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Pesukei d’Zimrah: Tallelei Orot: Hodu

The 28th of Nisan is the Yahrtzeit of Rav Yissochor Dov (ben Shaul) Rubin, author of Tallelei Oros (1962-2008): “I am God your Lord who raises you up from the land of Egypt; open wide your mouth, and I will fill it (Psalms 81:11, End of Hodu).” We must try to understand the meaning of, “Open wide your mouth,” and, “I will fill it.”


We must also understand why the verse here describes God as “raising us up from Egypt,” rather than the usual, “Who took you out of Egypt.” Why is this “raising” describes in the present form, “ha-Ma’alcha,” and not the usual past tense, as in, “he-elitecha.”

Perhaps we can best explain this by way of a parable: A young prince wanted to climb to the top of a tall tower, where many treasures were stored. When he began to climb, he became dizzy and fell into a deep moat. The king, his father, immediately lifted him from the moat and stood him next to the ladder. They gave pills to the prince to help him with his dizziness, and he began to climb. As he rose, he became dizzy again, so he opened his mouth and they tossed the pills up to him and he caught them with his wide open mouth.

So too, with Israel: The patriarchs strived to ascend the ladder to Heaven, but the family quickly fell into the deepest depths, the 49th level of impurity, in Egypt. God lifted them from their low state, and at Sinai, stood them against the ladder they could climb, step by step to rise to ever increasing levels of holiness. As Israel rises, they must, “open wide their mouths,” to receive the “dew of life,” sent by God each day.

This is the meaning of, “I am God your Lord who raises you up from the land of Egypt,” He raised us from the lowest levels of impurity; but, in order to climb the ladder of Service of God, they must open their mouths in prayer and study to receive the Dew of Life, and God will fill their mouths, so that their words of prayer and Torah study will be filled with holiness; the holiness of true life. (Tallelei Orot in the name of the Chatam Sofer)

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