saying a psalm for Jerusalem

There’s a reason we are supposed to pray every day, even more than once a day, even us women.

Here’s a glimpse of what worries me, from the Times of Israel:

Following a deadly terrorist attack Wednesday afternoon, Palestinians rioted in Jerusalem’s Old City and outside its Damascus Gate, burning garbage and throwing stones, hours after an East Jerusalem man rammed his car into a group of pedestrians in a terror attack, killing one man.

I guess we can all feel relieved to know that the attack on the Israeli soldiers that came later on that day was just a mistake…

And we Jews can’t pray in our own city wherever we want, and those who proclaim that we should be able to do are shot.

And we have to fight in the U.S. Supreme Court that Jerusalem is indeed part of Israel. It seems to be the same reasoning used against us in both cases.

Yes, I can’t forget Jerusalem.

So I revisit  one particular psalm, recited daily, but have a different focus. This time on Jerusalem itself.

Psalms Chapter 147 תְּהִלִּים

א  הַלְלוּ-יָהּ:
כִּי-טוֹב, זַמְּרָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ–    כִּי-נָעִים, נָאוָה תְהִלָּה.
1 Hallelujah; {N}
for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is pleasant, and praise is comely.
ב  בּוֹנֵה יְרוּשָׁלִַם יְהוָה;    נִדְחֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל יְכַנֵּס. 2 The LORD doth build up Jerusalem, He gathereth together the dispersed of Israel;
ג  הָרֹפֵא, לִשְׁבוּרֵי לֵב;    וּמְחַבֵּשׁ, לְעַצְּבוֹתָם. 3 Who healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.
ד  מוֹנֶה מִסְפָּר, לַכּוֹכָבִים;    לְכֻלָּם, שֵׁמוֹת יִקְרָא. 4 He counteth the number of the stars; He giveth them all their names.
ה  גָּדוֹל אֲדוֹנֵינוּ וְרַב-כֹּחַ;    לִתְבוּנָתוֹ, אֵין מִסְפָּר. 5 Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite.
ו  מְעוֹדֵד עֲנָוִים יְהוָה;    מַשְׁפִּיל רְשָׁעִים עֲדֵי-אָרֶץ. 6 The LORD upholdeth the humble; He bringeth the wicked down to the ground.
ז  עֱנוּ לַיהוָה בְּתוֹדָה;    זַמְּרוּ לֵאלֹהֵינוּ בְכִנּוֹר. 7 Sing unto the LORD with thanksgiving, sing praises upon the harp unto our God;
ח  הַמְכַסֶּה שָׁמַיִם, בְּעָבִים–    הַמֵּכִין לָאָרֶץ מָטָר;
הַמַּצְמִיחַ הָרִים    חָצִיר.
8 Who covereth the heaven with clouds, who prepareth rain for the earth, {N}
who maketh the mountains to spring with grass.
ט  נוֹתֵן לִבְהֵמָה לַחְמָהּ;    לִבְנֵי עֹרֵב, אֲשֶׁר יִקְרָאוּ. 9 He giveth to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry.
י  לֹא בִגְבוּרַת הַסּוּס יֶחְפָּץ;    לֹא-בְשׁוֹקֵי הָאִישׁ יִרְצֶה. 10 He delighteth not in the strength of the horse; He taketh no pleasure in the legs of a man.
יא  רוֹצֶה יְהוָה, אֶת-יְרֵאָיו–    אֶת-הַמְיַחֲלִים לְחַסְדּוֹ. 11 The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear Him, in those that wait for His mercy.
יב  שַׁבְּחִי יְרוּשָׁלִַם, אֶת-יְהוָה;    הַלְלִי אֱלֹהַיִךְ צִיּוֹן. 12 Glorify the LORD, O Jerusalem; praise thy God, O Zion.
יג  כִּי-חִזַּק, בְּרִיחֵי שְׁעָרָיִךְ;    בֵּרַךְ בָּנַיִךְ בְּקִרְבֵּךְ. 13 For He hath made strong the bars of thy gates; He hath blessed thy children within thee.
יד  הַשָּׂם-גְּבוּלֵךְ שָׁלוֹם;    חֵלֶב חִטִּים, יַשְׂבִּיעֵךְ. 14 He maketh thy borders peace; He giveth thee in plenty the fat of wheat.
טו  הַשֹּׁלֵחַ אִמְרָתוֹ אָרֶץ;    עַד-מְהֵרָה, יָרוּץ דְּבָרוֹ. 15 He sendeth out His commandment upon earth; His word runneth very swiftly.
טז  הַנֹּתֵן שֶׁלֶג כַּצָּמֶר;    כְּפוֹר, כָּאֵפֶר יְפַזֵּר. 16 He giveth snow like wool; He scattereth the hoar-frost like ashes.
יז  מַשְׁלִיךְ קַרְחוֹ כְפִתִּים;    לִפְנֵי קָרָתוֹ, מִי יַעֲמֹד. 17 He casteth forth His ice like crumbs; who can stand before His cold?
יח  יִשְׁלַח דְּבָרוֹ וְיַמְסֵם;    יַשֵּׁב רוּחוֹ, יִזְּלוּ-מָיִם. 18 He sendeth forth His word, and melteth them; He causeth His wind to blow, and the waters flow.
יט  מַגִּיד דְּבָרָו לְיַעֲקֹב;    חֻקָּיו וּמִשְׁפָּטָיו, לְיִשְׂרָאֵל. 19 He declareth His word unto Jacob, His statutes and His ordinances unto Israel.
כ  לֹא עָשָׂה כֵן, לְכָל-גּוֹי–    וּמִשְׁפָּטִים בַּל-יְדָעוּם:
הַלְלוּ-יָהּ.
20 He hath not dealt so with any nation; and as for His ordinances, they have not known them. {N}
Hallelujah.

I was only going to quote up to verse 15, but I think that the last verse is crucial.

This is about economics and sharing of wealth. Nechama Leibowitz states that the midrash about why the archetypal first siblings quarreled shows that war is about religion, wealth, or sex. I think that the psalmist here is saying that if there is enough acknowledgement that G-d is in charge of the universe, then He will make the borders strong enough to withstand those who do not believe (as in the last verse), or rather, that they believe they are more important than G-d. So the order is:

  1. praise G-d
  2. enjoy economic well-being
  3. enjoy peace

I went looking through my photos of Jerusalem to find something that would indicate this, but I found these that perhaps are most fitting. They are from our first visit back to the Old City of Jerusalem this summer.

DSC_0653 DSC_0654

A House of Cards, but built with the past. For the future. For the health of the whole world.

Here’s another version of the song that I had included 4 years ago, but with some extra photos from Jerusalem.

Too much? Not nearly enough.

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s