Tehillim Sixty Nine

An awe-inspiring and wondrous prayer, David composed this psalm referring to a future event, when Sennacherib would surround Jerusalem on Passover, during the reign of Hezekiah. He also prophesies about the good we will enjoy during the Messianic era.

The above Kavenah is a traditional Kavenah to use when saying this Psalm.

The first word is LamnatzaAch. Please refer to the introduction in Yearning for Redemption PDF file, starting at page 6, for more information.

There are 37 verses in Psalm 69. 37 is a number that connects to the "concealed aspect of the Sefirah Binah". This comes from the spelled out Name of HaShem that relates to HaShem.

We say 64 verses on day 12 of the "monthly cycle. 64 is the gematria of the words that translate as "and you all come" and "and Noach" - "and hope". There are many other words with this ngematria as well.

  • Psalms 1 to 150 in Hebrew and English: When opened scroll to chapter 69
  • Psalms 1 to 150 in Hebrew and English - Translation by Rabbi Avraham Sutton: When opened scroll to chapter 69
  • Nitzevet, Mother of David

    The bold voice of silence

    By Chana Weisberg

    Psalm 69

    Verse numbers are chanoch best quess since the Hebrew is not provided.

    2. Save me, O Gd, for the waters threaten to engulf me . . .

    3. I am wearied by my calling out, and my throat is dry. I’ve lost hope in waiting . . .

    5. More numerous than the hairs on my head are those who hate me without reason . . .

    5a. Must I then repay what I have not stolen?

    5b. Mighty are those who would cut me down, who are my enemies without cause . . .

    6. O Gd, You know my folly, and my unintended wrongs are not hidden from You . . .

    8. It is for Your sake that I have borne disgrace, that humiliation covers my face.

    9. I have become a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my mother’s sons.

    chanoch adds:In the verse number 9, in the psalm, where David says he was a “stranger” to his brothers, the Hebrew word for stranger, muzar, is from the same root as mamzer—bastard, illegitimate offspring.

    10. Out of envy for Your House, they ravaged me; the disgraces of those who revile You have fallen upon me . . .

    13. Those who sit by the gate talk about me. I am the taunt of drunkards . . .

    21. Disgrace breaks my heart, and I am left deathly sick.

    21a. I hope for solace, but there is none; and for someone to comfort me, but I find no one.

    22. They put gall into my meal, and give me vinegar to quench my thirst . . .

    Psalm 69 Translation taken from The Living Nach, published by Moznaim.

    This psalm describes the life of a poor, despised and lowly individual, who lacks even a single friend to comfort him. It is the voice of a tormented soul who has experienced untold humiliation and disgrace. Through no apparent cause of his own, he is surrounded by enemies who wish to cut him down; even his own brothers are strangers to him, ravaging and reviling him.

    Amazingly, this is the voice of the mighty King David, righteous and beloved servant of Gd, feared and awed by all.

    King David had many challenges throughout his life. But at what point did this great individual feel so alone, so disgraced, and so undeserving of love and friendship?

    What caused King David to face such an intense ignominy, to be shunned by his own brothers in his home (“I have become a stranger to my brothers”), by the Torah sages who sat in judgment at the gates (“those who sit by the gate talk about me”) and by the drunkards on the street corners (“I am the taunt of drunkards”)? What had King David done to arouse such ire and contempt? And was there no one, at this time in his life, who would provide him with love, comfort and friendship?

    This psalm, in which King David passionately gives voice to the heaviest burdens of his soul, refers to a period of twenty-eight years, from his earliest childhood until he was coronated as king of the people of Israel by the prophet Samuel.

    David was born into the illustrious family of Yishai (Jesse), who served as the head of the sanhedrin (supreme court of Torah law), and was one of the most distinguished leaders of his generation. Yishai was a man of such greatness that the Talmud (Shabbat 55b) observes that “Yishai was one of only four righteous individuals who died solely due to the instigation of the serpent”—i.e., only because death was decreed upon the human race when Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge at the serpent’s instigation, not due to any sin or flaw of his own. David was the youngest in his family, which included seven other illustrious and charismatic brothers.

    Yet, when David was born, this prominent family greeted his birth with utter derision and contempt. As David describes quite literally in the psalm, “I was a stranger to my brothers, a foreigner to my mother’s sons . . . they put gall in my meal, and gave me vinegar to quench my thirst.”

    David was not permitted to eat with the rest of his family, but was assigned to a separate table in the corner. He was given the task of shepherd because “they hoped that a wild beast would come and kill him while he was performing his duties,”comment by Siftei Kohen, on Parasha Vayeshev and for this reason was sent to pasture in dangerous areas full of lions and bears. See First Samuel 17:34–36

    Only one individual throughout David’s youth was pained by his unjustified plight, and felt a deep and unconditional bond of love for the child whom she alone knew was undoubtedly pure.

    This was King David’s mother, Nitzevet bat Adael, who felt the intensity of her youngest child’s pain and rejection as her own.

    Torn and anguished by David’s unwarranted degradation, yet powerless to stop it, Nitzevet stood by the sidelines, in solidarity with him, shunned herself, as she too cried rivers of tears, awaiting the time when justice would be served.

    It would take twenty-eight long years of assault and rejection, suffering and degradation until that justice would finally begin to materialize.

