The deer is especially devoted to its mate, and indeed the animal enjoys much fame across Scripture! Many times they are referenced, such as the famous line which has become a well-known and much loved song, “Kayal taarog, al afikey mayim – Like the deer that longs for the brook of water, so my soul longs for you, O Hashem.”
Our Psalm opens with reference to the much loved animal, with the words “Ayelet Hashachar,” referring to a radiant deer. In the same way that the dawn (Shachar) continues to strengthen, until those first rays of light eventually fill the entire world, so too the Jewish nation is likened to the radiant deer, with the promise that at the end of our long and dark exile, we will eventually be redeemed and truly become the shining beacon of light unto the nations.
As we move through the Psalm, we see how King David compares man to a “mortal worm -constantly scorned and ridiculed by the nations.” However, he takes great comfort in the knowledge that as long as he “commits to G-d”, he will be “rescued and delivered.”
Fittingly, we end this week’s Psalm with reference to Rosh Hashanah. The last verse contains the phrase “Zerah Yaavdenu… Nolad, the seed of those who serve Him, will be counted to Hashem forever.” This is a reference to the righteous people who serve Him during their lifetimes, showing them that they will merit to rejoice with G-d after Mashiach comes.
“The Meiri” explains that this theme follows the Rosh Hashanah davening during Mussaph. We start by saying “Uvchein tein Pachdecha, instil your awe upon your works…,” we then progress to “Uvuchein tein kavod, instil your Glory…,” and we end with “veyagido lecha…, they will relate your praise at the end of days, when Mashiach arrives.”
In the same way that the prayers of Rosh Hashanah give us hope of a bright and everlasting future, may we all merit to be written in the book of life for a Happy and Healthy Sweet New Year.
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