This week’s Tehillim is in memory of Miriam bas Shoshana
This week’s psalm is one of the most familiar in the entire book of Tehillim, as it’s the first of the extra ones we say every Shabbat morning in Pesukei Dezimrah. King David shows us how the beauty of nature can be properly appreciated through the lens of Torah. He starts by telling us how “the heavens declare the glory of G-d,” and how “His handiwork is proclaimed by the firmament.” A simple glance up at the skies should leave even the most arrogant of men humbled by the sheer splendour and grandeur of Hashem’s work. For all of man’s great achievements on this earth, no one has ever created air or even a simple looking cloud.
The tremendous ingenuity of nature is clearly evident if we simply look through a Torah inspired lens. Many people will claim that everyday occurrences such as rain are natural and that is that. But nature is simply Hashem’s guise for his constant involvement in everyday matters and the fact that it is constant should not take away from the miraculous nature of nature.
To me, the third verse of this psalm is one of the most beautiful verses in the whole of Tehillim and it displays striking elegance through its simplicity. “Day following day utters speech, and night following night conveys knowledge.”
Each and every single person in the entire universe craves normality, stability, structure and peace. (Although certain people have different ideas of how to achieve peace, but that is not the subject of this article!) The simplicity of continuous cycles of day and night provide comfort to King David, happy in the knowledge the Creator of the world is always watching us and providing for us. Nature does not speak, it has no voice; yet its message reverberates around the world daily and if we are just willing to listen, we can hear it louder than anything else in creation.
The former king of the Jews likens nature to a surveyor’s tape: “The precision goes out to the ends of the earth, to the end of the inhabited world.” I was recently at a Shabbaton Choir concert in aid of Hadassah medical centre and cantors Johnny Turgel and Danny Bergson sang a beautiful duet, composed by Stephen Levy, of these very words. It was soft and gentle, just the very message the Psalmist want to convey. Nature is indeed soft and gentle, but if we analyse it properly, it can show us loud and clear the almighty strength of Hashem.
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