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Sunday September 13
Today is the twenty fourth day of Elul!
Last night we began saying Selichot.  The centrepiece of selichot is the 13 Midot, 13 Attributes of Hashem’s Mercy mentioned after the sin of the Golden Calf at Har Sinai in Parashat Ki Tisa: “L‑rd, L‑rd, benevolent G‑d, Who is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness and truth, preserving lovingkindness for thousands, forgiving iniquity, rebellion and sin, and He pardons” The verse begins with two mentions of Hashem’s name “Hashem, Hashem…”  Rishonim debate the question of whether we count these two words as two attributes, a single attribute, or no attributes. But no matter what the technical count, Chazal (Gemara RH 17b) explain that Hashem repeats his name twice when telling us the secret to forgiveness after we sinned to reinforce to us that 
א"ר יוחנן... ה' ה' אני הוא קודם שיחטא האדם ואני הוא לאחר שיחטא האדם ויעשה תשובה... 
“I am HaShem before one sins, and I am Hashem after one sins if he repents.”  Aside from being unendingly compassionate, Hashem is also unchanging.  We are the ones that change...and not always for the best!  Hashem is our rock and our anchor and the one we must turn to the most intimes when life feels unsteady and uncertain.  I truly feel that fragility of life these days and hope that together with all of you we can turn to Hashem for help and stability.

Fri, September 18 2020 29 Elul 5780