    David’s Birth

    Why was the young David so reviled by his brothers and people?

    To understand the hatred directed toward David, we need to investigate the inner workings behind the events, the secret episodes that aren’t recorded in the prophetic books but are alluded to in Midrashim. The story and concepts in this chapter are based on Yalkut HaMachiri, as well as Sefer HaTodaah (section on Sivan and Shavuot). See also an interesting English rendition in the book Don’t Give Up, pp. 187ff.

    David’s father, Yishai, was the grandson of Boaz and Ruth. After several years of marriage to his wife, Nitzevet, and after having raised several virtuous children, Yishai began to entertain personal doubts about his ancestry. True, he was the leading Torah authority of his day, but his grandmother Ruth was a convert from the nation of Moab, as related in the book of Ruth.

    During Ruth’s lifetime, many individuals were doubtful about the legitimacy of her marriage to Boaz. The Torah specifically forbids an Israelite to marry a Moabite convert, since this is the nation that cruelly refused the Jewish people passage through their land, or food and drink to purchase, when they wandered in the desert after being freed from Egypt.

    chanoch adds: Why would a Talmid Chacham entertain doubts about his or her lineage? This comes from a desire to get closern to HaShem by changing oneelf and grow spiritually. The Book of Ruth says that Ruth lay down at the feet of Boaz. He was not intimate at that time. Boaz was intimate with Ruth on his wedding night to her. Boaz died after this intimacy. A Talmid Chacham would question the following: Did he die because the law regarding a Moabitess was the same as for a male Moabite or due to his tikune being completed?

    Boaz and the sages understood this law—as per the classic interpretation transmitted in the “Oral Torah”—as forbidding intermarriage with converted male Moabites (who were the ones responsible for the cruel conduct), while exempting female Moabite converts. With his marriage to Ruth, Boaz hoped to clarify and publicize this Torah law, which was still unknown to the masses.

    Boaz died the night after his marriage with Ruth. Ruth had conceived and subsequently gave birth to their son Oved, the father of Yishai. Some rabble-rousers at the time claimed that Boaz’s death verified that his marriage to Ruth the Moabite had indeed been forbidden.

    Time would prove differently. Once Oved (so called because he was a true oved, servant of Gd), and later Yishai and his offspring, were born, their righteous conduct and prestigious positions proved the legitimacy of their ancestry. It was impossible that men of such caliber could have descended from a forbidden union.

    However, later in his life, doubt gripped at Yishai’s heart, gnawing away at the very foundation of his existence. Being the sincere individual that he was, his integrity compelled him to action.

    If Yishai’s status was questionable, he was not permitted to remain married to his wife, a veritable Israelite. Disregarding the personal sacrifice, Yishai decided the only solution would be to separate from her, no longer engaging in marital relations. Yishai’s children were aware of this separation.

    After a number of years had passed, Yishai longed for a child whose ancestry would be unquestionable. His plan was to engage in relations with his Canaanite maidservant.

    He said to her: “I will be freeing you conditionally. If my status as a Jew is legitimate, then you are freed as a proper Jewish convert to marry me. If, however, my status is blemished and I have the legal status of a Moabite convert forbidden to marry an Israelite, I am not giving you your freedom; but as a shifchah k’naanit, a Canaanite maidservant, you may marry a Moabite convert.”

    The maidservant was aware of the anguish of her mistress, Nitzevet. She understood her pain in being separated from her husband for so many years. She knew, as well, of Nitzevet’s longing for more children.

    The empathetic maidservant secretly approached Nitzevet and informed her of Yishai’s plan, suggesting a bold counterplan.

    “Let us learn from your ancestresses and replicate their actions. Switch places with me tonight, just as Leah did with Rachel,” she advised.

    With a prayer on her lips that her plan succeed, Nitzevet took the place of her maidservant. That night, Nitzevet conceived. Yishai remained unaware of the switch.

    After three months, Nitzevet’s pregnancy became obvious. Incensed, her sons wished to kill their apparently adulterous mother and the “illegitimate” fetus that she carried. Nitzevet, for her part, would not embarrass her husband by revealing the truth of what had occurred. Like her ancestress Tamar, who was prepared to be burned alive rather than embarrass Judah, See Genesis ch. 38, and Midrashim and commentaries on that chapter.

    Nitzevet chose a vow of silence. And like Tamar, Nitzevet would be rewarded for her silence with a child of greatness who would be the forebear of Moshiach.

    Unaware of the truth behind his wife’s pregnancy, but having compassion on her, Yishai ordered his sons not to touch her. “Do not kill her! Instead, let the child that will be born be treated as a lowly and despised servant. In this way everyone will realize that his status is questionable and, as an illegitimate child, he will not marry an Israelite.”

    From the time of his birth onwards, then, Nitzevet’s son was treated by his brothers as an abominable outcast.In the verse in the psalm where David says he was a “stranger” to his brothers, the Hebrew word for stranger, muzar, is from the same root as mamzer—bastard, illegitimate offspring.

    Noting the conduct of his brothers, the rest of the community assumed that this youth was a treacherous sinner full of unspeakable guilt.

    On the infrequent occasions that Nitzevet’s son would return from the pastures to his home in Beit Lechem (Bethlehem), he was shunned by the townspeople. If something was lost or stolen, he was accused as the natural culprit, and ordered, in the words of the psalm, to “repay what I have not stolen.”

