Psalms – Chapter 92

Shabbos

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

Another Psalm of Moses: this is a Psalm for Shabbos, the Sabbath day. (The initials of the opening words, Mizmor Shir L’yom HaShabbos, are an anagram of “l’Moshe,” a Psalm of Moses.)

It is good to praise G-d and to sing to the Name of the Most High. (Each Psalm of Moses is said to correspond to a different Tribe. This Psalm would correspond to the Tribe of Judah. “To praise” – l’hodos in Hebrew – is the root of the name Yehuda – Judah – from which comes the word “Jews.”) We tell of G-d’s kindness in the morning and of His consistency by night. We praise Him on a variety of instruments and with song. He has made us happy through His deeds and His creations, which are most evident on Shabbos.

How great are the deeds of G-d! How unfathomable are His thoughts! A simple person cannot know and a fool cannot understand. Why do the wicked prosper? So they they can receive their reward in this world and be destroyed in the Next World. Even though the evil people appear to be thriving, G-d is still in control! Don’t worry; those who spurn G-d will get their comeuppance.

The author (Moses) says that in the future, the source of his pride will be magnified as the horns of the re’em (a large animal whose exact identity is unclear). He will be satisfied as with fresh oil, as he will have seen his antagonists defeated. Then, the righteous will flourish like palm trees and will grow like the cedars of Lebanon. They are firmly planted in the House of G-d and they bear fruit in His courtyards. They will continue to thrive even in their old age and they will proclaim that G-d is just and that all of His judgments are right.

This Psalm is full of familiar phrases, many of which are sung as songs, such as Tov L’hodos (“it is good to praise…”) and Tzaddik KaTamar Yifrach (“the righteous will flourish like palm trees…”). Given the fact that this Psalm overtly tells us that it is for Shabbos, it should not surprise us that it is in fact the daily Psalm for that day.

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