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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.”

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Week 1 (Book 6): Reviewing Week of Rosh Hashanah - Psalms 1-3, 16:1-4, 89:1-2


Chapter 1

1. Fortunate is the man that has not walked in the counsel of the wicked, nor stood in the path of sinners, nor sat in the company of scoffers. 2. Rather, his desire is in the Torah of the Lord, and in His Torah he meditates day and night. 3. He shall be like a tree planted by streams of water, that yields its fruit in its season, and whose leaf does not wither; and all that he does shall prosper. 4. Not so the wicked; rather, they are like the chaff that the wind drives away. 5. Therefore the wicked will not endure in judgement, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. 6. For the Lord minds the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

Chapter 2

1. Why do nations gather, and peoples speak futility? 2. The kings of the earth rise up, and rulers conspire together, against the Lord and against His anointed: 3. “Let us sever their cords, and cast their ropes from upon us!” 4. He Who sits in heaven laughs, my Master mocks them. 5. Then He speaks to them in His anger, and terrifies them in His wrath: 6. “It is I Who have anointed My king, upon Zion, My holy mountain.” 7. I am obliged to declare: The Lord said to me, “You are my son, I have this day begotten you. 1 8. Ask of Me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, and the ends of the earth your possession. 9. Smash them with a rod of iron, shatter them like a potter’s vessel.” 10. Now be wise, you kings; be disciplined, you rulers of the earth. 11. Serve the Lord with awe, and rejoice with trembling. 12. Yearn for purity—lest He become angry and your path be doomed, if his anger flares for even a moment. Fortunate are all who put their trust in Him.

Chapter 3

1. A psalm by David, when he fled from Absalom his son. 2. Lord, how numerous are my oppressors; many rise up against me! 3. Many say of my soul, “There is no salvation for him from God—ever!” 4. But You, Lord, are a shield for me, my glory, the One Who raises my head. 5. With my voice I call to the Lord, and He answers me from His holy mountain, Selah. 6. I lie down and sleep; I awake, for the Lord sustains me. 7. I do not fear the myriads of people that have aligned themselves all around me. 8. Arise, O Lord, deliver me, my God. For You struck all my enemies on the cheek, You smashed the teeth of the wicked. 9. Deliverance is the Lord’s; may Your blessing be upon Your people forever.

Tikkun Klali

Psalm 16:

1. A michtam, by David. Watch over me, O God, for I have put my trust in You. 2. You, [my soul,] have said to God, "You are my Master; You are not obligated to benefit me.” 3. For the sake of the holy ones who lie in the earth, and for the mighty-all my desires are fulfilled in their merit. 4. Those who hasten after other [gods], their sorrows shall increase; I will not offer their libations of blood, nor take their names upon my lips.


1. A maskil by Eitan the Ezrachite. 2. I will sing of the Lord's kindness forever; to all generations I will make known Your faithfulness with my mouth.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Week 2 (Book 6): Review of the Week of Yom Kippur - Psalms 4-6, 16:5-7, 89:3

Psalms 4 - 6

Chapter 4

1. For the Conductor, with instrumental music, a psalm by David. 2. Answer me when I call, O God [Who knows] my righteousness. You have relieved me in my distress; be gracious to me and hear my prayer. 3. Sons of men, how long will you turn my honor to shame, will you love vanity, and endlessly seek falsehood?4. Know that the Lord has set apart His devout one; the Lord will hear when I call to Him. 5. Tremble and do not sin; reflect in your hearts upon your beds, and be silent forever. 6. Offer sacrifices in righteousness, and trust in the Lord. 7. Many say: “Who will show us good?” Raise the light of Your countenance upon us, O Lord. 8. You put joy in my heart, greater than [their joy] when their grain and wine abound. 9. In peace and harmony I will lie down and sleep, for You, Lord, will make me dwell alone, in security.

Chapter 5

1. For the Conductor, on the nechilot,1 a psalm by David. 2. Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my thoughts. 3. Listen to the voice of my cry, my King and my God, for to You I pray. 4. Lord, hear my voice in the morning; in the morning I set [my prayers] before you and hope. 5. For You are not a God Who desires wickedness; evil does not abide with You. 6. The boastful cannot stand before Your eyes; You hate all evildoers. 7. You destroy the speakers of falsehood; the Lord despises the man of blood and deceit. 8. And I, through Your abundant kindness, come into Your house; I bow toward Your holy Sanctuary, in awe of You. 9. Lead me, O Lord, in Your righteousness, because of my watchful enemies; straighten Your path before me. 10. For there is no sincerity in their mouths, their heart is treacherous; their throat is an open grave, [though] their tongue flatters. 11. Find them guilty, O God, let them fall by their schemes; banish them for their many sins, for they have rebelled against You. 12. But all who trust in You will rejoice, they will sing joyously forever; You will shelter them, and those who love Your Name will exult in You. 13. For You, Lord, will bless the righteous one; You will envelop him with favor as with a shield.

