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Echoes of the Future
Video 2 of 17
The word Dilitani over here is translated over here in English as raised me up and over here Aromimcha is I will extol You. Aromimcha really in Hebrew probably means - raise up would be the more literal translation. The word L'romem literally means to raise. Extol is just fancy English for raise. What's interesting over here is Diliatani, the English is translating over here as raised me up, but the word Dilitani is probably best translated as drew me up; from the language of pulling a rope up from a well. The shoresh of the word, the three-letter Hebrew root is going to be Dalah, Daloh, which is the word you use when you're pulling up a bucket from a well. Whereas over here Aromimcha is a kind of generic kind of raising, this is a very specific kind of raising over here. The kind of raising, it conveys the very specific image of drawing a bucket up from a well, or drawing something up, literally, physically, with a rope from the depths. Anyway, just some thoughts I wanted to share with you, we'll come back to that a bit later.
V'loh simachta oyvai li. The other thing that the psalmist wants to talk about here is that G-d has not allowed his enemies to rejoice over his downfall. So one of the questions is, how do these two things relate to each other? These seem to be very different ideas. Idea number one, having to do with G-d raising him up and idea number two not allowing his enemies to defeat him. Unless possibly it means that he's thanking G-d for maybe specifically being there at his side in war and not allowing him to be defeated. But that's not really the sense over here that I will extol You because You've pulled me up from below. It could be, but none of the rest of this - if we look at all of the rest of the language we get - none of this has to do with war. So this sort of thing seems a little bit out of place. What's this doing here, this idea that G-d has not allowed my enemies to rejoice over me? There's really none of the other pieces has to do with national or personal defense as far as I could tell.
Anyway moving. Let me just clean off some of the ink from the slide. Verse 3. Hashem Elokai - my G-d; shivati eleicha vatirpa'eini - I called out to You and You healed me. So a very different sense than we had before, we're not talking now about military triumph, rather healing. What kind of healing, physical healing, spiritual healing? We'll have to see. Hashem he'elita min she'ol nafshi - here's this language of raise up again. G-d, You raised me up from - this time from the grave - my soul from the grave. Chiyitani miyordei bor - You enlivened me from those who have been down in the pit, like the pit of despair or something. Zamru laHashem chasidav v'hodu l'zecher kadsho - the faithful - presumably the psalmist himself among them - will praise G-d, praise His holy name.
Ki regah b'apo chaim birtzono - again here's another idea. What does this have to do with anything? It seems to kind of be out of place. I'm almost going to put a parenthesis around it. That one moment Your wrath might flare but Your wrath would only last for a moment, a Regah. Whereas; Chaim birtzono - life comes to us through Your constant will. Over here in the English, His favor is for a lifetime. B'erev yellin bechi velaboker rina - at night we may weep but in the morning a song will come.
V'ani amarti beshalvi bal emot l'olam - and again here's another idea which at least to me seems to be a whole, new kind of idea. I asked you to kind of catalogue how many new ideas here. This is new idea number three or four. Ani amarti beshalvi - I said in my tranquility, I said with my own sense of smugness or tranquility; Bal emot l'olam - I can never be moved. Hashem birtzoncha he'emadata l'hareri oz - G-d through Your will I have stood steadfast. Histarta panecha hayiti nivhal - had You hid Your face from me I would have panicked. Eilecha Hashem ekra v'el Hashem etchanan - to You G-d I call, to You I beseech. Mah betza bedomi beriditi el shachat - what good is my blood to You if I were to die, if I were to go down to the grave? Hayodecha aphar hayagid amitecha - if my body would decompose could mere dust ever praise You, ever tell of Your truthfulness?
Again, it almost sounds like the poet, the psalmist - David in this case - is referring to specific incidents in his life or something. But it's oblique. What really - what exactly is he referring to?
Shema Hashem vechaneini Hashem heyeh ozer li - listen G-d and be graceful towards me. G-d will be my help. Hafachta mispedi lemochol li - You've turned my mourning, my eulogizing, into celebration. Lemochol might also be a double entendre. In Hebrew the word Mechilah could mean forgiveness, so it might have that connotation as well. But the simple meaning of it is, You turned around my mourning into celebration. Pitachta saki vate'azreini simcha - You opened up my sackcloth - in old days they would wear sackcloth and ashes. You opened up my sackcloth and instead You dressed me with happiness. Lema'an yezamercha kovod v'loh yidom - so that I should sing to you and not be silent. Hashem Elokai le'olam odecha - my L-rd G-d I will always praise You.
Again it's just hard to understand what this is all revolving around. It almost seems to be a whole bunch of random lines expressing these ideas of thanking G-d for salvation, that he could have died, not allowing me to die, allowing the psalmist to praise G-d and - what does it all mean? Does it all mean anything? Without any context it doesn't seem to strike a particularly meaningful vein in our souls. But I do believe that what is going on here is bone chilling and very, very evocative and provocative. I want to help show you how that is so.
In order to do so, I want to come back to you in the next video and re-read this with something special in mind. We're going to be getting back to this question we talked about. (A) Why is this psalm a psalm that is Chanukat Habayit? What is any of this personal salvation stuff have to do with a Chanukat Habayit, literally the sort of dedication of the Temple? So again that's one question we're going to come back to.
Beyond that, what I want to do with you to try to put this together is to play this little game. It's almost like a Sesame Street little game. Again, I think it goes back to everything you need to know, to understand the Bible, you learned in Kindergarten. If you've been with me before you understand what I'm talking about here, it's the intertextuality game. Intertextuality is just a fancy word for, Where Have We Heard These Words Before? It's the propensity of the Torah to quote itself, to create these links, these hyperlinks, between different stories. Again, every once in a while you're reading a text, Text A and you come across the special word or phrase and it reminds you of a special word or phrase that happened in another story, in Text B. You come along with another word or phrase and it reminds of that same word or phrase that appears again in Text B. Then there's another word or phrase, and that same word or phrase again goes back to that other text somewhere else in the Bible. When enough of this kind of stuff happens, you get the sense that the Biblical author is telling you, if you really want to understand what's going on over here in Text A, you have to understand it in the light of Text B.
That's going on over here in spades. If you read through Psalm 30 and you play Where Have We Heard These Words Before, you're going to find, I think, the most unexpected resonance in the Book of Genesis for these words. So I'm going to challenge you to do this. Go back to Psalm 30 if you can, read this through and try to play this game. Is there anything over here that reminds you of all things of a text in the Book of Genesis? I think there's a good 20 connections between this psalm and one very particular story in the Book of Genesis, see if you can figure out which one. We'll come back in the next video, I'll share with you my thoughts. I'll see you then.
1. What Does the Book of Psalms Have to Do With the Joseph Story?
2. A Curious Dedication
3. Profit Motive
4. Blood Money
5. Did Jacob Know?
6. A Father's Ambivalent Blessing
7. The Ruthlessness of War
8. The Lion and the Cub
10. To Redeem an Ancestor's Pledge
11. The Lion and the Lamb
12. Moving Up
13. Memories of Father
14. First Cries
15. Where Would I Be Without You
16. What Could Kill Me--But Then What?
17. A Palpable Presence
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