I apologise if this a klotz kasher, but as Pirkei Avos 2:5 says:

וְלֹא הַבַּיְשָׁן לָמֵד

And a shy person can't learn

So here goes....

When we recite Avinu Malkeinu at this time of year i.e. the Aseres Yemei Teshuvah (10 Days of Repentance between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur), we repeat several phrases line-by-line after the shaliach tzibbur. The final five lines read as follow:

אָבִֽינוּ מַלְכֵּֽנוּ כָּתְבֵֽנוּ בְּסֵֽפֶר חַיִּים טוֹבִים - Our Father, Our King! inscribe us in the Book of the Good Life.

אָבִֽינוּ מַלְכֵּֽנוּ כָּתְבֵֽנוּ בְּסֵֽפֶר גְּאֻלָּה וִישׁוּעָה - Our Father, Our King! inscribe us in the Book of Redemption and Salvation.

אָבִֽינוּ מַלְכֵּֽנוּ כָּתְבֵֽנוּ בְּסֵֽפֶר פַּרְנָסָה וְכַלְכָּלָה - Our Father, Our King! inscribe us in the Book of Sustenance and Support.

אָבִֽינוּ מַלְכֵּֽנוּ כָּתְבֵֽנוּ בְּסֵֽפֶר זְכֻיּוֹת - Our Father, Our King! inscribe us in the Book of Merits.

אָבִֽינוּ מַלְכֵּֽנוּ כָּתְבֵֽנוּ בְּסֵֽפֶר סְלִיחָה וּמְחִילָה - Our Father, Our King! inscribe us in the Book of Forgiveness and Pardon.

So we ask Hashem that we be written in certain books so that we have a good year ahead. However, I have always been bothered by the fact that we ask for all the things we want, namely, a good life, redemption and salvation, sustenance and support, and for merits. However, we then end by asking that Hashem inscribe us into the book of forgiveness and pardon.

Would it not make sense to first ask that Hashem forgives our sins and then only ask for all the good things afterwards? Is it not like a child going shopping in a toy shop, returning with a whole bundle of things he wants and then apologising to his parent?

  • I feel that it can be explained (literarily) in either the first or last spot. In the last spot I would read it as "and if any of the above can't be guaranteed because of my behavior, can you please excuse the behavior (so that...)"
    – rosends
    Sep 13, 2021 at 17:11
  • 1
    IINM not every rite follows that order
    – Double AA
    Sep 13, 2021 at 17:54
  • To strengthen your question, indeed in the Shemoneh Esrei, for those requests that overlap, we first ask for forgiveness in blessing 6, and only then ask for redemption and sustenance in blessings 7 and 9 respectively.
    – Loewian
    Sep 13, 2021 at 17:56
  • @Loewian and we say tachanun after shmoneh esrei
    – rosends
    Sep 13, 2021 at 19:48
  • 1
    Actually we ask for mechila 3 times, in 3 different ways, before we start this section. Sellach Umechal, Mechei Vehaver, Mechok Brachamecha. Then we ask for everything we need and end off with selicha just like tachnun after davening
    – Chatzkel
    Sep 15, 2021 at 2:31

1 Answer 1


אדרבא had we first asked כתבינו בספר סליחה ומחילה and only then for everything else, it would have sounded like "the kid who apologizes to his parents only to ask them for a trip to the toy store".

Only by asking for the "toys" first are we showing that everything we get is a מתנת חנם that in truth we don't deserve anyway (regardless of apologizing), and only then can we sincerely ask for forgiveness.

IMHO anyway...


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