    Eventually, the entire lineage of Yishai was questioned, as well as the basis of the original law of the Moabite convert. People claimed that all the positive qualities of Boaz became manifest in Yishai and his illustrious seven sons, while all the negative character traits from Ruth the Moabite clung to this despicable youngest son.

    Anointing King David

    We are first introduced to David when the prophet Samuel is commanded to go to Beit Lechem to anoint a new king, to replace the rejected King Saul.

    Samuel arrives in Beit Lechem, and the elders of the city come out to greet him, nervous at this unusual and unexpected visit, since the elderly prophet had stopped circulating throughout the land. The elders feared that Samuel had heard about a grievous sin that was taking place in their city. Commentaries of Radak and Abarbanel to First Samuel 16:3. Perhaps he had come to rebuke them over the behavior of Yishai’s despised shepherd boy, living in their midst.

    Samuel declared, however, that he had come in peace, and asked the elders, and Yishai and his sons, to join him for a sacrificial feast. As an elder, it was natural for Yishai to be invited; but when his sons were inexplicably also invited, they worried that perhaps the prophet had come to publicly reveal the embarrassing and illegitimate origins of their brother. Unbeknownst to them, Samuel would anoint the new king of Israel at this feast. All that had been revealed to the prophet at this point was that the new king would be a son of Yishai.

    chanoch adds: Below is the process evaluating the future King of nIsrael by Samuel the Prophet. Why do you think this process is necessary?

    When they came, Samuel saw Eliav (Yishai’s oldest son), and he thought, “Surely Gd’s anointed stands before Him!”

    But Gd said to Samuel, “Don’t look at his appearance or his great height, for I have rejected him. Gd does not see with mere eyes, like a man does. Gd sees the heart!”

    Then Yishai called Avinadav (his second son), and made him pass before Samuel. He said: “Gd did not choose this one either.”

    Yishai made Shammah pass, and Samuel said, “Gd has not chosen this one either.”

    Yishai had his seven sons pass before Samuel. Samuel said to Yishai, “Gd has not chosen any of them.”

    At last Samuel said to Yishai, “Are there no lads remaining?”

    He answered, “A small one is left; he is taking care of the sheep.”

    So Samuel said to him, “Send for him and have him brought; we will not stir until he comes here.”

    So he sent for him and had him brought. He was of ruddy complexion with red hair, beautiful eyes, and handsome to look at.

    Gd said: “Rise up, anoint him, for this is the one!” (I Samuel 16:6–12)

    The Small One, Left Behind

    As Samuel laid his eyes on Yishai’s eldest son, he was certain that this was the future king of Israel. Tall, handsome and distinguished, Eliav was the one whom Samuel was ready to anoint, until Gd reprimanded Samuel to look not at the outside but at the inside.

    chanoch adds: A short while after this coronation feast, David was instructed by his father to visit Eliav at the battlefield. A war with the Philistines was imminent, and Eliav lashed out in anger at David. This tendency to anger disqualified Eliav now from the throne. (This event occurred after David was anointed as king. However, according to the commentaries, it is possible that they didn’t understand the implications of the anointing, assuming that Samuel had designated David as a new student in his school of prophecy. Though this was an honor, and an act that would validate David’s lineage, only once David actually became king over the entire nation did his brothers realize his true greatness.

    chanoch adds additional comment: Samuel the Prophet lived a long time and includes the souls of Pinchas – Nadav – Avihu – Eliyahu HaTishbi as Iburim – pregnant soul incarnation as taught in our Advanced Reincarnation classes. With all that wisdom and life experience how can it be that Samuel judges people by the exterior and not the inner essence? There are two spiritual teachings that apply. One is an Ibur may leave the peron if an event does not inude their tikune. Two the connection to Hshem and / or Schechinah may be silent ifnthe event has to do with their tikune. As a prophet raised in then Holiness and sanctity of the Mishkan and Ohel Moed Samuel may have become disoriented by the loss of the Iburim and the resounding silence. After all even a prophet is human.

    No longer did Samuel make any assumptions of his own, but he waited to be told who was to become the next king. All the seven sons of Yishai had passed before Samuel, and none of them had been chosen.

    “Are these all the lads?” Samuel asked. Samuel prophetically chose his words carefully. Had he asked if these were all Yishai’s sons, Yishai would have answered affirmatively, that there were no more of his sons, since David was not given the status of a son.

    Instead, Yishai answered, “A small one is left; he is taking care of the sheep.” David’s status was small in Yishai’s eyes. He was hoping that Samuel would allow David to remain where he was, out of trouble, tending to the sheep in the faraway pastures.

    But Samuel ordered that David immediately be summoned to the feast. A messenger was dispatched to David who, out of respect for the prophet, first went home to wash himself and change his clothes. Unaccustomed to seeing David home at such a time, Nitzevet inquired, “Why did you come home in the middle of the day?”

    David explained the reason, and Nitzevet answered, “If so, I too am accompanying you.”

