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G-d Forgives, for He rules with Mercy

For October 4, 2022

Tehillim - Psalms 49:16

אַךְ־אֱ"לֹהִ֗ים יִפְדֶּ֣ה נַ֭פְשִׁי מִֽיַּד־שְׁא֑וֹל כִּ֖י יִקָּחֵ֣נִי סֶֽלָה

"But G-d will redeem my soul from the grip of the depths of punishment. He will take me - my soul - to be with Him forever!"

We can say amen on this for our own lives, knowing the 13 Attributes of Mercy of HaShem

Exodus: 34:6-7

וַיַּעֲבֹ֨ר יְהֹוָ֥ה ׀ עַל־פָּנָיו֮ וַיִּקְרָא֒ יְהֹוָ֣ה ׀ יְהֹוָ֔ה אֵ֥ל רַח֖וּם וְחַנּ֑וּן אֶ֥רֶךְ אַפַּ֖יִם וְרַב־חֶ֥סֶד וֶאֱמֶֽת׃ נֹצֵ֥ר חֶ֙סֶד֙ לָאֲלָפִ֔ים נֹשֵׂ֥א עָוֺ֛ן וָפֶ֖שַׁע וְחַטָּאָ֑ה וְנַקֵּה֙ לֹ֣א יְנַקֶּ֔ה פֹּקֵ֣ד׀

"HaShem passed before him and proclaimed:

1 “HaShem, (compassion before a person sins)

2 HaShem (compassion after a person has sinned)

3 a God (mighty in compassion, to give all creatures according to their need)

4 compassionate - rachum (merciful, that humankind may not be destressed)

5 and gracious, - ve'chanun (and gracious if humankind is already in distress)

6 slow to anger, - erech apayim

7 abounding in kindness - ve'rav chesed

8 and faithfulness, - ve'emet (and truth)

9 extending kindness to the thousandth generation, - notzer chesed laalafim

10 forgiving iniquity, - noseh avon

11 transgression, - vafeshah

12 and sin - Ve Chata'ah

13 yet not remitting all punishment, - VeNakeh - and pardoning"

The 13 Attributes of Mercy play an important role during Jewish prayer. They are recited daily in "Tachanun" (a confessional prayer) and during prayers on a fasting day and especially on Yom Kippur, they play a very important role.

What meaning can Noahides give to these 13 Attributes of Mercy?

When we have sinned, it is good to confess these sins before G-d. We can do this through the following prayer:

"O G-d, I have erred, sinned and willfully transgressed before You, and I have done that which is evil in Your eyes, especially with the sin(s) of … (state the specific sins or errors).

I am sincerely ashamed of my sins, and I repent and firmly undertake not to do so again.

Please G-d, in Your infinite grace and compassion, forgive my sins and transgressions and grant me atonement, as it is written: “Let the wicked abandon his way, and the man of iniquity his thoughts; let him return to G-d, and He will have compassion upon him, and [let him return] to our G-d, for He will pardon abundantly.” [Isaiah. 55:7] And it is written: “Do I desire at all that the wicked should die, says the L-rd, G-d; it is rather that he return from his ways and live!” [Ezekiel 18:23]"*

However, the most important thing is to ensure that we do not repeat the sins we regret in the future. Only the omission of a new sin shows true repentance for a sin

When we have confessed our sins, we know that G-d is merciful and will forgive us, as is also written in:

Proverbers 28:13

"He who covers up his faults will not succeed;

He who confesses and gives them up will find mercy."

and Ezechiel 18:32

"For it is not My desire that anyone shall die—declares the Lord GOD. Repent, therefore, and live!"

The 13 Attributes are therefore not so much for receiving forgiveness but in response to our realisation that we need forgiveness and our gratitude for receiving it. We receive them because G-d uses the 13 Attributes to govern the world.

G-d govern the whole world, He is King of every single person, Jews and Noahides, and He wants to forgive us all. The forgiveness He bestows is more and greater than we can comprehend. It is for this reason that there are 13 Attributes of Mercy. The number 13 is greater than the number 12, which represents our physical world. (Think of the Zodiac, the 12 months in a year, etc.) His Mercy is beyond the measrue en limitations which we use for our fellow human beings. However, as an image-bearer of G-d, we must learn to bestow these 13 Attributes on our fellow man as well. We must learn to forgive. Our forgiveness must be more than what the other person is actually entitled to - by our standards.

Reciting and realising the greatness of these 13 Attributes and trying to live up to them in our own lives makes the bond between us and G-d stronger, as well as the bond between us and our fellow man.

All this will lead to an increase in His Kingship and the magnification of His Name which will be One, as we read in:

Zacharia 14:9

"And the L-rd shall become King over all the earth; on that day shall the L-rd be one, and His name One".

The word "One" is Echad אחד which has the numerical value of 13 (ד=4 / ח=8 / א=1). This signifies G‑d’s oneness in the world.

A oneness that was always there and will always be there, but is revealed to us through its 13 Attributes. A unity between Him and His people, between His people and us and ultimately between Him and His Creation.

(The prayer of repentant and the 13 Attributes are recommended for Noahide to recite on the evening of Rosh HaShanah)

Brought By Angelique Sijbolts


Angelique Sijbolts is one of the main writers for the Noahide Academy. She has been an observant Noahide for many years. She studies Torah with Rabbi Perets every week. Angelique invests much of her time in editing video-lectures for the Rabbis of the Academy and contributes in administrating the Academy's website in English and Dutch. She lives in the north of the Netherlands. Married and mother of two sons. She works as a teacher in a school with students with special needs. And is a Hebrew Teacher for the levels beginners and intermediate. She likes to walk, to read and play the piano.



Chabadapp: chumash with Rashi


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