Why do we have a blessing for forgiveness in the Silent Prayer?

Why include one Bracha for repentance and one for forgiveness?

Contact Editor
Rabbi Jesse Horn,

Rabbi Jesse Horn
Rabbi Jesse Horn
INN:JH

Although understanding the Bracha blessing of Teshuva repentance (Hashevanu Avinu return us our father), found in the Amidah part of Tefilla prayer, seems simple and perhaps intuitive, the fact that Selicha forgiveness (Selach Lanu forgive us) is separated into a distinct Bracha, one must wonder what the difference is?  What is the theme of each Bracha?  Why include one Bracha for repentance and one for forgiveness?

The strange concluding phrase may be the clue and insight into this Bracha’s nature.  In contrast to many Brachot, where we conclude with what Hashem does (for example Chonen Hadaat giver of knowledge, or Boneh Yerushalayim (re)builder of Jerusalem), here we mention what Hashem wants HaRotzeh B’Teshuva He wants repentance.  Why?

Additionally, there is another strange phraseology that may also serve as a indication to the Bracha’s heart.  We conclude the final Bracha “HaRotzeh B’Teshuva” with a “Bet”?  We are not declaring that Hashem wants Teshuva, but something “B’Teshuva.”  

Understanding the language of “HaRotzeh B’Teshuva” may serve as a great starting point.  Here Hashem does not want Teshuva as an ends, but rather as a means.  He wants something else, and He wants it via Teshuva.  What then does He want?  Closeness.  Hashem desires a relationship with Him via Teshuva.  Teshuva is the means, while closeness to Hashem is the ends.

In light of this, we can also explain why here we describe Hashem with what He wants as opposed to what He does.  Selicha is about removing the specific sins.  By contrast, Teshuva deals with drawing close to Hashem by improving who we are, by repenting, with Teshuva.  This is the natural step before Selicha.  

Once I am moving forward and drawing closed to Hashem, I can then ask Him to forgive my sins.  Once I am moving in the right direction, I can ask Hashem to remove the impediments and obstructions, called sin, along the way.


 








top