Tehillim / Psalms 103, ספר תהילים קג, Part 2, Yeshua and Torah

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In this week’s study from Tehillim / Psalms 103:1-22, the Psalm opens saying, א לְדָוִד | בָּרֲכִי נַפְשִׁי אֶת-יְהֹוָה וְכָל-קְרָבַי אֶת-שֵׁם קָדְשׁוֹ: ב בָּרֲכִי נַפְשִׁי אֶת-יְהֹוָה וְאַל-תִּשְׁכְּחִי כָּל-גְּמוּלָיו: Of David 103:1 Bless the Lord, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name. 103:2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits; (NASB) What are the benefits of God? He says these benefits are the Lord ג הַסֹּלֵחַ לְכָל-עֲוֹנֵכִי הָרֹפֵא לְכָל-תַּחֲלֻאָיְכִי: ד הַגּוֹאֵל מִשַּׁחַת חַיָּיְכִי הַמְעַטְּרֵכִי חֶסֶד וְרַחֲמִים: ה הַמַּשְֹבִּיַע בַּטּוֹב עֶדְיֵךְ תִּתְחַדֵּשׁ כַּנֶּשֶׁר נְעוּרָיְכִי: 103:3 Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; 103:4 Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; 103:5 Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle. 103:6 The Lord performs righteous deeds And judgments for all who are oppressed. (NASB) David recognizes that the Lord lovingly gave Israel His Torah, saying, ו עֹשֵֹה צְדָקוֹת יְהֹוָה וּמִשְׁפָּטִים לְכָל-עֲשׁוּקִים: ז יוֹדִיעַ דְּרָכָיו לְמֹשֶׁה לִבְנֵי יִשְֹרָאֵל עֲלִילוֹתָיו: ח רַחוּם וְחַנּוּן יְהֹוָה אֶרֶךְ אַפַּיִם וְרַב-חָסֶד: ט לֹא-לָנֶצַח יָרִיב וְלֹא לְעוֹלָם יִטּוֹר: י לֹא כַחֲטָאֵינוּ עָשָֹה לָנוּ וְלֹא כַעֲוֹנֹתֵינוּ גָּמַל עָלֵינוּ: יא כִּי כִגְבֹהַּ שָׁמַיִם עַל-הָאָרֶץ גָּבַר חַסְדּוֹ עַל-יְרֵאָיו: יב כִּרְחֹק מִזְרָח מִמַּעֲרָב הִרְחִיק מִמֶּנּוּ אֶת-פְּשָׁעֵינוּ: יג כְּרַחֵם אָב עַל-בָּנִים רִחַם יְהֹוָה עַל-יְרֵאָיו: 103:7 He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel. 103:8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious, Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness. 103:9 He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever. 103:10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. 103:11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. 103:13 Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. (NASB) All of these attributes David ascribes to the Lord God in heaven are taught to us according to the Apostolic Writings. He continues saying, 103:14 For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust. 103:15 As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes. 103:16 When the wind has passed over it, it is no more, And its place acknowledges it no longer. 103:17 But the lovingkindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, And His righteousness to children’s children, (NASB) He concludes his psalm saying, 103:18 To those who keep His covenant And remember His precepts to do them. 103:19 The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, And His sovereignty rules over all. 103:20 Bless the Lord, you His angels, Mighty in strength, who perform His word, Obeying the voice of His word! 103:22 Bless the Lord, all you works of His, In all places of His dominion; Bless the Lord, O my soul! (NASB)

עברית Hebrew ארמי Aramaic ελληνικός Greek

ספר תהלים פרק קג

א לְדָוִד | בָּרֲכִי נַפְשִׁי אֶת-יְהֹוָה וְכָל-קְרָבַי אֶת-שֵׁם קָדְשׁוֹ: ב בָּרֲכִי נַפְשִׁי אֶת-יְהֹוָה וְאַל-תִּשְׁכְּחִי כָּל-גְּמוּלָיו: ג הַסֹּלֵחַ לְכָל-עֲוֹנֵכִי הָרֹפֵא לְכָל-תַּחֲלֻאָיְכִי: ד הַגּוֹאֵל מִשַּׁחַת חַיָּיְכִי הַמְעַטְּרֵכִי חֶסֶד וְרַחֲמִים:

