Thoughts for the Week 26 January

At the Community Meeting on 11 December 2016, you spoke and determined the future direction of Rambam Sephardi. We now have the first of a series of materials that we’ll ask you to look out for in coming weeks. It includes a rolling calendar for you to engage with, and material tracking our progress. A summary is on our website and on this pdf.

HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL DAY: Friday 27 January is Holocaust Memorial Day in the UK. This week and into next, local municipalities will hold commemoration ceremonies for all victims of Genocide. Though this date is not the one traditionally observed by the Jewish community, it wholly deserves our support.

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 27: The 27th Psalm is attributed to King David. It should be familiar to readers, as it is recited each year in Ashekenaz communities from the beginning of Elul through the end of Shemini Atseret, a period largely of self-assessment and repentance.

Among the themes in this Psalm are: trusting in and crying out to G-d, for our needs and for rescue from our enemies; aspiring to dwell in the metaphysical House of the Lord, and relying upon the Almighty’s graciousness and protection. 

לְדָוִד:ה, אוֹרִי וְיִשְׁעִי–מִמִּי אִירָא; ה מָעוֹז-חַיַּי, מִמִּי אֶפְחָד.

Of David. The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalms 27:1)

Verse 4 of this Psalm has been popularised by the famed singer Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach and many others and can be heard here (traditional) and here (modern).

אַחַת, שָׁאַלְתִּי מֵאֵת-ה– אוֹתָהּ אֲבַקֵּשׁ:שִׁבְתִּי בְּבֵית-ה, כָּל-יְמֵי חַיַּי;לַחֲזוֹת בְּנֹעַם-ה, וּלְבַקֵּר בְּהֵיכָלוֹ.

One thing have I asked of G-d; to dwell in the House of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold G-d’s graciousness and visit His temple. (Psalms 27:4) 

The House of the Lord is a state of mind, open to anyone seeking it sincerely. We need only seek out closeness with the Almighty, and commit to understanding and living according to G-d’s will.

שְׁמַע-ה קוֹלִי אֶקְרָא; וְחָנֵּנִי וַעֲנֵנִי.

Hear, O LORD, when I call with my voice, be gracious to me, and answer me. (Psalms 27:7)

אַל-תַּסְתֵּר פָּנֶיךָ, מִמֶּנִּי– אַל תַּט-בְּאַף, עַבְדֶּךָ:עֶזְרָתִי הָיִיתָ; אַל-תִּטְּשֵׁנִי וְאַל-תַּעַזְבֵנִי, אֱ-לֹהֵי יִשְׁעִי.

Hide not Your face from me; put not Your servant away in anger; You have been my help; cast me not off, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation. (Psalms 27:9) 

Echoing the turbulent times in which we live today, King David refers to enemies that bear false witness against Israel and breathe violence (Hamas). Our only hope is to be courageous and await Divine redemption.

אַל-תִּתְּנֵנִי, בְּנֶפֶשׁ צָרָי: כִּי קָמוּ-בִי עֵדֵי-שֶׁקֶר, וִיפֵחַ חָמָס.

Deliver me not over unto the will of my adversaries; for false witnesses have risen up against me, and those that breathe out violence. (Psalm 27:12)

קַוֵּה, אֶל-ה: חֲזַק, וְיַאֲמֵץ לִבֶּךָ; וְקַוֵּה, אֶל-ה.

Await the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; await the LORD. (Psalms 27:14)