Welcoming The Shabbat: Alshich: Psalm 96
“These psalms all discuss the time of the final redemption. It is worth remembering the statement of the prophet, “In those days, God will not be referred to as ‘the One Who took Israel out of Egypt,’ but He will be acknowledged as ‘the Living God, Who has taken Israel
out from the Northern country and from all the other countries He had cast them out into, and Who has brought them back to this land.’” (Jeremiah 16:14-15) We will no longer have to content ourselves with praising God for something He did for us in the distant past, but the new song will extol God’ s greatness in such a fashion that there is no need to support it by referring to ancient history.” (Romemot El – Rabbi Moshe Alshich; Translated by Eliyahu Munk)
As we approach Shabbat, we transition from our focus on our immediate needs to one of “What is my vision for my life and for this world?” We do not speak of the past, as the Alshich Hakadosh says, “Of ancient history;’ we do not sing of what once was, but of what can be, what will be, of our greatest aspirations and dreams.
Shabbat is not honoring what happened in the past at Creation, but what that day meant for all of history. We sing this psalm to reset our sights on the infinite possibilities of life.
Spend a few moments before Kabbalat Shabbat focusing on your dreams and aspirations. Imagine the world perfected in peace and awareness of God. Sing the Kabbalat Shabbat as a celebration of those dreams.