Thoughts for the Week 29 June

Temperatures have dropped by half since last week, Ramadan has come to an end, London seems to be returning to a state of calm, and many families are beginning to anticipate the summer holidays.

HILLSBOROUGH DISASTER: More than 28 years on, a verdict has finally been brought this week against 6 people who will face criminal charges for their role in the Hillsborough Stadium disaster that claimed 96 innocent lives.

Coincidentally, a retired judge was appointed today to oversee the government’s enquiry into the Grenfell Tower tragedy. For those who may not have seen it, here is a very moving music video dedicated to its victims and heroes.

The theme of ‘accountability for past deeds’ is recurrent in other areas as well. Charges of historic sexual abuse have been raised in the entertainment industry, in politics and in religion, and more recently of tax evasion and benefits fraud.

No doubt we’re living in remarkable times, where – perhaps thanks to the instantaneous, worldwide reach of social media – there’s a greater expectation of righting injustice and exposing perpetrators who’ve for decades hidden their crimes and lived securely in anonymity.

One can’t help but remember the great work of Nazi hunter Simon Weisenthal, whose life was dedicated to seeking out villains of heinous crimes who’d fled to safety. Part of the Jewish view of Messianic times is when Fear of Sin will prevail, duplicity will be transparent and righteousness widely recognised.

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 47: Psalm 47 is attributed to the Sons of Korah and is divided into 2 parts. The first is that nations of the world will recognize G-d’s sovereignty. The second is that they will seek out those who preserved and perpetuated a knowledge of the true G-d through history in order to learn how to worship the Divine.

It is suggested this Psalm may have been written to accompany the ascent of the Holy Ark on its journey to being installed on the Temple Mount. The aim is to stir the hearts of its people to rise up in praise of the Almighty. In vivid imagery, it reminds us how to express our joy; through clapping, shouting, blowing horns and skillful song.

כָּל-הָעַמִּים, תִּקְעוּ-כָף; הָרִיעוּ לֵא-לֹהִים, בְּקוֹל רִנָּה. Clap your hands, people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph. (Psalm 47:2)

עָלָה אֱ-לֹהִים, בִּתְרוּעָה; ה, בְּקוֹל שׁוֹפָר. G-d is gone up amidst shouting, the LORD amidst a sound of the horn. (Psalms 47:6)

כִּי מֶלֶךְ כָּל-הָאָרֶץ אֱ-לֹהִים– זַמְּרוּ מַשְׂכִּיל. For G-d is the King of all the earth; sing ye praises in a skillful song. (Psalms 47:8)

The Almighty is our Creator, the G-d of nature and the Ruler of all nations. Intimately involved in human affairs, dispensing our destiny, whether leaders are aware or not. Trumpets will acknowledge the coronation of the Divine Sovereign; people will be gathered under G-d’s protection.

מָלַךְ אֱ-לֹהִים, עַל-גּוֹיִם; אֱ-לֹהִים, יָשַׁב עַל-כִּסֵּא קָדְשׁוֹ. G-d reigns over the nations; G-d sits upon a holy throne. (Psalms 47:9)

Psalm 47 is part of the Rosh Hashana liturgy and is chanted immediately before the Shofar service. Repentance, signified by the Shofar on these days of Awe, causes G-d to arise from the Throne of Judgement and ascend to the Throne of Mercy.