Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Week 25 (Book 5): Reviewing the Fourth Week of Adar - Psalms 73-75; 77:13-15; 89:26

PSALMS (Introductions and Translations from Chabad.org):

Chapter 73
This psalm addresses the question of why the righteous suffer while the wicked prosper, and prays for an end to our long exile. Read, and you will find repose for your soul.
1. A psalm by Asaph. Truly G-d is good to Israel, to the pure of heart. 2. But as for me, my feet nearly strayed; in an instant my steps would have been swept aside. 3. For I envied the revelers when I saw the tranquility of the wicked. 4. For there are no bonds1 to their death, and their health is sound. 5. They have no part in the toil of men, nor are they afflicted like other mortals; 6. therefore they wear pride as a necklace; their bodies are enwrapped in violence. 7. Their eyes bulge from fat; they surpassed the fantasies of their heart. 8. They consume [others], and talk wickedly of oppression-from on high do they speak. 9. They set their mouths against Heaven, while their tongues walk upon the earth. 10. Therefore His people return here,2 and suck the full [cup of bitter] waters. 11. And they say, "How can it be that G-d knows? Is there knowledge in the Most High?” 12. Behold these are the wicked, and they are ever tranquil, they have gained much wealth. 13. Surely in vain have I purified my heart, and washed my hands in cleanliness; 14. for I was afflicted all day, and my rebuke came each morning. 15. Were I to say, "I shall tell it like it is," behold I would turn the generation of Your children to rebels. 16. And when I pondered to understand this, it was unjust in my eyes; 17. until I came to the sanctuaries of G-d, and perceived their end. 18. Only on slippery places do You set them, You cast them into darkness. 19. How they have become desolate in an instant! They came to an end, they were consumed by terrors, 20. like a dream upon awakening. O my Lord, disgrace their image in the city. 21. When my heart was in ferment, and my mind was sharpened, 22. I was a boor and did not understand, like an animal was I with You. 23. Yet I was always with You; You held my right hand. 24. Guide me with Your counsel, and afterward, receive me with honor. 25. Whom do I have in heaven [besides You]? And when I am with You I desire nothing on earth. 26. My flesh and my heart yearn; G-d is the rock of my heart and my portion forever. 27. For behold, all those who are far from You perish, You cut down all who stray from You. 28. But as for me, the nearness of G-d is my good; I have put my trust in my Lord, G-d, that I may recount all Your works.

Chapter 74
The psalmist mourns and weeps over all the synagogues and study halls that have been burned: the Philistines destroyed the Tabernacle of Shiloh; Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the first Temple. We have been in exile for so long, without seeing any signs of redemption! When will the redemption come? Read, and you will find lamentation and consolation.
1. A maskil1 by Asaph. Why, O G-d, have You abandoned us forever, does Your wrath fume against the sheep of Your pasture? 2. Remember Your congregation which You acquired long ago, the tribe of Your inheritance whom You redeemed [and brought to] Mount Zion, where You rested Your Presence. 3. Lift Your steps to inflict eternal ruin, because of all the evil done by the enemy in the Sanctuary. 4. Your foes roared in the midst of Your meeting place; they considered their omens to be [genuine] signs. 5. The axes in the thicket of trees2 were reckoned as bringing [an offering] to the Above. 6. And now, all her ornaments together are smashed by hammer and hatchet. 7. They set Your Sanctuary on fire; they desecrated the Abode of Your Name to the ground. 8. Their rulers thought together in their hearts; they burned all the meeting places of G-d in the land. 9. We have not seen our signs; there is no longer a prophet, and there is none among us who knows how long. 10. How long, O G-d, will the adversary disgrace, will the enemy blaspheme Your Name forever! 11. Why do You withdraw Your hand, even Your right hand? Cast it out from within Your bosom! 12. For G-d is my King from long ago, working salvations in the midst of the earth. 13. In Your might, You divided the sea; You shattered the heads of the sea-monsters on the waters. 14. You crushed the heads of the Leviathan,3 leaving him as food for the nation [wandering in] the wilderness. 15. You split [the rock, bringing forth] fountain and brook; You dried up mighty streams. 16. Yours is the day, the night is also Yours; You established the moon and the sun. 17. You set all the boundaries of the earth; summer and winter-You created them. 18. Remember this, how the enemy reviled the Lord, and the vile nation blasphemed Your Name. 19. Do not give the soul of Your turtledove to the wild beast; do not forget the life of Your poor forever. 20. Look to the covenant, for the dark places of the earth are filled with dens of violence. 21. Do not turn back the oppressed in disgrace; [then] the poor and needy will praise Your Name. 22. Arise, O G-d, champion Your cause; remember Your insults from the perverse all day long. 23. Forget not the voice of Your adversaries; the tumult of Your opponents ascends always.

Chapter 75
How great is Israel! During their holidays they do not engage in frivolity, but in song and praise, and the study of the holiday's laws. Also, when they proclaimed (at the giving of the Torah), "We will do and we will hear!" they allowed the world to remain in existence. This psalm also admonishes those who indulge in worldly pleasures and attribute their prosperity to their own efforts.
1. For the Conductor, a plea not to be destroyed. A psalm by Asaph, a song. 2. We gave thanks to You, O G-d, we gave thanks; and Your Name was near [when] they1 told of Your wonders. 3. When I choose the appointed time, I will judge with fairness. 4. When the earth and all its inhabitants were melting, I established its pillars forever. 5. I said to the perverse, "Do not pervert [Israel]," and to the wicked, "Do not raise your pride.” 6. Do not raise your pride heavenward, nor speak with an arrogant neck 7. For not from the east or the west, nor from the desert does greatness come. 8. For G-d is Judge; He humbles one, and elevates the other. 9. For there is a cup [of punishment] in the hand of the Lord, with strong wine of full mixture; He pours from this, and all the wicked of the earth will drink, draining even its dregs. 10. But as for me, I will tell of it forever; I will sing to the G-d of Jacob. 11. I will cut off all glory of the wicked, but the glory of the righteous will be raised up.


Chapter 77

13. I meditate on all Your works, and speak of Your deeds. 14. O G-d, Your way is in sanctity; what G-d is as great as G-d? 15. You are the G-d Who works wonders; You make Your might known among the nations. 


26. I will set his hand upon the sea, his right hand upon the rivers. 

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