י״ג מידות

We read of the sin of the Golden Calf this past Shabbat and Moshe’s efforts to achieve forgiveness for the Jewish people.

It is a bit surprising how Moshe was able to use his dialogue with Hashem to learn a great deal about His essence. Moshe is told that no man can see G-d and live. And he was shown the back of תפילין.

Moshe was also taught the strength of the utterance of the י״ג מידות, or 13 attributes of Hashem.

The Talmud in מסכת ראש השנה says that there was a covenant made at that time. There was a kind of magic in mentioning these thirteen attributes. The covenant was that one who prayed using these names, would never come back empty handed.

He would be successful in changing the judgement against him from דין, strict justice, to רחמים, mercy. When there is רחמים, there is a chance for salvation. דין is very difficult to overcome.

This lesson applies today as well as we reach out to Hashem in sincere prayer.