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Tomer Devora: Intro - Doing The 13 Middos
The Gemara in Rosh Hashana tells us that Hashem wrapped himself in a Talis like a Shaliach Tzibbur and revealed to Moshe the 13 middos. He said when Bnei Yisroel sins they should "do" before me the 13 middos and I will forgive them. I guarantee, says Hashem, that their Tefilos will not be returned empty.
The 13 middos are an integral part of our Tefila throughout the Yamim Noraim since they guarantee the success and acceptance of our prayers. However, point out the Baalei Mussar, Hashem does not say that we should "say" the 13 middos rather we should "do" the 13 middos.
Rav Moshe Kordevero says that by doing the 13 middos we emulate Hashem. By acting with these middos we become a Tzelem Elokim and we are Mikayem the mitzva of "V'Halachta B'Drachav" to go in Hashem's ways. He therefore composed a sefer called the Tomer Devora which explains each one of these middos and is a wonderful guide for us all year round and especially in the days of Elul and Tishrei.
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