Tehillim / Psalms 100, ספר תהילים ק, Part 2, The Calling to Praise!

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In this week’s study from Tehillim / Psalms 100:1-5, the Psalm opens saying, א מִזְמוֹר לְתוֹדָה הָרִיעוּ לַיהֹוָה כָּל-הָאָרֶץ: A Psalm for Thanksgiving. 100:1 Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. (NASB) The psalmist calls for every tongue to give praise, to applaud with which joy of heart, calling us to action, to raise our voices and shout, not being ashamed of our God and His saving power. This is emphasized by the author saying, ב עִבְדוּ אֶת-יְהֹוָה בְּשִֹמְחָה בֹּאוּ לְפָנָיו בִּרְנָנָה: 100:2 Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing. (NASB) What does it mean to serve the Lord? How do we get to know the Lord God of Israel and His Messiah Yeshua better by serving them? The most significant aspect about the mitzvot is that we walk in God’s ways so that we can know Him. This is what the Messiah meant by abiding in Him (John 15:7). In serving the Lord and walking in His ways, we learn to trust in Him and His enabling power. This is how we live what the psalmist says, ג דְּעוּ כִּי יְהֹוָה הוּא אֱלֹהִים הוּא עָשָֹנוּ וְלֹא [וְלוֹ] אֲנַחְנוּ עַמּוֹ וְצֹאן מַרְעִיתוֹ: 100:3 Know that the Lord Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. (NASB) We recognize in our lives that the Lord is the one who is making us and has empowered us to live for Him. Even in our work, we realize the Lord is the One who gave us the power, or the ability to work to make wealth, and so all glory goes to Him! (Devarim / Deuteronomy 8:18). It is also in these things that the Lord gives us a powerful testimony of His glory and His saving work in our lives. For these reason, the psalmist concludes his psalm saying, ד בֹּאוּ שְׁעָרָיו | בְּתוֹדָה חֲצֵרֹתָיו בִּתְהִלָּה הוֹדוּ לוֹ בָּרֲכוּ שְׁמוֹ: ה כִּי-טוֹב יְהֹוָה לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ וְעַד-דֹּר וָדֹר אֱמוּנָתוֹ: 100:4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name. 100:5 For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting And His faithfulness to all generations. (NASB) These descriptions of the psalmist calling God’s people to thanksgiving is in the joy of serving the Lord. In the heart of those who are His, there is great gladness to come before His presence with singing. In our lives, we are told according to the Torah that the Lord will raise up the wicked against His people for the purpose of reminding them of His Torah because of the violation of His decrees. And it is in the abounding mercies, the Lord reveals His power to deliver His people, those who will repent and turn from their sins. The Lord will wage our battles, not only on the battle field, but also in the hearts of men to bring terms of peace. The Lord delivers the strong into the hands of the weak, and into the hands of the few, the impure into the hands of the pure, the wicked into the hands of the righteous. It is for these things, the mighty works of God in this world and in our lives that we are able to give glory and praise to the Lord God Almighty and to His Holy Name! Halleluia!

עברית Hebrew ארמי Aramaic ελληνικός Greek

ספר תהלים פרק ק

א מִזְמוֹר לְתוֹדָה הָרִיעוּ לַיהֹוָה כָּל-הָאָרֶץ: ב עִבְדוּ אֶת-יְהֹוָה בְּשִֹמְחָה בֹּאוּ לְפָנָיו בִּרְנָנָה: ג דְּעוּ כִּי יְהֹוָה הוּא אֱלֹהִים הוּא עָשָֹנוּ וְלֹא [וְלוֹ] אֲנַחְנוּ עַמּוֹ וְצֹאן מַרְעִיתוֹ: ד בֹּאוּ שְׁעָרָיו | בְּתוֹדָה חֲצֵרֹתָיו בִּתְהִלָּה הוֹדוּ לוֹ בָּרֲכוּ שְׁמוֹ:

סםר טוביה פרק ק

א שבחא על קורבן תודתא יבבו קדם יהוה כל יתבי ארעא׃ ב פלחו קדם יהוה בחדוה איתו קדמוי בתושבחתא׃ ג אודיעו ארום יהוה הוא אלהים הוא עבד יתנא ודיליה אנחנא עמיה ועאן רעייתיה׃ ד עולו בתרעוי באודותא דרתוי בתושבחתא אודון קדמוי בריכו שמיה׃

ΨΑΛΜΟΙ 100

100:1 ψαλμὸς εἰς ἐξομολόγησιν ἀλαλάξατε τῷ κυρίῳ πᾶσα ἡ γῆ 100:2 δουλεύσατε τῷ κυρίῳ ἐν εὐφροσύνῃ εἰσέλθατε ἐνώπιον αὐτοῦ ἐν ἀγαλλιάσει 100:3 γνῶτε ὅτι κύριος αὐτός ἐστιν ὁ θεός αὐτὸς ἐποίησεν ἡμᾶς καὶ οὐχ ἡμεῖς λαὸς αὐτοῦ καὶ πρόβατα τῆς νομῆς αὐτοῦ

ה כִּי-טוֹב יְהֹוָה לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ וְעַד-דֹּר וָדֹר אֱמוּנָתוֹ:

ה ארום טב יהוה לעלם טוביה ועד דר ודר הימנותיה׃

100:4 εἰσέλθατε εἰς τὰς πύλας αὐτοῦ ἐν ἐξομολογήσει εἰς τὰς αὐλὰς αὐτοῦ ἐν ὕμνοις ἐξομολογεῖσθε αὐτῷ αἰνεῖτε τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ 100:5 ὅτι χρηστὸς κύριος εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα τὸ ἔλεος αὐτοῦ καὶ ἕως γενεᾶς καὶ γενεᾶς ἡ ἀλήθεια αὐτοῦ

Tehillim / Psalms 100

A Psalm for Thanksgiving. 100:1 Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. 100:2 Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing. 100:3 Know that the Lord Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. 100:4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name. 100:5 For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting And His faithfulness to all generations. (NASB)

Toviyah / Psalms 100

100:1 A psalm on the offering of thanksgiving. Give a shout in the presence of the Lord, all inhabitants of the earth. 100:2 Worship in the presence of the Lord with joy; come before him with praise. 100:3 Make it known, for the Lord is God; he has made us and we are his, his people and the flock of his pasture. 100:4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving, his courts with praise; give thanks in his presence, bless his name. 100:5 For the Lord is good, his goodness is forever, and his faithfulness lasts for all generations. (EMC)

Psalmoi / Psalms 100

A Psalm for Thanksgiving. 100:1 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth. 100:2 Serve the Lord with gladness; come before his presence with exultation. 100:3 Know that the Lord he is God; he made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. 100:4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with hymns; give thanks to him, praise his name. 100:5 For the Lord is good, his mercy is for ever; and his truth endures to generation and generation. (LXX)

In this week’s study from Tehillim / Psalms 100:1-5, the Psalm opens saying, א מִזְמוֹר לְתוֹדָה הָרִיעוּ לַיהֹוָה כָּל-הָאָרֶץ: A Psalm for Thanksgiving. 100:1 Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. (NASB) The psalmist calls for every tongue to give praise, to applaud with joy of heart, calling us to action, to raise our voices and to shout, not being ashamed of our God and His saving power. The Mishnah Pirkei Avot comments in a similar way saying the following:

Mishnah Pirkei Avot 4:1

(1) Ben Zoma says…Who is the mighty one? He who conquers his impulse, as it says, “slowness to anger is better than a mighty person and the ruler of his spirit than the conqueror of a city.” (Proverbs 16:32). Who is the rich one? He who is happy with his lot, as it says, “When you eat [from] the work of your hands, you will be happy, and it will be well with you” (Psalms 128:2). “You will be happy” in this world, and “it will be well with you” in the world to come. Who is honored? He who honors the created beings, as it says, “For those who honor Me, I will honor; and those who despise Me will be held in little esteem” (I Samuel 2:30).

משנה אבות ד׳:א׳

(א) בן זומא אומר…איזהו גבור? הכובש את יצרו , שנאמר (משלי טז לב): “טוב ארך אפים מגבור ומשל ברוחו מלכד עיר”.איזהו עשיר? השמח בחלקו, שנאמר: (תהלים קכח ב): “יגיע כפיך כי תאכל אשריך וטוב לך”.אשריך, בעולם הזה .וטוב לך, לעולם הבא.איזהו מכֻבד? המכבד את הבריות, שנאמר: (שמואל א ב ל): “כי מכבדי אכבד ובזי יקלו”.

We should be happy with our lot in life. This does not mean that we should not strive for a better life, but that we do not make our aspirations in this life an idol. The point is to be contented with what we have and with what is outside of our abilities, and to trust in the power of the Spirit of God in our lives to help us to overcome the yetzer Hara (the evil impulse). The one who is joyful is the one who is happy with his lot in life meaning being thankful for what God has given and not coveting what others have. This is connected to giving praise to the Lord in the sense that we are not given great amounts of wealth in order to give praise to the Lord, or be joyful. Rambam’s Mishneh Torah states the following,

Mishneh Torah, Human Dispositions 1:4

(4) The “straight path” is (generally) the middle trait within each [pair of] dispositions, equidistant from each extreme. Therefore the early sages commanded that a person should constantly pay attention to her character, measure it, and keep it on the middle path so that he might be physically healthy (lit. wholesome). For example, one should not be temperamental and easily angered, nor should he be numb like a corpse. Rather, she should be somewhere in the middle — not getting angry except over something important that is worth it, and then just enough to ensure it won’t happen again. Similarly, only desire the things that the body actually needs to live as it says “The righteous man eats to satisfy his body.” (i.e. he enjoys healthy food in moderation, neither an ascetic nor a glutton) Similarly, he should only work enough to earn a living as it says “a little is good for the righteous” (i.e. neither lazy nor a workaholic) neither overly cheap nor generous, rather give as much charity as she can afford and give sensible loans to those who need. He should not be constantly partying and clowning around, nor should he be depressed and morose rather be calm and content, with a pleasant face all his life, and so on for all other character traits. This is the way of the Sages; anyone whose character is completely balanced may be called a sage.

