Tehillim

Every morning, I sit and listen to the sounds of the world outside. Cars and buses going past; people going to work, children going to school. Tourists visiting the area, people on holiday. Dogs barking, neighbours shouting. Everyone’s doing something, going somewhere. Movement all around me. I feel as if I’m trapped in a bubble. Every day of the week is the same. As the world carries on, I get left behind. The walls of my house feel like the bars of a prison door. Sometimes I wonder why Hashem let me remain here so long. I remember the line in the Siddur, how can dust praise You, how can a dead man praise You? I feel like I can’t praise Hashem enough. How can I praise You when I can’t keep Your mitzvot? How can I praise You when I transgress Your commandments every day? I can’t celebrate Your new year and I can’t tremble at the sound of the shofar.

And so I read Tehillim.

Every day I read Tehillim. I didn’t used to. I tried and got lost in the words, my mind jumped, I stopped reading. Then one day I started reading and I couldn’t stop again. Now I read them every morning, sometimes even aloud. They are like my very own words. David, son of Yishai, tells of the accursed scoffers, the enemies who lay a trap for him, those who mock him and speak against him. He bemoans the nights he spends in agony; “I melt my couch with tears,” he writes. The words speak to my heart

And then, the glory of Hashem. Sunlight streams through the slats of the blind and I look up at the sky. I’m seeing a miracle, I feel. The letters on the spines of leather seforim glint in the sun. How I wish they were my own. So I read Tehillim. To praise G-d, to praise His creations, His Word… I want to immerse myself in His Word, study His teachings all day… But many days I can’t. My only link to Him is a few lines of Tehillim, murmured in English. It would sound better in Hebrew. But why speak words I barely understand? Why not praise Hashem with words from my heart? He understands every language. I read the Hebrew words but I don’t speak them.

Later that day I remember a friend. I wonder why she lost what she longed for so much. I wish she could see a full recovery, I wish Hashem would have mercy on her. She’s been through enough, she seems to have lost everything. Suddenly I remember her laughing in Shul, her black hat bobbing next to the rebbetzen’s blonde shaytel. I stared from across the ladies’ gallery. I wondered why she laughed. I pondered going over to join her. The memory’s frozen in my mind. She can’t make it to Shul anymore. Still she invites me to her house. I wish she were happy again. So I read Tehillim for her. I find a psalm which speaks to me, which tells me of her story, and I say it. I wonder if Hashem is listening. He must be. When I light my makeshift candle the next day, l’kvod shabbes, I say her name again. I know He’s listening.

And yet still I don’t have a book. I look at the small, leather bound volume on the shelf. I touch the cover. The pages are paper thin, stained with age. Abandoned. And yet still not mine. Another shiny copy, a hasty replacement, sits in a bag in the hall. I can’t even touch it. I leaf through print outs, I read online, I glance at translations. Soon I’ll have my own book. Then I can say Tehillim again.

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2 thoughts on “Tehillim

  1. You really touched me. I believe you will start moving too, and that things will get better. meanwhile, don’t forget 3 chazal sayings:
    1) When someone can’t fulfil a mitzvah, Hashem exempts him from doing it.
    2) There is another saying of chazal that says: when someone wants to make a mitzvah and can’t fulfil it, Hashem counts it as he did it.
    3) Hashem is connecting good thought to an act- Even if someone only thought a good thought, Hashem will find the way for it to be expressed with acts.

    This blog of you is already a proof that your good thoughts are not wasting. I’m sure your situation will change only for good, and b”h soon “mamash”.
    Tehillim is great, I recommend saying the daily chapters at least, I use to say them.
    I saw in one of the shabbes pamphlets this saying of the Ba’al Shem Tov:
    The saying of tehillim with warmth and the devoutness to make good deeds for the others in materialism or in spiritualism – are the keys for all the locks of the halls of mercy, health, salvation, and livelihood”
    hope I managed to translate it well…
    Good luck with the saying of tehillim, they have a giant effect!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Eitan! I always really enjoy your comments- keep it up. I do indeed read the daily chapters online and I also read the additional Tehillim (It’s a minhag instituted by the Baal Shem Tov). Thank you for sharing these points with me, I really appreciate it. However, in my case, I have no excuse to break shabbes for example, but often my family want me to. That’s the kind of thing I meant, and that is totally ossur!!

      Thanks for commenting.

      Like

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