Hear Us, Forgive Us
(Based on Sefer HaCarmel of the Malbim, "selach")
Saturday night, at Jewish midnight, Ashkenazic Jewry begins to recite
the Selichos prayers.
There are many different terms used to express forgiveness in the Torah
and Rabbinic liturgy. "Yislach", "kapara" (atonement),
"nosay avone", (bear iniquity) "ovair al pesha", (forgive
transgression) "Nirtzeh avono", (the teshuvah for the iniquity
is acceptable) "avonasee macha" (erase my sin) "kabsainee
ma'avonee", (cleanse me from iniquity) "may'chatosee taharaynee"
(purify me from my sin) and more.
Each one has of course, its special meaning and represents a unique form
of a tikkun. For instance when one says, "I have removed from you
all your transgression", it infers that the transgressions have a
reality of their own, only now they are removed from any association with
the person. "Bears iniquity; that the iniquity remains, only Hashem
bears it and suffers with it. "He squashes iniquity", means
that Hashem represses its effects. But when sin or iniquity is forgiven,
then the result is as if the sin never had a existence at all. Selicha
means complete forgiveness so that there remains absolutely no trace of
the sin. For only Selicha can denote absolute forgiveness.
It is interesting to note therefore, that the word Selicha, in all of
the Tanach and is only used by Hashem himself and never between one person
and another. A person cannot repair something as if it was never ruined.
Only Hashem can give absolute forgiveness so that the transgression is
forgiven as if it never occurred.
(First published in B'Ohel Hatzadikim, Ki Tavo 5758)
Rabbi Binyomin Adilman is the head of Nishmas Chayim Yeshiva in Jerusalem,
and also the author of a very interesting, but sporadically published,
weekly parsha sheet, B'ohelei Tzadikim, from which this article was taken.Their
website has some back issues.
Erev Yom Kippur, 2AM, Sept.17,2010, Western Wall (photo
credit: Gutman Locks)