Thoughts for the Week 16 February

Nearly a year ago we were actively involved in trying to rescue a young lady with blood cancer. Thankfully, in publicising the details, enough people came forward to volunteer a saliva sample yielding a donor match.

We’re again urgently appealing to readers to participate in a drive to help Sipy Howard, a member of our UK Sephardi community. The details of how to donate are attached. Please attend one of the remaining sessions at Neve Shalom, Ohel Devorah, Mill Hill Synagogue or BES Synagogue or contact DKMS to get a free sample kit.

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 30: The 30th Psalm is attributed to King David. The major theme is the dedication of the House of G-d. It includes David’s recurring thanks to the Almighty for rescuing him from his enemies, enabling him to rejoice in G-d’s presence. It also hints at the ultimate purpose of Creation.

אֲרוֹמִמְךָ ה, כִּי דִלִּיתָנִי; וְלֹא-שִׂמַּחְתָּ אֹיְבַי לִי.

I will extol You, O LORD, for You’ve raised me up, and haven’t suffered my enemies to rejoice over me. (Psalm 30:2)

זַמְּרוּ לַ-ה חֲסִידָיו; וְהוֹדוּ, לְזֵכֶר קָדְשׁוֹ.

Sing praise unto the LORD, O ye His godly ones, and give thanks to His holy name. (Psalm 30:5)

More existentially, David poses the rhetorical question ‘of what benefit is a human life?’ His reply suggests our true purpose is Worship& Recognition of the Divine. Thus, a world where humans fail to praise or acknowledge G-d, is a world of limited value.

מַה-בֶּצַע בְּדָמִי, בְּרִדְתִּי אֶל-שָׁחַת: הֲיוֹדְךָ עָפָר; הֲיַגִּיד אֲמִתֶּךָ.

What profit is there in my blood, when I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise You? Will it declare Your truth? (Psalm 30:10)

An alternative interpretation of Psalm 30 sees this as the ‘dark cloud before the silver lining’. Before dedicating the Temple, the nation experienced frustration and difficulty. Just as the darkest part of night precedes sunrise, so affliction and suffering will precede the jubilation of our Eternal Redemption. Nonetheless, our challenge is to relentlessly, no matter the hardship, offer unstinting praise and thanksgiving to the Almighty.

שְׁמַע-ה וְחָנֵּנִי; ה, הֱיֵה-עֹזֵר לִי.

Hear, O LORD, and be gracious unto me; LORD, be my helper. (Psalm 30:11)

לְמַעַן, יְזַמֶּרְךָ כָבוֹד– וְלֹא יִדֹּם: ה אֱ-לֹהַי, לְעוֹלָם אוֹדֶךָּ.

So that my glory may sing praise to You, and not be silent; O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever. (Psalm 30:13)

This well-known Psalm appears in the daily Shaharit service before Barukh She’amar. It is also recited on Hanukkah. (A Sephardi custom is to only recite the 1st verse of Psalm 30 on the 8 days of Hanukkah. The remainder of the year, we begin from the 2nd verse.)