סםר טוביה פרק קג

א על יד דוד איתאמר בנבואה בריכי נפשי ית שמא דיהוה וכל בני גווי ית שמא דקודשיה׃ ב בריכי נפשי ית שמא דיהוה ולא תתנשי ית כל חיסולוי דעבד לאימיך לאומיך תדיין באתר ביונתא׃ ג דשביק לכל עוייכי דמסי לכל מרעייכי׃ ד דפריק מגהנם חייכי דאכליל יתייכי חסדא ורחמי׃

ΨΑΛΜΟΙ 103

103:1 τῷ Δαυιδ εὐλόγει ἡ ψυχή μου τὸν κύριον καί πάντα τὰ ἐντός μου τὸ ὄνομα τὸ ἅγιον αὐτοῦ 103:2 εὐλόγει ἡ ψυχή μου τὸν κύριον καὶ μὴ ἐπιλανθάνου πάσας τὰς ἀνταποδόσεις αὐτοῦ 103:3 τὸν εὐιλατεύοντα πάσαις ταῖς ἀνομίαις σου τὸν ἰώμενον πάσας τὰς νόσους σου 103:4 τὸν λυτρούμενον ἐκ φθορᾶς τὴν ζωήν σου τὸν στεφανοῦντά σε ἐν ἐλέει καὶ οἰκτιρμοῖς

ה הַמַּשְֹבִּיַע בַּטּוֹב עֶדְיֵךְ תִּתְחַדֵּשׁ כַּנֶּשֶׁר נְעוּרָיְכִי: ו עֹשֵֹה צְדָקוֹת יְהֹוָה וּמִשְׁפָּטִים לְכָל-עֲשׁוּקִים: ז יוֹדִיעַ דְּרָכָיו לְמֹשֶׁה לִבְנֵי יִשְֹרָאֵל עֲלִילוֹתָיו: ח רַחוּם וְחַנּוּן יְהֹוָה אֶרֶךְ אַפַּיִם וְרַב-חָסֶד: ט לֹא-לָנֶצַח יָרִיב וְלֹא לְעוֹלָם יִטּוֹר: י לֹא כַחֲטָאֵינוּ עָשָֹה לָנוּ וְלֹא כַעֲוֹנֹתֵינוּ גָּמַל עָלֵינוּ: יא כִּי כִגְבֹהַּ שָׁמַיִם עַל-הָאָרֶץ גָּבַר חַסְדּוֹ עַל-יְרֵאָיו: יב כִּרְחֹק מִזְרָח מִמַּעֲרָב הִרְחִיק מִמֶּנּוּ אֶת-פְּשָׁעֵינוּ: יג כְּרַחֵם אָב עַל-בָּנִים רִחַם יְהֹוָה עַל-יְרֵאָיו: יד כִּי הוּא יָדַע יִצְרֵנוּ זָכוּר כִּי-עָפָר אֲנָחְנוּ: טו אֱנוֹשׁ כֶּחָצִיר יָמָיו כְּצִיץ הַשָּׂדֶה כֵּן יָצִיץ: טז כִּי רוּחַ עָבְרָה-בּוֹ וְאֵינֶנּוּ וְלֹא-יַכִּירֶנּוּ עוֹד מְקוֹמוֹ: יז וְחֶסֶד יְהֹוָה | מֵעוֹלָם וְעַד-עוֹלָם עַל-יְרֵאָיו וְצִדְקָתוֹ לִבְנֵי בָנִים: יח לְשֹׁמְרֵי בְרִיתוֹ וּלְזֹכְרֵי פִקֻּדָיו לַעֲשֹוֹתָם: יט יְהוָה בַּשָּׁמַיִם הֵכִין כִּסְאוֹ וּמַלְכוּתוֹ בַּכֹּל מָשָׁלָה: כ בָּרֲכוּ יְהֹוָה מַלְאָכָיו גִּבֹּרֵי כֹחַ עֹשֵֹי דְבָרוֹ לִשְׁמֹעַ בְּקוֹל דְּבָרוֹ: כא בָּרֲכוּ יְהֹוָה כָּל-צְבָאָיו מְשָׁרְתָיו עֹשֵֹי רְצוֹנוֹ: כב בָּרֲכוּ יְהֹוָה | כָּל-מַעֲשָֹיו בְּכָל-מְקֹמוֹת מֶמְשַׁלְתּוֹ בָּרֲכִי נַפְשִׁי אֶת-יְהֹוָה:

