This week’s Psalm is the well know song we sing every Shabbat, before Kabbalat Shabbat and during seuda shalishit. ‘Hashem Roey Lo Echsar’ – ‘Hashem is my shepherd, I shall not lack.’
G-d bestows his kindness upon us like a shepherd looking after his flock; without his care we would be as helpless as sheep. However, sheep do not feel anxiety, as they are safe in the knowledge that the shepherd will look after them, and King David uses this as a perfect analogy of how we should feel towards G-d.
Just as a shepherd chooses his path carefully, to avoid overstraining his sheep, a truly righteous person will be granted Divine assistance to keep them on the straight and narrow path. As long as a person wants to change, Hashem will help him.
During this week of Yom Kippur, when repentance is on the forefront of all our minds, heading into the holiest day of the year, we should take comfort in the knowledge that all we need is the desire to repent; once we show the initial enthusiasm, G-d will guide us back to the straight and narrow path once more.
We then arrive at one of the most famous verses in the entire book of Tehillim; ‘Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil for you are with me.’ Even though the shadow of the book of death that is open on Yom Kippur looms large in our thoughts, we should trust in G-d that our repentance will save us.
It is customary on Yom Kippur night to say a lot of Tehillim. The sefer Elef L’Magen, a commentary on the Matei Ephraim, says one who says Tehillim regularly can avoid all kinds of spiritual encumbrances, from upon himself, his wife and children, and from upon his whole community. He brings upon himself all manner of divine influence, good blessings, success and heavenly compassion.
This Yom Kippur may we all be forgiven for our sins, merit to be inscribed in the Book of Life and be blessed with a happy and healthy year ahead.