Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: David HaMelech's Five Stages of Finding HaShem In the World

Many of us "sing" (once you have heard what I call carrying a tune, you'll question how I can, in good conscience, use that verb, even with the quotation marks) Eishes Chayil before the Friday night Shabbos meal.  We feel like we are singing the praises of our wives.  In fact, I have also been to chasunas where the chasson proudly (sometimes even tearfully) sings Eishes Chayil to his new eishes chayil.  Beautiful.  Also wrong.  (The sentiments, of course, are not wrong; just a misunderstanding of the intent of the author of these exalted words.)

Chazal (TB Brachos, 10a) tell us that when Sholmo HaMelech wrote the words "She opens her mouth Mwith wisdom; the torah of kindness is on her tongue", that he was referring to his father, Dovid HaMelech, who (I am continuing to quote Chazal here) lived in five worlds and sang a song of praise [to each].  It seems to me that "world" here means a perception of reality.  Four times Dovid had to readjust his perception of reality; an adjustment that was so encompassing that he was essentially living in a new world.  What follows is my commentary/understanding of the Dovid's five worlds -- what hanged, what adjustments he need to make, and why he sang praise for it.

Dovid's first world was in the womb of his mother.  An idyllic existence, learning Torah with a malach (angel) -- the one and only desire of the neshama -- no distractions... what could be better?  On that stage of his life, Dovid sang out: barchi nafshi HaShem, v'chol k'ravai es sheim kodsho/bless, my soul, HaShem, and my innards His holy name! (T'hillim 103:1)

Then Dovid was born.  Can you imagine how his soul felt?  Suddenly thrust out of the one existence he has ever known -- and alone!  Suddenly bereft of the malach who has been his constant companion, teacher, and friend.  Then Dovid looked up and saw the planets, stars, and constellations.  Ah!  The malachim are still here, just a step away -- barchu HaShem malachav giborei ko'ach osei d'varo.../bless HaShem, his angels, soldiers of strength who do His word (T'hillim 103:20,21)

Now the infant Dovid feels something he has never felt before, a rather unpleasant feeling that gets worse by the minute -- he's hungry!  Then his mother comes to nurse him and Dovid contemplates the deep wisdom and understanding of this process of receiving nourishment.  He is cradled in his mother's arms and getting his nourishment; and a very sweet nourishment it is, as he has to work for and earn it.  Barchi nafshi es HaShem v'ahl tish'k'chi kol g'mulav/Bless HaShem, my soul, and do not forget all of His loving kindness (T'hillim 103:2)  (There's much more to say on this... perhaps in a later TfdD...)

Dovid grows and observes the world.  There seems to be no rhyme nor reason to the daily news.  This one does good, this one does bad... what difference does it make?  Leis din v'leis dayan/is there no law, is there no judge!?  Then he sees -- time and time again, a very clear historical pattern -- the downfall of the wicked; yeish din v'yeish dayan/there is law, there is a Judge!  Sinners will vanish from the land, and evil doers will be no more; barchi nafshi es HaShem, hal'lu'kah/bless, my soul, HaShem, everyone -- praise G-d! (T'hillim 104:35)

But how long will people wander, doing what feels good for the moment instead of building themselves into eternal beings?  What will prompt them to t'shuva and a healthy lifestyle; a lifestyle to earn eternal reward?  Dovid saw that there is a day of death; that great motivator to change before it is too late.  Barchi nafshi es HaShem, elokai g'dalta m'od, hod v'hadar lavashta/Bless, my soul, HaShem; my G-d is exceedingly great, clothed in grandeur and glory! (T'hillim 104:1)

Talk about precocious!


Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Battling the Evil Inclination on all Fronts

Yom Kippur.  When I was growing up, there were three annual events that marked the Jewish calendar: eating matzos on Passover, lighting candles on Chanuka, and  fasting on Yom Kippur.  Major news organizations around the world report on the "surreal" and "eerie" quiet of the streets in even the most secular neighborhoods of Israel.  Yom Kippur.

As you know, I am observant of Jewish law.  Some have even called me "ultra orthodox" (not in a kind way).  Given that, I have a question.  How likely do you think that I would be tempted to eat on Yom Kippur, that most holy day of the year?  Let's make the scale zero to ten, where zero is "as likely as driving through McDonald's on Shabbos and ordering a Big Mac with extra cheese." and ten is "as likely as breathing regularly".  Take your time.  If you answered "zero"; thank you, but -- sadly and penitently -- no.  The answer is more like nine; I'd like to say lower, but i…

Thought for the Day: Coming Into This World for Torah, Avodah, and Acts of Loving Kindness

This TftD is so self-serving that I should be embarrassed.  But I am not... talking about grandchildren is always off budget.  I have, bli ayin hara, a beautiful new grandson; born at 6:11 PM CDT last Friday night.  The secular (aka -- by me, anyway -- slave) date is October 20, 2017 CE.  The Hebrew (aka Real) date is certainly Rosh Chodesh חשון/Cheshvan and certainly in the year 5778 since Creation.  The date, you ask... good question!

Sundown on Friday night was 6:01 PM CDT, which means he was born either at the end of the last day of תשרי or the beginning of the first day of Cheshvan; a period know as בין השמשות/twilight.  What's the big deal, you ask... I am so glad you asked.  We all deal quite handily with בין השמשות every week and every holiday; we're just stringent.  We start Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov before בין השמשות; that is, before sundown.  Likewise, we end Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov after בין השמשות; some 42, 50, 60, or 72 minutes after sundo…

Thought for the Day: Prayer II -- How?

Now that we know that the obligation to pray is nothing more (nor less!) than a divine decree, we are going to also need instructions from heaven on how to implement that decree.  I cannot stress enough how important it is to have instruction from heaven how to implement heavenly decrees.  One only needs to look at the shambles that one modern ism has made of the very important Torah principle of תיקון עולם/improving and fixing the world.  They have taken words out of context and used them to support their own nefarious schemes.  (To the point that Google Translate actually translates -- not transliterates -- תיקון עולם as Tikkun Olam.  Amelia Bedelia would be proud; we are not amused.

The Torah teaches us how to pray in two complementary fashions.  One is the way in which the concept is presented as an obligation, the other is by giving us examples of how to practically implement those instructions.

The obligation is introduced in the second paragraph of "sh'ma" -- וּלְ…