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Tehillim: Perek 91

Based on a shiur by Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller

Chapter 91 of Tehilim depicts the serenity of one who feels secure in the shadow of Hashem. It describes Him as, “My shelter and my fortress…I shall trust in Him.” The person no longer puts his faith in himself or others, only in The One Above. “He will release you from the snare that entraps and from plagues that devastate.” There’s nothing Hashem can’t protect us from. “With his wing (according to Targum b’evroso is translated as, the shadow) He’ll give you shade, you’ll take shelter under His wing. Your shield and protection will be His truth.” We’ll be completely protected by the truth of Hashem. What is this truth? Only His will prevails. When we suffer, it’s because we need to come closer to him. We need to be vulnerable. We need to be able to say, “We’re totally reliant on you.” Ultimately when we come to that place of trust, He’ll protect us.

“You won’t be afraid of fears at night or the arrow that flies by day.” They’ll be nothing for you to be frightened of. The mazikim are the spiritual forces that turn against us at night. Metzudah translates dever as a type of mazik that comes in darkness when one cannot see. This could be understood on an intellectual or spiritual level. We won’t fall victim to confusion. “A thousand will fall by your side and tens of thousands will be there against you and they will not approach you.” These are the day to day miracles that we live with in Eretz Yisrael. “With your eyes you’ll gaze and you’ll see the retribution of the wicked ones.” They will be completely destroyed, not because we are strong or wise. But because, “You Hashem are my shelter, from your place which is exalted and above us, have you made the abode of your trust. Plagues won’t come close to your tent for His angels will guard you.” Every good deed creates a good angel. In this world, we fail to see its true worth. Even a minor mitzvah such as a small amount of tzedakah or one kind word could save thousands of people. “The angels will lift you above in their palms so that your feet don’t feel the sharpness of the rocks.” We’ll be able to face any danger without fear. If we contemplate the unspeakable evil the Jewish nation faces each day in Eretz Yisrael, we can’t help but see Hashem’s miracles. “I will elevate him for he knows my name.” Yisrael means Hashem will prevail. Every Jew, even if he seems distant, is far closer than we can imagine by dint of the fact that he is a part of Yisrael.

Hashem says, “I’m with you in your suffering.” The fact that we have to suffer in order to come to repentance, doesn’t mean Hashem feels nothing. He’s like a parent sitting in the waiting room of the operating theater in more pain than the child who is under anesthesia. He knows the travail and the danger his child is facing.

The chapter ends on a note of hope, “I’ll rescue you him and bring him honor …and I will show him my salvation.”

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