Perek Shirah - Other Grain Sheaves Say

Monday, February 20, 2017 · Posted in ,

שְׁאָר הַשִּׁבָּלִים אוֺמְרִים - Other Grain Sheaves Say

Tehillim 65:14

 לָבְשׁוּ כָרִים הַצֹּאן-וַעֲמָקִים יַעַטְפוּ-בָר יִתְרוֹעֲעוּ אַף-יָשִׁירוּ
lavshu charim hatzon va'amakim ya'atfu-var yitroa'u af-yashiru
The meadows are clothed with flocks; the valleys also are covered over with grain; they shout for joy, yes, they sing.

"The meadows" - the grassy resting places - "are clothed with flocks" so densely that they give the appearance of wearing the sheep as a garment. "The valleys" - all the deep meadows and desert oases - are so abundantly "covered over with grain," that "they shout" shouts of joy. They "sing" out of great abundance.

Chazal explain: The meadows are clothed with flocks at the same time the valleys are covered over with grain. This is in the month of Adar when the sheep are impregnated.

"The shout...yes, they sing." Though everyone will enjoy plenitude, they will sing. No man will be envious of another. They will dwell in friendship and brotherhood. (Me'am Lo'ez)

This song is the climax of a psalm of encouragement and hope. Calamities may come and drought may parch man, beast, and field, but G-d is always near. (Rabbi Nosson Scherman)

Perek Shirah - Sheaf of Barley Says

Sunday, February 19, 2017 · Posted in ,

שִׁבּׂלֶת שְׂעוֹרִים אוֹמֶרֶת - Sheaf of Barley Says

Tehillim 102:1

תְּפִלָּה לְעָנִי כִי-יַעֲטֹף וְלִפְנֵי יְהוָה יִשְׁפֹּךְ שִׂיחוֹ
tefilah le'ani chi-ya'atof velifnei Hashem yishpoch sicho
A prayer of the afflicted man, when he envelops (swoons), and pours forth his utterance before Hashem.

Literally, יַעֲטֹף means to envelop. King David would chant this psalm whenever he became wrapped up in himself and under camouflage vanished from before his enemies who vilified him constantly. He would then pour forth the utterance of his heart in prayer "before Hashem," pleading for deliverance from his troubles. His prayer was a vast outpouring, like aman pouring water in great abundance. Thus he says, "A prayer of the afflicted man, when he envelops, and pours forth his utterance before Hashem."

Some explain that King David composed this psalm on behalf of the exiles in the future who will be the agonized victims of their many enemies.

To "envelop" also means to fold and enfold. This conveys the image of a supplicant bowed down in a poser of devout prayer. He gives the appearance of being enfolded by part of his own body.

King David addresses the Jewish people in exile, inspiring them to pour forth their devotions and prayers before the Holy One. Entreat Him to save you from the birth pangs of the messianic age and to bring about the return of all Jews everywhere.

Chazal have also taught: Until when must a man stand in prayer? - until he swoons. That is to say, until he also pleads for his life. His soul should attain a lofty plane of serving G-d. (Me'am Lo'ez)

The Rambam writes, "It is a Mitzvah from the Torah to cry out to Hashem for help...whenever trouble strikes the community."

When we daven during troubled times, we aren't just performing the Mitzvah De'orita of praying to Hashem, but we are confirming our belief that only Hashem can help us.

The Sefer Ha'Ikrim comments that somone who doesn't pray in his hour of need must either be lacking faith that Hashem is watching, or lacking faith that Hashem is all-powerful, and that both of these are utter heresy.

The Sefer HaChinuch adds: "And someone who is in difficult circumstances and does not call out to Hashem to save him has violated this mitzvah of prayer...for it is as if he has removed himself from the overseeing of Hashem."

Sometimes people don't daven, not because of lack of belief in Hashem, but rather because of lack of belief in themselves; doubting if they are worthy of their prayers being accepted. Truthfully though, Hashem is available to every person, whether he is worthy or not.

As the Sefer Ha'Ikrim explains, Everything we get from Hashem everyday isn't a result of man's righteousness but rather it is an expression of Hashem's benevolence and compassion.

As it says in Dani'el 9:18- "Turn Your ear, Hashem, and listen...For not because of our righteousness do we pour out our supplications before You, but because of Your great compassion."

To be worthy of Hashem accepting our prayers we don't need to be perfect, or even close to it. We simply need to reach for the lifeline He is extending to us, and to grasp it gratefully, confident that at the other end is the One Power Who can save us. (Praying With Fire by R' Heshy Kleinman)

Perek Shirah - Sheaf of Wheat Says

Wednesday, February 15, 2017 · Posted in ,

שִׁבּׂלֶת חִטִּים אוֹמֶרֶת - Sheaf of Wheat Says

Tehillim 130:1

 שִׁיר הַמַּעֲלוֹת מִמַּעֲמַקִּים קְרָאתִיךָ יְהוָה
shir hama'alot mima'amakim keraticha
A Song of Ascents. Out of the depths have I called You, Hashem.

To this very day, this particular psalm has been said by Jews in times of trouble. If they have time to say many, they will always include Tehillim 130; if they only have time to say one psalm, then, usually, it will be this one, for, it is one of the few that reach out from the “depths” of despair. One can feel King David's sense of utter helplessness, and his need for a miracle. This is why he has appealed to Hashem — using Four Letter Ineffable Name of G-d — and not a “lesser” Name of G-d. (Rabbi Pinchas Winston)

King David composed the present psalm about himself, but intended it for the future exiles. They should conduct themselves as he did and then G-d will have mercy upon them.  King David's prayer for G-d to heed the prayers of the exiles and forgive their iniquities. That is, they should expect the deliverance to come by supernal loving-kindness, i.e. even though they will not deserve it.

Some say, "Out of the depths" - the lowest spiritual state - "have I called You." For a man may be at he height of material success, yet be in the most debased condition in matters of the soul. (Me'am Lo'ez)

Every Jew has a spark of holiness in his heart but it may be surrounded by layers of materialism. When he recognizes this spark, even though it is buried, then he will be able to call G-d 'from the depths' of his heart. This is what is meant by the verse "Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water but a man of understanding will draw it out" (Mishlei 20:5). In every heart lies a spiritual capacity, but only a 'man of understanding' can reach in and 'draw it out', that is recognize and develope it. (Rabbi Simcha Zissel Ziv)

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