Thursday, March 26, 2015

Understanding Tefilah: Mizmor Shir Channukat HaBayit L’Dovid – 10

Rav Lessin

“Mah betza b’dami b’rid’ti el shachat? Hayodcha afar? Hayagid Amitecha?” 

“What gain is there in my descent to desolation? Can dust thank you? Can it tell of Your truth?”  

2 points to remember:

1. Here, Dovid HaMelech makes an argument for why he should be kept alive.  His case is based on two human functions that comprise the sum total of what man is in this world to do.  Firstly, only man can openly acknowledge and verbally thank Hashem for the kindness He grants us.  Secondly, man’s job is to spread Hashem’s truth in the world in a way that conveys Hashem’s Oneness of existence and purpose to all of creation.  Dovid’s claim here is that if he perishes, he will no longer be able to carry out this dual mission – to thank Hashem and to spread His truth.  Like Dovid, we too must ask ourselves if we are fulfilling the essential reasons for why Hashem chooses to bring us to life each day.

2. Dovid points out that dust cannot accomplish these tasks.  Before Dovid was granted life, he too was dust.  In fact, the only thing separating us from dust is the neshama that was breathed into us at the outset of creation.  Dovid’s plea to Hashem stems from the understanding that we were given a neshama only to do these two fundamental tasks.  Otherwise, we might as well be dust.  The opportunity of having a neshama is to do what nothing else in creation is able to do.

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