Rosh Hashana Prayers: Psalm 24: First Night
“By David, a psalm. God’s is the earth and its fullness, the inhabited land and those who dwell in it.” (Psalms 24:1) The Talmud (Rosh Hashana 31b) explains that this was chosen as the Psalm of the Day for Sunday, for it was on the first day of Creation that God “acquired” and asserted His rule over the world.
We recite this psalm in the first prayers of Rosh Hashana, the first moments of the Coronation as God as King, to declare that He rules now just as He did on the first day of Creation.
The Talmud also points out that the previous Psalm, #23, begins with, “A Psalm, for David,” the reverse order of our Psalm. There were times that David first sang to achieve the clarity and inspiration of Ruach HaKodesh, or, Divine Inspiration. At other times, Divine Inspiration suffused David and he expressed his experience through song.
The Talmud is describing a back and forth between David and Ruach Hakodesh: At times, the human being reached higher toward Heaven to achieve Ruach Hakodesh, and, at other times, Heaven reached down to the person with Divine Inspiration.
This two-way relationship has been the theme of Elul, “I am for my beloved, and my beloved is for me.”
God’s mastery of “the earth and its fullness, the inhabited land and those who dwell in it,” is most manifest when that mastery is declared both by Heaven above down to us, and from us, down here, upward to the Heavens.
Kavanah: I declare that I will declare God’s Mastery of Heaven and Earth as part of a relationship that works in both directions.