Psalms – Chapter 36

The Wind Beneath My Wings

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

In this Psalm, David is called the “servant of G-d,” for whom He has wrought victory. Victory over whom? There are different opinions, but the Radak and others say that it refers to the temptation to sin, the Yetzer Hara. The Yetzer Hara puts thoughts of sin in a person’s heart and there is no fear of G-d in his eyes. The Yetzer Hara gives the person a smooth path so that he might easily be swayed to sin. Ultimately, one gives up on good altogether. He stays up at night planning his sins and evil no longer repulses him.

On the other hand, a servant of G-d like David recognizes G-d’s abundant kindness. His righteousness is like a massive mountain range and when He administers justice, it’s like the depths of the sea (from which there is no escape). G-d saves both man and beast. (This last verse, about the mountains, the sea and the animals, is part of the “Tzidkascha” prayer said on Shabbos afternoons.)

David says that G-d’s kindness is precious and that people take refuge under His “wing.” They will be satisfied from all His goodness; He will allow them to metaphorically “drink” from the spring of His delight. Only G-d has the keys to life and His is the only light. David asks that G-d extend kindness to those who know Him and charity to the upright. (The latter are not on the level of the former, but still deserving of goodness from Him.)

David concludes this Psalm with a prayer that the evil, arrogant ones not overtake him. Their fate is written already by their deeds; they will be thrown down, unable to rise again.

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