Shelosh Esreh Middot haRachamim
(The Thirteen Measures/Attributes of Mercy)
The 13 Attributes of Mercy are based on two verses in Exodus: “The L-RD! The L-RD! G-D, Compassionate and Gracious, Slow to anger and Abundant in Kindness and Truth, Preserver of kindness for thousands of generations, Forgiver of iniquity, willful sin, and error, and Who Cleanses (but does not cleanse completely, recalling the iniquity of parents upon children and grandchildren, to the third and fourth generations)” (34:6-7).
Hashem — compassion before a person sins;
Hashem — compassion after a person has sinned;
G-D — mighty in compassion, the force of mercy that sometimes surpasses the Name HaShem;
rachum — merciful, G-D eases the punishment of the guilty;
ve’chanun — and gracious, even to the undeserving;
erech apayim — slow to anger; so that the sinner can reconsider long before it is too late;
ve’rav chesed — and plenteous in kindness; towards those who lack personal merits. Also, if the scales of good and evil are evenly balanced, He tips the scales to the good.
ve’emet — and truth; G-D never renegs on His word.
notzer chesed laalafim — keeping kindness unto thousands; the deeds of the righteous benefit their offspring far into the future.
noseh avon — forgiving iniquity; G-D forgives the intentional sinner, if he repents.
vafeshah — and transgression; Even those who purposefully anger HaShem are allowed to repent.
VeChata’ah — and sin; This is a sin committed out of carelessness or apathy.
VeNakeh — and pardoning. G-D wipes away the sins of those who repent!