Pesukei d’Zimrah: Nefesh Shimshon: Yehi Chivod: The Spinal Column
The 12th of Nisan is the Yahrtzeit of Rav Shimshon Dovid Pincus (1944-2001). “Yehi Chivod,” is the introduction to Ashrei, the Keter, or, Crown, of Pesukei d’Zimrah that expresses the beauty of all the other Psalms we sing, incorporating the essence of all the praises we include in these Songs of Praise.
Yehi Chivod is an amalgamation of seventeen verses from all over the Bible: Hodu is collected from verse primarily in Chronicles; Mizmor l’Todah, Ahshrei and the Hallelukahs are directly from Psalms; va-Yivarech David is from Chronicles; Ata Hu, from Nehemiah; Shirat ha-Yam, of course, is directly from the Chumash.
Seventeen of the eighteen phrases in Yehi Chivod are from Tanach; one, “Hashem Melech, Hashem Malach, Hashem Yimloch, is a Rabbinic composition, cut and pasted from two verses in Psalms, 10:16 and 93:1.
The eighteen verses correspond to the eighteen vertebra of the spinal column, which is why it has eighteen mentions of the Divine Name, Y-H-V-H. The spine connects the brain to the body, and is what gives the body the ability to stand straight. Anytime we find an expression of eighteen its purpose is to express the connection between the brain; God’s perception, and the body; creation as a whole, to provide creation with the ability to “stand straight,” i.e. to continue to exist.
Because we are about to begin Ashrei and the Hallelukahs, and to elevate creation through Singing God’s praises, we must first provide the means to connect the praises, the “brian,” to creation. Only after we have made the connection can we sing the praises in a manner that will nourish creation.
We mention this idea in one of the verses of Yehi Chivod: “For God selected Zion, He
desired it for His dwelling place ((Psalms 132:13,”Jerusalem is the city, and the Beit Hamikdash, Zion, is the place of connection between Heaven and Earth, the Brain and the body.
We open this paragraph with, “May the glory of God endure forever (104:31).” What is the “Glory of God?” When His creations connect to Him, His greatness and completely submit to Him so that His Being is all that matters to us, we glorify Him.
You can compare this to a great Sage who travels to a city where no one knows him. He sits in a corner and studies, and is ignored until someone has a question, notices a serious person studying and asks his question. The stranger’s answer is clearly the response of a great man, and he is quickly acknowledged for who and what he is. His knowledge and essence shine through until he is recognized. That is his glory.
“Let God rejoice in His works,” when His works reflect that they are His works; when their actions reflect that they are His works, just as a father rejoices when his son’s behavior reflects the father’s values and teachings.