    As David arrived, Samuel saw a man “of ruddy complexion, with red hair, beautiful eyes, and handsome to look at.” David’s physical appearance alludes to the differing aspects of his personality. His ruddiness suggests a warlike nature, while his eyes and general appearance indicate kindness and gentility. This is based on a commentary by the commentator Malbim

    At first Samuel doubted whether David could be the one worthy of the kingship, a forerunner of the dynasty that would lead the Jewish people to the end of time. He thought to himself, “This one will shed blood as did the red-headed Esau.” Bereishit Rabbah 63:8.

    Gd saw, however, that David’s greatness was that he would direct his aggressiveness toward positive aims. Gd commanded Samuel, “My anointed one is standing before you, and you remain seated? Arise and anoint David without delay! For he is the one I have chosen!” Midrash Tanchuma, Va’eira 6.

    As Samuel held the horn of oil, it bubbled, as if it could not wait to drop onto David’s forehead. When Samuel anointed him, the oil hardened and glistened like pearls and precious stones, and the horn remained full.

    As Samuel anointed David, the sound of weeping could be heard from outside the great hall. It was the voice of Nitzevet, David’s lone supporter and solitary source of comfort.

    Her twenty-eight long years of silence in the face of humiliation were finally coming to a close. At last, all would see that the lineage of her youngest son was pure, undefiled by any blemish. Finally, the anguish and humiliation that she and her son had borne would come to an end.

    Facing her other sons, Nitzevet exclaimed, “The stone that was reviled by the builders has now become the cornerstone!” (Psalms 118:22)

    chanoch adds from a footnote: The Hebrew word in this verse for “builders,” bonim, is the same root as the word for “sons.”

    Humbled, they responded, “This has come from Gd; it was hidden from our eyes” (Psalms, verse 23).

    Those in the hall cried out in unison, “Long live the king! Long live the king!” Within moments, the once-reviled shepherd boy became the anointed future king of Israel.

    chanoch adds: I have finally understood why it was necessary for others to gift years of life to King David. The 28 years of suffering as “not being Yishai son taught King David to control his angern and generaln blood thirstyness. Adam's 70 years of daylight gave him Chesed while then others gifted then corrected years of night.

    Nitzevet’s Legacy

    King David would have many more trials to face until he was acknowledged by the entire nation as the new monarch to replace King Saul. During his kingship, and throughout his life, up until his old age, King David faced many ordeals.

    King David possessed many great talents and qualities which would assist him in attaining the tremendous achievements of his lifetime. Many of these positive qualities were inherited from his illustrious father, Yishai, after whom he is fondly and respectfully called ben Yishai, the son of Yishai.

    But it was undoubtedly from his mother that the young David absorbed the fortitude and courage to face his adversaries. From the moment he was born, and during his most tender years, it was Nitzevet who, by example, taught him the essential lesson of valuing every individual’s dignity and refraining from embarrassing another, regardless of the personal consequences. It was she who displayed a silent but stoic bravery and dignity in the face of the gravest hardship.

    It is from Nitzevet that King David absorbed the strength, born from an inner confidence, to disregard the callous treatment of the world and find solace in the comfort of one’s Maker. It was this strength that would fortify King David to defeat his staunchest antagonists and his most treacherous enemies, as he valiantly fought against the mightiest warriors on behalf of his people.

    Nitzevet taught her young child to find strength in following the path of one’s inner convictions, irrespective of the cruelty that might be hurled at him. Her display of patient confidence in the Creator that justice would be served gave David the inner peace and solace that he would need, over and over again, in confronting the formidable challenges in his life. Rather than succumb to his afflictions, rather than become the individual who was shunned by his tormentors, David learned from his mother to stand proud and dignified, feeling consolation in communicating with his Maker in the open pastures.

    She demonstrated to him, as well, the necessity of boldness while pursuing the right path. When the situation would call for it, personal risks must be taken. Without her bold action in taking the place of her maidservant that fateful night, the great soul of her youngest child, David, the forebear of Moshiach, would never have descended to this world.

    chanoch adds: Another explnation for why King David did not have any years of life of his own.

    The soul-stirring psalms composed by King David in his greatest hours of need eloquently describe his suffering and heartache, as well as his faith and conviction. The book of Psalms gives a voice to each of us, and has become the balm to soothe all of our wounds, as we too encounter the many personal and communal hardships of life in galut (exile).

    As we say these verses, our voices mesh with Nitzevet’s, with King David’s, and with all the voices of those past and present who have experienced unjustified pain, in beseeching our Maker for that time when the “son (descendant) of David” will usher in the era of redemption, and true justice will suffuse creation.

    chanoch adds: As a student of Kabbalah Why Chana Weisberg the author left out certain verses and included others?

    By Chana Weisberg

    Chana Weisberg is the editor of TheJewishWoman.org. She lectures internationally on issues relating to women, relationships, meaning, self-esteem and the Jewish soul. She is the author of six books.

    Tehillim Seventy

    David prays that his enemies be shamed and humiliated for their shaming him and reveling in his troubles. Then the righteous will rejoice, and chant songs and praises always.

    The above Kavenah is a traditional Kavenah to use when saying this Psalm.

    The first word is LamnatzaAch. Please refer to the introduction in Yearning for Redemption PDF file, starting at page 6, for more information.

    There are 6 verses in Psalm 70. The number 6 connects to the 6 Sefirot of Zeir Anpin.

  • Psalms 1 to 150 in Hebrew and English: When opened scroll to chapter 70
  • Tehillim Seventy One

    In this awe-inspiring prayer, David speaks of his enemies' desire to kill him, declaring him deserving of death.

