Rabbi Hizkiyah, Rabbi Yosi and Rabbi Yehuda were journeying along the road. Rabbi Yosi said: Let each of us speak some Torah. Rabbi Yehuda opened: "O remember not against us former iniquities: let Your tender mercies speedily come to meet us for we have fallen very low." (Ps. 79:8) Come and see: G‑d, in His love for Israel, as they are His lot and portion, lets no one judge them but Himself. When He does, He is filled with compassion for them, like a father for his children, as it says, "As a father pities his children, so G‑d has mercy on those who fear him..." (Ps. 103:13) If it is found that they have sinned, He removes the sins one by one, until all are removed from before Him, so that now there is no power for the Other Side to judge them.

When they sin before Him yet again, He is then reminded of the first sins, which were already removed. Therefore it is written, "O remember not against us former iniquities: let Your tender mercies speedily come to meet us." Unless Your tender mercies come upon Israel, they would not be able to exist in the world, for numerous adversaries and accusers await Israel from above. Unless G‑d would speedily send His mercies upon the children of Israel before judging them, they would not be able to exist in the world. Therefore "let Your tender mercies speedily come to meet us: for we are very poor," poor in good deeds and in honest deeds.1

Come and see: If Israel would have accumulated good deeds before G‑d, the idolatrous nations would not be standing against them. But Israel caused the other nations to raise their heads in the world, and if Israel would not have sinned before G‑d, the other nations would be subdued before them.
[By sinning, Israel causes the Divine abundance to descend on and empower the wicked of other nations of the world.]

Come and see: that were it not for Israel, who drew the Other Side to the land of Israel by evil deeds, the other heathen nations would have ruled over it. And Israel would not have been exiled from it. Hence it is written, "For we are very poor" in worthy good deeds: "since we are very poor" then "let Your tender mercies speedily come to meet us."
[Before the accuser accuses us, Your tender mercies will there be there for us to enable us to exist in the world]

BeRahamim LeHayyim: Why did the Ari and Chida include this section? What do they want us to learn?
We say "Avinu", then "Malkeinu". First and foremost He is our Father; then He is our King. We are his children, with Jewish souls that can reach the World of Atzilut; as servants our souls extend only to the worlds of Beriyah, Yetzirah, and Asiyah. There is always an intimate relationship between us, that of children of a Merciful Father — He knows us well. He knows if we've been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake, for the sake of the Shechinah which will dwell inside us if we just listen to Her voice!

What does the above mean to you, and how can it help your teshuva process?


Bracketed annotations from Metok Midevash and Sulam commentaries
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