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Psalms – Chapter 79
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Asaf calls to G-d regarding the invaders who have violated the Temple and devastated Jerusalem. The corpses of the fallen are left for scavengers to devour. The invaders shed blood like water and the dead remained unburied because the few survivors were too afraid to come out of hiding. Those who managed to survive were […]
Psalms – Chapter 78
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This Psalm of Asaf is a Maskil – it is intended to enlighten people. Listen up to the Written Torah and pay attention to the Oral Torah! We’re going to review history and see how it applies to us. We have received the Torah, which was transmitted to us from our ancestors; we shall continue […]
Psalms – Chapter 77
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Continuing the Psalms of Asaf, this one on the Yedusun, which Rashi says refers to the harsh decrees that would be made on Israel by their oppressors in exile. Asaf says that he raises his voice and cries out to G-d, Who hears him. On his day of trouble, Asaf looked for G-d. He is […]
Psalms – Chapter 76
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Another Psalm of Asaf: G-d is known in Judah and His Name is revered throughout Israel; His Temple is in Jerusalem, formerly called Shalem (Salem). Jerusalem is fated to withstand the Assyrian onslaught that will carry off the Ten Tribes (or perhaps the war of Gog and Magog). G-d is illuminated through these deeds, which […]
Mitzvos Meant To Make Us Merry?
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Shiur #66 in Rav Aharon Kahn’s Hashkafah Series Based on Mishlei with Biur HaGra. Content Description: Maharal's opinion that even though the Torah is good and pleasant, the mitzvos were not commanded in order to grant us, or instill in us, goodness and pleasantness. They are simply decrees of our Master. The Rambam's opinion regarding our ability to discern the reasons for mitzvos but not the reasons for the details of each mitzvah. The Ramban's opinion: mitzvos are for our benefit, but Hashem does not need our mitzvos. Ramban believes that mitzvos are to transform us into elevated and refined people. Maharal disagrees with both positions and holds that mitzvos serve supernaturally to free our souls from their being stuck in our physical state, and mitzvos allow the soul to cleave to Hashem. We have a very specific role in Hashem's Creation, which is accomplished through mitzvah performance, and that mechanism is unfathomable to us. Citations: The following source is referenced in this shiur: Sefer Tiferes Yisroel of the Maharal of Prague, chapters 6-8 found in the source packets on pages 1-5.
Psalms – Chapter 75
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Asaf begins this Psalm with the plea, “do not destroy,” as David did Psalms 57-59. He is still speaking of the Jews in exile, whom he prays will survive the tough times ahead. When Israel is redeemed from exile, they will thank G-d, Who was always nearby. When the time for redemption arrives, G-d will […]
Psalms – Chapter 74
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Another Psalm by Asaf, this one is called a maskil, meaning a Psalm whose purpose is to impart wisdom. Asaf asks why G-d appears to have abandoned Israel in exile; will the Shepherd be forever angry at His sheep? Asaf asks G-d to recall His historical relationship with His people, from the Exodus to the […]
Psalms – Chapter 73
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This is the first of a series of Psalms composed by the Levite Asaf. With twelve Psalms to his credit, Asaf was the second-most prolific Psalmist, after David. (See our synopsis on Psalm 50 for more about Asaf.) Asaf says that G-d is always good to Israel, even when His actions appear to be harsh. […]
Psalms – Chapter 72
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David composed this Psalm for his son, Solomon, on the occasion of appointing him his successor, as we read about in I Kings chapter 1. David asks G-d to bestow wisdom upon Solomon so that he may judge the people well and in accordance with the Torah. He should also know when to temper his […]
Psalms – Chapter 71
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This Psalm continues the theme of the previous one and, as such, it does not begin with an introductory note. David says that he sought shelter from his pursuers in G-d, and he hopes that G-d will not let his enemies put him to shame. (This verse could be interpreted “let me not ever be […]