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Kabbalat Shabbat: Rabbi Samson R Hirsch: All Nations

The 9th of Iyar is the Yahrtzeit of Rav Yitzchak Bernays (Barneis) (1792-1849), teacher of Rav Shamshon Rafael Hirsch. Psalm 98 and the one following, deal with the impact that the resurrection of Israel as such is to have upon the nations, which will now awaken and acquire a better understanding. This impact is discussed in terms of two aspects: First, God’s sovereignty which becomes so shiningly evident through Israel’s restoration and therefore will lead humanity to a acquire a better knowledge of God, and secondly, the instruction that Israel can give the rest of the world concerning the true worship of Him.


In Psalm 98 we are told that when we call upon God we should not so much stress what we hope to receive from Him, but, above all, bear in mind what God expects of us. Psalm 99 and is devoted primarily to those requirements which God imposes upon all the nations of the earth.

No one can be in doubt concerning the content of these requirements. The Law upon which God has chosen to establish His throne for mankind’s new future is the same Law that has long reposed beliefs the wings of the Cherubim.

To render homage to God means to regard as binding, Is Law and its social legislation concerning justice, duty and humane conduct.

This is the Law which God has realized and implemented in the nation of Jacob, a nation which until this point had been held in contempt. It is the Law which is now to be adopted like all of mankind.

All of humanity, therefore, is repeatedly summoned to recognize and to acknowledge God not only as the One Who is exalted far above all things, but also as the “Holy One” Who, because He is holy, accepts only one form of worship as true Divine service; namely, the sanctification of human life on both the individual and communal level.

And men and nations alike may come near to Him only by way of holy endeavors; meaning, endeavors that are morally pure.

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