“סומך ה’ לכל הנופלים, וזוקף לכל הכפופים – G-d supports all of the fallen, and straightens those that are bent over.”
The Talmud Brachot 4b points out that until now the Ashrei follows the Alef Beis, but at this juncture the Nun is skipped over and the prayer continues with the letter Samech. The Talmud explains that King David did this because the letter Nun reflects נפילה – the falling of the Jewish people. It is interesting to note that there is a hint to the missing Nun that indicates נפילה -Falling when we say “סומך …. לכל הנופלים, G-d supports all of the fallen.
The Maharsha explains the significance of the hidden nun very beautifully. He writes that although it is true that the Jewish nation has fallen and does falter, nevertheless due to the divine mercy and support of G-d the fall never leads to a complete and utter destruction (G-d forbid). Therefore King David deletes the letter Nun and hints to G-d’s providential kindness in our verse סומך ה’ לכל הנופלים – He supports the fallen.
The Ibn Ezra shares a different insight into the verse. He writes that whereas earthly kings have a limit to the favors they can provide for supporters, the King of kings’ favors are not limited at all. As it states: G-d is a support לכל הכפופים, לכל הנופלים – to all those who have fallen and all those that are bent over. It does not matter who you are or how difficult the situation is “סומך … He is the support for all”.
Regarding this verse the Malbim quotes the famous idea that wherever we see G-d’s grandeur, we also see His humility. While the previous verses highlight G-d’s Honor, Kingship, Dominion and All Powerful strength, this verse presents G-d’s care for the broken, bent over and all those that need support and strength.
Take Home Tip: While we are still reverberating from the shock of the terrorists slaying of our precious Talmidei Chachamim in Har Nof as they were amidst Tefillah, let’s aim to improve our Tefillah as a tribute unto them. Let’s also take comfort in the lesson advanced by the Maharsha above that the Jewish nation has fallen and does falter (and does suffer tragic losses), nevertheless due to the divine mercy and support of G-d the fall will never lead to a complete and utter destruction- as it states-“ סומך ה’ לכל הנופלים, וזוקף לכל הכפופים – G-d supports all of the fallen; and straightens those that are bent over.