Saturday, January 3, 2009

Another Link in a Chain

Achikam is fighting in Gaza.

This morning during services at synagogue we added a public reading, sentence by sentence, of Psalms 121:

(א) שִׁיר לַמַּעֲלוֹת אֶשָּׂא עֵינַי אֶל הֶהָרִים מֵאַיִן יָבֹא עֶזְרִי:

(ב) עֶזְרִי מֵעִם יְהֹוָה עֹשֵׂה שָׁמַיִם וָאָרֶץ:

(ג) אַל יִתֵּן לַמּוֹט רַגְלֶךָ אַל יָנוּם שֹׁמְרֶךָ:

(ד) הִנֵּה לֹא יָנוּם וְלֹא יִישָׁן שׁוֹמֵר יִשְׂרָאֵל:

(ה) יְהֹוָה שֹׁמְרֶךָ יְהֹוָה צִלְּךָ עַל יַד יְמִינֶךָ:

(ו) יוֹמָם הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ לֹא יַכֶּכָּה וְיָרֵחַ בַּלָּיְלָה:

(ז) יְהֹוָה יִשְׁמָרְךָ מִכָּל רָע יִשְׁמֹר אֶת נַפְשֶׁךָ:

(ח) יְהֹוָה יִשְׁמָר צֵאתְךָ וּבוֹאֶךָ מֵעַתָּה וְעַד עוֹלָם:

1I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.

2My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.

3He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.

4Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.

5The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.

6The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.

7The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.

8The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

However, as I'm a historian, I find greater solace in Psalm 83. It was written something like 2700 years ago; Jews have never stopped reading it, in its original language, ever since it was written, and all you have to do as add additional names of Israel's enemies. They come and go, some are still recognizable, others have long since disappeared in the dust, new ones appear and disappear... It's a long story. Though the ability of the Jews to hit back has gotten significantly better the past few decades.

(א) שִׁיר מִזְמוֹר לְאָסָף:

(ב) אֱלֹהִים אַל דֳּמִי לָךְ אַל תֶּחֱרַשׁ וְאַל תִּשְׁקֹט אֵל:

(ג) כִּי הִנֵּה אוֹיְבֶיךָ יֶהֱמָיוּן וּמְשַׂנְאֶיךָ נָשְׂאוּ רֹאשׁ:

(ד) עַל עַמְּךָ יַעֲרִימוּ סוֹד וְיִתְיָעֲצוּ עַל צְפוּנֶיךָ:

(ה) אָמְרוּ לְכוּ וְנַכְחִידֵם מִגּוֹי וְלֹא יִזָּכֵר שֵׁם יִשְׂרָאֵל עוֹד:

(ו) כִּי נוֹעֲצוּ לֵב יַחְדָּו עָלֶיךָ בְּרִית יִכְרֹתוּ:

(ז) אָהֳלֵי אֱדוֹם וְיִשְׁמְעֵאלִים מוֹאָב וְהַגְרִים:

(ח) גְּבָל וְעַמּוֹן וַעֲמָלֵק פְּלֶשֶׁת עִם יֹשְׁבֵי צוֹר:

(ט) גַּם אַשּׁוּר נִלְוָה עִמָּם הָיוּ זְרוֹעַ לִבְנֵי לוֹט סֶלָה:

(י) עֲשֵׂה לָהֶם כְּמִדְיָן כְּסִיסְרָא כְיָבִין בְּנַחַל קִישׁוֹן:

(יא) נִשְׁמְדוּ בְעֵין דֹּאר הָיוּ דֹמֶן לָאֲדָמָה:

(יב) שִׁיתֵמוֹ נְדִיבֵימוֹ כְּעֹרֵב וְכִזְאֵב וּכְזֶבַח וּכְצַלְמֻנָּע כָּל נְסִיכֵימוֹ:

(יג) אֲשֶׁר אָמְרוּ נִירְשָׁה לָּנוּ אֵת נְאוֹת אֱלֹהִים:

(יד) אֶלֹהַי שִׁיתֵמוֹ כַגַּלְגַּל כְּקַשׁ לִפְנֵי רוּחַ:

(טו) כְּאֵשׁ תִּבְעַר יָעַר וּכְלֶהָבָה תְּלַהֵט הָרִים:

(טז) כֵּן תִּרְדְּפֵם בְּסַעֲרֶךָ וּבְסוּפָתְךָ תְבַהֲלֵם:

(יז) מַלֵּא פְנֵיהֶם קָלוֹן וִיבַקְשׁוּ שִׁמְךָ יְהֹוָה:

(יח) יֵבֹשׁוּ וְיִבָּהֲלוּ עֲדֵי עַד וְיַחְפְּרוּ וְיֹאבֵדוּ:

(יט) וְיֵדְעוּ כִּי אַתָּה שִׁמְךָ יְהֹוָה לְבַדֶּךָ עֶלְיוֹן עַל כָּל הָאָרֶץ:

1Keep not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God.

2For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head.

3They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones.

4They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.

5For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee:

6The tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarenes;

7Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre;

8Assur also is joined with them: they have holpen the children of Lot. Selah.

9Do unto them as unto the Midianites; as to Sisera, as to Jabin, at the brook of Kison:

10Which perished at Endor: they became as dung for the earth.

11Make their nobles like Oreb, and like Zeeb: yea, all their princes as Zebah, and as Zalmunna:

12Who said, Let us take to ourselves the houses of God in possession.

13O my God, make them like a wheel; as the stubble before the wind.

14As the fire burneth a wood, and as the flame setteth the mountains on fire;

15So persecute them with thy tempest, and make them afraid with thy storm.

16Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek thy name, O LORD.

17Let them be confounded and troubled for ever; yea, let them be put to shame, and perish:

18That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth.


7 comments:

Oskopia Kaleid said...

You are not only a historian. This is not what you have in common with most other believers and non believers.

So do not judge the special over the common. Even if your people have war and persecutions ("Verfolgung") all over the time, Psalm 83 is special. It is about having enemies, about beeing threatend ("bedroht").

Psalm 83 matches better to your actual historian situation - perhabs to most situations of your people in history, I do not know. Psalm 121 is "zeitlos" (timeless). It is in a eternal sense unhistorical.

We all will die. I now have lived longer than I will go on to live. You are not only an historican.

Regards
Monika

Anonymous said...

Amalek attacked- "smiting the hindmost".Hamas provoked what we have now,in order to do exactly what Amalek did."Zachor et asher asa lekha amalek…timhe et zekher amalek mitahat hashamyim lo tishkah"So we "remember" Amalek today-in order to face the new ones.Psalm 18:
6 We will shout for joy in thy victory, and in the name of our God we will set up our standards;
the LORD fulfil all thy petitions.
7 Now know I that the LORD saveth His anointed;
He will answer him from His holy heaven with the mighty acts of His saving right hand.
8 Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; {N}
but we will make mention of the name of the LORD our God.
9 They are bowed down and fallen; but we are risen, and stand upright.
10 Save, LORD; let the King answer us in the day that we call. {P}
K.

Anonymous said...

Sorry-Psalm 20, not 18.

Anonymous said...

Monika- do you feel? A father writes here, whose son has to defend Israel in Gaza.This is existential,and the worst situation parents can face.

Lydia McGrew said...

May Achikam return in safety.

My own hope, perhaps a vain one, in this situation is that Israel's leaders will realize that they must leave military in Gaza when this short war is all over, not turn it over to Fatah again.

Fabián said...

May your son return home safely and soon.
He is defending us all.

Anonymous said...

May your son return soon and healthy, and with him all his comrades.

Judith
(who going to pray for that now, maybe He lends his ear also to seculars.)