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Tehillim tidbits

Blog Image: Thoughts.JPG
The Act of Watching
17th of Nissan, April 22, 2008

"I was young and now am old, yet I have not seen [raiti] the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread (Psalm 37:25)."   This verse has been questioned many times, and is even omitted by some from the Grace After Meals.   Rabbi Jonathan Sacks offers an explanation from Rabbi Moshe Feuerstein of Boston.  Rabbi Feuerstein translates the word "raiti" in accordance with its usage in Megillat Esther: "Eichachah uchal v'raiti b'raah asher yimtzah et ami, v'eichachah uchal v'raiti b'avdan moladiti; How can I bear to watch the disaster which will befall my people?  And how can I bear to watch the destruction of my family (Esther 8:6)?"   The verb then does not mean "to see", but instead to "stand by passively and witness."   It implies the act of watching and not doing.   This, according to Esther and to David, is impossible from a moral point of view.    As Jews, we are our brother's keeper.  This verse then translates into an ethical statement: "I was young and now am old, yet I have not stood still and watched when the righteous was forsaken and his children forced to beg for bread."   During Pesach, we enact this statement by inviting all who are hungry to join us for a meal, and all who are in need to come and celebrate Pesach with us.

Moadim L'Simcha.

 Rachel Lerner 2008

Posted 4/23/2008 12:00 AM | Tell a Friend | Tehillim | Comments (0)

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