This week’s Tehillim is in memory of Ephraim Yitzchok ben Zev – Dr Ephraim Jaffe z’l
This week’s Psalm, is one that we say every normal weekday in Shachrit. It shows us how G-D is always with us in times of distress, no matter how far away he may seem. “May Hashem answer you on the day of distress,” is King David’s plea that our prayers should be answered before it is too late.
He then goes on to refer to Hashem as “The G-D of Jacob.” Of all the three forefathers, Jacob clearly endured the most difficult life. He spent many years on the run from his murderous brother Esau and never saw his parents in the process, spent years being swindles by his father in law Laban, had Dinah kidnapped from under his nose, lost his wife Rachel to early death in childbirth, and grieved over Joseph for 22 years amongst other various sufferings. Yet despite all these travails and difficult times, Hashem still protected him from the death he though would come much sooner, and he ended up living the last few years of his life reunited with Joseph in Egypt.
The end of this Psalm sees the famous phrase, “They dropped to their knees and fell, but we arose and were invigorated.” Rabbi Pesach Krohn gives a brilliant talk on this verse. He says there was once a man who had a son who was dying and he went to his Rabbi for a Blessing. His Rabbi mentioned this verse and said that he would always arise and stand tall if he just trusted in Hashem. Feeling significantly strengthened, the man left.
However, a few weeks later, his son died. The man was heartbroken. What happened to his Pasuk? Why didn’t it save his son? He failed to communicate with anyone for a few weeks after, but then one day he found a deeper meaning in the verse. Sometimes, we will have to suffer terrible tragedies in life. Many lesser people will fall and never recover, but those who trust completely in Hashem will eventually arise and be invigorated that G-D knows what he is doing, even if we can never understand it. This is one of the great hidden gems that Tehillim provide us with in the very times that we need it the most.
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