Tefillah Tuesday: Broken Hearted

The Lord heals the broken-hearted, and binds up their wounds [Psalms 147.3]. The God of Israel, as displayed in the Bible, can be thunderously grand, demanding justice, punishing pharaohs, speaking in earthquakes and storms, laying waste to cities, moving empires around. And sometimes the Biblical God is a tender healer, whose arm goes around the… Read more »

Tefillah Tuesday: Gives Food to the Hungry

אהללה י’הוה בחיי אזמרה לא’להי בעודי, I will praise the Lord with my life, I will sing to God as long as I live. [Psalms 146.2] P’sukei d’Zimra continues with Psalm 146, which begins with the declaration above. The simple semantic meaning of the first phrase – praising God “with my life” – is that… Read more »

Tefillah Tuesday: To All Who Call in Truth

Continuing with the acrostic Ashrei, Psalm 145, today let us focus on v. 18: “קרוב י’הוה לכל קוראיו לכל אשר יקראהו באמת.“ “The Lord is close to all who call upon Him, to all who call in truth.” For a worshipper reciting Ashrei, this verse plays a sly or ironic trick. Its first clause promises… Read more »

Tefillah Tuesday: The Missing Nun

The core of Pesukei d’Zimra is the final six chapters of Psalms, beginning with 145, known as “Ashrei [or, “how fortunate!”],” after the first words of Psalms 84.5 and 144.15, which are appended as a preface. The Talmud [Berakhot 4b] praises Ashrei as guaranteeing a place in the world to come to those who recite… Read more »