משנה תורה, הלכות דעות א׳:ד׳

(ד) הַדֶּרֶךְ הַיְשָׁרָה הִיא מִדָּה בֵּינוֹנִית שֶׁבְּכָל דֵּעָה וְדֵעָה מִכָּל הַדֵּעוֹת שֶׁיֵּשׁ לוֹ לָאָדָם. וְהִיא הַדֵּעָה שֶׁהִיא רְחוֹקָה מִשְּׁתֵּי הַקְּצָווֹת רִחוּק שָׁוֶה וְאֵינָהּ קְרוֹבָה לֹא לָזוֹ וְלֹא לָזוֹ. לְפִיכָךְ צִוּוּ חֲכָמִים הָרִאשׁוֹנִים שֶׁיְּהֵא אָדָם שָׁם דֵּעוֹתָיו תָּמִיד וּמְשַׁעֵר אוֹתָם וּמְכַוִּן אוֹתָם בַּדֶּרֶךְ הָאֶמְצָעִית כְּדֵי שֶׁיְּהֵא שָׁלֵם בְּגוּפוֹ. כֵּיצַד. לֹא יְהֵא בַּעַל חֵמָה נוֹחַ לִכְעֹס וְלֹא כְּמֵת שֶׁאֵינוֹ מַרְגִּישׁ אֶלָּא בֵּינוֹנִי. לֹא יִכְעֹס אֶלָּא עַל דָּבָר גָּדוֹל שֶׁרָאוּי לִכְעֹס עָלָיו כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יֵעָשֶׂה כַּיּוֹצֵא בּוֹ פַּעַם אַחֶרֶת. וְכֵן לֹא יִתְאַוֶּה אֶלָּא לִדְבָרִים שֶׁהַגּוּף צָרִיךְ לָהֶן וְאִי אֶפְשָׁר לִהְיוֹת בְּזוּלָתָן כָּעִנְיָן שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (משלי יג-כה) “צַדִּיק אֹכֵל לְשֹׂבַע נַפְשׁוֹ”. וְכֵן לֹא יִהְיֶה עָמֵל בְּעִסְקוֹ אֶלָּא לְהַשִּׂיג דָּבָר שֶׁצָּרִיךְ לוֹ לְחַיֵּי שָׁעָה כָּעִנְיָן שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (תהילים לז-טז) “טוֹב מְעַט לַצַּדִּיק”. וְלֹא יִקְפֹּץ יָדוֹ בְּיוֹתֵר. וְלֹא יְפַזֵּר מָמוֹנוֹ אֶלָּא נוֹתֵן צְדָקָה כְּפִי מִסַּת יָדוֹ וּמַלְוֶה כָּרָאוּי לְמִי שֶׁצָּרִיךְ. וְלֹא יְהֵא מְהוֹלֵל וְשׂוֹחֵק וְלֹא עָצֵב וְאוֹנֵן אֶלָּא שָׂמֵחַ כָּל יָמָיו בְּנַחַת בְּסֵבֶר פָּנִים יָפוֹת. וְכֵן שְׁאָר דֵּעוֹתָיו. וְדֶרֶךְ זוֹ הִיא דֶּרֶךְ הַחֲכָמִים. כָּל אָדָם שֶׁדֵּעוֹתָיו דֵּעוֹת (בֵּינוֹנִית) [בֵּינוֹנִיּוֹת] מְמֻצָּעוֹת נִקְרָא חָכָם

Rambam speaks of doing things in moderation, to not go to extremes but to have a measured character, to be well tempered, and to desire for only the minimum necessary for survival, to be neither a glutton nor a ascetic. Our being joyful before the Lord is not to parallel the party attitude, or to be depressed, but balance, and this is what Ramabam says is the way of the sages.

The Psalmists opens in Tehillim / Psalms 100 saying,א מִזְמוֹר לְתוֹדָה הָרִיעוּ לַיהֹוָה כָּל-הָאָרֶץ: A Psalm for Thanksgiving. 100:1 Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. (NASB) are emphasized saying, ב עִבְדוּ אֶת-יְהֹוָה בְּשִֹמְחָה בֹּאוּ לְפָנָיו בִּרְנָנָה: 100:2 Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing. (NASB) The psalm speaks of serving the Lord in gladness, and the Apostle Paul wrote that we are to serve the Lord whole heartedly when he wrote to the Colossians and the Ephesians, saying, Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men (NASB) and Ephesians 6:7 Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people. (NASB) Paul is speaking of physically serving the Lord. We are also told (Tehillim / Psalms 100:2) to go before the Lord with joyful singing. How do we do this without the Temple in Jerusalem? The one way we come before the Lord every day is through prayer. The commentary Shney Luchot HaBrit Beshalach Torah Ohr 41 and 90 have the following to say concerning prayer and sacrifice.

Shney Luchot HaBrit, Beshalach, Torah Ohr 42

I have already pointed out that prayer involves two diametrically opposed emotions, joy and happiness on the one hand, a crushed heart on the other. There are two diametrically opposed verses, each one of which purports to tell us how to serve the Lord by prayer. In Psalms 100:2 we are told: עבדו את ה’ בשמחה, “Serve the Lord in joy,” whereas in Psalms 2:11 we are told: עבדו את ה’ ביראה, “Serve the Lord in trepidation, reverence!” The plain meaning of the verses in question is that they apply to prayer which is called עבודה שבלב, “service with the heart.”

Shney Luchot HaBrit, Vayera, Torah Ohr 90

When G’d asked Abraham to offer such a human being as a total offering, Abraham rejoiced. Isaac also rejoiced seeing he had been found worthy to become a total offering to G’d during his lifetime, a privilege which had not been granted to any other righteous human being until after death, at which time their souls would be “sacrificed” on a celestial altar by the archangel Michael; we have mentioned this previously. Abraham was very worried that Isaac might not accept death entirely willingly due to the physical pain involved. In that event he would turn out to be a blemished offering instead of an עולה תמימה, a perfect offering. This is what his prayer was all about. He was not concerned with G’d revoking His instructions, but he asked G’d’s help to make the death the experience it was meant to be. Abraham simply invoked the principle הבא לטהר מסיין לו, that he who sets out to purify is entitled to a heavenly assist (Yuma 38 et al). The entire prayer was that both he and Isaac should be able to fulfil the imperative עבדו את ה’ בשמחה, “Serve the Lord joyfully,” as we have been taught in Psalms 100:2

Prayer is a form of service to the Lord. If a man is found praying for his friends and family, then he has a certain motivation to seek the face of God for help. This seeking the face of God in prayer is an act of service. In Torah Ohr 90, the commentary states that both Abraham and Isaac rejoiced for being counted worthy to offer a total sacrifice unto the Lord God in heaven (see the Akedah). This act of sacrifice, is paralleled to the sanctification of the soul after death. Sanctification is the act of separation as holy unto the Lord. The concept of עולה תמימה (perfect whole burnt offering) this perfect sacrifice is connected to the manner in which we live our lives, giving up something in order to enable us to focus more upon the Lord, similar to our restricting our diet (the fast) for the purpose of drawing near in prayer. The point is how we get to know the Lord God of Israel and His Messiah Yeshua better is by serving them. The most significant aspect about the mitzvot is that we walk in God’s ways so that we can know Him. This was the meaning of the Messiah’s words to abide in Him (John 15:7). In serving the Lord and walking in His ways, we learn to trust in Him and in His enabling power. To walk in God’s ways means to imitate the ways of God. Moses said, “Now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require from you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways …” (Devarim / Deuteronomy 10:12). The commandment to imitate God is the fundamental principle of godliness. Yeshua emphasized the idea, encouraging us to imitate the Lord God our Father, “That you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:45). The rabbis provide us with some insights into the mitzvah of walking in God’s ways according to the Talmud Bavli Sota 14a.

Talmud Bavli Sota 14a

ואמר רבי חמא ברבי חנינא And Rabbi Chama the son of Rabbi Chanina said, מאי דכתיב (דברים יג, ה) אחרי ה’ אלהיכם תלכו וכי אפשר לו לאדם להלך אחר שכינה “What is the meaning of the verse, ‘After Hashem, your G-d, shall you walk (Deuteronomy 13:5)’? Is it possible for a man to walk after the divine presence? והלא כבר נאמר (דברים ד, כד) כי ה’ אלהיך אש אוכלה הוא And isn’t it already stated, ‘For Hashem your G-d is a consuming fire (Deuteronomy 4:24)’? אלא Rather, להלך אחר מדותיו של הקב”ה To follow the character traits of G-d. מה הוא מלביש ערומים דכתיב (בראשית ג, כא) ויעש ה’ אלהים לאדם ולאשתו כתנות עור וילבישם אף אתה הלבש ערומים הקב”ה ביקר חולים דכתיב (בראשית יח, א) וירא אליו ה’ באלוני ממרא אף אתה בקר חולים הקב”ה ניחם אבלים דכתיב (בראשית כה, יא) ויהי אחרי מות אברהם ויברך אלהים את יצחק בנו אף אתה נחם אבלים הקב”ה קבר מתים דכתיב (דברים לד, ו) ויקבר אותו בגיא אף אתה קבור מתים “Just as he clothes the naked, as it is written, ‘And the Lord G-d made for Adam and his wife cloaks of leather, and he clothed them (Genesis 3:21);’ so too you shall clothe the naked. The Holy One, Blessed be He, visited the sick, as it is written, ‘And he appeared in Ailonei Mamrei [while Abraam was in pain] (Genesis 18:1);’ so too you shall visit the sick. The Holy One, Blessed be He, comforted mourners, as it is written, ‘And it was, after the death of Abraham, and G-d blessed his son Isaac (Genesis 25:11);’ so too you shall comfort mourners. The Holy One, Blessed be He, buried the dead, as it is written, ‘And he buried him in the valley (Deuteronomy 34:6);’ so too, you shall bury the dead.” כתנות עור “Cloaks of leather (alt. skin)-” רב ושמואל [It is an argument of] Rav and Shmuel. חד אמר One said, דבר הבא מן העור וחד אמר “Something that comes from leather.” The other one said, דבר שהעור נהנה ממנו “Something that the skin benefits from.” דרש ר’ שמלאי Rabbi Simlai expounded, תורה תחלתה גמילות חסדים וסופה גמילות חסדים The Torah begins with loving-kindness and ends with loving kindness. תחילתה גמילות חסדים דכתיב ויעש ה’ אלהים לאדם ולאשתו כתנות עור וילבישם וסופה גמילות חסדים דכתיב ויקבר אותו בגיא It begins with loving kindness, as it is written (Genesis 3:21), “And God made for Adam and his wife coats of skin, and he dressed them.” It ends with loving kindness, as it is written (Deuteronomy 34:6), and He buried him in a valley.”

