(Tehilim (Psalms
(Tehilim (PsalmsFlash 90

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin ([email protected])

Are you familiar with Psalm 27? It is customary to recite this psalm every day from the start of the month of Elul through the end of the holidays of Tishrei. Composed by King David, the fourteen lines of this psalm express an inner peace and tranquil outlook on life based on optimism and faith.

Wishing to better understand this psalm, I investigated the meaning of each line with the help of our sages' commentaries, combining them into my own clarification of King David's words, as rendered below regarding the opening line of Psalm 27:

*"By David. The Lord is my light and my salvation -- whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life -- of whom shall I be afraid?"*

We are surrounded by threats, real and imaginary, from Iran and terrorist attacks to fake news and, just now, another wave of the coronavirus. As we search for a way to cope, King David reminds us that despite our anxiety, there is God, an ever present source of "light and salvation," who gives direction and purpose to our lives. This is a reassuring message -- whether to the entire nation or to a child facing a new year of school.

And it's important to remember the story of the author of this psalm. King David experienced numerous troubles throughout his life. He had a slew of external and internal enemies and rebellious children, fought many wars and was pursued by those who sought his death.

To be sure, there is justification to be vigilant amidst a harsh reality that demands action in the here and now, but we cannot allow fear to rule our lives. *"Whom shall I fear? Of whom shall I be afraid?"* Thus asks King David, whose answer is no one, as long as we live with faith in the Lord, our immovable and steadying anchor from within.

*Sivan Rahav-Meir’s explanation of the psalm for those interested: https://bm.sivanrahavmeir.com/choveret/*