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This is a powerful illustration of Hashem’s compassion – even for a man who has deadened his heart to pain. The heart still feels it, and Hashem considers that pain significant and counts it as partial punishment for the crime.

This Man Isn’t a Tzaddik

This point becomes even more salient because this man is no tzaddik. The Torah is describing a man who has veered off the Torah’s way. He is sneaking into his neighbor’s barn and committing a crime. Even so, Hashem has mercy on him and feels his pain, even more than he does himself. This stems from the love Hashem has for each of us. The extent that He cares for our good is even greater than the extent we care for ourselves.

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While this concept has many applications, it has particular relevance when we come to that rude awakening of “I have messed up.” At various points in our lives, we will reach the clarity to understand that we are human, and by design we have flaws and imperfections. With that recognition should also come the desire to correct our course and do teshuvah. Being aware that Hashem has infinite love and patience can allow us to embark on that most difficult task given to the human: growth, change and ultimately returning to our Creator, who loves us more than we can ever imagine.

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