The conclusion is this command to walk in the ways of God is analogous to clothing the naked, visiting the sick, comforting mourners, and burying the dead. Note also that the commandment is not limited to those five deeds of loving kindness. The Lord in heaven is also the God who feeds the hungry, assists the poor, has mercy on the sinful, rescues the perishing, heals the brokenhearted, heals sickness, illness, and disease, restores homes and families, and does good to all. He is the God of absolute truth, holiness, and justice. He is righteous in His every action. And in parallel fashion, as the Lord God (the Holy One, blessed be He) is merciful, so too should we be merciful, and just as He is called gracious, so too should we be gracious. Just as He is called righteous, so too should we be called righteous, and just as He is called devout, so too should we be devout. (see Sifre on Devarim / Deuteronomy 10:12) The mitzvah to walk in God’s ways speaks of making God’s will our will in every decision that we make. This is what Yeshua meant when he said, “I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me. And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him” (John 8:28–29). It is in this way that Yeshua revealed the glory of the Father. His life glorified our Father God in that it accurately represented the Lord God of Israel. This is also what Yeshua meant when he said to Philip, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). As we imitate the ways of Yeshua, we learn the ways of God and we keep the commandments in order to imitate our Father in heaven. That is the essence of discipleship and unity with the Lord God of Israel.

This is also how we live what the psalmist says, ג דְּעוּ כִּי יְהֹוָה הוּא אֱלֹהִים הוּא עָשָֹנוּ וְלֹא [וְלוֹ] אֲנַחְנוּ עַמּוֹ וְצֹאן מַרְעִיתוֹ: 100:3 Know that the Lord Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. (NASB) We recognize in our lives that the Lord is the one who is making us and has empowered us to live for Him. Even in our work, we realize the Lord is the One who gave us the power, or the ability to work to make wealth, and so all glory goes to Him! (Devarim / Deuteronomy 8:18). It is also in these things that the Lord gives us a powerful testimony of His glory and of His saving work in our lives. This testimony of God is connected to the Torah in the sense of God’s covenant, love, deliverance, and power to overcome sin. Radak has the following to say concerning the Torah in his comments on Tehillim / Psalms 19:8.

Radak on Psalms 19:8:5

The Law of the Lord: – Why does he join the idea of the Law with that of the sun ? His meaning is, that as the heavens and the sun and the spheres are witnessing to and declaring the glory of God and His wisdom, so the Law and the Commandments which He has commanded His people Israel witness to His wisdom and uprightness, as it says (Deut. 4:8), “(What great nation is there) that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this Law?” And further he says that as the heavens and the sun benefit the world, and through them the world continues to exist, so is the Law, which is perfect and restores the soul, and upon which (depends) the preservation of the soul as the preservation of the world (depends) upon the sun ; for the soul in the body is as a stranger in a foreign land who has none to help or assist him, for the agents which minister to the body are for the most part such as follow after the appetites, and she (the soul) is as a solitary one and captive amongst them. So also says Solomon, who compares her to a poor wise man (Koh. 9:15). And notice the Law restoreth the soul in that it teaches man the right way and draws him away from worldly desires and from many stumbling-blocks. And notice it restoreth the soul from captivity and confinement to her (rightful) birth and the place of her glory. And David declares in respect of the Law and the commandments and the judgments, their truth and uprightness. Now the Law (תורה, lit. teaching) is the orderly setting forth of the commandment with reference to the manner of its performance ; and this (may be understood) from the general sense of such passages as “I have not obeyed the voice of my teachers (מורי)” (Prov. 5:13) ; “and to teach (להורת) He hath put in his heart” (Exod. 35:34) ; for (the Torah) teaches the ordering of a thing, as “the law (Torah) of the beast and of the fowl” (Lev. 11:46) ; “the law of the leper” (ibid. 14:2) ; “the law of her that beareth” (ibid. 12:7) ; “the law of him that hath an issue” (ibid. 15:32) ; “the law of the Nazirite” (Num. 6:21). Nevertheless the book (itself) is called by the name of the Law (Torah) from Genesis to Deuteronomy, as is written (Deut. 31:9) : “And Moses wrote this Law”; “Take this book of the Law” (ibid. 26) ; (this is) because it narrates the history of Creation and also narrates the affairs of the Fathers ; it likewise sets forth every single one of the things which teach about God : that He is the founder of the world, of His goodness and of the beings created by Him, and His providence in the case both of the good and the evil. He mentions the commandments also – that is, what God commanded (man) to do in the ways of the service of God and love of Him, as of a master who gives commandment to his servant. And the testimony – that is, what was testimony between Israel and God, that they had accepted Him for (their) God, and He had accepted them for a peculiar people ; cf “the ark of the testimony” (Exod. 25:22); “the tent of the testimony” (Num. 17:23). For the commandments about which Israel received commands – these are the testimony, and also the tables which had on them the Ten Words, which contain (are) the whole Law entirely ; and these Words were a great testimony to Israel when they saw His glory on Mount Sinai in the thunderings and lightning ; and that great sight was the testimony to them and their children for ever. So also the observance of the Sabbath and the festivals is to them a testimony and a sign and memorial ; the (year of) release also, and the jubilee – all is a testimony to them and their children for ever ; as it says, “for all the earth is Mine” (Exod. 19:5); “they are My servants” (Lev. 25:55). He says: the precepts of the Lord in respect of the commandments of the understanding which God has ordained and put in the heart; and about these the understanding teaches. He says fear because it is the beginning of the commandments and their root ; for the servant, unless he fear the master, will not do his behests, and perfect fear is in secret. He says also judgments – that is, the rules (that are to be observed) between a man and his fellow. Now it is to be noticed he has mentioned for us all the different kinds of commandments except “statutes” (חקים). The reason is that he applies to them (such epithets as) perfect, restoring the soul, sure, making wise the simple, right, rejoicing the heart, pure, enlightening the eyes, clean, true, righteous altogether, to be desired, and sweet; all which it is only admissible to apply to the commandments whose reason is clear and apparent ; whereas the “statutes,” such as those regarding the eating of swine’s flesh and wearing mixed stuffs and the like, whose reason is not clear to all how could it be said of them that they are to be desired, are sweet and pure? And although they are such to him to whom their reasonableness is apparent, yet this is not apparent to the great majority of men. And he says …

Tehillim / Psalms 19:1-8 states, 19:1 The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. 19:2 Day to day pours forth speech, And night to night reveals knowledge. 19:3 There is no speech, nor are there words; Their voice is not heard. 19:4 Their line has gone out through all the earth, And their utterances to the end of the world. In them He has placed a tent for the sun, 19:5 Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber; It rejoices as a strong man to run his course. 19:6 Its rising is from one end of the heavens, And its circuit to the other end of them; And there is nothing hidden from its heat. 19:7 The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. 19:8 The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. (NASB) Radak asks why the psalm joins the idea of the Torah to the sun? His conclusion is that all of creation has witnessed and declares the glory of God and His power, and in a similar manner, the people of Israel do the same in the Torah (bear witness of God’s wisdom and uprightness by how we live our lives). This is brought into the context of Devarim / Deuteronomy 4:7-9, כִּי מִי-גוֹי גָּדוֹל אֲשֶׁר-לוֹ אֱלֹהִים קְרֹבִים אֵלָיו כַּיהוָֹה אֱלֹהֵינוּ בְּכָל-קָרְאֵנוּ אֵלָיו: ח וּמִי גּוֹי גָּדוֹל אֲשֶׁר-לוֹ חֻקִּים וּמִשְׁפָּטִים צַדִּיקִם כְּכֹל הַתּוֹרָה הַזֹּאת אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי נֹתֵן לִפְנֵיכֶם הַיּוֹם: ט רַק הִשָּׁמֶר לְךָ וּשְׁמֹר נַפְשְׁךָ מְאֹד פֶּן-תִּשְׁכַּח אֶת-הַדְּבָרִים אֲשֶׁר-רָאוּ עֵינֶיךָ וּפֶן-יָסוּרוּ מִלְּבָבְךָ כֹּל יְמֵי חַיֶּיךָ וְהוֹדַעְתָּם לְבָנֶיךָ וְלִבְנֵי בָנֶיךָ: 4:7 ‘For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as is the Lord our God whenever we call on Him? 4:8 ‘Or what great nation is there that has statutes and judgments as righteous as this whole law which I am setting before you today? 4:9 ‘Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, so that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen and they do not depart from your heart all the days of your life; but make them known to your sons and your grandsons. (NASB) The Torah states in Devarim / Deuteronomy 4:9, “Shomer Nafshecha” (וּשְׁמֹר נַפְשְׁך) which Radak translates as the restoration of the soul. How does the Torah restore the soul? This is achieved by the word of God preserving our world, our hearts, and emphasizes the importance of studying Torah, Neviim, Ketuvim, and the Apostolic Writings. Radak states that the Law of God is the orderly setting forth of our lives in the commandment. The examples he provides from the Tanach, is to the creation account, the law of the leper, and the lives of the fathers, all of these things teach about the Lord God of Israel. He chose Israel to dwell in her midst, and to make His name known through all the world, and for Israel to bear that testimony (Isaiah 2). Radak continues in His commentary saying the following:

Radak on Psalms 19:9:3-5

Restoring the soul: – in the sense we have interpreted. He says also: The testimony of the Lord is sure : – for there is no falsehood in it ; for the Glory rested on Israel in the sight of all Israel, there was none to contradict or gainsay. And he says : making wise the simple: – For all the things of the Tabernacle (embodied) wonderful wisdom ; for no (mere) thing(s) were the lamp-stand and the altars and the curtains. And so all the things (sc. of the Tabernacle) entirely teach of wisdom, so that the wise call it (the Tabernacle) the middle world, for it is a likeness of the upper world and of the little (lower) world. So also the observance of the Sabbath is a (source of) great wisdom, for on its account man will investigate the question of the world’s renewal and all the work of creation, and that (results in) Natural Science. It (Scripture) says also of the Law (Deut. 4:6): “for-this is your wisdom and your understanding in the eyes of all the people” etc. Again, it says (ibid.): “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.” Yet although he distributes these attributes and says of the Law that it is perfect and restores the soul, and of the testimony that it is sure, making wise the simple, and similarly of the rest, all share the attributes. He does not apply this attribute to one (only); the same applies also to the other, except that each attribute is attached closely to the substantive nearest it ; and that it is necessary to study it in the light of the attribute in accordance with the way we have interpreted and shall interpret.

