Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
  Page title
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

The Sixth Blessing: Complete Forgiveness

“Forgive us, our Father, for we have erred; pardon us, our King, for we have willfully sinned; for You pardon and forgive. Blessed are You, Hashem, the Gracious One who pardons abundantly.”

The sixth blessing of Shemoneh Esrei is Selach lanu, in which we ask for complete forgiveness. We beg Hashem to wipe away our misdeeds, and pardon the dishonor we caused Him by transgressing His will. In doing so, we hope to do away with any barriers between us, so that nothing will prevent us from receiving His kindness.

“A king may not forgo his honor, but a father may forgo his honor” (Kesubos 17a). In both this blessing and the previous one, we address Hashem as our Father before calling Him our King. In doing so we hope that Hashem will focus on the father-child aspect of our relationship to Him, and overlook the dishonor to Him caused by our actions (Beis Yosef 115).

While saying the word “selach,” we should think about any specific transgression we may have done that day, and turn to Hashem in repentance. Some have the custom to tap twice on the area of their hearts with their fists, once when saying the word “chatanu” and once when saying “pashanu.” This gesture reminds us of vidui, confession, and helps arouse one’s heart to repentance while reciting these words.

On days when Tachanun is not recited (e.g. Rosh Chodesh or chol hamo’ed), one should not tap the chest while saying this blessing. Since this gesture resembles vidui, it is improper to do so on happy days when vidui is not said (Shelah, as cited in Siddur Yavetz; Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, as cited in Halichos Shlomo 11,45). Some authorities maintain that one should not tap the chest during evening services either, since Tachanun is not said at night (Shaarei Halacha U'Minhag, Orach Chaim 69).


Text Copyright © 2010 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and Torah.org


 






ARTICLES ON DEVARIM AND THE THREE WEEKS:

View Complete List

Harsh Hugs
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5765

Body Language
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5771

The Three Weeks: What Are We Trying to Achieve?
Rabbi Naphtali Hoff - 5768

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Why Do We Mourn?
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5756

Shabbos Chazon
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5762

Harnessing Powers
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5761

ArtScroll

The Purpose of the Fifth Book
Shlomo Katz - 5767

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5773

The Recognition of Shame
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5773

> About This We Cry!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5766

Look Deeper
Shlomo Katz - 5766

Eisav's Reward
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5759

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Taking Stock
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5757

Golden Opportunities
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5773

Choosing a Vision
- 5768

A Day of Rebuilding
Rabbi Label Lam - 5761



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information