This week’s Tehillim is lilui nishmat Zelda bat Shoshana
This week’s Psalm is one of the Tehillim that one says if they are looking for a spouse. People will very often question as to why Hashem, the G-d of kindness and truth, sends suffering and misery down on people. Whilst it is beyond the scope of this article to deal properly with questions of this nature, and give them the true attention they richly deserve, as a passing comment we know that Hashem will sometimes give suffering to a person as way to help him reach a state of true repentance.
Of course, we pray that we do not need to go through the pain of suffering to achieve proper teshuva, as we say on Yom Kippur in all our silent Shemona Esrei’s up until Neila, ‘lo al ydei yissurim, vcholoim roim – not through suffering or terrible illness.’
This psalm is introduced with the words ‘LDavid maskil.’ A maskil is a wise man, and this language was a way of explaining Torah to unlearned men throughout the centuries. King David begins by saying; ‘Happy is the man who is forgiven, whose sins are covered over.’ The best thing man can do is to wholeheartedly repent from his sins.
Proper repentance is only achieved when an individual has the opportunity to repeat his original sin, but instead, refrains from doing so. Our Rabbis were masters of understanding human nature, and as a result they realized just how tempting the yetzer harah can be when we are in certain situations. They therefore made many boundaries to act as protective fences to safeguard one from committing an aveiroh, like we say in Ethics of the Fathers; ‘ Asu seyag lTorah, they made a fence around the Torah.’
In the olden days when people sinned, they were truly gripped by fear over the magnitude of what they had done. They realised that Hashem judges each and every single action and one day we will have to account for everything we did in this world.
They say when the Chofetz Chaim would hear the word Elul in Rosh Chodesh bentching each year, he would start shaking. We are not quite on this level; however, we must still try to repent as much as we can whilst we still have the chance. As our Rabbis tell us, ‘man should repent the day before he dies,’ but as we don’t know when that will be, we must repent every day. By doing this, we know that we will be able to fulfil the last verse of this psalm; Be glad in Hashem and rejoice… the upright of heart will cry out in joy.’ May we all be worth of King David’s blessing.
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