יִתַּמּוּ חַטָּאִים מִן־הָאָרֶץ וּרְשָׁעִים עוֹד אֵינָם בָּרֲכִי נַפְשִׁי אֶת־יְהוָה הַלְלוּ־יָהּ Hear the verse in Hebrew
yi-TA-mu kha-ta-EEM min ha-A-retz ur-sha-EEM OD ay-NAM ba-r’-KHEE naf-SHEE et a-do-NAI ha-l’-lu-YAH
May Sinners Disappear From the Earth
Jewish tradition tells a story about a remarkable woman name Bruriah, who lived in the Land of Israel shortly after the second Temple period with her husband, the great sage Rabbi Meir. Rabbi Meir had been abused by vagrants, and prayed for their destruction. Bruriah quoted this psalm, and noted that the above verse should be understood as saying, "May sins disappear from the earth," and does not wish for the actual destruction of the sinners themselves. Once their evil behavior ends, they will no longer be sinners, for they will return to Hashem (God). Rabbi Meir accepted his wife's advice and prayed for his enemies to repent. Hashem accepted his prayers and the sinners returned from their evil ways.