Radak focuses upon the restoration of the soul in the sense that in the Law of God there is no falsehood, and the Torah has the capability to make wise the simple. Radak calls the Tabernacle the “middle world” saying that the Mishkhan is the meeting place between the upper world (heaven) and the lower world (earth). The place of the Lord’s dwelling is a meeting place of heaven and earth. This places an important emphasis upon who we are, the place and the tabernacle of our bodies in which the Holy Spirit of God dwells. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) Radak also states the Shabbat rest is great wisdom because on this day man contemplates the work of God in the creation and in his life. All of these things are connected to the Torah command and the nearness of God. This is why the psalmist states in Tehillim / Psalms 19:8:

Tehillim / Psalms 19:8

תּ֘וֹרַ֤ת יְהוָ֣ה תְּ֭מִימָה מְשִׁ֣יבַת נָ֑פֶשׁ עֵד֥וּת יְהוָ֥ה נֶ֝אֱמָנָ֗ה מַחְכִּ֥ימַת פֶּֽתִי׃ The teaching of the LORD is perfect, renewing life; the decrees of the LORD are enduring, making the simple wise;

What is the teaching of the Lord and how does this teaching renew life? Are there any connections to the gospel message? The commentary Shney Luchot HaBrit draws in the context of the Lord’s teaching His people.

Shney Luchot HaBrit Author’s Introduction 27

Our sages have given us an example of the importance of the verse quoted from Genesis by showing that the name of that concubine תמנע is composed of the first letters of certain words in the verse תורת השם תמימה משיבת נפש, עדות השם נאמנה מחכימת פתי (Psalms 19:8). The implication is that “the Torah is so perfect in totality” i.e. תורת ה’ תמימה, that any part of it is מחכימת פתי, “makes the simple wise.” All of Torah from beginning to end is מְשִׁ֣יבַת נָ֑פֶשׁ “renews life.” The “life” referred to is the life in the “higher” regions. Anyone endowed by G’d with wisdom, חכמה, will be granted the kind of intelligence that enables him to touch base with חכמה-תבונה-ודעת. This is all included in the concept of תורה אור, that Torah is light.

Shney Luchot HaBrit Chukat Torah Ohr 57

This is what is meant when the Psalmist in Psalm 19:8 says of Torah that תורת יהוה תמימה. This is also what is alluded to in Deut. 4:5 ראה למדתי אתכם חקים ומשפטים, “see I have taught you statutes and social laws.” The Torah compares the statutes to the social laws. The message is that just as there are easily appreciated reasons for the social legislation of Torah, so we must believe that the reasons underlying the חקים are equally good. They are not רק, empty, devoid of logic. On the contrary: if that is our impression, it proves that we are devoid of reason and good sense, are empty (compare Deut. 32:47). In the same verse, the משפטים, social laws are compared to the חקים, statutes, to make us appreciate that there are hidden meanings to these social laws which failed to meet the eye when we read them and thought we had understood their total meaning.

The rabbis interpret the significance of תּ֘וֹרַ֤ת יְהוָ֣ה תְּ֭מִימָה “The teaching of the LORD is perfect” as providing wisdom to those who have none, and to renewing life because sin destroys a life, whereas righteousness is restorative, soothing, and draws us nearer to the Lord God of Israel. This is the meaning of Tehillim / Psalms 19:8 that states … תּוֹרַת יְהֹוָה תְּמִימָה מְשִׁיבַת נָפֶשׁ “the Torah of God is perfect and restores (repents) the soul.” Note the words מְשִׁיבַת נָפֶשׁ draws in this concept of repenting the soul, suggesting the Torah leads us to repentance by reason that studying the Torah causes us to realize how we fall short of the commands of God. This is why we are to seek the Lord daily for His help to overcome the Yetzer Hara. The words חקים ומשפטים specifically, in the ומשפטים are interpreted to mean that we are given social laws to live by, meaning the Torah teaches us how to treat one another, and it is in the manner of having love for one another, to do good to your fellow man, and to help him out when he has the need. The rabbis speak of a greater meaning found in the mishpatim (ומשפטים) simply by the coupling of the word חקים in the phrase חקים ומשפטים. The mishpatim (social laws) are designed for facilitating relationship amongst people, and when we have a functional relationship, when our motivations are correct, the Lord will hear our prayers. This is illustrated in the marriage relationship as Peter wrote in his epistle, saying 1 Peter 3:7 You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered. (NASB) Our relationships with others effects our relationship with God, and whether our prayers are hindered or not. Therefore, we are being instructed to make right our relationships, or to do the best we can to be at peace in our relationships. The reason, our hearts are the meeting place of God, and when we pray, when we go before Him, we are not to go before Him with anger, hate, or any animosity towards others. This follows through to the meaning of the opening verses of the Psalm which state, א מִזְמוֹר לְתוֹדָה הָרִיעוּ לַיהֹוָה כָּל-הָאָרֶץ: ב עִבְדוּ אֶת-יְהֹוָה בְּשִֹמְחָה בֹּאוּ לְפָנָיו בִּרְנָנָה: ג דְּעוּ כִּי יְהֹוָה הוּא אֱלֹהִים הוּא עָשָֹנוּ וְלֹא [וְלוֹ] אֲנַחְנוּ עַמּוֹ וְצֹאן מַרְעִיתוֹ: 100:1 Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. 100:2 Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing. 100:3 Know that the Lord Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. (NASB)

It is for these reasons and more the psalmist concludes his psalm saying, ד בֹּאוּ שְׁעָרָיו | בְּתוֹדָה חֲצֵרֹתָיו בִּתְהִלָּה הוֹדוּ לוֹ בָּרֲכוּ שְׁמוֹ: ה כִּי-טוֹב יְהֹוָה לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ וְעַד-דֹּר וָדֹר אֱמוּנָתוֹ: 100:4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name. 100:5 For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting And His faithfulness to all generations. (NASB) These descriptions of the of the rabbis parallel the psalmist calling God’s people to thanksgiving in the joy of serving the Lord. In the heart of those who are His, there is great gladness to come into His presence with singing. We know the Lord is actively working in our lives by the circumstances that come into our lives. We are told according to the Torah that the Lord will raise up the wicked against His people for the purpose of reminding them of His Torah because of the violation of His decrees. This is the point of “All of Torah from beginning to end is מְשִׁ֣יבַת נָ֑פֶשׁ “renews life.” And it is in the abounding mercies, the Lord reveals His power to deliver His people, those who will repent and turn from their sins. The Lord will wage our battles, not only on the battle field, but also in the hearts of men to bring terms of peace with our enemies. This is also the point of the mishpatim (social laws) which are designed to facilitate relationship amongst people, to have and to seek a functional relationships, and all of these things based upon the proper motivations. The Lord delivers the strong into the hands of the weak, and into the hands of the few, the impure into the hands of the pure, the wicked into the hands of the righteous. Having known what it means to be persecuted unjustly, and to suffering for the Lord God in our devotion to His word, we are supposed to have the capacity for empathy and mercy towards others. Our mercy towards others brings glory to the Lord God in heaven because we are doing as we see our Father in heaven doing! It is for these things, the mighty works of God in this world and in our lives that we are able to give glory and praise to the Lord God Almighty and to His Holy Name! This is the purpose of the comment in Devarim / Deuteronomy 4:6, which states the following:

Devarim / Deuteronomy 4:4-9

4:4 ‘But you who held fast to the Lord your God are alive today, every one of you. 4:5 ‘See, I have taught you statutes and judgments just as the Lord my God commanded me, that you should do thus in the land where you are entering to possess it. 4:6 ‘So keep and do them, for that is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’ 4:7 ‘For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as is the Lord our God whenever we call on Him? 4:8 ‘Or what great nation is there that has statutes and judgments as righteous as this whole law which I am setting before you today? 4:9 ‘Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, so that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen and they do not depart from your heart all the days of your life; but make them known to your sons and your grandsons. (NASB, ד וְאַתֶּם הַדְּבֵקִים בַּיהוָֹה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם חַיִּים כֻּלְּכֶם הַיּוֹם: [שני] ה רְאֵה | לִמַּדְתִּי אֶתְכֶם חֻקִּים וּמִשְׁפָּטִים כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוַּנִי יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהָי לַעֲשֹוֹת כֵּן בְּקֶרֶב הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר אַתֶּם בָּאִים שָׁמָּה לְרִשְׁתָּהּ: ו וּשְׁמַרְתֶּם וַעֲשִֹיתֶם כִּי הִוא חָכְמַתְכֶם וּבִינַתְכֶם לְעֵינֵי הָעַמִּים אֲשֶׁר יִשְׁמְעוּן אֵת כָּל-הַחֻקִּים הָאֵלֶּה וְאָמְרוּ רַק עַם-חָכָם וְנָבוֹן הַגּוֹי הַגָּדוֹל הַזֶּה: ז כִּי מִי-גוֹי גָּדוֹל אֲשֶׁר-לוֹ אֱלֹהִים קְרֹבִים אֵלָיו כַּיהוָֹה אֱלֹהֵינוּ בְּכָל-קָרְאֵנוּ אֵלָיו: ח וּמִי גּוֹי גָּדוֹל אֲשֶׁר-לוֹ חֻקִּים וּמִשְׁפָּטִים צַדִּיקִם כְּכֹל הַתּוֹרָה הַזֹּאת אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי נֹתֵן לִפְנֵיכֶם הַיּוֹם: ט רַק הִשָּׁמֶר לְךָ וּשְׁמֹר נַפְשְׁךָ מְאֹד פֶּן-תִּשְׁכַּח אֶת-הַדְּבָרִים אֲשֶׁר-רָאוּ עֵינֶיךָ וּפֶן-יָסוּרוּ מִלְּבָבְךָ כֹּל יְמֵי חַיֶּיךָ וְהוֹדַעְתָּם לְבָנֶיךָ וְלִבְנֵי בָנֶיךָ:)

Moshe warned the people and stated, “for-this is your wisdom and your understanding in the eyes of all the people” etc. and “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.” The Word of God is meant for instructing us in righteousness, (2 Timothy 3:16) and it is for these things, the mighty works of God in this world and in our lives that we are able to give glory and praise to the Lord God Almighty and to His Holy Name! Let’s Pray!

