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Shevet M’Yisrael: Psalm 30

The 25th of Kislev is the Yahrtzeit of Rabbi Yaakov Yisrael of Kremenets, Russia, famed preacher, author of Shevet Mi’Yisrael. He died on December 23, 1799. “God, my Lord, I cried out to You, and You healed me. You have raised up my soul from the lower world. You have preserved me from my descent to the pit.” (Verses 3-4)

We can understand these verse with the Midrash that asks, “How can the Psalm describe the ‘Inauguration of the Temple by David,” when David did not build the Temple? David was concerned that people were saying that he was not allowed to construct the Temple because of his sin with Bathsheba. God promised David, that when King Solomon would dedicate the Temple, all would know that David’s merit was present.

When Solomon finished the Temple, the gates would not open to allow the Ark to enter until Solomon cried out, “For the sake of David, My servant!” The gates opened, and all saw that the Temple was in King David’s merit.

God raised David’s soul so that he could witness this scene and the people’s realization that David was healed of his sin. (Shevet Mi’Yisrael- Commentary to Psalms 30)

We often do not merit to see the result of our efforts on this world while alive. The Beit Hamikdash represents the world above time, and an assurance from God that we, as David, will have an opportunity to witness the fruit of our labors.

Did the Chashmonaim understand that their efforts would empower Israel forever, even through all the long years of their exile? It didn’t matter. They did what they felt they must. However, this Psalm assured them that they would merit seeing how all they did empowered Israel for eternity.

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