Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Hashem Ori v'Yish'i--Psalm 27, the "Penitential Psalm:" ArtScroll's commentary, & mine

Here's the text (translation courtesy of the ArtScroll Siddur):

Of David; HASHEM is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear: HASHEM is my life’s strength, whom shall I dread? When evildoers approach me to devour my flesh, my tormentors and my foes against me—it is they who stumble and fall. Though an army would besiege me, my heart would not fear; though war would arise against me, in this I trust. One thing I asked of HASHEM, that shall I seek: That I dwell in the House of HASHEM all the days of my life; to behold the sweetness of HASHEM and to contemplate in His Sanctuary. Indeed, He will hide me in His Shelter on the day of evil; He will conceal me in the concealment of His Tent, He will lift me upon a rock. Now my head is raised above my enemies around me, and I will slaughter offerings in His Tent accompanied by joyous song; I will sing and make music to HASHEM. HASHEM, hear my voice when I call, be gracious toward me and answer me. In Your behalf, my heart has said, ‘Seek My Presence’; Your Presence, HASHEM, do I seek. Conceal not Your Presence from me, repel not Your servant in anger. You have been my Helper, abandon me not forsake, me not, O God of my salvation. Though my father and mother have forsaken me, HASHEM will gather me in. Teach me Your way, HASHEM, and lead me on the path of integrity, because of my watchful foes. Deliver me not to the wishes of my tormentors, for there have arisen against me false witnesses who breathe violence. Had I not trusted that I would see the goodness of HASHEM in the land of life! Hope to HASHEM, strengthen yourself and He will give your courage; and hope to HASHEM.

Some commentary from the ArtScroll Siddur:

“HASHEM is my light. The custom to recite this psalm during the period of repentance is based on the Midrash. It expounds: HASHEM is my light, on Rosh Hashanah; and my salvation, on Yom Kippur; He will hide me in His shelter, an allusion to Succos. The implication is that on Rosh Hashanah God helps us see the light and repent; on Yom Kippur He provides us salvation by forgiving our sins. Once we are forgiven, He shelters us from all foes and dangers, just as He sheltered our ancestors in the Wilderness. Because of this allusion to the preparation for repentance and its aftermath, the custom was adopted to recite this psalm during the entire repentance period from Rosh Chodesh Elul through Shemini Atzeres.”

From my serious but less literal perspective, I hope, through introspection, to see the light on Rosh Hashanah and strive to improve my behavior. On Yom Kippur, I ask those against whom I’ve sinned to forgive me, and aim to improve my behavior concerning such ritual and communal acts as reciting brachot, doing ma-asim tovim/good deeds , etc. As for Hashem sheltering us, I see providing shelter—literal (through tzedakah/charity), spiritual (through supporting a synagogue), and/or psychological (through, for example, nichum avélim/comforting mourners)—to others as a way to express my gratitude for all the good that has come my way.


Post a Comment

<< Home

<< List
Jewish Bloggers
Join >>