    The above Kavenah is a traditional Kavenah to use when saying this Psalm.

    The first word is "your HaShem comes". Please refer to the introduction in Yearning for Redemption PDF file, starting at page 6, for more information.

    There are 24 verses in Psalm 71. The number 24 connects to the number of hours in a day. 12 of Light and 12 of Dark.

    There are 67 verses said on day 13. 67 connects to Hebrew words with the same gematria that translates as " and I" - "and eat". "and your mother". + many other words.

  • Psalms 1 to 150 in Hebrew and English: When opened scroll to chapter 71
  • Tehillim Seventy Two

    In this awe-inspiring prayer, David speaks of his enemies' desire to kill him, declaring him deserving of death.

    The above Kavenah is a traditional Kavenah to use when saying this Psalm.

    The first word is "your HaShem comes". Please refer to the introduction in Yearning for Redemption PDF file, starting at page 6, for more information.

    There are 24 verses in Psalm 71. The number 24 connects to the number of hours in a day. 12 of Light and 12 of Dark.

    There are 67 verses said on day 13. 67 connects to Hebrew words with the same gematria that translates as " and I" - "and eat". "and your mother". + many other words.

  • Psalms 1 to 150 in Hebrew and English: When opened scroll to chapter 72
  • Psalms 1 to 150 in Hebrew and English from Rabbi Ashlag's Translation and Commentary: When opened scroll to chapter 72
  • Tehillim Seventy Three

    This psalm addresses the question of why the righteous suffer while the wicked prosper, and prays for an end to our long exile. Read, and you will find repose for your soul.

    The above Kavenah is a traditional Kavenah to use when saying this Psalm.

    The first word is Mizmor. This translates as "His Pease to You". Please refer to the introduction in Yearning for Redemption PDF file, starting at page 6, for more information.

    There are 28 verses in Psalm 73. 28 is a number that connects to the Hebrew Word Coah. Other Hebrew words with a gematria of 28 are translated as "and HaShem" - "my sin" - "and tell".

  • Psalms 1 to 150 in Hebrew and English: When opened scroll to chapter 73
  • Tehillim Seventy Four

    This psalm addresses the question of why the righteous suffer while the wicked prosper, and prays for an end to our long exile. Read, and you will find repose for your soul.

    The above Kavenah is a traditional Kavenah to use when saying this Psalm.

    The first word is Maskil. Please refer to the introduction in Yearning for Redemption PDF file, starting at page 6, for more information.

    There are 23 verses in Psalm 74. 23 is a number that connects to the Letters of the Alef Beit after Mashiach; since Mashiach will reveal the 23rd Letter. The number 23 connects to Hebrew words that translate as "and good" - "and tell" - "in the direction of sin" and many other words.

  • Psalms 1 to 150 in Hebrew and English: When opened scroll to chapter 74
  • Tehillim Seventy Five

    How great is Israel! During their holidays they do not engage in frivolity, but in song and praise, and the study of the holiday's laws. Also, when they proclaimed (at the giving of the Torah), "We will do and we will hear!" they allowed the world to remain in existence. This psalm also admonishes those who indulge in worldly pleasures and attribute their prosperity to their own efforts..

    The above Kavenah is a traditional Kavenah to use when saying this Psalm.

    The first word is Lamnatzeach. Please refer to the introduction in Yearning for Redemption PDF file, starting at page 6, for more information.

    There are 11 verses in Psalm 75. 11 is a number that connects to the 10 Sefirot + the negative system..

  • Psalms 1 to 150 in Hebrew and English: When opened scroll to chapter 75
  • Tehillim Seventy Six

    This psalm contains the prophecy of when the vast army of Sennacherib was seized with a deep slumber that rendered the hands of the soldiers powerless to raise their weapons; thus did they all fall in battle.

    The above Kavenah is a traditional Kavenah to use when saying this Psalm.

    The first word is Lamnatzeach. Please refer to the introduction in Yearning for Redemption PDF file, starting at page 6, for more information.

    There are 13 verses in Psalm 76. 13 is a number that connects to the essence of oneness or unity. The number 13 connects to Hebrew words that translate as "love" - "caring" - "my father" and many other words.

  • Psalms 1 to 150 in Hebrew and English: When opened scroll to chapter 75
  • Tehillim Seventy Six

    This psalm contains the prophecy of when the vast army of Sennacherib was seized with a deep slumber that rendered the hands of the soldiers powerless to raise their weapons; thus did they all fall in battle.

    The above Kavenah is a traditional Kavenah to use when saying this Psalm.

    The first word is Lamnatzeach. Please refer to the introduction in Yearning for Redemption PDF file, starting at page 6, for more information.

    There are 13 verses in Psalm 76. 13 is a number that connects to the essence of oneness or unity. The number 13 connects to Hebrew words that translate as "love" - "caring" - "my father" and many other words.

    On the 14th day of the month we say 95 Verses. This connects to "The King".

  • Psalms 1 to 150 in Hebrew and English: When opened scroll to chapter 75
  • Psalms 1 to 150 in Hebrew and English from Rabbi Sutton's Translation and Commentary: When opened scroll to chapter 75
  • Tehillim Seventy Seven

    “The message of this psalm is that to brood on sorrow is to be broken and disheartened, while to see God is to sing on the darkest day. Once we come to know that our years are of His right hand, there is light everywhere.” (Morgan). Once we leave sorrow behind we make hope for joy and happiness.

