Rabbi Yehuda opened his discourse with the verse: "Please don't hold our previous iniquities in mind against us; let Your tender mercy come quickly to meet us for we have been greatly impoverished." (Psalms 79:8)

Come and see. Because of the great love that the Holy One Blessed be He has for Israel, no other Heavenly Court judges them other than He Himself. When He looks into their actions to judge them, He is filled with tender mercy, because He is like a father who has mercy on his children.

This is referred to in the verse: "As a father has mercy on his children, so the Lord has mercy on those who fear Him." (Psalms 103:13) When He finds that they have acted sinfully, He passes over those misdeeds, one after the other until they are all passed before Him. Now when they have all passed before Him, there are no more sins to review, and as a result the harmful forces of the "Other Side" have no source from which to harm Israel.

If Israel would only amass good deeds before G‑d, no people in the world would ever come against them…

However, if Israel's sins are brought to His attention again, then those sins that were at first passed over are reviewed again. This is why we pray that G‑d not "hold our previous iniquities in mind against us."

We pray that "Your tender mercies come quickly" because Israel would not be able to withstand the negative forces against them if this were not the case. This is because there are many possessing harsh judgements against Israel and many accusers on high waiting to ambush her spiritually. If G‑d didn't precede them to awaken mercy on behalf of Israel by removing their sins, they would not be able to exist in the physical world. This is the reason we plead "Come quickly to meet us with Your tender mercy because we have been greatly impoverished" - impoverished of good deeds and mitzvot.

Come and see. If Israel would only amass good deeds before G‑d, no people in the world would ever come against them. For it is the Jewish People who cause the nations to raise their head [in arrogance], for had the Jewish People not sinned before G‑d, the other nations would have been humbled before them.

The forces of evil are empowered by the divine abundance that should rightfully come to Israel but is displaced by their misdeeds. If not for our transgressions, all the other nations would be subservient to her.

Had the Jewish People not directed [divine sustenance] to the Other Side by her misdeeds in the Holy Land [Israel], then, as we have learned, foreign powers would never have ruled in the Holy Land, and they would not have been exiled from the Land. This is the meaning of the words "For we have been greatly impoverished", meaning that we don't have the proper degree of good deeds, therefore "we are greatly impoverished…" [and so we pray: May] "…Your tender mercies come quickly".

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

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