Last year I wrote briefly about the Thirteen Attributes of Divine Compassion in this blog posting:
That workshop from 2005 on this topic was one of my favorite workshops of all time, because I had to dive off the high dive into the topic itself in order to prepare the workshop content and format. Not just the topic, but also the Torah teaching and accompanying liturgy.
Adonai Adonai El rachum v'chanun erech apayim verav-chesed ve'emet, notser chesed
la-alafim, nosei avon vafesha v'chata-a v'nakei.
Adonai, Adonai, Source of compassion and grace, slow to anger, with tremendous [resources of] love & truth, Source of lovingkindness for generations, lifting up our guilt and transgressions, forgiving our imperfections & carelessness, purifying us & cleansing us.
I find myself resisting the word "sin" because it has so much yucky baggage. But I think that's the whole idea. We keep bumping into our egos and our shadows at every turn, and have yet another opportunity to learn compassion from a new perspective.
Since then, I feel a particular affinity for this liturgy, so when we chant it during services, I experience it so deeply and personally that it is completely disarming. And isn't that prayer at its best? Intimate, personal, meaningful rather than rote. K'eyn yehi ratzon–may it be so.