ה דמסבע בטובא יומי סיבותייכי ולעלמא דאתי תחדת היך נשרא דכולאה טליותייכי׃ ו עביד צידקתא יהוה ודינין לכל טלומין׃ ז גלי אורחתיה למשה לבני ישראל עובדוי׃ ח רחמנא וחננא יהוה מרחיק רגז ומסגי למעבד טבון טבוואן וקשוט׃ ט לא לעלמין ינצי ולא לעלם ינטור דבבו׃ י לא כחובנא עבד לנא ולא כעויתנא שלים לנא׃ יא ארום היך היכמה גביהין שמיא מעילוי ארעא הכדין גבר טוביה על דחלוי׃ יב היך הי כמה דרחיק מדינחא מן מערבא הכדין ארחיק מיננא ית סורחננא׃ יג היך הי כמה די רחים חייס אבא על בניא הכדין רחים חייס יהוה על דחלוי דדחלין מיניה׃ יד ארום הוא ידע קדמוהי גלי יצרנא בישא דמחטי דמתעי יתנא דכיר קדמוי ארום מן עפרא אנחנא׃ טו בר נש היך עסבא יומיה היך ניצא דחקלא הכדין יניץ׃ טז ארום זעפא נתבת ביה וליתוי ולא אישתמודעיה תוב אתריה׃ יז וחיסדא דיהוה מן עלמא הדין ועד עלמא דאתי על דחלוי וצדקתיה לבני בנין׃ יח לנטרי קיימיה ולדכרי פיקודוי למעבדהון׃ יט יהוה בשמי מרומא אתקין כורסיה ומלכותיה בכולא שלטא שליטא׃ כ בריכו שמא דיהוה מלאכוי דמתגברין בחילא עבדי מילוליה למשמע קל מילוליה׃ כא בריכו שמא דיהוה כל חילוי משומשנוי דעבדי רעותיה׃ כב בריכו שמא דיהוה כל עובדוי בכל אתר שולטניה בריכי נפשי ית שמא דיהוה׃

