Thoughts for the Week 19 January

BLUE MONDAY Much attention was given this week to Blue Monday, said to be the most depressing day of the year for any of the following reasons; winter weather, unpaid debts from year-end holidays falling due and/or a sense of failure to keep our New Year’s resolutions. Experts suggest January is an introspective time of year; fraught with feelings of uncertainty over what the new year holds in store.

If it is any solace, we’re weeks already past winter solstice and the days are beginning to get longer. Notwithstanding the above, as part of the 4 February JAMI Mental Health Awareness Shabbat, Rambam Sephardi will host a talk at Yavneh College on 1 February Wednesday evening. For more details, please visit our website at

Following our Community Meeting in December, the Rambam Sephardi Board have prepared materials outlining our Values & Objectives as well as the top new initiatives for the upcoming months. A summary can be found on our website.

PRESERVING VILNA’S JEWISH CEMETERY There’s been a What’sApp message circulating from rabbinic colleagues requesting support in protesting against plans to build a shopping mall in the centre of the Vilna Jewish Cemetery. To read more and add your support to the petition please click here.

RECITING PSALMS Introduction: 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 26: The 26th Psalm is attributed to King David. It can be divided into 2 parts; claims of being just and righteous, and a confidence in his own integrity.

לְדָוִד: שָׁפְטֵנִי ה– כִּי-אֲנִי, בְּתֻמִּי הָלַכְתִּי; וּבַ-ה בָּטַחְתִּי, לֹא אֶמְעָד.

To David. Judge me, O LORD, for I’ve walked with integrity, and I’ve trusted in the LORD without wavering. (Psalms 26:1)

The righteous follow a path of purity with vigilance, praying for G-d’s protection to avoid the many moral challenges along the way.

לֹא-יָשַׁבְתִּי, עִם-מְתֵי-שָׁוְא; וְעִם נַעֲלָמִים, לֹא אָבוֹא.

I haven’t sat with men of falsehood; nor will I go in with idlers. (Psalms 26:4)

This Psalm also references the Mishkan or House of G-d. As all who navigate a perilous journey, when reaching their goal, they publicly sing thanks to the Almighty who prevented them from stumbling.

ה–אָהַבְתִּי, מְעוֹן בֵּיתֶךָ; וּמְקוֹם, מִשְׁכַּן כְּבוֹדֶךָ.

LORD, I love the habitation of Your house, and the place where Your glory dwells. (Psalms 26:8)

רַגְלִי, עָמְדָה בְמִישׁוֹר; בְּמַקְהֵלִים, אֲבָרֵךְ ה.

My foot stands in an even place; among the congregations will I bless the LORD. (Psalms 26:12)

Commentators soften the self-righteous tone of Psalm 26, suggesting King David asked G-d to test him as Abraham was tested. When tempted by Bat Sheva – and failing, David offered this Psalm as a plea for Divine assistance.