[Avodah] What is the purpose of saying the 13 midos in Selichos?

Micha Berger via Avodah avodah at lists.aishdas.org
Sun Sep 6 16:25:31 PDT 2015

On Sun, Sep 06, 2015 at 11:19:51AM +0300, Marty Bluke via Avodah wrote:
: Most of selichos is us beseeching Hashem (poetically) for forgiveness and
: declaring that we are unworthy and sinners. However, the main part of
: selichos is the recitation of the 13 middos. However, the recitation of the
: 13 kiddos seems like almost magic, something we say because Hashem told us
: to as we say in the preceding paragraph "Hashem you commanded us to say the
: 13 [middos] ... as you told Moshe [the anav] ...". What is our kavannah
: supposed to be when we say the 13 middos? What should we be thinking? Why
: is saying the 13 middos so important?

Actually, the wording in the gemara is
    Whenever Israel sins *ya'asu* lefana keseder hazaeh, and I will
    pardon them.

The point isn't to say the 13 Middos, they're just a reminder that we're
supposed to do them. If we remember the essential, to be merciful people
in His Image, HQBH is ready to pardon everything else.

(I am defining "mocheil" as pardon as in being mochel a debt, in contrast
to full forgiveness. That's a choice among how acharonim take selichah,
mechilah and kapparah, so your mileage may vary.)

I passionately recommend printing up <http://www.shemayisrael.com/13middos.pdf>
and keeping it with your selichos and YK Machzor. It's a summary of the
13 Middos as per Tomer Devorah mapped to the version of the Thirteen
Middos in Shemos that we say in Selichos.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             You cannot propel yourself forward
micha at aishdas.org        by patting yourself on the back.
http://www.aishdas.org                   -Anonymous
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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