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 LECH LECHA:

View Complete List

Reaching for Perfection
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5761

I Too Was Struck
Rabbi Label Lam - 5768

Priorities Confused
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5759

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

The Moral of the Story
Shlomo Katz - 5768

Cloudy Vision
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5768

Connoisseur's Delight
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5762

Looking for a Chavrusah?

The Kindness Factor
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5769

That Fire Within
Rabbi Label Lam - 5765

Spiritual Yichus
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5764

ArtScroll

A "Sneak Preview" of History
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5761

Neither a Thread Nor a Shoelace
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5756

Redefining Pleasure
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5772

> The Lesson of Avraham
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5763

Reward May Come
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5760

Paradoxical Lot
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5758

Abraham's Dwelling
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5765



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