The passuk states,”הנסתרות לה’ אלוקינו והנגלות לנו ולבנינו עד עולם that which is hidden is to Hashem our G-d and that which is revealed is to us and our children forever.” What are the נסתרות, hidden things, which are to Hashem, and what are the נגלות, revealed things, that are to us and our children? Rashi explains the revealed things refer to aveiros which are seen and noticed by people. We must remove the bad from our midst, and if we don’t get rid of the bad, Hashem will punish us. Each Yid is a cosigner for another Yid and is responsible for him. The hidden things refer to aveiros which people do secretively, without anyone else knowing, such as an aveira which is transgressed with one’s thought. A person does not know another person’s thoughts and is unable to know that he sinned. The Ramban specifies, if one does idolatry in hiding where no one sees; although we are unaware and can’t do anything about it, Hashem knows and will punish him.
Onkelos translates הנסתרות לה’ אלוקינו as “that which is hidden, is before Hashem our G-d.” The Ramban explains this refers to sins that are hidden from the person who transgressed them, the person himself is unaware that he sinned. This is as it states שגיאות מי יבין מנסתרות נקני who knows about accidental sins, clean me from the hidden aveiros. These are sins which are not known to those who did them, however they are known to Hashem. For the aveiros which are נגלות, known intentional sins, one will be punished with the curse stated in these pessukim. However נסתרות, hidden aveiros which one isn’t aware that he transgressed, will not be included in the curse mentioned in this parsha.
On Yom Kippur we confess our sins and we repent with the al chaits. At the end of the al chaits it says, “The aveiros which we know about and those aveiros which we do not know about. For those which we know about we already confessed and asked for forgiveness, and for those which we don’t know about, before You they are revealed and known as it states הנסתרות לה’ אלקינו.” So too in the selichos we mention this point as well, Hashem knows about everything even the sins which we did not notice ourselves. We see that not only are we responsible for sins that we aware of, but we are also responsible for sins that we are unaware of. On Rosh Hashanah we mention Hashem’s zichronos. Hashem remembers everything, from the beginning of creation, all that already happened, and even things which we do not realize that happened, by sinning without even knowing. Everything is known to Hashem, and a person is responsible for every action, no matter what.
Rashi says that if for an aveira without awareness one is responsible, for doing something good without awareness one certainly will receive credit. The passuk states “When you are harvesting and you will forget an omer in the field, do not return to take it; it shall be for the convert, the orphan, and widow, in order that you will be blessed.” Rebi Eliezer ben Azarya says the passuk gives bracha to one who did a mitzvah without knowing. From here it is derived that if one had a coin tied in his garment which fell out, and a poor person found it and is supported from it, Hashem will give him bracha. Hashem is aware of every act that is done and He will compensate accordingly.
May we recognize that Hashem sees and remembers everything, and act accordingly!