Tehillim Tools: Psalm 139:5-7: Only Forward
“The back and front of me, You have fashioned, and You laid upon me Your hand. Such knowledge is concealed from me, it is too high, I cannot understand it. Where could I go from Your Spirit, where could I flee from Your presence (Psalms 109:5-7) David said: I know that the entire creation exists “backward and forward.” There are times when we fall backward in order to be able to step forward again, as the Sages taught (Berachot 34b): “In the place where Ba’alei Teshuvah stand, the righteous cannot.” However for myself, “such knowledge is concealed from me, I cannot understand,” I am not able to take even a single step backward, for “Where could I go from Your Spirit, where could I flee from Your presence”” I sense Your existence and Wisdom, how you sustain and give life to all the worlds, and therefore I cannot move to, “the v\back,” even for a second. “And if I were to say, ‘Surely the darkness will envelop me, the night would be as light about me’ (Verse 11),” meaning, and even when I am in a state of “night,” it is “Light,” for me, so I am never moving away from You. (Sidduro shel Shabbat, p.165)
Someone who is experiencing a period of “darkness,” confusion, pain, or a sense of loss, should meditate on this verse before beginning the Blessings of Shema which address the creation of light and dark. The meditation should include a prayer that one can achieve King David’s level of clarity, and his awareness that to experience darkness without any sense of light is to take a step away from God.