Psalms – Chapter 19

Toras Hashem Temimah

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

David says that the heavens demonstrate G-d’s greatness and inspire people to praise Him. The unceasing cycle of day and night attests to G-d’s wisdom and power. The heavenly bodies do not speak, but they cause G-d to be praised. The universe operates with perfect precision, praising G-d better than we could ever do.

David compares the sun to a joyful groom (whom everyone happily greets), and says that it rejoices to do its duty like a warrior does to do his in battle. The sun rises daily and travels from one end of the sky to the other and nothing escapes its rays. (Rashi points out that the verse refers to the sun’s heat, whose effect is inescapable, rather than its light, which is easily avoided.)

Now that he has praised G-d for His wonders of “nature,” David addresses G-d’s Torah, which is perfect and refreshes the soul by showing us the way to earn life. G-d’s mitzvos (commandments) make even simple people who study them become wise. G-d’s instructions to man are just and make those who fulfill them glad; His laws are clear and brighten the eyes. Awe of G-d is everlasting purity and His judgments are perfectly just and true. In short, Torah is better than the finest gold and sweeter than fresh, dripping honey.

David tries his utmost to fulfill G-d’s Torah, but he acknowledges that he is not perfect. He asks that G-d help to purify him from his errors, rather than allowing them to accumulate until they overpower him. David hopes that his words – and even his unspoken thoughts – may be favorable to G-d, Who has redeemed him. (This last verse is said at the end of the Amidah prayer, recited several times daily.)

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