Two Sources for Basic Commentary
—Rabbi Benjamin Segal offers an analysis of Psalm 27 in its biblical-literary context and discusses the unity of psalm, behind its apparently disparate set of emotions. The very readable series from Schechter Institute in Philadelphia also includes complete text of each psalm in English and Hebrew. This commentary includes a note on the use of Psalm 27 in Elul and the Days of Awe. [UPDATE 2017: Sadly, this on-line resource appears to be gone; Segal’s A New Psalm: The Psalms as Literature is now published by Geffen Books.]
—Machzor Lev Shalem offers explanatory notes as well as a few thoughts on Psalm 27 in the penitential season. Unfortunately, the Rabbinical Assembly’s link to this material, previously offered here, is no longer public. Instead, a few notes are shared in More Exploring Psalm 27 (2 of 4). (Here is the machzor’s own website.) The Kol Nidrei sample pages include Zelda’s poem on “that strange night,” inspiration for this essay during Elul 5772.
You Will Gather Me In
My own commentary, including a video based on one of Liz Lerman’s movement techniques, focusing on images of shelter in the psalm.
The Elul-Zombie Connection — a lovely commentary from JTS rabbinical student, Jessica Minnen, seriously:
As the month of Elul wanes, we are preparing. We prepare for the new moon, we prepare for Rosh Hashanah, and we prepare for the zombie invasion. I have it on good authority, as do you, that the onslaught is imminent. The alarm blares every morning — a shofar blast and a warning:
בִּקְרֹב עָלַי מְרֵעִים לֶאֱכֹל אֶת־בְּשָׂרִי
Bikrov ‘alai m’ray-im le’ekhol et-bisari
Evil ones draw near to me to consume my flesh.
This line is taken from the second verse of Psalm 27, which is said every day from the first of Elul until Hoshana Rabbah….
The zombie — now enjoying a resurgence in popular culture — is an amalgamation of West African and Haitian Creole mysticism that gained footing in western folklore during the 19th century. But it wasn’t until George Romero’s now-classic 1968 film Night of the Living Dead that the idea of a flesh-eating zombie apocalypse became a sub-genre of the American consciousness…. Read more at Open Siddur