Creation Language

“The heavens declare the glory of G-d; and the firmament sheweth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. – Psalms 19:1-2

G-d’s creation is interactive, in the sense that we can hear His voice echoed across the ages since the beginning of time. His words are everlasting, having the effect of bringing us into “right relationship with Him.” Over the course of one’s lifetime, we hopefully grow more mature, and increase in our understanding of the world. Yet, the beginning of wisdom is fear (awe, reverence, and respect) towards the L-RD. Therefore, we may know much, yet comprehend little of the universe, and its designs for the benefit of our spiritual growth. Pray that you will be enlightened to the wisdom from Above. May your soul flourish in His grace and bask in the light of His Presence. Amein.

reflections: Psalm 66

“Come and see the works of G-d.” – Psalms 66:5, JPS 1917 Tanach

The “works of G-d” include Yam Suf (Splitting of the Sea), when G-d “turned the sea into dry land;” and the crossing through the Jordan, when “they went through the river on foot.” These are examples of G-d’s mastery of His creation, what is often referred to today as nature. When outside in the natural world, viewing a sunset, or majestic mountains, let us recall the One who maintains the entire world. For, His essence is the reality behind all of the beauty of nature.

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Psalm 61: A Refuge in Exile

A Refuge in Exile: reflections on Psalm 61

It is interesting to note, that David’s flight into exile parallels the exiles of the Jewish people. Even today, during the current exile, we can learn from his words, in regard to the challenges that we face. For, we are indeed in exile, inasmuch that the Third Temple has yet to be built. So, even though, Israel has been a recreated state since 1948, many Jews still live outside of Israel in other countries around the world. The ingathering is not yet complete.

So, we may say with David, “May I take refuge in the shelter of your wings” (Psalms 61:5). Because, no matter where we live, the Shechinah, H’Shem’s Presence will be a refuge for the righteous. As is written elsewhere, “For He concealeth me in His pavilion in the day of evil; He hideth me in the covert of his tent; He lifteth me up upon a rock” (Psalms 27:5, JPS 1917 Tanach).

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reflections: Psalms 55:23

Tehillim (Psalms): reflections on the Psalms

“Cast thy burden upon the L-RD, and He will sustain thee.”

– Psalms 55:23, JPS 1917 Tanach

If we ourselves took responsibility for shouldering our burdens, without seeking help from H’Shem, how could we possibly bear our challenges in life? Even in seeking the help of others, if we do not also rely on the L-RD, then we are limiting ourselves and Him. It is as if we may unconsciously say to ourselves, H’Shem can not effectually change my situation for the better. Or, as is written in Torah, in no uncertain terms, “Is the arm of the L-RD too short?” (Numbers 11:23) So, we would do well to understand that H’Shem wants us to depend on Him. As is written, “in all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:6, JPS 1917 Tanach).

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Psalms: Day 1 – The Path

Tehillim: Day 1 (Psalms 1 – 9) for 1 Tammuz 5782

“Happy is the man that hath not walked in the counsel of the wicked, nor stood in the way of sinners, nor sat in the seat of the scornful.” – Psalm 1:1, JPS 1917 Tanach

“Notice that in these three are comprised all man’s position, either he walks or stands or sits.” – Radak on Psalms 1:1;

Where is the dividing line between the wicked and the sinful? And, can we sincerely count ourselves amongst the righteous? If the wicked sin intentionally, and the sinful are those who err by unintentional sins, because they are not careful, while travelling along the derech (path) of life, then where do we stand?

Incidentally, regarding, “nor stood in the way of sinners,” Radak further comments, that the righteous person “does not linger with, nor does he devote himself to them, neither does he remain in their company, lest he should learn of their works” (ibid.).

Moreover, the third category mentioned in the pasuk (verse), “nor sat in the seat of the scornful,” are the scorners, those who mockingly portray themselves as righteous, while degrading others.

If we can transcend all three of these negative categories, and root out any vestiges of similarities to these types of aveiros (sins), then we are “praiseworthy” in H’Shem’s eyes, even if we are not looked upon favorably by others.

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Tehillim (Psalms): Day 30

Reflections on the Psalms: Day 30, psalms 145-150

“He safeguards truth forever.” – Ps. 146:6

How reassuring that G-d has taken it upon Himself to place a guard around truth, to ultimately prevent the erosion, decay, and dissipation of His divinely inspired words, so that truth may be preserved, ultimately for the use of mankind. And, this current time cries out for truth.

So, He also keeps His attention focused on all human beings, as is written, alluding to us, “He counts the number of the stars” (147:4); that is to say how much moreso, does He cause His awareness to be placed upon our paths. And, when we stray from our individual course in life, He will bring back His “devout ones” (Ps. 148:14).

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Tonic for Mind & Body

“My heart and my flesh cry out to the living G-d.”

– Psalm 84:3

It is known to we, who pray to G-d in all sincerity, with heartfelt conviction, that our souls are nourished by Him, because He is the Source of renewal for our troubled selves. Yet, G-d is also a tonic for our body as well, so that both our heart (the seat of emotion, and biblically speaking, akin to the soul), and our body may yearn for His ever-flowing waters of refreshment. Although, at times we may flee like a bird soaring in flight, we will soon return to the place of our refuge, within the confines of our relationship to G-d (Psalm 84:4).

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Challenges in Life

“So we that are Thy people and the flock of Thy pasture will give Thee thanks for ever; we will tell of Thy praise to all generations.”

– Psalms 79:13, JPS 1917 Tanach

We are the sheep of your pasture, we will continue to express our gratitude, even as we suffer in exile (Psalm 79:13). L’dor vador, generation after generation, we will speak of our praise to H’Shem, despite our circumstances. For, the flow of time and history does not always appear to be favorable to us. While ostensibly, this seems to be the case, if deep within our hearts, we search in earnest, we shall find that all is for our ultimate good. As is implied elsewhere, that our journey is for our own good (Genesis 12:1).

How can we recognize this essential truth, in order to not backtrack upon our commitment made at Sinai – na’aseh v’nishmah (we will do, and we will understand)? Consider, that as we continue to observe the commandments, we will not only begin to better understand the nature of their benefit in our lives; rather, also, we will be able to comprehend how remaining on the derech (path) will continue to serve as a buttress against all the nisyanos (challenges) in our lives.

meditation: Psalm 69:8

a meditation inspired by the readings of the daily Tehillim:

Psalm 69:8, “Because for Thy sake I have borne reproach” (JPS). The Yehudim could have forfeited their status as Jews, by assimilating into the nations; however, because of our tenacity and devotion to H’Shem, we have gone against the tide of acculturation. Yet, we continue to suffer for our steadfast connection to Elokim, our unique relationship to G-d, and the primacy of the Temple in Jerusalem. Even so, we remain loyal to Torah, and the G-d of Israel, Who shall reign as King over all of the nations through Moshiach (Messiah).

“As for me, let my prayer be unto Thee, O L-RD, in an acceptable time; O G-d, in the abundance of Thy mercy, answer me with the truth of Thy salvation.” – Psalm 69:14, JPS