    The above Kavenah is a good Kavenah to use when saying this Psalm.

    The first word is Lamnatzeach. Please refer to the introduction in Yearning for Redemption PDF file, starting at page 6, for more information.

    There are 21 verses in Psalm 77. 21 is a number that connects to the Name Ehiyeh. The number 21 connects to Hebrew words that translate as "My Holiday or Feast" - "his issue" - "and Hod" and many other words.

  • Psalms 1 to 150 in Hebrew and English: When opened scroll to chapter 77
  • Psalms 1 to 150 in Hebrew and English from Rabbi Sutton's Translation and Commentary: When opened scroll to chapter 77
  • Tehillim Seventy Eight

    “This psalm recounts all the miracles that God wrought for Israel, from the exodus of Egypt to David's becoming king over Israel.

    The above Kavenah is a traditional Kavenah to use when saying this Psalm.

    The first word is Lamnatzeach. Please refer to the introduction in Yearning for Redemption PDF file, starting at page 6, for more information.

    There are 72 verses in Psalm 78. 72 is a number that connects to the 72 Names of God as well as the spelled out Name of HaShem when spelled with Yood's. The number 72 connects to Hebrew words that translate as "and His coming" - "Chesed = loving kindness" - "with our hands" and many other words.

    On the 15th day of the month we say 93 Verses. This connects to Hebrew words that translate as "from a garden" - "and my father knows" - "the river" and many others.

  • Psalms 1 to 150 in Hebrew and English: When opened scroll to chapter 78
  • Psalms 1 to 150 in Hebrew and English from Rabbi Sutton's Translation and Commentary: When opened scroll to chapter 78
  • Tehillim Seventy Nine

    In this psalm, Asaph thanks God for sparing the people and directing His wrath upon the wood and stones (of the Temple). Still he cries bitterly, mourning the immense destruction: The place where the High Priest alone was allowed to enter-and only on Yom Kippur-is now so desolate that foxes stroll through it!

    The above Kavenah is a traditional Kavenah to use when saying this Psalm.

    The first word is Mizmor. Please refer to the introduction in Yearning for Redemption PDF file, starting at page 6, for more information.

    There are 13 verses in Psalm 79. 13 is a number that connects to the Hebrew word Echad which translates as oneness and unity. Also the Hebrew word that translates as "caring"

  • Psalms 1 to 150 in Hebrew and English: When opened scroll to chapter 79
  • Psalms 1 to 150 in Hebrew and English from Rabbi Sutton's Translation and Commentary: When opened scroll to chapter 79
  • Tehillim Eighty

    An awe-inspiring prayer imploring God to draw near to us as in days of old.

    The above Kavenah is a traditional Kavenah to use when saying this Psalm.

    The first word is Lamnatezach. Please refer to the introduction in Yearning for Redemption PDF file, starting at page 6, for more information.

    There are 20 verses in Psalm 80. 20 is a number that connects to the Kabbalistic concept of 10 Sefirot of direct light and 10 Sefirot of returning light. The Ari teaches that the letter caf, with its gemateria of 20 and its two forms, regular and final, connect to Keter - Crown and the World of Atzilut.

  • Psalms 1 to 150 in Hebrew and English: When opened scroll to chapter 80
  • Psalms 1 to 150 in Hebrew and English from Rabbi Sutton's Translation and Commentary: When opened scroll to chapter 80
  • Tehillim Eighty - One

    This psalm was chanted in the Holy Temple on Rosh Hashanah, a day on which many miracles were wrought for Israel.

    The above Kavenah is a traditional Kavenah to use when saying this Psalm.

    The first word is Lamnatezach. Please refer to the introduction in Yearning for Redemption PDF file, starting at page 6, for more information.

    There are 17 verses in Psalm 81. 17 is a number that connects to the energy of "Goodness".

    Psalm 81 was sung in the Temple on Day 5 or Thursday.

  • Psalms 1 to 150 in Hebrew and English: When opened scroll to chapter 81
  • Psalms 1 to 150 in Hebrew and English from Rabbi Sutton's Translation and Commentary: When opened scroll to chapter 81
  • Tehillim Eighty - Two

    This psalm admonishes those judges who feign ignorance of the law, dealing unjustly with the pauper or the orphan, while coddling the rich and pocketing their bribes.

    The above Kavenah is a traditional Kavenah to use when saying this Psalm.

    The first word is Mizmor LeAsaf. Please refer to the introduction in Yearning for Redemption PDF file, starting at page 6, for more information.

    There are 8 verses in Psalm 82. 8 is a number that connects to the energy of Binah - understanding and the term Olam Habah - World that is Coming.

    Psalm 82 was sung in the Temple on Day 3 or Tuesday.

    On the 15th day of the month we say 58 Verses. This connects to Hebrew words that translate as "comfort" - "the Garden" - "his son" and many others.