Rabbinic Commentary

The Rabbinic Commentary (Midrash) on Tehillim / Psalms 100 has 4 parts. Reading through the Midrash we will be looking at Part 1, 2, 3, and 4. Let’s begin by outlining Midrash Tehillim Chapter 100, Parts 1, 2, 3, and 4.

Outline of Midrash Tehillim / Psalms, Chapter 100, Part 1, 2, 3, and 4

Part 1

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying, “A Psalm of avowal. Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all you lands (Tehillim / Psalms 100:1).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Rabbi Jacob taught in the name of rabbi Abbahu who taught in the name of rabbi Akha, The words A psalm of avowal, etc., means that the Holy One blessed be He, declared, Let all the lands of the earth avow Me…
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis compare the opening verse to the Psalm as to one who would join himself to the Lord God of Israel.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis conclude that those who would bow their knee would be accepted by the Lord.
  • The Concluding phrase says, “When every knee bows to Me and every tongue swears, I will receive them.”

Part 2

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying, “A different interpretation of A Psalm of avowal.”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Elsewhere, this is what Scripture says, He that covers his transgressions will not prosper; but whoso avows and forsake them that obtain mercy (Mishley / Proverbs 28:13).
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis contrast the one who hides his transgressions and the one who confesses his transgressions and is forgiven.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis expand upon the mashal saying repentance is a necessary component of forgiveness.
  • The Concluding phrase says, “This Moshe understood, and so on the theme of confession, he composed the Psalm, A Psalm of avowal.”

Part 3

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying, “Serve the Lord with gladness (Tehillim / Psalms 100:2).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “But another verse says, Serve the Lord with fear (Tehillim / Psalms 2:11). If served with gladness, how served with fear?
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis speak of the one who stands in prayer before the Lord God of the Universe.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis conclude that when we pray we should have both joy and fear of the one before whom we stand.
  • The Concluding phrase says, “in the time to come, look upon the trembling which seizes the heathen, you will know a joy of joys because of the trembling I will have caused to come upon the hostile nations of the earth.”

Part 4

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying, “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise; give thanks unto Him, and bless His name (Tehillim / Psalms 100:4).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Rabbi Phinehas, Rabbi Levi, and Rabbi Johanan said in the name of Rabbi Menahem the Galilean, In the time to come, all offerings will cease, except the prayer of thanksgiving…
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis speak of the sacrifices, some will remain while others will end.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis expand upon the mashal saying that only the offering of thanksgiving will remain, which is paralleled to prayer.
  • The Concluding phrase says, “In the Psalm also, Give thanks unto Him, and bless His name (Tehillim / Psalms 100:4), which is an enjoining of a prayer of thanksgiving, is followed directly by the words For the Lord is good; His mercy endures forever (Tehillim / Psalms 100:5).”

Midrash Tehillim 100, Part 1 opens with the Dibur Hamatil (דיבור המתחיל) saying, “A Psalm of avowal. Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all you lands (Tehillim / Psalms 100:1).” The homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Rabbi Jacob taught in the name of rabbi Abbahu who taught in the name of rabbi Akha, The words A psalm of avowal, etc., means that the Holy One blessed be He, declared, Let all the lands of the earth avow Me…” The entire midrash states the following:

מדרש תהלים פרק ק סימן א

א מזמור לתודה [הריעו לה׳ כל הארץ]. אמר ר׳ יעקב בשם ר׳ אבהו בשם ר׳ אחא מזמור לתודה אמר הקב״ה יודו בי כל האומות ואני מקבלם, שנאמר בי נשבעתי יצא מפי צדקה [וגו׳] כי לי תכרע כל ברך [תשבע כל לשון] (ישעיה מה כג), בזמן שלי תכרע כל ברך תשבע כל לשון ואני מקבלם.

Midrash Tehillim 100, Part 1

1. A Psalm of avowal. Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all you lands (Tehillim / Psalms 100:1). Rabbi Jacob taught in the name of rabbi Abbahu who taught in the name of rabbi Akha, The words A psalm of avowal, etc., means that the Holy One blessed be He, declared, Let all the lands of the earth avow Me, and I will receive them, as is said, Look unto Me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else. By Myself have I sworn, the word is gone forth from My mouth in righteousness and will not come back, that unto Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear (Isaiah 45:22-23) that is, When every knee bows to Me and every tongue swears, I will receive them.

Based upon the opening verse to the Psalm, א מִזְמוֹר לְתוֹדָה הָרִיעוּ לַיהֹוָה כָּל-הָאָרֶץ: A Psalm for Thanksgiving. 100:1 Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. (NASB) the Midrash states the joyful noise of the “lands” is a reference to the Lord accepting those who “avow” (יודו) Him. The Hebrew word for Avow means:

admit

לְהוֹדוֹת, לְהַכנִיס, לְהַרְשׁוֹת

thank

לְהוֹדוֹת, להביע תוֹדָה

confess

לְהוֹדוֹת, לְהִתְוַדוֹת

acknowledge

לְהוֹדוֹת

avow

לְהוֹדוֹת, לְהַבטִיחַ

grant

לְהַעֲנִיק, לָתֵת, לְזַכּוֹת, לְהַסכִּים, לְהוֹדוֹת, לָחוֹן

glorify

לְפַאֵר, לְרוֹמֵם, לְשַׁבֵּחַ, לְהוֹדוֹת

praise

לְשַׁבֵּחַ, לְהַלֵל, לְבָרֵך, לְקַלֵס, לְדַבֵּר בְּשִׁבחוֹ, לְזַמֵר

concede

לְהוֹדוֹת, לְוַתֵר, לְוַתֵר עַל

There are various meanings based upon how the word is used, however the meaning of the word suggests this is one who admits, thanks, confesses, acknowledges, glorifies, praises, and concedes unto the Lord God of Israel. Midrash Tehillim 100, Part 1 concludes saying, “When every knee bows to Me and every tongue swears, I will receive them.” This sounds similar to David’s statement saying in Tehillim / Psalms 31:5, ו בְּיָדְךָ אַפְקִיד רוּחִי פָּדִיתָה אוֹתִי יְהֹוָה אֵל אֱמֶת: 31:5 Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have ransomed me, O Lord, God of truth. (NASB) David was not thinking of the final committal of his soul, as departing from his body and into the hands of the Creator, but intended on committing himself, both soul and body, into the Lord’s hands. He fully trusted the Lord God of Israel for His redemption, and deliverance from peril. David, having experienced deliverance from his enemies in the past, he trusts in the Lord to deliver him again. In our joy before the Lord, we are called to do all of these things, as described by the definition of to make an “avowal” unto the Lord. We are to offer ourselves wholly into the hands of God by trusting in Him for all things.

Midrash Tehillim 100, Part 2 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying, “A different interpretation of A Psalm of avowal.” The homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Elsewhere, this is what Scripture says, He that covers his transgressions will not prosper; but whoso avows and forsake them that obtain mercy (Mishley / Proverbs 28:13).” The entire midrash states the following:

מדרש תהלים פרק ק סימן ב

ב מזמור לתודה. זהו שאמר הכתוב מכסה פשעיו לא יצליח ומודה ועוזב ירוחם (משלי כח יג), זה אדם הראשון שאמר להקב״ה האשה אשר נתתה עמדי וגו׳ (בראשית ג יב), ולא רצה לעשות תשובה, שנאמר ועתה פן ישלח ידו (שם שם בראשית ג׳ כב), אמר ר׳ אבא בר כהנא היה הקב״ה אומר לו עשה תשובה, והוא אומר פן, ואין עתה אלא לשון תשובה, שנאמר ועתה ישראל מה ה׳ אלהיך שואל מעמך כי אם ליראה וגו׳ (דברים י יב), הוי מכסה פשעיו לא יצליח. ומודה ועוזב ירוחם. זה קין, שנאמר ויצא קין מלפני ה׳ (בראשית ד טז), אמר ר׳ הונא [בש״ר חנינא] בר יצחק מלמד שיצא שמח, שנאמר ויצא המן ביום ההוא שמח וטוב לב (אסתר ה ט), פגע בו אדם הראשון, אמר לו מה נעשה בדינך, א״ל עשיתי תשובה ונתפשרתי, אמר לו וכך הוא התשובה גדולה טוב להודות לה׳ (תהלים צב ב). דבר אחר מכסה פשעיו לא יצליח. זה שאול, שנאמר ויאמר שמואל (אל שאול) ומה קול הצאן הזה באזני (ש״א שמואל א׳ טו יד). ומודה ועוזב ירוחם. זה דוד, שנאמר ויאמר דוד [וגו׳] (הלא) [הנה] אנכי חטאתי (ש״ב שמואל ב׳ כד יז), ואומר ויאמר דוד [וגו׳] חטאתי (שם שם שמואל ב׳ כ״ד י), מיד אמר הנביא גם ה׳ העביר חטאתך לא תמות (שם שמואל ב׳ יב יג) הוי ומודה ועוזב ירוחם. דבר אחר מכסה פשעיו לא יצליח. אמר ר׳ סימון ור׳ יהושע בן לוי בשם ר׳ חלפתא בשר ודם כשהוא מודה נותן לו ספיקולא, ובשעה שאינו מודה נותן לו דימוס [אבל הקב״ה אינו כן בשעה שאינו מודה נותן לו ספיקולא, בשעה שהוא מודה נותן לו דימוס] הוי מכסה פשעיו לא יצליח, כיון שראה משה כך סידר עליה מזמור לתודה.