Chapter 6

1. For the Conductor, with instrumental music for the eight-stringed harp, a psalm by David. 2. Lord, do not punish me in Your anger, nor chastise me in Your wrath. 3. Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I languish away; heal me, O Lord, for my bones tremble in fear. 4. My soul is panic-stricken; and You, O Lord, how long [before You help]? 5. Relent, O Lord, deliver my soul; save me for the sake of Your kindness. 6. For there is no remembrance of You in death; who will praise You in the grave? 7. I am weary from sighing; each night I drench my bed, I melt my couch with my tears. 8. My eye has grown dim from vexation, worn out by all my oppressors. 9. Depart from me, all you evildoers, for the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping. 10. The Lord has heard my supplication; the Lord accepts my prayer. 11. All my enemies will be shamed and utterly terrified; they will then repent and be shamed for a moment.

Tikkun HaKlali 
(Psalm 16)

5. The Lord is my allotted portion and my cup; You guide my destiny.
6. Portions have fallen to me in pleasant places; even the inheritance pleases me."
7. I will bless the Lord, Who counseled me; even at night my conscience instructs me.

Psalm 89

3. For I said, "Forever will it be built with kindness; as the heavens, with which You will establish Your faithfulness."   

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Week 3 (Book 6): Reviewing the Week of (the first part) of Sukkot - Psalms 7-9; 16:8-10; 89:4

Chapter 7
1. A shigayon by David, which he sang to the Lord concerning Kush the Benjaminite. 2. I put my trust in You, Lord, my G-d; deliver me from all my pursuers and save me. 3. Lest he tear my soul like a lion, crushing me with none to rescue. 4. Lord, my G-d, if I have done this, if there is wrongdoing in my hands; 5. if I have rewarded my friends with evil or oppressed those who hate me without reason— 6. then let the enemy pursue and overtake my soul, let him trample my life to the ground, and lay my glory in the dust forever. 7. Arise, O Lord, in Your anger, lift Yourself up in fury against my foes. Stir me [to mete out] the retribution which You commanded. 8. When the assembly of nations surrounds You, remove Yourself from it and return to the heavens. 9. The Lord will mete out retribution upon the nations; judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness and my integrity. 10. Let the evil of the wicked come to an end, but establish the righteous—O righteous G-d, Searcher of hearts and minds. 11. [I rely] on G-d to be my shield, He Who saves the upright of heart. 12. G-d is the righteous judge, and the Almighty is angered every day. 13. Because he does not repent, He sharpens His sword, bends His bow and makes it ready. 14. He has prepared instruments of death for him; His arrows will be used on the pursuers. 15. Indeed, he conceives iniquity, is pregnant with evil schemes, and gives birth to falsehood. 16. He digs a pit, digs it deep, only to fall into the trap he laid. 17. His mischief will return upon his own head, his violence will come down upon his own skull. 18. I will praise the Lord according to His righteousness, and sing to the Name of the Lord Most High.
Chapter 8
1. For the Conductor, on the gittit, a psalm by David. 2. Lord, our Master, how mighty is Your Name throughout the earth, You Who has set Your majesty upon the heavens! 3. Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings You have established might, to counter Your enemies, to silence foe and avenger. 4. When I behold Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars which You have set in place— 5. what is man that You should remember him, son of man that You should be mindful of him? 6. Yet, You have made him but a little less than the angels, and crowned him with honor and glory. 7. You made him ruler over Your handiwork, You placed everything under his feet. 8. Sheep and cattle—all of them, also the beasts of the field; 9. the birds of the sky and the fish of the sea; all that traverses the paths of the seas. 10. Lord, our Master, how mighty is Your Name throughout the earth.
Chapter 9
1. For the Conductor, upon the death of Labben, a psalm by David. 2. I will thank the Lord with all my heart; I will recount all Your wonders. 3. I will rejoice and exult in You; I will sing to Your Name, O Most High. 4. When my enemies retreat, they will stumble and perish from before You. 5. You have rendered my judgment and [defended] my cause; You sat on the throne, O righteous Judge. 6. You destroyed nations, doomed the wicked, erased their name for all eternity. 7. O enemy, your ruins are gone forever, and the cities you have uprooted—their very remembrance is lost. 8. But the Lord is enthroned forever, He established His throne for judgment. 9. And He will judge the world with justice, He will render judgment to the nations with righteousness. 10. The Lord will be a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. 11. Those who know Your Name put their trust in You, for You, Lord, have not abandoned those who seek You. 12. Sing to the Lord Who dwells in Zion, recount His deeds among the nations. 13. For the Avenger of bloodshed is mindful of them; He does not forget the cry of the downtrodden. 14. Be gracious to me, O Lord; behold my affliction at the hands of my enemies, You Who raises me from the gates of death, 15. so that I may relate all Your praises in the gates of the daughter of Zion, that I may exult in Your deliverance. 16. The nations sank into the pit that they made; in the net they concealed their foot was caught. 17. The Lord became known through the judgment He executed; the wicked one is snared in the work of his own hands; reflect on this always. 18. The wicked will return to the grave, all the nations that forget G-d. 19. For not for eternity will the needy be forgotten, nor will the hope of the poor perish forever. 20. Arise, O Lord, let not man prevail; let the nations be judged in Your presence. 21. Set Your mastery over them, O Lord; let the nations know that they are but frail men, Selah.
Chapter 16
8. I have set the Lord before me at all times; because He is at my right hand, I shall not falter. 9. Therefore my heart rejoices and my soul exults; my flesh, too, rests secure. 10. For You will not abandon my soul to the grave, You will not allow Your pious one to see purgatory.