  • Psalms 1 to 150 in Hebrew and English: When opened scroll to chapter 82
  • Psalms 1 to 150 in Hebrew and English from Rabbi Sutton's Translation and Commentary: When opened scroll to chapter 82
  • no 93 day 6 day added to psalm 81 no 94 day 4 no 82 day 3 no 48 or 42 day 2 no 24 day 1 Psalm 91: "Dwelling On High" Portrait_of_Rabbi_Rembrandt Psalm 91 discusses a single theme: God’s protection of the righteous. Their trust in God is like a shield, deflecting all types of dangers. The chapter, also known as shir shel pega'im (“the song of plagues”), describes the numerous perils in the world. Some are spiritual pitfalls, “snare-traps” to lure us, while others are physical afflictions. Some exist only in our imagination, “the terror of the night”; others are only too real, a “flight of arrows by day”. Some dangers are hidden and unexpected, a “pestilence prowling in the darkness.” And some are in plain sight, but we are helpless to avoid them - “a plague that ravages at midday.” Those who place their trust in God, however, are shielded from all of these perils. What is the source of this Divine providence and protection? The psalmist writes: “כִּי אַתָּה ה’ מַחְסִי; עֶלְיוֹן שַׂמְתָּ מְעוֹנֶךָ.” “For You, God, are my refuge. You placed your dwelling on high.” (Psalm 81:9) The logical flow in this verse, however, is unclear. If God’s dwelling is “on high” and far away, how does He protect us? Blessing for Misfortune A Hasidic story relates that a man, troubled by a difficult question, sought out the great Maggid of Mezeritch. How can one follow, he asked, the Talmudic counsel (Berachot 9:5) to “bless God for the bad that befalls us just as we bless Him for the good”? Is it possible to feel gratitude for our troubles and misery? The Maggid replied that he should go seek out his disciple, Reb Zusha of Hanipol, and pose the question to him. The man followed the Maggid’s advice and traveled to Rabbi Zusha. The tzaddik received him warmly and invited him into his home. As soon as the guest entered the house, it became obvious that the family was living in an extreme impoverished state. The furnishings were simple and bare, and there was little food to eat. In addition, the family members were beset with various afflictions and illnesses. Nevertheless, Rabbi Zusha appeared content and cheerful. The guest was astonished. The man posed his question. “I asked the Maggid how is it possible to bless God for the bad just as one blesses Him for the good, and the Maggid told me that only you can explain this to me.” Reb Zusha replied, “This is indeed a very difficult question. But why did our holy master send you to me? How would I know? He should have sent you to someone who has experienced suffering....” Beyond All Suffering Righteous individuals who are close to God - tzaddikim who cleave to the Source of light - place their lives, their very being, in the elevated realm of holy life. There, nothing can hurt them. They are beyond life’s pitfalls and troubles. They are beyond even the possibility of lack. This is how the verse should be read. The beginning of the verse quotes the motto of those who place their trust in God: “You, God, are my refuge.” The psalmist then speaks, not of God, but of these holy people. Speaking directly to the tzaddikim, he identifies the source of their spiritual fortitude and trust: “You have placed your dwelling on high.” By virtue of your recognition that God alone is your true refuge, you have “placed your dwelling on high.” All of your dwelling, all of your lives, all of your essence, is “on high.” You have raised yourselves above and beyond all types of suffering and misfortune; and they cannot harm you. (Adapted from Olat Re’iyah vol. II, p. 76.) See also: VaYeitzei: The Prayers of the Avot http://ravkooktorah.org/VAYETZ58.htm Illustration image: A Portrait of a Rabbi (Rembrandt, c. 1640-45) Psalm 91:11 - Daily Zohar 2937 Psalm 150 The final chapter of the Book of Psalms calls for a symphony of horns, drums, lyres and more. BY LEX ROFEBERG YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE soul breathe Elohai Neshama: Breathing the Soul Alive PRAY happy woman in field How to Pray for Happiness PRAY My Jewish Learning is a not-for-profit and relies on your help DONATE Some people might immediately put down a book if it had 150 chapters. But that’s precisely how many are in the Book of Psalms and, for one reason or another, it has remained relevant to Jews — and adherents of many other faiths — for millennia. Far more than any other biblical book, the Book of Psalms (Tehillim in Hebrew) has been imported into the liturgical texts that make up traditional Jewish prayer. One psalm, included in its entirety in the daily morning service, is the final chapter, Psalm 150. Serving as a kind of grand finale to a jam-packed book of poetry and praise, its text is worth examining closely. Let’s begin by looking at its implicit thesis statement, made clear by the repetition of one word twelve times in only six verses. The word is hallelu and its centrality can’t be overstated. Hallelu shares a root with Hallel, the prayer recited on many holidays, and was imported into English in the form of Hallelujah. It means “praise,” but in the context of this psalm, it is an imperative, utilized as an instruction for all Israel. The text is more than requesting or encouraging, it is imploring the people of Israel: “Praise God!” This in and of itself is fairly unsurprising. As the culmination of a book about God’s incredible attributes, and as a centralized text in daily worship, we would expect the idea of praise to manifest. What’s interesting is the manner of praise that the text proposes. After 149 previous psalms, this final, peak text enjoins its readers to praise God through noisemaking. Some might argue that noisemaking is a crude way to put it. This prayer calls for holy instrumental music — a symphony of horns, drums, lyres and more, all mobilized toward the sanctification of God. Many people – Jewish and otherwise – will speak passionately about the ways in which they