Midrash Tehillim 100, Part 2

2. A different interpretation of A Psalm of avowal. Elsewhere, this is what Scripture says, He that covers his transgressions will not prosper; but whoso avows and forsake them that obtain mercy (Mishley / Proverbs 28:13). The first part of this verse applies to Adam who said to the Holy One blessed be He, The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate (Bereshit / Genesis 3:12). For Adam was unwilling to repent. When God would have restrained him, saying, And now, nevertheless he put forth his hand, and took of the tree of life (Bereshit / Genesis 3:22). According to rabbi Abba son of Kahana, when the Holy One blessed be He, said to Adam, Repent, Adam answered, Nevertheless, I, although the word now as clearly a summoning to repentance, as in the verse, And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, etc. (Devarim / Deuteronomy 10:12). Hence, He that covers his transgressions will not prosper. The end of the verse, But whoso avows and forsakes them will obtain mercy, applies to Cain, of whom it is said, And Cain went forth from the presence of the Lord (Bereshit / Genesis 4:16). On this verse, Rabbi Huna commented in the name of Rabi Hanina son of Isaac, The words Cain went forth show that Cain went forth joyful, as it is also said Then went Haman forth that day joyful and with a glad heart (Esther 5:9). When Adam came upon Cain and asked him, What was done in punishment of you? Cain replied, I repented and was granted clemency. Whereupon Adam said, If repentance is so mighty, it is a good thing to confess to the Lord (Tehillim / Psalms 92:2). In a different exposition, the words He that covers his transgressions will not prosper are applied to Saul, who said, I have performed the commandment of the Lord, and to whom Samuel said, What then means this bleating of the sheep in my ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear? (1 Samuel 15:13-14). The end of the verse, But whoso avows and forsakes them will obtain mercy, applies to David, of whom it is said, And David spoke unto the Lord and said, Lo, I have sinned and I have done iniquitously (2 Samuel 24:17); and of whom it is also said And David said unto the Lord, I have sinned greatly in what I have done (2 Samuel 24:10). Thereupon the prophet Samuel said to David, The Lord also has put away your sin; you will not die (2 Samuel 12:13). Thus, whoso avows and forsakes them will obtain mercy. In another exposition of He that covers his transgressions will not prosper, Rabbi Simon and Rabbi Joshua son of Levi said in the name of Rabbi Halafta, A mortal when he confesses, they pronounce judgment upon him; when he does not confess, they remit the charge against him. But the Holy One blessed be He, acts otherwise, when a man does not confess, He pronounces judgment upon him; but when he confesses, He remits the charge against him. Hence, He that covers his transgressions will not prosper. This Moshe understood, and so on the theme of confession, he composed the Psalm, A Psalm of avowal.

The rabbis speak on the “avowal” with respect to this concept of covering or hiding transgression, as opposed to performing Teshuvah and turning from their sins. They base their conclusions upon Mishley / Proverbs 28:13, יג מְכַסֶּה פְשָׁעָיו לֹא יַצְלִיחַ וּמוֹדֶה וְעֹזֵב יְרֻחָם: יד אַשְׁרֵי אָדָם מְפַחֵד תָּמִיד וּמַקְשֶׁה לִבּוֹ יִפּוֹל בְּרָעָה: 28:13 He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion. 28:14 How blessed is the man who fears always, But he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity. (NASB) Proverbs states that the one who confesses his transgression, will find compassion (יְרֻחָם) from the root word רחמה meaning “mercy” indicating the one who confesses his sins receives forgiveness, and he who conceals them finds wrath. The Midrash states this may be illustrated by Adam in his unwillingness to repent blaming his wife. It is interesting how the midrash speaks of the Lord God being willing to restrain Adam from taking from the Tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil. This seems to parallel the role of the Spirit of God in our lives, to lead us in the right paths, and to remind us of God’s Word. We are to be willing to listen to the move of the Spirit in our lives, where Adam as the example demonstrated a deeper spiritual issue found within in his unwillingness to repent afterwards, blaming his wife. Could it be that this repentance and blame was the result of having taken from the tree in disobedience to the command of God? The example from Adam is to remember to fear the Lord because the Lord desires to provide His mercy, but repentance is a necessary component of our faith, and without repentance there is no forgiveness. Repentance represents a heart that is willing to turn from sin and serve God and His Messiah Yeshua, because “He that covers his transgressions will not prosper.”

The Midrash then leads into the second example, Cain. The midrash states that “Cain went forth from the presence of the Lord (Bereshit / Genesis 4:16)” indicating the Lord did not put Cain to death for having murdered his brother Abel. The midrash claims that Cain repented, indicating that he did not go on to continue to commit murder, and the Lord granted him mercy. Adam asked Cain what was the consequence of his actions, and Cain replied that he had repented and was granted mercy. For this Adam states, “If repentance is so mighty, it is a good thing to confess to the Lord (Tehillim / Psalms 92:2).” The most important point that we can take from the Midrash on Tehillim / Psalms 100, Part 2, is that our lives consist of both physical and spiritual counterparts. The Torah and all of Scripture, teaches us about the physical and spiritual aspects of our lives found within the concept of Teshuvah (Repentance). The example taken from Parashat Vayikra, we read א וַיְדַבֵּר יְהוָֹה אֶל-מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר: ב דַּבֵּר אֶל-בְּנֵי יִשְֹרָאֵל לֵאמֹר נֶפֶשׁ כִּי-תֶחֱטָא בִשְׁגָגָה מִכֹּל מִצְוֹת יְהֹוָה אֲשֶׁר לֹא תֵעָשֶֹינָה וְעָשָֹה מֵאַחַת מֵהֵנָּה: 4:1 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 4:2 ‘Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘If a person sins unintentionally in any of the things which the Lord has commanded not to be done, and commits any of them, (NASB) If one sins, according to the covenant, he is to bring a sacrifice. The efficacy of this action is something that requires both faith and obedience. On a spiritual level, one receives the forgiveness of sins. But it isn’t simply a matter of bringing a sacrifice, one must have a repentant heart, and seek the Lord for the forgiveness of sin. The Torah principle at work here is the manner in which one is seeking the Lord for forgiveness, the sacrifices, and turning from sin (Teshuvah, repentance). These concepts are emphasized in the rabbinic teaching being put forward in Midrash Tehillim 50, Part 2 (מדרש תהלים פרק נ סימן ב) and in our Midrash here in 100, Part 2. It is interesting to observe the rabbis argument according to Midrash Tehillim 50, Part 2, which opens saying, “I do not reprove you for your sacrifices (Tehillim / Psalms 50:8).” The homiletic introduction to the Midrash states, “Rabbi Nakhman taught in the name of Rabbi Berechiah, If a man intends to do a righteous act, the Holy One blessed be He, writes it down before Him, as if already done, for the verse goes on to say your rising thoughts are continuously before Me.” Rabbi Nakhman states that he learned from Rabbi Berechiah that if a man has the “intention” to perform a righteous act, the Lord writes it down as if he had already performed the act. Based upon this interpretation, the rabbis suggest that the spiritual supersedes the physical in the sense that all one has to have is the correct intention. This sort of interpretation is not restricted to Tehillim / Psalms 50, we also may find this interpretation from the historical accounts of rabbi Yochanan Ben Zachai, who taught the idea of “G’millut KhaSadim” (deeds of loving kindness) may substitute for the blood atonement. The rabbinic teaching is that when one reads the commandments in the Torah regarding atonement, if a man reads with the correct intention, it is as if he has performed them. This interpretation is derived from select verses out of the Tanach such as is found in Hosea 6:6 and 14:2. We also know these concepts are found in the Apostolic Writings regarding our faith in Yeshua the Messiah, we receive the forgiveness of sins being credited with righteousness due to the sacrifice of the innocent (the Messiah’s sacrifice). In our world, it is generally understood that “sacrifice” involves some kind of loss, usually for the sake of a greater good. For example, a person may sacrifice time, pleasure, or happiness. Another example would be the death of a soldier in war which is often referred to as a sacrifice. Sacrifice, therefore involves giving up something. In the case of ancient Israel, the practice that was referred to as “sacrifices,” is better understood as giving over rather than giving up. The English word for “sacrifice” comes from the Latin, sacrificare, meaning “to make sacred,” or to permanently transfer something from the human (common) realm to the divine or supernatural (sacred) realm. This meaning is appropriate for the sacrifices in the Masoretic Text, since they involve the transfer of offerings from the common to the sacred, from human beings to God. In the Hebrew Bible, the primary Hebrew term for a sacrifice is Korban (root word “to draw near”), indicating the ancient understanding of this activity. In the Hebrew Bible, the Lord God is the recipient of the legitimate sacrifices which are brought with the correct intention of the heart. This appears to be the reasoning of the rabbis according to Midrash Tehillim 100, Part 2.

On the other hand, the Midrash continues with an example of King Saul as the one who covered his transgressions. Saul did not make and avowal to put away his sin, and so the end result was his eventual death. On the other hand, “David said unto the Lord, I have sinned greatly in what I have done (2 Samuel 24:10). Thereupon the prophet Samuel said to David, The Lord also has put away your sin; you will not die (2 Samuel 12:13).” Therefore, the one who repents and vows to turn from his sin, for such a person, he shall obtain mercy from the Lord in heaven.

Midrash Tehillim 100, Part 2 concludes saying, “In another exposition of He that covers his transgressions will not prosper, Rabbi Simon and Rabbi Joshua son of Levi said in the name of Rabbi Halafta, A mortal when he confesses, they pronounce judgment upon him; when he does not confess, they remit the charge against him. But the Holy One blessed be He, acts otherwise, when a man does not confess, He pronounces judgment upon him; but when he confesses, He remits the charge against him. Hence, He that covers his transgressions will not prosper.” The concept here is that repentance brings forgiveness. This is consistent with what the rabbinic think according to the Talmud Bavli Berakhot 23a.

Talmud Bavli Berakhot 23a

Rabbi Shmuel Nachmani said that Rabbi Jonathan had said (Ecclesiastes 4:17) Keep your foot when you go to the house of God, keep yourself from sin, if sin comes before the sacrifice, then draw near to hear (the words of the wise ones / Sages) Raba said Hoyi, draw near to hear the words of the wise, if sinners bring a sacrifice and do Teshuvah, a gift of the fools [sacrifice] Do not be as fools that sin and bring a sacrifice and do not perform Teshuvah, for they know not that they do evil as compared to the righteous. They will be as fools that sin and bring sacrifice and they will not know what is good, they come with evil, they come to the Lord not knowing the difference between good and evil.

רבי שמואל בר נחמני אמר רבי יונתן מ”ד (קהלת ד, יז) שמור רגלך כאשר תלך אל בית האלהים שמור עצמך שלא תחטא ואם תחטא הבא קרבן לפני וקרוב לשמוע (דברי חכמים) אמר רבא הוי קרוב לשמוע דברי חכמים שאם חוטאים מביאים קרבן ועושים תשובה מתת הכסילים [זבח] אל תהי ככסילים שחוטאים ומביאים קרבן ואין עושים תשובה כי אינם יודעים לעשות רע אי הכי צדיקים נינהו אלא אל תהי ככסילים שחוטאים ומביאים קרבן ואינם יודעים אם על הטובה הם מביאים אם על הרעה הם מביאים אמר הקב”ה בין טוב לרע אינן מבחינים והם מביאים קרבן לפני

Without Teshuvah (Repentance) the sacrifice is meaningless. Based upon the psalm, the midrash, and the discussion of the rabbis on Teshuvah, can there be salvation in Yeshua the Messiah without Teshuvah? The idea from the Talmud is that the fool brings a sacrifice by route, just to fulfill the mitzvah, and does so without a pure and repentant heart. Is it possible to have saving faith in Yeshua the Messiah without being coupled to repentance and the correct motivation?

