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Studying Tehillim: Chapter 119

Understanding the Text of the Psalms

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Studying Tehillim: Chapter 119 (overview)
This chapter consists of 22 stanzas—corresponding to the 22 letters of the Hebrew aleph-bet. Each stanza is comprised of eight verses, all beginning with same letter, hence it’s known as the psalm of eight-faces. This introductory class provides an overview highlighting the inner character of chapter 119. We examine the key words repeatedly employed throughout this psalm, and the profound meaning embedded in the patter of eight.
Verses to Stop the Satan Before Sounding the Shofar
In the Chabad tradition, the verse selected to represent the letter “Kuf” differs from the common custom. This class carefully analyses the meaning of the 149th verse of Psalm 119, seeking to understand why this would have been selected over the more ubiquitous tradition of Lamentations, 3:56. A profound clarification of the sounds we utter, G-d's kindness and judgment, and the broader motif of this biblical sentence readily reveals why this verse may have been favored to best prepare for Rosh Hashanah’s climatic Shofar sounding.
Verses to Stop the Satan Before Sounding the Shofar
King David rejoiced in “G-d's word,” the meaning of which incorporates three possibilities: guarantee, wisdom or covenant. A range of commentary is employed to better understand what these ideals represent, and why this particular verse was selected to help us prepare for the sounding of the shofar. The Psalmist invokes the imagery of “finding abundance spoils”; a notion richly elucidated with colorful allegory including dream treasure-hunting, the power of kosher food and even the importance of utilizing talents to best appreciate this unique verse. (Psalm 119, verse 167)
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