In the Shema Koleinu prayer that we say during selichot, one of the lines goes like this:

אל תשליכנו לעת זקנה, ככלות כוחנו אל תעזבנו

Do not cast me away in the time of my old age; when my strength fails, do not forsake me.

Why would we be concerned that God would forsake us when we get old? What about old age are we worried would make us less desirable to God?

  • It's a good question. Not that you should compare G-d to man, but perhaps, David is making this exact point in Tehillim. When people get old, younger (and even older) people forget about them. They are happy to place them in a nursing home and have staff worry about them.
    – DanF
    Sep 24 '15 at 18:37

ט אַל-תַּשְׁלִיכֵנִי, לְעֵת זִקְנָה; כִּכְלוֹת כֹּחִי, אַל-תַּעַזְבֵנִי

9 Cast me not off in the time of old age; when my strength faileth, forsake me not.

י כִּי-אָמְרוּ אוֹיְבַי לִי; וְשֹׁמְרֵי נַפְשִׁי, נוֹעֲצוּ יַחְדָּו.

  1. For mine enemies speak concerning me, and they that watch for my soul take counsel together,

יא לֵאמֹר, אֱלֹהִים עֲזָבוֹ; רִדְפוּ וְתִפְשׂוּהוּ, כִּי-אֵין מַצִּיל.

  1. Saying: 'God hath forsaken him; pursue and take him; for there is none to deliver.'

This is Tehillim 71:9 Rashi says (my translation from Mikraos Gedolos)

If I become old with sins, that is to say, I do many sins.

Metzudas David says (my translation)

So that "they" shall not say that everything that I have accomplished in the past was because of my strength and Hashem did not do all of this and now that there is no more in my strength, in the time of old age, because my strength has ebbed.

It appears that this means that even though I have not atoned for all the sins that I have done during my lifetime or that the rewards that Hashem has granted me during my life exceeded that which I deserved, please do not punish me for my aveiros now. See the next few verses in which he says that his enemies would blame the misfortunes on there being no Hashem ("none to deliver")

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .