In the midst of a deep spiritual crises, the “golden calf” episode, the Creator revealed to Moses the “Thirteen Attributes of Compassion” (Exodus 34:6,7). Since then, invoking these “Thirteen Attributes” at opportune times have brought about the Creator’s unconditional forgiveness.
The “Date Palm of Deborah” is short book written by the renown Kabbalist Rabbi Moshe Cordovaro (1522 -1570). The main body of this work is a description of how each of the Creator’s “Thirteen Attributes of Compassion” has a human counterpart which can actually be practiced by people to forgive those who have hurt them. All human acts of forgiveness express one or more of these attributes.
For example, it’s commonplace for people who have been hurt by others to feel insulted. The concept underlying the first attribute of compassion addresses the insult cast at the Creator when people knowingly misuse His resources He kindly created to benefit humanity. These people abuse… the blessings to satisfy their short sighted selfishness, usually towards destructive ends. Their attitudes and actions taunt their Divine Benefactor. Yet, the Creator absorbs these insults and does not withhold His kindness from them. Humans can put this first attribute into practice by not withholding their kindness from those who have insulted them.
The idea that the “Thirteen Attributes of Compassion” can also be practiced on the human level carries amazing implications for our role in the world because by imitating the Creator’s Attributes we become channels to bring those Attributes down into the earthly realm. They already exist higher up in the spiritual reams. By forgiving others, we continue their chain of decent and birth them down here. This is especially poignant during this time of the year as Yom Kippur approaches – a general time for forgiveness.
So if the Creator has given me and you someone to forgive, He’s given us the opportunity to participate in this wonderful process of bringing His sweetness into the world this year. If our conscious minds would see it the way our souls do, we’d instantly recognize that we’ve been truly gifted!
Choni is a freelance writer who writes about a range of topics, but, especially loves to write about Jewish mysticism. Though he’s so far been a student of Jewish mysticism for about 26-27 years, he still considers himself a beginner.