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Tehillim Tools: Rabbi Samson R Hirsch: The Havdalah Psalms 144 & 67

The 9th of Iyar is the Yahrtzeit of Rav Yitzchak Bernays (Barneis) (1792-1849), teacher of Rav Shamshon Rafael Hirsch: We accompany our reentry into weekday life with its strife and struggle, its endeavors and achievements, its successes and failures, with two Psalms which are well-qualified gird us, both as individuals and as a community, with vigorous courage and calm confidence.


Optimism such as this can be derived only from the certainty that God is the support of all human life and endeavor and the Guiding force in all the course of Earth’s development, and that He will grant man a future of salvation.

In Psalm 144, David, the most victorious of all the kings of the Jewish people, quite frankly acknowledges that he owes all of his strength, all of his prowess in battles and all his victories to God alone.

At the same time he sincerely deplores this sad necessity for having wars at all, and he declares that he will bless the day when we will be able to leave the evil sword in its sheath forever and to rejoice in the realization of the sole Jewish ideal of national prosperity and welfare; that is, the flourishing of our youth to spiritual and moral nobility, modesty and humility preserved and proven even in wealth and prosperity under the protection and guidance of God.

Psalms 67 reminds us that, under God’s providence and leadership, all the rest of humanity, too, moves forward to this same future of salvation, and the shores us that God will permit His Providence among all the nations on earth to complete its path to that goal.

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