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Slichot

written by Asher Intrater
August 30, 2013

This August marks the 6th month of the Jewish calendar, Elul. The month is seen as a preparation for the holy days (Trumpets, Atonement and Tabernacles) in the 7th month, Tishrei. During Elul, Orthodox Jews rise while it is still dark to chant a series of prayers called, Slichot. 

Slichot is the plural of the word for “forgiveness” – Slicha. Rising early to chant these prayers indicates an impressive discipline and commitment by our Orthodox neighbors.

During this “forgiveness” month, former chief Sephardic Rabbi Amar went to visit senior Sephardic leader, Rabbi Yoseph, to ask forgiveness for an offense. Sadly, Yoseph refused even to shake his hand and sent Amar home disgraced.

How easy it is for us to teach about forgiveness, yet how difficult it is to actually do it. One of the foundations of our faith is this simple “triangle” of forgiveness:

  1. ask forgiveness of God for our sins,
  2. ask others to forgive us when we sin against them,
  3. forgive others who have sinned against us.

Matthew 7:3
Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own?

It is easy to see the faults of others, yet virtually impossible to see our own. Almost everyone else is aware of your faults except you. How quick we are to point out others’ faults, yet refuse to hear or consider the pleas of others to repent of our own.

Matthew 6:14-15
If you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive yours.

There is a “mechanism of grace” that is being offered here. We all have sins that we are not aware of, and other sins that we do not overcome with perfection. In both of those cases, we can put grace into operation toward ourselves by forgiving those around us.

Yeshua told us to forgive others up to seventy times seven (Matthew 18:22; Genesis 4:24). Does that seem like a lot? By the same measure, we can be forgiven of our own sins seventy-seven fold as well.

Asher serves as president of Tikkun Global family of ministries and congregations, dedicated to the dual restoration of Israel and the Church. He is founder of the Revive Israel five-fold ministry team, and oversees both Ahavat Yeshua and Tiferet Yeshua congregations in Israel.

He and his wife Betty share a passion for personal prayer and devotion, local evangelism and discipleship in Hebrew, and unity of the Body of believers worldwide.

Asher was raised in a conservative Jewish home and holds degrees from Harvard University, Baltimore Hebrew College and Messiah Biblical Institute. He has authored numerous books, tracts and articles.

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