Thought for the Week 9 February


It’s hard to believe a year has passed since our 5th Anniversary Gala Dinner that took place on Tu BShvat. For those interested in a brief explanation about this festival and how to conduct your own Seder, please click here.


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 29: The preface to the well-known 29th Psalm identifies this as a Psalm of David. The themes are that G-d’s strength and glory are perceived in Creation, that our world only exists through the Divine Will, and that in Messianic times, G-d’s intervention in history will be retrospectively understood.

Unique to this Psalm is the appearance of the Divine name 18 times within its 11 verses. Some commentators suggest this led the rabbis to formulate the 18-blessing silent Amidah known as the Shemonah Esreh.

מִזְמוֹר, לְדָוִד: הָבוּ לַ-ה, בְּנֵי אֵלִים; הָבוּ לַ-ה, כָּבוֹד וָעֹז.

A Psalm of David. Ascribe to the LORD, O sons of might, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. (Psalm 29:1)

Mighty kings with great empires have arisen and disappeared. Like the majestic cedars of Lebanon, great rulers who’ve disdained G-d have seen all shatter before their very eyes.

קוֹל-ה בַּכֹּחַ; קוֹל ה, בֶּהָדָר.

The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty. (Psalm 29:4)

קוֹל ה, שֹׁבֵר אֲרָזִים;    וַיְשַׁבֵּר ה, אֶת-אַרְזֵי הַלְּבָנוֹן.

The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars; the LORD breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon. (Psalm 29:5)

Noah’s Flood washed away what was evil in G-d’s eyes. In future, those setting themselves as G-d’s enemies will again be uprooted. But when G-d’s nation embraces and pursues spiritual achievements, they will be granted the Divine blessings of strength and peace.

ה–עֹז, לְעַמּוֹ יִתֵּן; ה, יְבָרֵךְ אֶת-עַמּוֹ בַשָּׁלוֹם.

The LORD will give strength unto His people; the LORD will bless his people with peace. (Psalm 29:11)

This Psalm is central to our liturgical service. It appears as part of Kabbalat Shabbat on Friday night and is sung when returning the Torah to the Ark on Shabbat morning. The last verse is also found at the end of Birkat HaMazon (Grace after Meals).