At the end of Chazaras HaShatz on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, we say a brief prayer that (in Nusach Ashkenaz) appears as follows:

אבינו מלכנו זכר רחמיך וכבוש כעסך וכלה דבר וחרב ורעב ושבי ומשחית ועון ומגפה ופגע רע וכל מחלה וכל תקלה וכל קטטה וכל מיני פרעניות וכל גזרה רעה ושנאת חנם מעלינו ומעל כל בני בריתך

Our Father, our King, remember Your compassion and suppress Your anger, bring an end to pestilence, bloodshed, famine, captivity, destruction, iniquity, plague, evil mishap, every illness, every obstacle, every strife, every sort of punishment, every evil decree, and baseless hatred from upon us and from upon all members of Your covenant.

The main theme of the passage seems to be that G-d should have mercy on us and withhold these terrible things from us. Under that reading, the two boldfaced terms seem out of place: sins are dependent on the sinner (“everything is in the hands of Heaven except for fear of Heaven” - Berachos 33b), and baseless hatred is dependent on the hater (one of his sins). So how can we say that HaShem should withhold these from us when it’s not up to Him?

I know some of you are pointing to “everything is in the hands of Heaven except for [diseases caused by] cold [and] hot” - Kesuvos 30a - which seems to indicate that I should ask on pestilence, plague, and sickness, but that Gemara is seemingly a narrow case; most diseases are, in fact, caused by things besides temperature, as that very Gemara proceeds to discuss. However, this question can be asked on the similar line in the standard Avinu Malkeinu prayer, כלה דבר וחרב ורעב ושבי ומשחית ועון ושמש מבני בריתך, but for the same reason cannot be asked on the following line, מנע מגפה מנחלתיך.

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    I believe some rites say a variant of this for all 10 days in that spot – Double AA Oct 1 '17 at 3:30
  • עון=ע-ו-ה "המעוות אינו יכול לתקון? – Isaac Kotlicky Oct 1 '17 at 3:44
  • @IsaacKotlicky I don’t follow. How are you attempting to translate the word? – DonielF Oct 1 '17 at 3:45
  • More "twisted" than actual iniquity. I.e. help preserve us from the twisted thinking that LEADS to sin. – Isaac Kotlicky Oct 1 '17 at 3:46
  • @IsaacKotlicky Interesting. Not usually how the word is translated (and I can’t think of a place where the word עון means anything but sin/iniquity/other fancy synonym, even while other words from the same root mean something else). – DonielF Oct 1 '17 at 4:23

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