Monday, May 31, 2010
Psalm for Monday: Psalm 48, Verse 5
כי הנה המלכים נועדו עברו יחדו
For here the kings/rulers assembled; they passed together.
It is a beautiful Memorial Day here in Amherst, so I'm going to keep today's commentary brief.
In my commentary on the previous verse (May 17) I wrote of the importance of remembering the Divine within us, which connects us to everyone and everything. When we remember this we can avoid the snares and traps of the ego and connect with the "heavenly Jerusalem," that higher plane which I have presented as the central focus of this psalm.
When we remember to connect to the Oneness of the universe, we become as 'rulers' (I am trying to gender neutralize a gendered text) for we find power and majesty within. But we are not rulers of others, but rulers of ourselves. It is as if we are all masters of our own destiny. However, this is not totally true, for this only occurs if we realize that the ultimate source of our power is indeed a Higher Power and not the self or the ego. Beyond this, we must also remember that we are inextricably linked to everyone and everything else through that Power. Hence the final phrase "they passed together."
When we 'pass together' through the world, with recognition of our interonnectedness, then we are truly fulfilling the concept of being created in the image of the Divine. Hence, just as God is described as a ruler or sovereign throughout the Torah and elsewhere in Jewish tradition, so do we find a ruler's sense of power and majesty within us all.
דבר אחר/Another possible interpretation...using a common rabbinic hermeneutical technique, if we add one letter to the word for kings/rulers we then have the word for messengers/angels. The letter we add is simply the aleph. This first letter of the Hebrew alphabet is silent. But the vowels (which traditionally are not written) associated with this change the word from m'lachim מלכים to malachim מלאכים. The aleph, or alpha, as I have written before, can also be viewed as the beginning no-sound sound of our ongoing conversation with the Divine. When we remember that finding the power within is about making ourselves part of this ongoing conversation, then we are not only rulers, but we become angels, messengers of the Divine to the world.
Posted by Rabbi Steven Nathan at 10:45 AM
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