Forgiveness is compassion

סְלַח לָֽנוּ, אָבִֽינוּ, כִּי חָטָֽאנוּ, מְחַל לָֽנוּ, מַלְכֵּֽנוּ, כִּי פָשָֽׁעְנוּ, כִּי אֵל טוֹב וְסַלָּח אָֽתָּה. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, חַנּוּן הַמַּרְבֶּה לִסְלֹֽחַ

Pardon us, dear G!d: we transgress. Forgive us, our Monarch: with intent we offend. But You Forgive and we benefit. A blessing: You Are G!d. Forgivess is an act of Your Compassion. (Amida)

Every bracha (benediction) begins with the same three Hebrew words:

barukh atah yhvh

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ

Rabbi Jacob Emden (1697-1776) demonstrated that barukh is a noun rather than the past tense of a verb; “blessing” is correct. The common translation of “blessed are You” is absurd: G!d Blesses me, and surely I am not to bless G!d. When barukh is a noun I am lead to know that You Are G!d, for even (or especially) among the pious it is common to enter prayer as ish daht (mindful) rather than ish torah (soulful). Every bracha is less a cognitive experience than a spiritual one, and this blessing especially.


A chaplain, spiritual director, and educator, Arié Chark (“Reb Arie”) is Rector at The Metivta of Ottawa. A strong sense of personal mission has led Reb Arie to convene various civil society projects under the auspices of The Metivta of Ottawa, including the Ottawa Roundtable and the Abrahamic Chaplaincy Board.

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