Midrash Tehillim 100, Part 3 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying, “Serve the Lord with gladness (Tehillim / Psalms 100:2).” The homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “But another verse says, Serve the Lord with fear (Tehillim / Psalms 2:11). If served with gladness, how served with fear?” The entire midrash states the following:

מדרש תהלים פרק ק סימן ג

ג עבדו את ה׳ בשמחה. וכתוב אחד אומר עבדו את ה׳ ביראה (תהלים ב יא), אם בשמחה היאך ביראה, ואם ביראה היאך בשמחה, אמר ר׳ אייבו כשתהא עומד בעולם תהא שמח בתפלה ותתיירא מלפני הקב״ה. דבר אחר בשמחה יכול שלא ביראה ת״ל ביראה. אמר ר׳ אחא עבדו את ה׳ ביראה בעולם הזה, [וגילו ברעדה] כדי שתגיע לעולם הבא בשמחה ותראה לעתיד לבוא ברעדה שתאחוז להם לחניפים תהא גיל גילים ברעדה שהבאתי על אומות העולם.

Midrash Tehillim 100, Part 3

3. Serve the Lord with gladness (Tehillim / Psalms 100:2). But another verse says, Serve the Lord with fear (Tehillim / Psalms 2:11). If served with gladness, how served with fear? If served with fear, how served with gladness? Rabbi Aibu explained, When you stand at prayer, be glad at prayer, but also be in fear of the Holy One blessed be He. Another explanation, Since one verse says, Serve the Lord with gladness, lest it be argued that it is not necessary to serve Him with fear also, therefore the other verse says with fear. Rabbi Akha taught that God said, Serve the Lord with fear in this world, and rejoice at trembling, for when you arrive with gladness in the world to come and then, in the time to come, look upon the trembling which seizes the heathen, you will know a joy of joys because of the trembling I will have caused to come upon the hostile nations of the earth.

The midrash speaks of serving the Lord with fear (Tehillim / Psalms 2:11) in relation to serving the Lord with gladness (Tehillim 100:2), and prayer. The Midrashic question is “If served with gladness, how served with fear? If served with fear, how served with gladness?” We read the following according to Shney Luchot HaBrit Beshalach Torah Ohr 37, Part 17.

Shney Luchot HaBrit Beshalach Torah Ohr 37, Part 17

This still leaves the question why the Israelites did not say: למה הוצאתנו, “why did you lead us out,” instead of saying “לקחתנו?” After all they did use the verb להוציא at the end of the same verse when they said !” להוציאנו ממצרים” The very words “what is this you have done to us,” seem a repetition. When Moses answers them at length, saying a) “do not fear,” b) “stand upright,” c) “watch the salvation of G’d,” plus the words “the way you see Egypt this day you will never see Egypt again,” this surely appears an unnecessarily long answer! Besides, the last statement is not a clear-cut promise, but could be interpreted in exactly the reverse manner!

Note how the commentary speaks of Moshe answering the people “do not fear” and to stand upright and see the salvation of God. (שמות יד:יג וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה אֶל-הָעָם אַל-תִּירָאוּ הִתְיַצְּבוּ וּרְאוּ אֶת-יְשׁוּעַת יְהֹוָה אֲשֶׁר-יַעֲשֶֹה לָכֶם הַיּוֹם כִּי אֲשֶׁר רְאִיתֶם אֶת-מִצְרַיִם הַיּוֹם לֹא תֹסִפוּ לִרְאֹתָם עוֹד עַד-עוֹלָם:) Moshe was speaking in relation to this world, the nations, and wicked men, not to fear them because the Lord God of Israel is on our side. In addition, Moshe speaks of standing and watching the salvation of God that He will perform for you today (וּרְאוּ אֶת-יְשׁוּעַת יְהֹוָה אֲשֶׁר-יַעֲשֶֹה לָכֶם הַיּוֹם). In addition, Shney Lichot HaBrit Beshalach Torah Ohr 37, Part 20 states the following:

Shney Lichot HaBrit Beshalach Torah Ohr 37, Part 20

Our sages explain that the words in 14,10: “And here Israel saw מצרים travelling behind them,” refer to the שר של מצרים. This is the reason the Torah speaks about מצרים instead of about מצריים. When the Israelites saw this, they were assailed by great doubts. At the time of the slaying of every first-born in Egypt they had believed that G’d personally was in their midst and that all these miracles had not been orchestrated with the help of angels, etc., but had been performed by G’d in His capacity as the four-lettered Ineffable Name. They had been convinced that the first-born highest-ranking שר של מצרים, had also been defeated and no longer existed. They had believed that G’d had disposed of that force because no one but G’d Himself was able to accomplish this! The very fact that the Egyptians had buried all their dead had served as a sign for the Israelites that G’d personally had struck down every first-born (as described in Numbers 33:4). When Israel saw that all the Egyptian first-born on earth had been slain, they naturally assumed that their שר in the upper regions had been slain also, because we know of the principle that the spiritual counterparts of the nations on earth suffer defeat in the Celestial Regions prior to the defeat of the nations on earth whom they represent.

The commentary speaks of earthly and heavenly counterparts in the sense that as the Lord defeated Pharaoh and all of Egypt by killing the first born, He also defeated their gods in the heavens. So the basic premise here is that when we pray, we are standing before the awesome and mighty creator of the universe, the Holy One blessed be He, and we do not fear those in this world, but we have a great respect and reverence for the Lord God of Israel, the One before whom we approach seeking His face in prayer, both in fear and in the joy of His salvation that He is able to perform both physically and spiritually.

The midrash provides another interpretation in order to reconcile fear and joy concluding Midrash Tehillim 100, Part 3 saying, “God said, Serve the Lord with fear in this world, and rejoice at trembling, for when you arrive with gladness in the world to come and then, in the time to come, look upon the trembling which seizes the heathen, you will know a joy of joys because of the trembling I will have caused to come upon the hostile nations of the earth.” Note here according to the midrash that both fear and joy are coupled together, we fear the Lord, and we take joy in His salvation. The Talmud Bavli Berekhot 33b has the following to say concerning fear and joy.

Talmud Bavli Berekhot 33b

The three which we do say, if Moses our teacher had not used them in the Torah and the men of the Great Assembly come and instituted them in the Tefillah, we should not have been able to say ; and thou dost go on saying all those!” A parable : [It may be likened] to a human king who possessed a million golden denarii, and people kept praising him as the possessor of [a million denarii of] silver; is it not an insult to him? R. Hannina also said: Everything is in the hand of Heaven except the fear of Heaven; as it is said, “And now, O Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee but to fear” (Deut. x. 12). Is, then, the fear of Heaven a small thing? Lo, R. Hannina has said in the name of R. Simeon b. Johai : The Holy One, blessed be He, has in His treasury nothing but the store of heavenly fear; as it is said, “And the fear of the Lord which is His treasure” (Is. xxxiii. 6) ! Yes, in the estimation of Moses it was a small thing; for R. Hannina said: A parable : [It may be likened] to a man from whom a large vessel is required ; possessing it, it seems to him small ; but if he does not possess it, though it be small, it seems to him large. [ Who says], “We give thanks,” him do we silence. R. Zera said : Whoever says Shema’, Shema’ is like him who says “We give thanks, we give thanks” [and is to be silenced]. Against this is quoted : He who reads the Shema’ and repeats the words is to be reprimanded. He is to be reprimanded, but not silenced ! There is no contradiction. This refers to one who repeats it word by word ; but the former refers to him who repeats it verse by verse. Rab Pappa asked Abbai : But perhaps he at first did not direct his mind and finally did so!

The Talmud interprets the measure of fear and giving thanks as being instituted in the Tefillah (prayer) by Moshe. The fear of heaven is to have a healthy respect for the Lord before whom we stand, and giving thanks for what the Lord has done for us in the past, and for the expectation of His working in our lives at a future time.

Midrash Tehillim 100, Part 4 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying, “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise; give thanks unto Him, and bless His name (Tehillim / Psalms 100:4).” The homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Rabbi Phinehas, Rabbi Levi, and Rabbi Johanan said in the name of Rabbi Menahem the Galilean, In the time to come, all offerings will cease, except the prayer of thanksgiving…” The entire midrash states the following:

מדרש תהלים פרק ק סימן ד

ד באו שעריו בתודה חצרותיו בתהלה, הודו לו ברכו שמו. ר׳ פנחס (בש״ר לוי) [ור׳ לוי] ור׳ יוחנן [בשם ר׳ מנחם] דמן גליא אמר כל (התפלות) [הקרבנות] בטילות לעתיד לבא, וקרבן תודה אינו בטל, [כל התפלות בטילות והודיות תודה אינה בטלה], שנאמר אשלם תודות לך (תהלים נו יג), תודות כנגד התפלה וכנגד הקרבן, וכן הוא אומר קול ששון וקול שמחה קול חתן וקול כלה קול אומרים הודו את ה׳ צבאות [כי טוב ה׳ כי לעולם חסדו מביאים תודה בית ה׳ (ירמיה לג יא), הודו את ה׳] הרי תפלות הודיה, מביאים תודה בית ה׳, הרי קרבן תודה. הודו לו ברכו שמו. הרי תפלת הודיה, מה כתיב בתריה כי טוב ה׳ לעולם חסדו.

Midrash Tehillim 100, Part 4

4. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise; give thanks unto Him, and bless His name (Tehillim / Psalms 100:4). Rabbi Phinehas, Rabbi Levi, and Rabbi Johanan said in the name of Rabbi Menahem the Galilean, In the time to come, all offerings will cease, except the prayer of thanksgiving, this will never cease, for in the verse I will render thank offerings unto You (Tehillim / Psalms 56:13), the term thank offerings is used of prayer as well as of offering. Thus, also in the verse The voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voice of them that will say, Give thanks to the Lord of hosts, for the Lord is good, for His mercy endures forever, and of them that will bring offerings of thanksgiving into the house of the Lord (Jeremiah 33:11), Give thanks to the Lord is an enjoining of prayers of thanksgiving; while them that will bring offerings of thanksgiving is an enjoining of thank offerings. In the Psalm also, Give thanks unto Him, and bless His name (Tehillim / Psalms 100:4), which is an enjoining of a prayer of thanksgiving, is followed directly by the words For the Lord is good; His mercy endures forever (Tehillim / Psalms 100:5).

