Tefillah Tips: Ashrei VIII

May 20, 2014

The next verse in King David’s great acrostic is “הדר כבוד הודך ודברי נפלאתך אשיחה – The splendorous glory of Your power and Your wondrous deeds I shall discuss.” Whereas the first two verses of the Psalm are in first person, and the second two verses are in third person, the fifth verse returns to the first person: אשיחה– I will discuss.

The commentators explain that הדר , glory, refers to outer beauty while הוד refers to inner beauty; and נפלאתך  implies G-d’s wonders that are supernatural. The implication of the first phrase is that the surface beauty of G-d’s handiwork represents and reflects an intricate inner beauty as well. While there are indeed times when beauty may be only skin deep, this is not so with G-d or His creations..

In the latter part of this verse King David states that he speaks often and effortlessly of G-d’s miracles. The root word שיחה, from אשיחה, is translated by the Malbim to mean ones innermost thoughts verbalized without forethought. This means to say that since King David is so imbued with love and awe of the Creator and His divine works, he speaks of them all day long. It just rolls right off of his tongue.

This idea of effortless expression comes about when one internalizes his thoughts and beliefs of G-d’s all-powerful greatness, which defies time and space. It is through the study and recognition of G-d’s historical, present, and future impact on the world that leads to noticing, appreciating, and in turn expressing the wonder of His deeds and qualities.

This lesson is hinted to in the opening line of the Amida. “ברוך… אלוקינו ואלוקי אבותינו. אלוקי אברהם, אלוקי יצחק, ואלוקי יעקב – Blessed are You… Our G-d and the G-d of our fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” Why is it important for us to mention that G-d is Our G-d? If He is the G-d of our fathers, isn’t He most certainly our G-d as well? The answer is yes; nevertheless, we have an opportunity as well as a responsibility to not only relate to the G-d we meet in the Torah through our forefathers, we must experience G-d and His handiwork ourselves. Whether through nature,ritual or study, G-d is ours to discover. Through every sunrise, sunset, and rainbow, G-d is revealing an inkling of His creative strength. We connect ourselves to G-d with every prayer, blessing and Mitzvah we fulfill.

Take Home Tip: Let us take better note of the glory and beauty of G-d’s world. Let us enjoy the blessings that G-d has bestowed upon us and all inhabitants of His earth. We then will also be able to speak more effortlessly of G-d’s greatness – ודברי נפלאתך אשיחה.