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Tehillim 119: Verses of Mem

Studying Tehillim: Chapter 119 (verses of Mem, part 1)
“Oh, how I love your Torah” exclaims King David “all day long it is my speech.” Illustrating of how the 13th Hebrew letter is uniquely related to our Torah –the opening verses of “Mem” begin with a demonstrative Davidic proclamation of deep affection towards it. Probing further, employing terminology typically associated with casual conversation speaks volumes about breaking ground and transporting Torah truisms into concrete new horizons. Jagged divisions are justified and clarified as the circle of mitzvah remembrances completes via Torah verbalizations.
Studying Tehillim: Chapter 119 (verses of Mem, part 2)
King David enigmatically speaks of achieving “greater wisdom than his enemies.” In deciphering the deeper Davidic messaging, three unique approaches are developed. The King has become 1) Wiser than his enemies, 2) wiser because of his enemies, and finally 3) wiser from his enemies. This insightful and inspirational presentation is culled from a wide range of classical sources, skillfully stitched together as insights about creation, psychology, time, space and soul to sea salt and even military strategy coalesce to form an intricate tapestry of Torah teaching! (Psalm 119, verses 98-99)
Studying Tehillim: Chapter 119 (verses of Mem, part 3)
In elucidating King David’s humble self-attestation about the development of his wisdom, divergent opinions emerge amongst our classic commentaries: “gained from many teachers” or “far more than what was learnt from them.” Success was achieved because: “G-d's testimonies were his conversation.” This insightful rumination cross-references and then differentiates from a Mishniac teaching attributed to the legendary Ben Zoma drawing on this very verse. Finally, multiple commentaries segue into layered penetrating insight culled from the Chassidic Masters. (Psalm 119, verses 99)
Studying Tehillim: Chapter 119 (verses of Mem, part 4)
King David’s continues to share secrets of his own personal development so that others might benefit. Here too, our classic commentaries are divided: did David “gain understanding from his Elders” or had he become “more perceptive than they.” Disparate perspectives elucidated, we move on to revealing secrets of his success: “because I’ve guarded your precepts.” By uniquely focusing on putting abstract lessons into concrete practice – in action or communication to others. Doing just this, in conclusion, a triplicate methodology in self-actualization emerges! (Psalm 119, verses 100)
Studying Tehillim: Chapter 119 (verses of Mem, part 5)
“Avoid bad pathways, so as to ensure proper observance” says Israel’s sweet singer. Yet, this seemingly simple sentence is actually loaded with nuanced and sophisticated messaging. What precisely is a “bad path” and why does it only lead to observance; wouldn’t that be a Mitzvah already? A range of classic commentary, accompanied by whimsical Chasidic aphorisms and stories fully elucidate this verse. From emotional and social wellness, we move onto cerebral health, as nourishing the mind and soul can keep us from turning off the road of righteousness! (Psalm 119, verses 101-102)
Studying Tehillim: Chapter 119 (verses of Mem, part 6)
Expressing his savory adulation for G-d’s Torah, the Psalmist employs magnificently piquant euphemism; rich in meaning and glazed in allegorical flavor. The Torah, he hums is “sweet to my palate,” even “more so than honey.” Tasting the rich texture of this confectionery metaphor reveals a delightful range of meaning. Some of our classic commentaries see the verbiage as a precise, whilst others wax poetic maintaining it to be metaphorical – as spiritual poetry strumming strings of our soul. Yea, Torah is a cerebral experience yet ultimately a journey of faith! (Psalm 119, verses 103-104)
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