Again we find here the Midrash stating that “In the time to come, all offerings will cease, except the prayer of thanksgiving,” is the concept here that the rabbis hoped through the progress of time mankind would advance to the point that there would no longer be a need for expiatory sacrifices? Is this expressing that only the feeling of gratitude to God would remain? Another source for this reference is found in Midrash Rabbah Leviticus Parashat 9, Part 7 and Midrash Tehillim 56, Part 4. The idea here is that all sacrifices would be annulled whereas the thanksgiving unto the Lord God of Israel would remain. Midrash Tehillim 100, Part 4 states that the term thank offerings is used of both prayer and offering. Tehillim / Psalms 56:12, states יג עָלַי אֱלֹהִים נְדָרֶיךָ אֲשַׁלֵּם תּוֹדֹת לָךְ: 56:12 Your vows are binding upon me, O God; I will render thank offerings to You. (NASB) The MT states תּוֹדֹת plural for thanksgivings, which is a reference to both prayer and the offerings. How are we to understand these words in the sense of the ceasing of the sacrifices? In Matthew 5:19, Yeshua said that He had come to fulfill the Torah commands, even to the “least” of these, making a distinction on the nuances found within the Torah on what the Lord expects of His people, and so in Yeshua’s statement he was saying the commands are to be put into practice, even to the least, lowliest command. The Torah directs our attention forward to the coming of the Messiah, and in His fulfilling the command, He established a continuity for His followers, to walk in the manner that He walked (John 13:15) saying that He has set the example for us. The true direction to which the Torah points is that it is to be obeyed, and therefore these words of Yeshua turns on a conformity to Yeshua’s teachings as the Lord God of Israel’s seeking for us to live in righteousness, holiness, justice, and truth. Our motivation is to be out of our love for God, which is based upon a work of the Lord in our hearts to seek and to serve Him. This is alluded to in Isaiah 2 which speaks of all the nations streaming to Jerusalem and to the counsel of God and His godly people. Isaiah 56 supports this idea saying the following:

Isaiah 56:1-8

56:1 Thus says the Lord, ‘Preserve justice and do righteousness, For My salvation is about to come And My righteousness to be revealed. 56:2 ‘How blessed is the man who does this, And the son of man who takes hold of it; Who keeps from profaning the sabbath, And keeps his hand from doing any evil.’ 56:3 Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the Lord say, ‘The Lord will surely separate me from His people.’ Nor let the eunuch say, ‘Behold, I am a dry tree.’ 56:4 For thus says the Lord, ‘To the eunuchs who keep My sabbaths, And choose what pleases Me, And hold fast My covenant, 56:5 To them I will give in My house and within My walls a memorial, And a name better than that of sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name which will not be cut off. 56:6 ‘Also the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, To minister to Him, and to love the name of the Lord, To be His servants, every one who keeps from profaning the sabbath And holds fast My covenant; 56:7 Even those I will bring to My holy mountain And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar; For My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.’ 56:8 The Lord God, who gathers the dispersed of Israel, declares, ‘Yet others I will gather to them, to those already gathered.’ (NASB)

Based upon these verses, the Lord calls to His people for justice and speaks of His salvation being revealed shortly, and blessed is the one who takes hold of this. Isaiah states that we are to take hold of the covenant in order to please our Father in heaven, and that the Lord will cause 56:6 ‘Also the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, To minister to Him, and to love the name of the Lord, To be His servants, every one who keeps from profaning the sabbath And holds fast My covenant; (NASB) drawing foreigners who will join themselves to the Lord. Note also the significance of calling out the profaning of the Shabbat. What does it mean to join one’s self to the Lord? Is this not to walk in God’s ways, and to bring glory to His name through righteous living and our love for one another? Isaiah connects these things to prayer and the house of prayer, the holy mountain of God in Jerusalem, and the altar of God and His sacrifices. Yeshua taught obedience to the Torah, which is why his teachings always directed our attention back to the Tanach as something that is to be obeyed. Most of Christianity however celebrates their freedom from “the bondage of the law,” however the Apostle James himself called it the “perfect law (Torah) of liberty” (James 1:25). In addition, Christian theologians love to point to Acts 15 in relation to the cessation of the Law, and yet it is clear that the Jerusalem council’s decision did two things: 1) Requiring gentile believers to begin their walk of faith by following four instructions lifted straight out of the Torah, and 2) indicating the new gentile converts (by faith) will learn more at synagogue. Otherwise, there would have been no point in mentioning “For from ancient generations Moses has had in every city those who proclaim him, for he is read every Sabbath in the synagogues,” (Acts 15:21) if the expectation was not that gentiles would learn more Torah after joining themselves to the God of Israel by their faith in the Messiah Yeshua, being converted by the brit milah of the heart (changed from the inside), and beginning to walk in God’s ways. Scripture clearly indicates that the Torah is for all mankind. It was given to His chosen people so they could be a light unto the nations and take God’s instruction throughout the earth. (Isaiah 2)

The midrash continues saying, “Thus, also in the verse The voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voice of them that will say, Give thanks to the Lord of hosts, for the Lord is good, for His mercy endures forever, and of them that will bring offerings of thanksgiving into the house of the Lord (Jeremiah 33:11), Give thanks to the Lord is an enjoining of prayers of thanksgiving; while them that will bring offerings of thanksgiving is an enjoining of thank offerings.” The basic premise is that within the context of God’s powerful work in our life, we are able to give glory and praise to Him and His ways, and our sacrifice is in the manner in which we live our lives. We live our lives according to His will, and not according to our own will. The application of the Torah for our lives is summarized by Sforno according to his commentary on Bereshit / Genesis 49:1 Part 1.

Sforno on Bereshit / Genesis 49:1 Part 1

באחרית הימים לקץ הימין בבוא גואל שיהיה אחרית ימי האומות אויבי ה’ ומלכותם שתתמלא סאתם עד סוף מלואה כאמרו כי אעשה כלה וכו’ וכזה דבר בלעם באמרו באחרית הימים כמו שהעיד באמרו וקרקר כל בני שת וכן הנביאים באמרם והיה באחרית הימים יהיה הר בית ה’ נכון כראש ההרים וזה הגיד יעקב כזה באמרו כי יבא שילה ולו יקהת עמים אוסרי לגפן עירה וכו’:

באחרית הימים, at the end of the period allocated to life on earth as we know it. Yaakov speaks of the arrival of the Messiah which will signify the end of the existence of the nations that oppose G’d and the Kingdom of G’d on earth. At that time the measure of sin that these nations accumulate will be full to overflowing, so that G’d will feel at liberty to bring about the appropriate retribution. [the concept is as old as Avraham, to whom G’d explained that realisation of his offspring disinheriting the Canaanites will have to await the time when the measure of sin of these people will be full. (Genesis 15:16). Ed.] Our author, drawing on various prophecies of the Books of Prophets to support his interpretation of באחרית הימים, “the end of days,” quotes Jeremiah 46:28 “for I will make an end to all the nations among which I have banished you; but I will not make an end of you!” He also quotes Bileam’s prophecy in Numbers 24:14 detailed in verse 17, in which he prophesies the doom befalling all the nations pre-eminent in his time and describes Israel as triumphant at that time. He adds that his prophecy is not one the fulfillment of which is imminent, but that much time will elapse before it will be realised. Similar prophecies are not only found in Michah 4,1 but even in our chapter when blessing Yehudah in verse 10, Yaakov speaks of the time frame he has in mind as the one when Shiloh will arrive, the one to whom nations will pay homage.

Sforno states that in the end times, his reference to the end times is to that of the arrival of the Messiah, will bring the end of the existence of the nations. The measure of the sin of the nations will be overflowing, and the Lord will bring retribution upon the ungodly peoples. The point is that in this time period, only those who are left are those who have joined themselves with the Lord God of Israel and with His Messiah as Jeremiah 46:28 states “for I will make an end to all the nations among which I have banished you; but I will not make an end of you!” referring to His holy people.

Midrash Tehillim 100, Part 4 concludes saying, “In the Psalm also, Give thanks unto Him, and bless His name (Tehillim / Psalms 100:4), which is an enjoining of a prayer of thanksgiving, is followed directly by the words For the Lord is good; His mercy endures forever (Tehillim / Psalms 100:5).” Indeed the Lord is good and He is looking out for His people, and has a plan for His people from the beginning. The question is, do you want to be a part of that plan? If so, join yourself with Yeshua the Messiah and with the Lord God of Israel today! Let’s Pray!

Tehillim 100-Part1-and-2

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Duane D. Miller received his Ph.D., M.S., and B.S. Degree in Chemical Engineering from The University of Akron Ohio. He is currently a Chemical Engineering Researcher. Duane’s research expertise has focused upon functional materials development for the control, conversion, and release of process gases in Energy production technologies. His R&D interests include computational chemistry, developing novel technologies for converting biomass to fuels and studying their fundamental interactions during the chemical conversion process. His past experience includes sorbent development for pre- and post-combustion CO2 and SO2 capture, selective absorption of H2S from methane streams, O2 capture for oxy-fuel combustion, photocatalytic reduction of alcohols, NOx reduction catalysis, the development of oxygen carriers to combust fossil fuels (CH4 and coal) for the chemical looping combustion processes, and the extraction of rare earth elements using patent pending sorbents. His research expertise has focused on operando-characterization using Infrared, Raman, and UV-Vis spectroscopy to observe the nature of the catalytic active sites and reaction intermediates under realistic reaction conditions, allowing direct correlation of molecular/electronic structures with catalyst performance during Gas-Solid / Liquid-Solid Adsorption and Photocatalytic Processes with real time online analysis of reaction products using ICP-MS and mass spectrometry. His current work involves a multi-disciplinary approach to developing, understanding, and improving the catalytic gasification of coal and methane, high temperature chemical looping combustion, and the catalytic decomposition and gasification of biomass and coal using novel microwave reactor.​ He has been studying the Hebrew Scriptures and the Torah for 20+ years and sharing what he has learned. The studies developed for MATSATI.COM are freely to be used by everyone, to God be the Glory!