103:5 τὸν ἐμπιπλῶντα ἐν ἀγαθοῖς τὴν ἐπιθυμίαν σου ἀνακαινισθήσεται ὡς ἀετοῦ ἡ νεότης σου 103:6 ποιῶν ἐλεημοσύνας ὁ κύριος καὶ κρίμα πᾶσι τοῖς ἀδικουμένοις 103:7 ἐγνώρισεν τὰς ὁδοὺς αὐτοῦ τῷ Μωυσῇ τοῖς υἱοῖς Ισραηλ τὰ θελήματα αὐτοῦ 103:8 οἰκτίρμων καὶ ἐλεήμων ὁ κύριος μακρόθυμος καὶ πολυέλεος 103:9 οὐκ εἰς τέλος ὀργισθήσεται οὐδὲ εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα μηνιεῖ 103:10 οὐ κατὰ τὰς ἁμαρτίας ἡμῶν ἐποίησεν ἡμῖν οὐδὲ κατὰ τὰς ἀνομίας ἡμῶν ἀνταπέδωκεν ἡμῖν 103:11 ὅτι κατὰ τὸ ὕψος τοῦ οὐρανοῦ ἀπὸ τῆς γῆς ἐκραταίωσεν κύριος τὸ ἔλεος αὐτοῦ ἐπὶ τοὺς φοβουμένους αὐτόν 103:12 καθ᾽ ὅσον ἀπέχουσιν ἀνατολαὶ ἀπὸ δυσμῶν ἐμάκρυνεν ἀφ᾽ ἡμῶν τὰς ἀνομίας ἡμῶν 103:13 καθὼς οἰκτίρει πατὴρ υἱούς οἰκτίρησεν κύριος τοὺς φοβουμένους αὐτόν 103:14 ὅτι αὐτὸς ἔγνω τὸ πλάσμα ἡμῶν μνήσθητι ὅτι χοῦς ἐσμεν 103:15 ἄνθρωπος ὡσεὶ χόρτος αἱ ἡμέραι αὐτοῦ ὡσεὶ ἄνθος τοῦ ἀγροῦ οὕτως ἐξανθήσει 103:16 ὅτι πνεῦμα διῆλθεν ἐν αὐτῷ καὶ οὐχ ὑπάρξει καὶ οὐκ ἐπιγνώσεται ἔτι τὸν τόπον αὐτοῦ 103:17 τὸ δὲ ἔλεος τοῦ κυρίου ἀπὸ τοῦ αἰῶνος καὶ ἕως τοῦ αἰῶνος ἐπὶ τοὺς φοβουμένους αὐτόν καὶ ἡ δικαιοσύνη αὐτοῦ ἐπὶ υἱοὺς υἱῶν 103:18 τοῖς φυλάσσουσιν τὴν διαθήκην αὐτοῦ καὶ μεμνημένοις τῶν ἐντολῶν αὐτοῦ τοῦ ποιῆσαι αὐτάς 103:19 κύριος ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ ἡτοίμασεν τὸν θρόνον αὐτοῦ καὶ ἡ βασιλεία αὐτοῦ πάντων δεσπόζει 103:20 εὐλογεῖτε τὸν κύριον πάντες οἱ ἄγγελοι αὐτοῦ δυνατοὶ ἰσχύι ποιοῦντες τὸν λόγον αὐτοῦ τοῦ ἀκοῦσαι τῆς φωνῆς τῶν λόγων αὐτοῦ 103:21 εὐλογεῖτε τὸν κύριον πᾶσαι αἱ δυνάμεις αὐτοῦ λειτουργοὶ αὐτοῦ ποιοῦντες τὸ θέλημα αὐτοῦ 103:22 εὐλογεῖτε τὸν κύριον πάντα τὰ ἔργα αὐτοῦ ἐν παντὶ τόπῳ τῆς δεσποτείας αὐτοῦ εὐλόγει ἡ ψυχή μου τὸν κύριον

Tehillim / Psalms 103

Of David 103:1 Bless the Lord, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name. 103:2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits; 103:3 Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; 103:4 Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; 103:5 Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle. 103:6 The Lord performs righteous deeds And judgments for all who are oppressed. 103:7 He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel. 103:8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious, Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness. 103:9 He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever. 103:10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. 103:11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. 103:13 Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. (NASB)

Toviyah / Psalms 103

103:1 Composed by David, spoken in prophecy. Bless, O my soul, the name of the Lord, and let all my viscera bless his holy name. 103:2 Bless, O my soul, the name of the Lord, and do not forget all his nourishment, for he made breasts for your mother instead of insight. 103:3 Who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases. 103:4 Who redeems your life from Gehinnom, who crowned you with kindness and mercy. 103:5 Who satisfies the days of your old age with goodness, and in the age to come, your youth will be renewed like the eagle of the canopy. 103:6 The Lord does acts of righteousness, and judgments for all the oppressed. 103:7 He revealed his ways to Moses, his deeds to the children of Israel. 103:8 The Lord is merciful and compassionate; he loathes anger and does many deeds of goodness and truth. 103:9 He will not quarrel always, nor will he retain hostility forever. 103:10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor has he repaid us according to our iniquities. 103:11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his goodness to those who fear him. 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, thus far has he removed from us our transgressions. 103:13 As a father (abba) who loves the children, so the Lord loves those who fear him.(EMC)

Psalmoi / Psalms 103

A Psalm of David. 103:1 Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless his holy name. 103:2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his praises: 103:3 who forgives all thy transgressions, who heals all thy diseases; 103:4 who redeems thy life from corruption; who crowns thee with mercy and compassion; 103:5 who satisfies thy desire with good things: so that thy youth shall be renewed like that of the eagle. 103:6 The Lord executes mercy and judgment for all that are injured. 103:7 He made known his ways to Moses, his will to the children of Israel. 103:8 The Lord is compassionate and pitiful, long-suffering, and full of mercy. 103:9 He will not be always angry; neither will he be wrathful for ever. 103:10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor recompensed us according to our iniquities. 103:11 For as the heaven is high above the earth, the Lord has so increased his mercy toward them that fear him. 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. 103:13 As a father pities his children, the Lord pities them that fear him.(LXX)

