Weekly Cycle

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Introduction to Book 6


Book 6

Ultimately, it is important to have standards that apply to all. King Solomon was incredibly wise righteous, yet he mistakenly thought that the message in Devarim regarding kings having too many wives did not apply to him. This was a grave mistake, which ultimately led to his downfall. We have to internalize that everything in the Torah is eternal, and that no one is above its laws. These general standards also help us not deviate from the True Path: neither in the way of “elevating the world” (like King Solomon), nor in the way of separating oneself from it (like the nazirite, the Nazir).

Even if some general decrees seem inconvenient, we have to make them fit in our lives, and observe them in a manner that beautifies the mitzvoth and beautifies our lives.

This is the essence of the Book of Deuteronomy (Devarim): setting up general guidelines applicable to all. Devarim is also called Mishneh Torah (a repetition of the Torah), a review and summary of the rest of the Torah. Book 5 is an attempt to reflect these themes. The sets of 52 included in this book are as follows:

The Book of Psalms is King David’s “general” prayer book, as it contains the emotions of every person. King David is the ultimate general soul (Neshamah Klali), his life being given to him by Adam himself, whose name stands for Adam-David­-Mashiach. Perek Shirah incorporates not only man, but all of Creation.

The Book of Psalms is a read as a general Tikkun (spiritual correction), especially during the month of Elul for sins committed throughout the entire year. In fact, the Ba’al Shem Tov instituted that three psalms should read each day of this month, and that the entire book should be read by Yom Kippur. The Mishnah Berurah also sets forth the custom of reading the entire book of Psalms (twice) during this time period. The Book of Psalms along with Perek Shirah contain 156 chapters, fifty-two divided by three.  

Rebbe Nachman’s Tikkun HaKlali works as kind of “summary” of the book of Psalms. It contains the ten kinds of song contained in the Book of Psalms. Without counting the introductory verses of its Psalms, it contains 156 verses. Psalm 88 and 89 appear to be a summary of Tikkun Klali itself. (One of the hints to this idea, is the fact that according to the Baal Shem Tov's instructions, these Psalms are read on Rosh Hashanah) Without counting its introductory verse, Psalm 89 contains 52 verses. Its 33rd verse appears to be a summary of the entire Book, similar to the way in which Tzadik B’Emunatoh Yichieh (the righteous lives by his/her faith) is the summary of the entire Torah. The 33rd verse is, “But I shall not cancel My kindness from him, and I shall not betray My faith,” “VeChasdi Lo Afir M’Imoh, VeLo Ashaker B’Emunati.”

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