Shavuot Hallel Paragraph V
“Praise God, all nations; praise Him, all the states! For His kindness has overwhelmed us, and the truth of God is eternal, Halleluyah!” (Psalm 117) The Malbim (Psalm 100) explains that “Nations” refers to those who may witness powerful things but do not reflect on what they see. They do not use their experiences to develop their thinking or themselves. The “Nations” will praise the Name of God, without a sense of anything personal.
“The States,” refers to those who reflect on what they see, and consider what they should learn from their experiences. They can relate to “Him,” on a personal level, not just a Name.
This Psalm reflects the influence of our Torah study. When we simply study, without integrating the Torah into our personal development, we will only succeed in speaking to the”Nations,” without inspiring them to reflect and reify what they learn about God.
However, when we approach Torah as Torat Chaim, immediately applicable to our lives, and we apply the Torah’s wisdom to our personal development, we will influence others to respond as “States,” as people who will reflect on the Torah’s lessons and strive for a more personal relationship with God.
We sing this Psalm on Shavuot with rejoicing over the gift of Torah to inspire the world. We pray that our Torah study will create an influence and inspiration for our Torah study to speak to people who will use everything they learn and experience to attach to God.