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

Zev Sero via Avodah avodah at lists.aishdas.org
Sun Sep 6 19:18:07 PDT 2015

On 09/06/2015 04:19 AM, Marty Bluke via Avodah wrote:
> However, the recitation of the 13 middos seems like almost magic,
> something we say because Hashem told us to as we say in the preceding
> paragraph

Yes, that is exactly what it is: magic.  Theurgy, as R Micha calls it.
Hashem promised that when we say these 13 words He will listen, so we
say them and invoke that promise.

Another indisputable example of theurgy in Judaism: burning ketores
to stop a plague.  This is explicitly not about the kavana, but a
magical power that the holy ketores has.  The Malach Hamaves told
Moshe Rabbenu about this trick, and when the occasion arose Moshe
told Aharon to use it.

"There are more things in heaven and earth..."

Zev Sero               I have a right to stand on my own defence, if you
zev at sero.name          intend to commit felony...if a robber meets me in
                        the street and commands me to surrender my purse,
                        I have a right to kill him without asking questions
                                               -- John Adams

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