We continue aligning the 13 Midos from Michah, which the sefer Tomer Devorah is based upon, with the 13 Midos in the Torah that Hashem instructed Moshe Rabbeinu to teach us as a merit for forgiveness. We are working on a dual objective:
- To better understand and internalize the 13 Midos each time we say them. (Refer to earlier segments as to the inherent power contained in the 13 Midos and why we recite them so often during this time period of t’shuvah.)
- To understand our task of emulating Hashem’s midos in our own personal relationships and interpersonal interactions.
Part 3: Midos 7-10
MIDAH 7: V’Rav Chesed (Abundant in Kindness)* / Yashuv Y’rachameinu (He will once again show us mercy)**
*in D’varim **in Michah
V’Rav Chesed: Hashem tilts His scales for those who lack sufficient merits.
Yashuv Y’rachameinu: The Gemara teaches us that the baal t’shuvah stands in a place where complete tzadikim are not able to stand. HaRav Matisyahu Salomon, in his sefer Matnas Chaim on Tomer Devorah, explains that if the baalei t’shuvah were to stand together with the tzadikim in the next world, they would be embarrassed that they have not attained the levels of the tzadikim in their Torah and righteousness. They will also be embarrassed by their past actions. Therefore, Hashem brings them very close to Him.
Our task: When someone has hurt us and then apologized and regrets his or her actions, we should strive to emulate Hashem’s midah and show an abundance of love and kindness to him/her, bringing them even closer than our closest friends, so that they will not be embarrassed about their previous misdeed.
MIDAH 8: VeEmes (and Truth) / Yichbosh Avonoseinu (He will suppress our iniquities)
VeEmes: Keeping His word, Hashem handsomely rewards those who do His will.
Yichbosh Avonoseinu: Hashem suppresses our aveiros in the sense that He does not allow them to cancel out our mitzvos. For example, if one has 50 mitzvos and ten aveiros, Hashem pays the full reward for the 50 mitzvos and does not cancel ten out. We have to either do t’shuvah and erase the ten aveiros or “pay” for them separately, but Hashem will not reduce the unfathomable reward for the 50 mitzvos. The reward for even one mitzvah is totally beyond our comprehension. Hashem, in His kindness, does not want us to lose any part of it.
Our task: Many times, the person who hurt us has also done much good for us. Our tendency might be to cancel out the good in the past and focus on the hurt. We should strive to emulate Hashem’s midah and focus on the good of the past and not let the hurt impact our positive feelings of the past. The person who caused the hurt must apologize and atone for his hurt; but until that happens, we should not suppress the kindness he/she has done in the past. To the contrary, we should suppress the hurt enough not to allow it to overshadow the goodness that the person has done for us in the past.
MIDAH 9: Notzeir Chesed LaAlafim (Preserver of Kindness for Thousands of Generations) / V’Sashlich BiM’tzulos Yam Kol Chatosam (You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea)
Notzeir Chesed LaAlafim: Hashem preserves our chesed to benefit our descendants for 2,000 generations.
V’Sashlich BiM’tzulos Yam Kol Chatosam: But for aveiros, once we do t’shuvah or have received a consequence (e.g., through pain), He throws the aveiros into the depths of the sea, erasing them totally. (If we do t’shuvah out of love, those aveiros actually become merits).
Our task: Emulate Hashem’s midah and overemphasize the goodness done to us in the past by the person who hurt us. At the same time, if we see a person has undergone hardships and pain, we should view it as if he/she has been “paid back” from Heaven, and we should restore our relationship with love, forgetting the hurt they have caused us.
MIDAH 10: Nosei Avon (Forgiver of Iniquity) / Titein Emes L’Yaakov (Grant truth to Yaakov)
Nosei Avon: Hashem forgives aveiros even when done intentionally.
Titein Emes L’Yaakov: The name Yaakov represents people who do exactly what is necessary but do not seek to do more. They are content with an esrog that is kosher according to the letter of the law, even though it does have blemishes. They are happy with a low-cost mezuzah that is technically kosher, though it lacks in beauty.
Even though those who seek to rise higher in their service and mitzvos will similarly receive an “above and beyond” compassion and chesed, nonetheless, the person who follows the letter of the law will still receive judgment and compassion together and be forgiven. This combination of judgment and compassion is called “truth,” since that is how Hashem runs the world.
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