Psalms – Chapter 84

From Strength to Strength

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

Following the Psalms of Asaf, we return to some Psalms by the sons of Korach, last seen in Psalm 49. This Psalm was accompanied on the gittis.

How beloved are G-d’s habitations, they say, referring to the Temples, where the sons of Korach say they long to dwell. When they do, they will sing to G-d, body and soul.They compare the nation to a bird that wandered around until it found its home; that’s how the Jews were in the desert until G-d brought them into the land of Israel. In their own land, they were free to serve G-d and to raise their children in His ways.

Those who dwell in G-d’s “House” (i.e., the Temple) are fortunate and will praise Him continuously. (This verse is the first line of the prayer “Ashrei,” recited three times daily.) Also fortunate is the person who places his faith in G-d, as this will always lead him on the proper paths. Those who ignore G-d’s instructions pass through a valley of tears and they cry until they flood the place. (Conversely, perhaps the faithful transform their tearful experiences into positive springs of water.) They praise G-d and go from strength to strength until they appear before G-d. (Again, this can either be referring to the faithful or to repentant sinners, who have learned their lesson.)

The sons of Korach ask G-d to hear their prayer and send Moshiach (the Messiah) soon, which will cause the ultimate Temple to be built. One day in G-d’s Temple would be better than 1,000 years elsewhere! Living in humble conditions in Israel is better than a palace in a foreign land. G-d enlightens and protects us; He gives all goodness to those who follow Him. Fortunate are those who trust in Him!

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