Ashrei XXIX

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“תהילת ה’ ידבר פי ויברך כל בשר שם קדשו לעולם ועד – May my mouth declare the praise of Hashem and may all flesh bless His Holy name forever and ever”

The Etz Yosef notes that the future tenseידבר  seems incorrect. Since this is the conclusion of Psalm 145/Ashrei, the verse perhaps should have read דיבר פי, in past tense. The Etz Yosef explains that the usage of future tense indicates that no matter how much a human being praises the Creator, it does not begin to scratch the surface of how much G-d should be praised. As we note often, man is finite and Hashem is infinite. Our finite praise is the best we can do, but not ultimately fitting for the King of Kings, the Holy One Blessed Be He.

“ואנחנו נברך י-ה מעתה ועד עולם הללוי-ה – And we shall bless G-d from now until eternity, Praise G-d.” This is the final verse of the Ashrei prayer. It is not however the end of Psalm 145. Psalm 145 concluded in the previous verse. This is the final verse of Psalm 115. Why was the liturgy orchestrated this way? Why is the verse above the best way to conclude the Ashrei prayer?

The Etz Yosef writes that in contrast to the previous verse that reflects the Messianic Era in which G-d will be fully recognized and praised continuously and forever by all mankind, this final statement mandates our immediate goal of relating to and praising Hashem today.  Therefore the name of G-d mentioned in this verse is “י-ה, the name that reflects G-d’s clandestine nature in this world as opposed to י-ה-ו-ה that symbolizes G-d in all of His glory. Therefore we conclude “ואנחננו נברך י-ה” – We will bless Kah starting today, מעתה ועד עולם” הללוי-ה” and proceed to greater times and greater praise in the future.

Rav Amram Gaon offers an additional insight why this verse is transported to Ashrei. He writes that since Psalm 145 begins with תהילה לדוד and all of the subsequent Hallelukahs begin and end with הללוי-ה therefore Ashrei must conclude with a הללוי-ה as well. This additional הללוי-ה connects the prayers from the beginning of Ashrei all through the Pesukai Dezimra section of Shacharit.

Besides establishing poetry and symmetry, the connection reflects a timely Jewish philosophy lesson too. Just as all of our praises are one long chain connecting one to the other, so too in G-d’s world all of the events in our past history and of our future destiny are connected one to another. Although we tend to view life’s events and world events as disparate happenings and events both positive and negative  that may seem random and even unrelated, we know that Hashem guides and directs all of His world, in synchronicity albeit beyond our understanding

May we merit seeing King David’s vision become a reality in our days. May we see the Jewish people and the world generally return towards the Creator, fulfill His Mitzvot, and merit to see the rebuilding of Zion and Jerusalem