Rebbe Chezkiya, Rebbe Yossi and Rebbe Yehuda were traveling and started to discuss Torah. From this we learn that it is important to discuss Torah wherever possible! This week's parasha has the famous verse:
"And G‑d has declared you this day to be his special people, as He has promised you, and that you should keep His commandments." (Deut. 26:18)

Rebbe Yehuda connects this concept to the way G‑d judges Israel, a topic especially timely for the month of Elul, the month of teshuva and selichot prayers.

Rebbe Yehuda opened his discourse with the verse: "O do not remember our former iniquities; let Your tender mercies come speedily to meet us, for we are brought very low." (Psalms 79:8) Come and see: Because of the great love that He has for Israel, who are His portion and inheritance in this world, the Holy One blessed be He does not let any other court judge them except for His alone. is this knowledge that fills Him with special mercy to Israel…

The word "inheritance" (in Hebrew, "nachalato") is derived from the word "nachal" meaning "stream". The idea is that Israel is the manifestation of G‑d's will in this world. Just as a stream is always connected to its source and flows in a delineated channel, so is the history of Israel "His story". Inheritors have the same DNA flowing in their blood stream, and are connected to their inheritance by birth, not by particular effort on their part. Because of the predetermination of the flow of history, G‑d alone can judge Israel. No other tribunal sees the full picture, and it is this knowledge that fills Him with special mercy to Israel.

And when He looks into their [actions to make] judgment, He is filled with mercy on their behalf, because He is like a father who feels merciful towards his children. This is as in the verse: "As a father pities his children, so G‑d has mercy on those who are in awe of Him. For He knows our framework, He remembers we are dust." (Ps. 103:13-14) And when he finds sins in them, He passes over [in Hebrew, "meavir"] them one by one until all are passed in front of Him.

The root of the word "me'avir" is "avar", meaning among other things: "past tense", "the opposite side", to "pass over" and to "sin". So the idea is of a sin that is passed over, but that nevertheless remains a sin. The importance of this will be seen below.

And because they have all been passed in front of Him, there remain no sins that have to be given to the authority of strict judgment to render a decision on. But if he returned [to his bad ways] and sinned before Him as previously, then those previous sins are [now] taken into account against him. This is the reason why it is written [in the above quote and also in the selichot and vidui prayers]: "O do not recall against us our former iniquities."

We ask that those first sins that were passed over in mercy (but the punishment for which was only held in suspension), should not be recalled even though we have repeated the same iniquity. (see Rosh Hashanah 17a)

"Let Your tender mercies speedily come to greet us," because if the attribute of mercy didn't appear first to have mercy on Israel, they wouldn't be able to survive in the world. This is because there are a multitude of those who have harsh judgment against them, masters of [negative] debates and masters of accusation that stand to accuse Israel above [in the spiritual realm]. If Israel did not sin…the other nations of the world would be submissive to them…

If it was not that the Holy One blessed be He appeared first to arouse mercy on Israel so that they not scrutinize their judgment, Israel would not be able to continue to exist in the world. This is why we ask that the tender mercies come speedily to greet us "because we have grown very impoverished". We are impoverished of good deeds and kosher behavior [that would otherwise stand in our favor].

Come and see. If Israel would acquire proper behavior before the Holy One blessed be He, the nations of the world would not be able to stand against them to cause them suffering. But it is Israel itself that causes the other peoples to raise up their heads in the world.

Because Israel doesn't lead a Torah orientated life, their sins cause the divine abundance to fall away from them and into the hands of the other nations of the world. The holy falls into the grasp of the profane that is thereby empowered and in accusing Israel of wrongdoing they seek to gain more power and wealth.

If Israel did not sin before the Holy One blessed be He, the other nations of the world would be submissive to them.

Here the Zohar explains the working behind the news. The Jews, if they stood firm in their abiding by Torah and mitzvot, would cause the divine abundance to be channeled through them and take all argument away from their enemies. Their enemies, realizing, even in a subconscious manner, that their strength is dependant on Israel's weakness, constantly try to depict their faults and bolster the righteousness of their enemies. The way to set this right is to return to G‑d and His commandments. This is a solution available to each and every Jew because of their status as a member of a people special to G‑d.

Zohar, parashat Vayechi 229b; translation and commentary by Simcha-Shmuel Treister

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