experience holiness through music. What we have here is a proof-text for how that modality of spirituality and meaning-making possesses an ancient precedent. More than that, we have another implicit teaching. Judaism can, and should be, loud. While silence can be an important component of life, that which is raucous need not be understood as inherently disrespectful. While the chorus of sheket b’vakasha (“quiet please!”) may be a hallmark of Jewish summer camps, Psalm 150 tells us that we can and should connect to one another (and God) through cacophonies of sound. The word psalm in English sounds a little bit like the word “solemn.” But this final psalm reminds us that prayer can and should transcend that which is stone-faced and serious. Prayer, in ancient times and today, can be joyous. It can be musical. And crucially, if Psalm 150 teaches us anything, it’s that prayer can loud and boisterous without being any less sacred. Lex Rofeberg serves as strategic initiatives coordinator for The Institute for the Next Jewish Future and as co-host of its Judaism Unbound podcast. He lives in Providence, Rhode Island, and is studying towards rabbinic ordination through ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal. Toldot Rav Kook Psalm 111 Psalm 111: The Divine in the Details Torah_study In chapter 111, the psalmist expresses his wonder at the magnificence of God’s works - both in the realm of nature and in the Torah. This appreciation for the details in God’s works was the focal point for a third-century debate between Rabbi Abahu and an unnamed heretic. The Heretic’s Challenge The Talmud (Berachot 10a) recounts that a heretic once questioned Rabbi Abahu about the order of chapters in the book of Psalms. Why, he asked, does the third chapter refer to the rebellion of Absalom, while chapter 57 speaks of David hiding from Saul - an event that occurred many years before Absalom’s rebellion? This was not an innocent query. The heretic believed that there is no real order to the chapters, and the arrangement is happenstance. While the overall prophetic message may be Divinely inspired, the details are arbitrary and lack significance. In other words, the heretic was throwing down the gauntlet and challenging the very heart of rabbinic tradition. He denied the validity of making deductions from details in the text of the Torah. In this way, he sought to undermine the entire process of applying hermeneutic rules to derive laws and moral teachings. Deriving Meaning from Juxtaposition Rabbi Abahu agreed that this question is indeed difficult for those who require a chronological order in the text. But for us, he retorted, this question poses no difficulty. We also look for contextual inferences. This is a method of textual interpretation called semuchim. In this particular case, Absalom’s rebellion is mentioned in chapter three of Psalms in order to connect it to the subject matter of the second chapter - the future rebellion of Gog and Magog. Rabbi Abahu closed his argument by noting that the concept of semuchim is already mentioned in the Torah, as it says, “Steadfast (semuchim) forever, they are made in truth and uprightness” (Psalms 111:8). Yet his proof-text appears artificial. The word semuchim in the verse refers to the steadfast and eternal nature of mitzvot, not to the method of textual exegesis called semuchim! Purpose in the Details of Creation When we examine the characteristics of living creatures, we find that each detail - the aerodynamics of a butterfly’s wing, the speed and stickiness of a chameleon’s tongue - displays wisdom and purpose, rather than chance and randomness. This is true for the entire gamut of life in the world, from the basic needs of an amoeba to the complex lives of humans. This perception is even more valid regarding that which humanity requires to develop, both morally and spiritually. These catalysts for growth are infinitely more significant than those aspects that satisfy our natural - i.e., physical and intellectual - needs. In short, any mechanism that furthers our ethical advance is a product of Divine wisdom. God provided us with these means so that we may realize our full potential. The primary vehicle for mankind’s spiritual growth is the Torah and the prophetic writings. These writings are a beacon of light, establishing the foundations of morality and justice for all peoples. It is far-fetched to suggest that such a critical instrument for humanity’s advance is merely a matter of chance, even with regard to its minor aspects and details. Design in the Details We may now better understand Rabbi Abahu’s proof from Psalm 111: “מַעֲשֵׂי יָדָיו אֱמֶת וּמִשְׁפָּט; נֶאֱמָנִים כָּל-פִּקּוּדָיו. סְמוּכִים לָעַד לְעוֹלָם; עֲשׂוּיִם בֶּאֱמֶת וְיָשָׁר.” (תהילים קי"א:ז-ח) “The works of His hands are truth and justice; all of His precepts are faithful. They are steadfast forever; they are fashioned in truth and uprightness.” (v. 7-8) The psalmist speaks of both nature and God’s precepts. He compares the “truth” - the design and purpose - that is evident in nature with the truth to be uncovered in the Torah. The detailed workings of creation reflect Divine order and purpose. “The works of His hands are truth and justice.” We should recognize that this same quality applies to the Torah - “all of His precepts are faithful” - since the Torah’s precepts promote the development of our moral and spiritual character. “They are steadfast (semuchim) forever.” The writings of the Torah rely securely (somchim) on the pillars of Divine wisdom that nurtures humanity’s advance and enlightenment. If Divine providence is discernible even in the smallest and most insignificant of creatures, then certainly we should expect it will be found in that which gives meaning and purpose to humanity, the crown of creation. Thus we may be confident in the validity of lessons derived from textual analysis, such as semichut of adjacent texts, as this order was intended for our spiritual benefit. The words of the Torah are “fashioned in truth.” (Adapted from Ein Eyah vol I, p. 49 on Berachot 10a)