God’s 13 Attributes of Mercy | 13 Middot of Hashem

Rabbeinu Bachaye says: “Whoever understands the 13 attributes and the meaning behind them, and prays with concentration, all his prayers will be answered, unless his his sins obstruct the way”

It is written in Shaarei Teshuva: “It is forbidden to mention the 13 Attributes without Kavana/proper intent”

ה׳ ,ה׳ – “I am there before he sins and after he sins” Hashem gives us a world to live in comfortably and provides all our necessities. Even after one sins and does teshuva/repentance, He sustains him with the closeness as before the sin.

א-ל – The name of E-L denotes strength mixed with compassion. He applies his kindness beyond one’s necessities by providing the world with many luxuries on a consistent basis. (Green Grass, Red Apples, etc)

רחום – Before the difficulty/punishment begins, G-d finds reason to forgive. (Unlike the idea of philosophers that G-d is too great to be concerned with the common man) G-d gets involved even before He is called upon for help.

וחנון – In the midst of a difficult time, G-d subdues the gravity of the punishment, like a father to his son. He shows signs of compassion to the person who is presently suffering.

ארך אפיים – G-d draws out his wrath to give the sinner time to repent (both the righteous and the wicked). Even though the sin is not just a rebellion to the King, but a sickness to the person’s body that requires immediate attention. Hashem nonetheless draws it out over time.

ורב חסד – Within the letter of the law itself (without the use of special compassion), G-d finds the good side to prove that the sinner is innocent, or diminish the severity of the sin.

ואמת – Gives the ultimate reward to those who do His will. (i.e, the next world)
[One must always look deeper than what meets the eye, to find the truth.]

נוצר חסד לאלפים – G-d sustains the good one does for his future generations. Even though he receives his reward, the merit still remains.

נושא עוון – Even when one doesn’t do proper teshuva/repentance, and therefore the sin must remain intact. G-d contains the iniquity itself so that it will not take retribution.

ופשע – Even when one is rebellious and sins with intent to rebel against Hashem, He still contains his sins.

וחטאה – An inadvertent sin where one doesn’t think what he did was so bad, and as a result doesn’t do proper teshuva is also contained.

ונקה – Even when one did teshuva only regarding a specific sin but not on his other sins, he is still forgiven for that sin completely.

Credit: Rabbi David Genish