The House and First Fruits

The Mishnah reports that Psalm 30, or at least its opening verse, was recited by the Levites when worshippers brought First Fruits: THE FLUTE WAS PLAYING BEFORE THEM TILL THEY REACHED THE TEMPLE MOUNT; AND WHEN THEY REACHED THE TEMPLE MOUNT EVEN KING AGRIPPA WOULD TAKE THE BASKET AND PLACE IT ON HIS SHOULDER AND […]

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The House: Soul’s Abode

Ambiguities and outright confusions abound in teaching about Psalm 30. It begins with argument about possible meanings of its superscription — “A Psalm; a Song at the Dedication of the House; of David” — and how this relates to subsequent content. This blog has already touch on some ideas about which “house” is meant and […]

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The House: Bricks and Mortar?

Psalm 30 begins with the superscription: “Dedication of the House” — מִזְמוֹר: שִׁיר-חֲנֻכַּת הַבַּיִת לְדָוִד. mizmor: shir-chanukat ha-bayit l’David A Psalm; a Song at the Dedication of the House; of David. Which House? Some bricks and mortar possibilities, per The Jerusalem Commentary: First Temple: “The commentators disagree about which dedication and which “house” the psalm […]

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The Whole Nine Yards?

Following yesterday’s post about the hiddenness of God, alluded to in Psalm 30:8, here is a comment about prevalence of God’s name in the psalm: Psalm 30 was added to the liturgy in the 17th century under the influence of Lurianic mysticism. It mentions the name of God ten times, and Jewish mystics saw in […]

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Where God is Hidden

No one knows where God is hidden. Not even the ministering angels who tend God’s Throne of Glory know where God can be found, nor do the heavenly creatures who carry the Throne, for God has encircled Himself with darkness and cloud all around, as it is said, He made darkness his screen (Ps. 18:12). […]

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We have met the enemy, and…

Psalm 30, begins its emotional roller-coaster ride with praise for God who has “lifted me up, and not let my enemies rejoice over me.” The whole concept of enemies requires attention, both in general and in the specific context of Jewish communities in the U.S. today. For a start: When, in the name of security, […]

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Building with Love

A whole lot of worry, concern, and uncertainty follows governmental attempts to erase transgender individuals, vilify asylum seekers, fuel homophobia and xenophobia and racism and anti-Jewish feeling, plus White Nationalist killings in Louisville and Pittsburgh and attempts elsewhere. Can harness those feelings to sanctify a building project we cannot even see yet?

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For Beverly: may mourning turn to dance FOR YOU

In this difficult period of national turmoil, Psalm 30 can help us notice how we can all cry out together from our various situations and states of mind — griefs, or joys, that may be brand new, or three or 20 or 400 years old. We don’t need everyone in the same place or of the same mind to care for one another, work together, and, for those so inclined, pray with and for one another.

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Hatred of Haters and Turbulent Branching of Thoughts

Put an end to the hatred of haters those who have made me their foe Search me out with shovel and torchlight, God know my heart by means of compassion. Understand the turbulent branching of my thoughts. See the road that brings me sadness, and lead me instead on the path of eternal life. — […]

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