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Echoes of the Future
Video 12 of 17
Remember David is the scion of the tribe of Judah. If you go down here, when Jacob, his father, blesses Judah and says, kings are going to come from you; Yishtachavu lecha benei avicha - that the children of your father are going to bow to you. That actually came to pass in the times of David, when David actually became the king from Judah, who was the first king to fulfill this mandate, kings from Judah who will rule over the entire Jewish people. I believe - I want to argue that King David is intensely aware that if there was one thing that could destroy Davidic kingship, if there was one thing that could destroy the promise of the tribe of Judah to be able to ultimately build G-d's House, the Temple, in the land, that thing would be if he presided over a divided house. The greatest example of course of divided house is the sale of Joseph, the division between the two sides of the family. That somehow Judah's role in the sale of Joseph needs to be dealt with at this moment when Judah becomes king.
That I think is what Psalm 30 is really all about. Let's kind of read it through. I want to read it through with you actually keeping this in mind, keeping Judah's blessing from Jacob in mind. I want to do two things. As we go through this psalm we're going to be listening for echoes of the story of Joseph, some of which we've heard already, and we're also going to be listening for echoes of Judah's blessing from Jacob. The blessing which actually comes to fruition right over here in David's kingship.
Okay so let me erase a little bit of ink on the slide and actually let's begin by just very quickly again reviewing this blessing to Judah, because we're really going to hear echoes of it in Psalm 30. Listen carefully. Yehuda, atah yoducha achecha - Judah your brothers are going to praise you. Yadecha b'oref oyvecha - your hand is at the nape of your enemy's neck. Yishtachavu lecha benei avicha - you're going to be king, the children of your father are going to bow to you. Gur aryeh Yehuda - lion cub is Judah; Miteref beni alitah - from torn up prey my son you emerged.
Now, keeping in mind all of this language let's go to Psalm 30 and I think you'll hear echoes of it. Mizmor shir chanukat habayit l'Dovid - a song for the dedication of the temple. Aromimcha Hashem ki dilitani - the first words of the psalm over here, I will praise you, what does that remind you of going back to Judah's blessing from Jacob? Well, praise that was the signal characteristic of Judah. Remember, Yehuda, atah yoducha achecha - your brothers will praise you. It's the very first word in the Psalm; Aromimcha Hashem - I will praise you G-d. Interestingly enough it's not just the first words in the psalm, it's actually the last words in the psalm. Going to back to where you can see the full psalm on your page, it may be hard to read with all this language on the page, but here's the first time that the [unclear 3:27] of praise appears, and if you go to the very last words of the psalm there it is again. Hashem Elokai le'olam odecha - my G-d forever I will praise You.
So there's this idea of praise, very beginning of the psalm, very end of the psalm and I think it comes again from Judah's signal characteristic. Your brothers will praise you - Judah is all about praise.
Okay, let's keep on reading in Psalm 30. Aromimcha Hashem - I will praise you G-d; Ki dilitani - because You have lifted me up. The word Dilitani literally in Hebrew comes from the word Daled, Lamed, Heih, that's the three-letter route Daloh - which actually is a very physical word. Aromimcha over here can mean extol or exalt, which is kind of an abstract way of saying lift up, Daloh is a very physical way of saying lift up, it literally means to pull up as if you were bringing a rope up from a pit. I think that's very evocative if you think about it, of the sale of Joseph. In the sale of Joseph the word was a little bit different but it was the same idea when the brothers brought Joseph out of the pit; Vayimshechu vaya'alu et Yosef min habor - they pulled him up seemingly by rope out of the pit. You get that imagery over here, but this time Judah is saying, G-d You pulled me out of the pit.
I think the meaning kind of is, especially if this is thinking back to the story of the sale of Joseph, the sale of Joseph even though they had Joseph in the pit, it was really as if Judah was in the pit. Because if Judah had gone through with what was contemplated, if the brothers had gone through with what they had imagined, which was actually killing a brother, then would there really have been a future for this blessing? Could there really have been any such thing as Davidic kingship with the stain of fratricide, of killing a brother in the past?
So thank you G-d for lifting me up out of the pit, for somehow allowing me to extricate myself from that story. V'loh simachta oyvai li - and not allowing my enemies to rejoice over me. At face value this phrase it doesn't seem to have to do with anything. There's a big question mark here. What's it doing there? But I think the answer to that question mark, again if we go back to Judah's blessing from Jacob makes perfect sense. If you look back at this blessing, remember why was it that Yishtachavu lecha benei avicha? Why is that your father's sons will bow before you? The answer is because your hand is at the nape of the neck of your enemies, because; Yadecha b'oref oyvecha. The idea is that because Judah can defend ruthlessly against external enemies, so therefore he wins the admiration of the brothers and wins their respect and becomes their king.
However, he recognizes here that I only have the power to be able to succeed over my enemies because; Ki dilitani - because I was pulled out of the situation. If I wasn't, if I remained stuck in the story of the sale of Joseph, if I had allowed Joseph to be killed, then I would not have had G-d's favor in being able to fight over my enemies. On the contrary; Simachta oyvai li - my enemies would have rejoiced over me, I would have been humiliated. So thank you because You pulled me out of this and therefore I have the power to defend.
You see it over here in the blessing also. Yehuda, atah yoducha achecha, yadecha b'oref oyvecha, yishtachavu lecha benei avicha - all of this idea about how Judah can rule because he's ruthless against his enemies comes right next to this idea, the lion cub Judah; Miteref beni alitah - you extricated yourself from the torn up prey. Again, we talked about earlier how this seems to be a reference to Joseph. So it's this idea that you managed to somehow extricate yourself from the pain and suffering which you caused a brother, you didn't go in for the kill, and because you didn't go in to the kill against Joseph, therefore you have that ability to successfully fight against external foes. Therefore, in the words of Psalm 30; V'loh simachta oyvai li - your enemies cannot rejoice over you.
Again, looking at Psalm 30 you're actually going to see a word or an idea, or a phrase - kind of an idea which is going to appear over and over, this idea over here, G-d I extol you, I raise You up because You raised me up. Then just to skip a little bit; Hashem he'elita min she'ol nafshi - again, G-d You raised me up. All of this raising up over here, here's three examples of it, one, two and three, all of this of course harks back to the blessing which Judah gets from his father; Miteref beni alitah - my son, you emerged, you raised yourself up from the torn up prey - seemingly - of your brother. All of that seems to be getting evoked one, two, three times in all this language of I've been raised up, I've been raised up, from all of this.
If we continue reading in verse 4 you're going to notice in verse 4 more echoes of the sale of Joseph. I'll actually challenge you to read verse 4 on your own right over here; Hashem he'elita min she'ol nafshi chiyitani miyordei bor. We talked about part of this idea of Yordei Bor - that you've enlivened me from those who would go down to the pit and those who would go down to the pit of course reminds us of Joseph going to the pit. But if you look carefully at verse 4, you'll see other connections to the story of the sale of Joseph, can you find any? So I'm going to ask you to kind of briefly review in your mind what you know about the story of Joseph, any of the language there seemed to be evoked over here in verse 4 of Psalm 30 - aside from Yordei Bor - going down to the pit. I believe there are other indications, other allusions to the sale of Joseph here, let's come back and talk about it.
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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