Tehillim Tools: Psalm 79:8: Rashbi: God’s Love For Israel
“Remember not against us the sins of our ancestors; let Your compassion come swiftly toward us, for we have been brought very low (Psalms 79:8).” As Rabbi Chizkiah and Rabbi Yosi, and Rabbi Yehudah were once traveling together, Rabbi Yosi said: “Let each one of us teach some Torah.” Rabbi Yehudah thereupon began with the verse, “Remember not against us the sins of our ancestors; let Your compassion come swiftly toward us, for we have been brought very low.” He said: God in His great love for Israel allows no one to sit in judgment on them except Himself, and when He tries them, He is filled with compassion for them as a father for his children, and when He finds they have done wrong, He removes their offenses one by one until there are none left to place them in the power of the Sitra Achra. Hence it says, “Let Your compassion come swiftly toward us,” because otherwise Israel would not be able to exist, in face of all the accusers and all the adversaries who are lying in wait for them above.
Hence it continues, “For we have been brought very low,” that is low in good deeds in the sight of God. For were Israel rich in good deeds before God, idolatrous nations would not be able to exist in the world. It is Israel who enable other nations to hold their head high, because but for their sins the nations would be subdued before them. And, as we have already said, had not Israel by their sins brought the Sitra Achra into the Holy Land, the idolatrous nations would not have gained possession of it, and Israel would not have been exiled from their land.
Hence, because, “we have been brought very low,” therefore, “let Your compassion come swiftly toward us.” (Zohar I, Vayechi 229b)