During the Selichot that we have been reciting for the past two weeks, we repeat G-d’s Thirteen Attributes of Mercy over and over again. Many shuls have the minhag to say them three times when we open the Aron before the Torah reading on Rosh Hashanah morning, and in some synagogues they’re recited every time we open the ark during the ten days of repentance. Most significantly, the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy are the central motif of Maariv on the night of Yom Kippur, and during the final prayer before Yom Kippur comes to a close, Neilah.
The reason that we repeat them is clear: Chazal quote G-d Himself as saying that reciting these attributes will result in G-d’s forgiveness. This idea is called the “Brit Shlosh Esreh” – the covenant of the thirteen.
But that only begs the question of why. Why does G-d promise to forgive us just because we say the 13 Attributes of Mercy? Is this some kind of magic trick? And if it works like magic, why do we need to say them more than once?
Join Scott as he answeres this question, and offers an explanation of each of the Attributes as explained by Rabbi Moshe Cordovero, in order to help your davening on Yom Kippur be deeper and more meaningful.
To print a two page PDF which summarizes these ideas, go to the Orthodox Conundrum Discussion Page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/432020081498108.
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