4. I have made a covenant with My chosen one; I have sworn to David, My servant:

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Week 4 (Book 6): Reviewing the Week of Hoshanah,Shmini Atzeret, Simchat Torah - Psalms 10-12; 16:11; 32:1-3; 89:5


Chapter 10

1. Why, O Lord, do You stand afar, do You hide Yourself in times of distress?2. The wicked man in his arrogance pursues the poor; they are caught by the schemes they have contrived. 3. For the wicked man glories in the desire of his heart, and the robber boasts that he has scorned the Lord. 4. The wicked one in his insolence [thinks], “He does not avenge”; all his thoughts are, “There is no God.” 5. His ways always succeed; Your retribution is far removed from before him; he puffs at all his foes. 6. He says in his heart, “I shall not falter; for all generations no evil will befall me.” 7. His mouth is full of oaths, deceit and malice; mischief and iniquity are under his tongue. 8. He sits in ambush near open cities; in hidden places he murders the innocent; his eyes stealthily watch for the helpless. 9. He lurks in hiding like a lion in his lair; he lurks to seize the poor, then seizes the poor when he draws his net. 10. He crouches and stoops, then the helpless fall prey to his might. 11. He says in his heart, “God has forgotten, He conceals His countenance, He will never see.” 12.Arise, O Lord! O God, lift Your hand! Do not forget the lowly. 13. Why does the wicked man scorn God? Because he says in his heart, “You do not avenge.”14. Indeed, You do see! For You behold the mischief and vexation. To recompense is in Your power; the helpless place their trust in You; You have [always] helped the orphan. 15. Break the strength of the wicked; then search for the wickedness of the evil one and You will not find it. 16. The Lord reigns for all eternity; the nations have vanished from His land. 17. Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble; direct their hearts, let Your ear listen, 18. to bring justice to the orphan and the downtrodden, so that [the wicked] shall no longer crush the frail of the earth.

Chapter 11

1. For the Conductor, by David. I have placed my trust in the Lord; [thus] how can you say of my soul, your mountain,1 that it flees like a bird?2 2. For behold, the wicked bend the bow, they have readied their arrow upon the bowstring, to shoot in darkness at the upright of heart. 3. They destroyed the foundations; 3 what [wrong] has the righteous man done? 4. The Lord is in His holy Sanctuary, the Lord's throne is in heaven, [yet] His eyes behold, His pupils probe [the deeds of] mankind. 5. The Lord tests the righteous, but He hates the wicked and the lover of violence. 6. He will rain down upon the wicked fiery coals and brimstone; a scorching wind will be their allotted portion. 7. For the Lord is righteous, He loves [the man of] righteous deeds; the upright will behold His countenance.

Chapter 12

1. For the Conductor, upon the eight-stringed instrument, a psalm by David. 2.Help us, Lord, for the pious are no more; for the faithful have vanished from among men. 3. Men speak falsehood to one another; with flattering lips, with a duplicitous heart do they speak. 4. May the Lord cut off all flattering lips, the tongue that speaks boastfully- 5. those who have said, "With our tongues we shall prevail, our lips are with us, who is master over us!” 6. Because of the plundering of the poor, because of the moaning of the needy, the Lord says, "Now I will arise!" "I will grant deliverance," He says to him. 7. The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in the finest earthen crucible, purified seven times. 8. May You, O Lord, watch over them; may You forever guard them from this generation, 9. [in which] the wicked walk on every side; when they are exalted it is a disgrace to mankind.


Chapter 16

11. Make known to me the path of life, that I may be satiated with the joy of Your presence, with the bliss of Your right hand forever.

Chapter 32

1. Of David, a maskil Praiseworthy is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is concealed.  
2. Praiseworthy is the man to whom the Lord ascribes no iniquity and in whose spirit there is no guile.  
3. When I was silent, my bones decayed with my moaning all day long.


5. Until eternity, I shall establish your seed, and I shall build your throne for all generations forever.


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