Imagine if one had the opportunity to eavesdrop on the Chofetz Chaim as he cried out to Hashem during one of the most difficult times in his life. Or one had the opportunity to listen in on the Vilna Gaon’s intimate conversations with our Father in Heaven. Can you fathom the overflowing love and craving for Hashem in the conversations of our sages, the Amoraim, Tanna’im, and the great prophets of the Tanach?
One of the greatest gifts bequeathed to Klal Yisrael is just that: Sefer Tehillim. Dovid HaMelech, whom Chazal describe as the fourth leg of Hashem’s Holy Throne, who suffered a life of persecution from those who sought to take his life, left all of Klal Yisrael this treasure. According to Yismach Yisrael (Parashas Eikev), every type of Jew, in every generation until the coming of Mashiach, can find themselves in its words.
How can this be? How can the words cried out by “the fourth leg in Hashem’s Holy Throne” so perfectly express the love and yearning for Hashem of the simplest of Jews living thousands of years later? It is because of the depths of greatness, holiness, and closeness to Hashem buried in the heart of each and every Jew.
For the 21st year running, Priority-1 and the Young Israel of Lawrence-Cedarhurst have been hosting a Tanach shiur every motzaei Shabbos during the winter months. The shiur has just begun learning Sefer Tehillim, with prominent community rabbanim delivering insights into and explanations of the words of Dovid HaMelech.
The Jewish people have grabbed hold of this gift with both hands and never let go. Let us, the Jews of 21st-century America, join the practice of our ancestors going back thousands of years and grab hold of this treasure as well. During happy and sad times alike, we pour our hearts out to our Father in Heaven using the same words as Dovid HaMelech, expressing our suffering, sadness, persecution, hopes, dreams, desire for His closeness, and thankfulness for all His gifts. Whether it was the Levi’im as they sang in the Beis HaMikdash, the beaten and bloody Jew as he was dragged in shackles to Babylon, an ecstatic nation as they sang Hallel after their every salvation, a simple Jew as he was being tortured in the dungeons of the Inquisition, or the Jew with his head held high on the way to the gas chambers, all of us have found expression of our deepest feelings in those holy words.