חוס ורחם עלינו
SPARE AND HAVE PITY ON US
“חוס”, “spare”, can be said even on something which is not beloved, as it states, “ואני לא אחוס על נינוה העיר הגדולה”, “Shall I not spare Nineveh the great city” (Yonah 4:11). “רחם”, however, is an expression which denotes “love”. We first request of Hashem to spare us, just as one would spare a vessel, not out of pity, but because of the loss of its function and purpose. But then we go on and request also רחם, that Hashem remember His love for us, and that He have pity and compassion upon His beloved children, Yisroel.