Every Preparation Day (Friday before Shabbat) we busy ourselves rushing to ready our homes and meal for Shabbat. We're often so busy that we can lose sight of the purpose and blessings of Shabbat. A couple of years ago I got into the habit of prayerfully reading the Tehillim each day. It has truly blessed my life. Within those songs are strength, comfort, peace, and rejoicing. They are a reminder to us that no matter what is going on in our lives that The Eternal watches over us. I hope that sometime during your busy Preparation Day that you will take some time with the Tehillim. It is with this in mind that I have started this blog, which are insights into each song, posted every Friday morning. Shabbat Shalom!
By In the Shade of the Tent | December 26, 2014 at 01:57 PM EST | No Comments
For the leader. A psalm of David:
How blessed are those who care for the poor!
When calamity comes, Adonai will save them.
Adonai will preserve them, keep them alive,
and make them happy in the land.
You will not hand them over
to the whims of their enemies.
Adonai sustains them on their sickbed;
when they lie ill, you make them recover. vs 1-4
The Eternal’s provision for the poor, and how they are esteemed by Him is very evident in the Torah. Indeed it seems that one of the main reasons we receive a blessing is so that we can turn around and bless others. In Judaism this is called Tzedekah . The closest word in English with a comparable meaning is “charity”, however, it is more than than that. Charity is more spontaneous, whereas, tzedekah is an obligation set forth by the Most High. The literal meaning of the word is righteousness or justice, and comes from the the Hebrew word Tzadik. If we say someone is a Tzadik, we proclaim them to be righteous. Tzedekah refers to our obligation to do what is right and just with regard to those who are poor.
Exodus 23:11; Leviticus 19:9-10, 25:35; Deuteronomy 14:28-29; 15:7-11, all of these verses from the Torah instruct us on our obligation to care for those who are less fortunate than ourselves. If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. Isaiah 58:10. We are in turn blessed and as David teaches, we will recover from illness, and when calamity strikes The Eternal will save.
Learn to do good!
Seek justice, relieve the oppressed,
defend orphans, plead for the widow. Isaiah 1:17
Listen to me, you who follow after righteousness, you who seek Yahweh: look to the rock whence you were hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence you were dug. Look to Abraham your father, and to Sarah who bore you; for when he was but one I called him, and I blessed him, and made him many.