Part 4: Midos 11-13

MIDAH 11: VaFesha (and Willful Sin)* / Chesed L’Avraham (kindness to Avraham)**

*in D’varim    **in Michah

Pesha: While “Avon” represented one who sins intentionally, that person at least sinned as a result of submitting to his temptation. Pesha refers to one who sins in spite of Hashem. There is no temptation overpowering him. He just wishes to go against Hashem’s Will.

Chesed l’Avraham: Avraham Avinu represents going above and beyond. Avraham’s boundless love for Hashem caused him to go way above normal limitations to please Hashem. So, too, Hashem goes above and beyond for “chasidim” who go above and beyond for Hashem.

Perhaps we can connect Pesha to Chesed l’Avraham by saying that Hashem is even willing to forgive Pesha because of Avraham’s above-and-beyond love for Hashem.

Our task: When someone who has been exceedingly good to us in the past hurts us badly, we should strive to emulate Hashem’s midah and be even more tolerant and forgiving than usual because of his/her past goodness. This can often be applied in close family situations.

MIDAH 12: V’Chataah (and Error) / Asher Nishbata LaAvoseinu (as you swore to our Forefathers)

Chataah: This refers to a sin done unintentionally. Often, we are not even aware that we have sinned. David HaMelech begged Hashem to let him know if he had committed sins unintentionally and was not aware of it.

Asher Nishbata LaAvoseinu: Even when there are generations that are undeserving, Hashem will lead and guide them until they correct their ways and redeem them because of his promise to the Avos.

Our task: Even when others who have hurt us do not deserve our forgiveness – perhaps because they don’t even realize the hurt that they inflicted upon us and have therefore not apologized – we should still strive to emulate Hashem’s midah and try to help them correct their ways because they are children of the Avos. One way to help them is to daven for them to realize that they wronged us and to correct their ways, which would include asking us for forgiveness.

MIDAH 13: V’Nakei (and Who Cleanses) / Miymei Kedem (in days of old)

Nakei: Hashem cleanses us to the extent that the stain is totally removed. The old stains do not come back once they have been cleansed, even if we later repeat the same sins. If we were sincere in our t’shuvah, that sin is erased forever.

Miymei Kedem: Even where none of the other Midos would apply, Hashem recalls for us our deeds from our early days when we followed Him into the desert before we sinned.

Our task: If none of the other Midos apply, we should strive to emulate the midah of Hashem and recall the time when the person who hurt us was much younger, even as a baby, when he/she was still good. Through this thought, we can daven for everyone, even though they don’t deserve our kindness at this moment.

We should also strive to totally wipe away and erase sins of the past when someone has apologized, and we have forgiven them. If they later hurt us again, we should strive not to bring up the previous hurt, for which we had already forgiven them.



We will soon be passionately saying the 13 Midos during Yom Kippur, and especially passionately during N’ilah. The power and merit of our recitation will certainly be much greater if we have thought, prior to Yom Kippur, about implementing these Midos in our own lives – all the more so if we have actually thoughtfully forgiven others with a full heart. In some cases, the hurt may be so deep that we are not ready to sincerely forgive with a full heart. Let us strive to do what we can. Perhaps even for these cases, we can decide to begin the process of forgiveness before Yom Kippur, by davening for these people to realize how deeply they hurt us, and to do t’shuvah. We can ask Hashem to help him/her return, both to Him and then to us, by offering a heartfelt apology and making amends.

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