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Chasdei Hashem: The First of the 13 Attributes of Mercy

“Whoever is wise let him note these things, and they will comprehend the kindnesses of God.” (Psalms 107:43) “And Yours, O My Master, is kindness, for you repay each man according to his deeds.” (Psalms 62:13)

The first path to explain the verse, “And Yours, O My Master, is kindness,” is based on the first of the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy (according to Rashi’s order,): “Hashem,” this is the Attribute of Compassion that is used even before a person sins.

God rewards a person for good intentions. If a person intended to perform a mitzvah and then could not because of circumstances, is credited as if he actually performed the Mitzvah. God even credits the person with the effort that would have been necessary to fulfill his intention.

This is the meaning of, “And Yours, O My Master, is kindness,” that reward from You is not only based on deed, but intention; “for you repay each man according to his deeds,” as if the deed was a reality.

However, God’s mercy that considers intention, does not consider one’s intention to sin. God will only punish for an action, not an evil intention.

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