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.]
For those who read Psalms regularly as a prayer for well-being, it’s interesting to note the 150 chapters are divided into 3 different partitions. There is the Days-of-the-Week division where one can recite roughly 20-30 Psalms per day completing the entirety within 7 days. There is a separate division based on the 30-day Calendar where one can read roughly 5 chapters per day and also finish the entirety within a month.
Then there is a division which comprises 5 books; Book 1 consists of Psalms 1–41, Book 2 of Psalms 42–72, Book 3 of Psalms 73–89, Book 4 of Psalms 90–106, and Book 5 of Psalms 107–150. This last division is referenced in the midrash as being modelled on the 5 Books of the Torah. Scholars have noted among the differences between the 5 books of Psalms is the use of the name for G-d. Books 1, 4 & 5 predominantly use the 4-letter name beginning with the letter Yod, while Books 2 & 3 more frequently use the name Elohkim.
Chapter 32: One can but marvel at the emotional depths evoked by King David. Psalm 32 explores the joy and virtue of forgiveness contrasted by the ignorance and self-loathing of sin. Considered one of the Thanksgiving Psalms of the Individual, the chapter ends with a triumphant cheer from those who are righteous in heart.
Not by the innocent but rather for those who have sincerely repented, they can take solace in being forgiven by G-d.
אַשְׁרֵי אָדָם–לֹא יַחְשֹׁב ה לוֹ עָוֹן; וְאֵין בְּרוּחוֹ רְמִיָּה.
Happy is the one to whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile. (Psalms 32:2)
Penitents shouldn’t expect to be spared misfortune or suffering but rather when difficulties arise, they should pray not to be swept away in a flood of remorse and self-pity.
עַל-זֹאת, יִתְפַּלֵּל כָּל-חָסִיד אֵלֶיךָ– לְעֵת מְצֹא: רַק, לְשֵׁטֶף מַיִם רַבִּים– אֵלָיו, לֹא יַגִּיעוּ.
For this let the devout pray at a time when You may be found; surely, when the great waters overflow, they won’t reach him. (Psalms 32:6)
Just as an animal being groomed and adorned needs restraint for failing to understand its discomfort is for a better purpose, those being chastised mustn’t be defiant. They too should realise this is for one’s spiritual benefit and improvement.
אַל-תִּהְיוּ, כְּסוּס כְּפֶרֶד– אֵין הָבִין: בְּמֶתֶג-וָרֶסֶן עֶדְיוֹ לִבְלוֹם; בַּל, קְרֹב אֵלֶיךָ.
Be not as the horse or the mule, which has no understanding; whose mouth must be held with bit and bridle so not to come near you. (Psalms 32:9)
The wicked who are unchanged by their suffering experience it over and over, whereas the joy of those who repent knows no limit.
רַבִּים מַכְאוֹבִים, לָרָשָׁע: וְהַבּוֹטֵחַ בַּ-ה–חֶסֶד, יְסוֹבְבֶנּוּ.
Many are the sorrows of the wicked; but he that trusts in the LORD, mercy encompasses him. (Psalms 32:10)
שִׂמְחוּ בַ-ה וְגִילוּ, צַדִּיקִים; וְהַרְנִינוּ, כָּל-יִשְׁרֵי-לֵב.
Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous; and shout for joy, all who are upright in heart. (Psalms 32:11)
This Psalm is in the Yom Kippur liturgy. It is also part of the 10 Psalms that comprise the Tikun HaKelali (General Rectification) of Rabbi Nahman of Breslav.
PURIM: It’s less than 10 days until Purim – so you’ll understand if we’re very excited about this year’s Rambam Sephardi celebrations on 11/12 March. The new development this week is our fantastic Persian menu (click here) for Sunday’s Seudah prepared by our own 5* chefs Jason Sasson & Lauren Carmel! And, for a sneak preview from dress rehearsal, please click here. We urge those who plan to attend the meal to please book now!
HALAKHOT OF PURIM Attached is a description of the main halakhot pertaining to Purim. Please note that this year – because Purim occurs on Saturday night & Sunday – the Fast of Esther is advanced to Thursday 9 March, beginning at 4:51am and concluding at 6:35pm.
SAVE A LIFE – SEEKING YOUR ASSISTANCE A final reminder this week that we’re urgently appealing to readers to participate in a drive (to volunteer a saliva sample) to help Sipy Howard, a member of our UK Sephardi community suffering from blood cancer. Please attend the 5 March remaining session at BES Synagogue or contact DKMS to get a free sample kit.
MHAS FOLLOW-UP Following-up after the Mental Health Awareness Shabbat of 3/4 February, we’re hoping to begin a series of Mindfulness Meditation workshops and are looking for a few volunteers interested in helping to facilitate a regular programme of short sessions, as an on going activity in Borehamwood.
No previous experience is necessary. This will be a chance to find out about the benefits of practicing Mindfulness while helping others to participate. If you’re interested, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or click here and send us your contact details.
1 MARCH SCHOOL RESULTS
We wish academic success to the children who this week received placements in the school of their choice. We remind parents that if your child didn’t get a place yet please do not panic as some spaces are likely to be freed up in weeks ahead.