Psalms – Chapter 136

The Great Praise

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

This Psalm contains 26 verses, corresponding to the 26 generations from the creation of the world until the time the Torah was given. (26 is also the numerical value of G-d’s Name.) David praises G-d for a variety of things, following each expression of praise with “For His mercy endures forever.” They are:

He is all-good; He rules the angels and the planets; He made the wonders of the universe, including Heaven, Earth, the sun, moon and stars; He smote the first-born of Egypt so that the Jews might be freed from slavery; He split the sea and led Israel through it safely, drowning the pursuing army; He led the Jews safely through the wilderness; he conquered mighty kings, including Sichon and Og, and gave their land to the Jews; He remembered us when we were down and saved us from our oppressors; He feeds all His creatures; He is the Ruler of the Heavens, from where He commands this food be provided.

That closing thought, about G-d providing for all of His creations, is why this Psalm is known as Hallel HaGadol, “The Great Praise.”

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