Thoughts on the Week 29 September


This brief comment is in memory of my late mother (Brainah Leah bat Moshe Aharon) and for all those who read Tehillim for the sake of others. [Note: Quoted verses are taken from the Mechon Mamre website.]

Chapter 10:

The 10th Chapter of Psalms, like Psalm 9, decries the apparent success of the wicked at the expense of the downtrodden. Provocative to a degree, it resents evildoer’s acting with contempt for G-d. It denounces the injustice experienced by the poor and oppressed. It demands of the Almighty to bring punishment against those ho commit evil. (In the non-Jewish bible, chapters 9 and 10 are often combined.)

קוּמָה ה–אֵל, נְשָׂא יָדֶךָ; אַל-תִּשְׁכַּח עניים (עֲנָוִים).

Arise, O LORD; O God, lift up Your hand; forget not the humble. (Psalms 10:12) 

One of the verses appears both in the daily morning and evening (Ashkenaz) prayers.

ה מֶלֶךְ, עוֹלָם וָעֶד; אָבְדוּ גוֹיִם, מֵאַרְצוֹ.

The LORD is King for ever and ever; the nations perish from His land. (Psalms 10:16)

Psalm 10 coincides nicely with the days before Rosh Hashana. In some traditions it’s recited during the 10 Days of Repentance, and part of it is found in the repetition of the Rosh Hashana Amidah.

תַּאֲוַת עֲנָוִים שָׁמַעְתָּ ה; תָּכִין לִבָּם, תַּקְשִׁיב אָזְנֶךָ.

LORD, You heard the desire of the humble: You direct their heart, You cause Your ear to attend. (Psalms 10:17)

Death of the Late President of Israel Shimon Peres

The passing of Israeli statesman and Noble Prize winner Shimon Peres so close to the High Holidays reminds us, no matter how much one achieves in a lifetime, there’s still a point when ‘our innings’ must come to an end.

The former 2-time prime minister, peace-maker and President of Israel, sadly passed away at the age of 93 this week. Though hardline in his early political care, his older years were associated with the movement for peace. World leaders have voiced unanimously that an important champion has been lost. A lengthy obituary by Prof Colin Schindler of SOAS can be found here.

An apocryphal story making the rabbinic social media rounds is that as an 8-year-old, Szymon Perski was taken by a religious uncle against his will to see the sainted Rabbi Yisrael Meir of Radin, the Hafetz Hayim. There, he argued stubbornly the case for labour Zionism, until finally the Rabbi in despair blessed the young Peres with long life, and to become a great leader in Israel.

In 1993, according to this story, while in New York City on the day after Yom Kippur in the presence of Senator Daniel Moynihan and a representative from Aish Hatorah, Peres, who was not a devoutly religious man, recounted the story saying that every Yom Kippur night he remembered that old Rabbi’s words.

Extraordinary Drawers Competition

Touchstone, the inter-faith arm of the Methodist Church, is running a fascinating photography competition called Extraordinary Drawers. The aim is to use the hidden life contained within drawers to share insights into the everyday lives of ordinary people.

The instructions for submission state ‘no need to tidy, just take a picture and upload it via e-mail.  Photos should aim to open up insights on faith, culture and journey. A short description can be submitted with each photo.

Submissions should be sent to After preliminary editing, photos will be loaded onto the site, and can be seen here.