John the Baptist in the
Christian Bible would have been unique because historically only
proselytes were baptized, not Jews. I am interested in verifying
whether or not this idea is historically correct and would appreciate
any information that you could give me.
- Mesora: Some cases of immersion
were performed by the priests, by proselytes upon conversion, and by
women upon the completion of their menstrual cycle before engaging in
sexual intercourse - all were to demonstrate a change in status. But
the water itself had no powers.
- When one sins and then repents, his penitence is not dependent upon
immersion, but on regret, and resignation to never sin again. Today,
it is customary to immerse prior to Yom Kippur, for similar reasons.