Tehillim / Psalms 103

103:14 For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust. 103:15 As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes. 103:16 When the wind has passed over it, it is no more, And its place acknowledges it no longer. 103:17 But the lovingkindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, And His righteousness to children’s children, 103:18 To those who keep His covenant And remember His precepts to do them. 103:19 The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, And His sovereignty rules over all. 103:20 Bless the Lord, you His angels, Mighty in strength, who perform His word, Obeying the voice of His word! 103:21 Bless the Lord, all you His hosts, You who serve Him, doing His will. 103:22 Bless the Lord, all you works of His, In all places of His dominion; Bless the Lord, O my soul! (NASB)

Toviyah / Psalms 103

103:14 For he knows[31] our evil impulse that makes us sin; in his presence it is remembered, for we are from dust. 103:15 The days of a son of man are like grass; like a blossom of the field, so will he bloom. 103:16 For a storm-wind has blown on him and he is no more; and he no longer is aware of his place. 103:17 But the favor of the Lord is upon those that fear him, from this age to the age to come; and his generosity is for the children of [their] children. 103:18 For those who keep his covenant, and for those who remember his commandments to do them. 103:19 The Lord has established his throne in the highest heavens; and his kingdom rules over all. 103:20 Bless the name of the Lord, O his angels, who are mighty in power, who do his word, to obey the sound of his word. 103:21 Bless the name of the Lord, all his hosts, his ministers who do his will. 103:22 Bless the name of the Lord, all his works, his dominion is in every place. Bless, O my soul, the name of the Lord. (EMC)

Psalmoi / Psalms 103

103:14 For he knows our frame: remember that we are dust. 103:15 As for man, his days are as grass; as a flower of the field, so shall he flourish. 103:16 For the wind passes over it, and it shall not be; and it shall know its place no more. 103:17 But the mercy of the Lord is from generation to generation upon them that fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children; 103:18 to them that keep his covenant, and remember his commandments to do them. 103:19 The Lord has prepared his throne in the heaven; and his kingdom rules over all. 103:20 Bless the Lord, all ye his angels, mighty in strength, who perform his bidding, ready to hearken to the voice of his words. 103:21 Bless the Lord, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his that do his will. 103:22 Bless the Lord, all his works, in every place of his dominion: bless the Lord, O my soul.(LXX)

In this week’s study from Tehillim / Psalms 103:1-22, the Psalm opens saying, א לְדָוִד | בָּרֲכִי נַפְשִׁי אֶת-יְהֹוָה וְכָל-קְרָבַי אֶת-שֵׁם קָדְשׁוֹ: ב בָּרֲכִי נַפְשִׁי אֶת-יְהֹוָה וְאַל-תִּשְׁכְּחִי כָּל-גְּמוּלָיו: Of David 103:1 Bless the Lord, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name. 103:2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits; (NASB) Note the first two verses in the MT state, בָּרֲכִי נַפְשִׁי אֶת-יְהֹוָה has the direct object identifier attached to the YHVH indicating the one who is to be blessed is not the soul but the Lord God in heaven. David calls out to his own soul to bless the Lord God of Israel. All that is within the context of (וְכָל-קְרָבַי אֶת-שֵׁם קָדְשׁוֹ) to bless the Name, again the direct object identifier is attached to “shem” (אֶת-שֵׁם) indicating the Name of God is the one to be blessed. How are we being told to bless the Lord here? Is this purely a spiritual blessing, something that we do with our lips and our heart only? What about how we live our lives? Remember, the Scriptures say that the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him (Tehillim / Psalms 103:13). Tehillim / Psalms 103:2 states that in this blessing, we are not to forget all the benefits of the Lord (וְאַל-תִּשְׁכְּחִי כָּל-גְּמוּלָיו). What are the benefits of God? What is advantageous to knowing the Lord God in heaven? The Mishnah Pirkei Avot 6:1 has the following to say concerning the possible benefits of knowing God.

Mishnah Pirkei Avot 6:1

The Rabbis taught in the language (style) of the Mishnah: Rabbi Meir says: Anyone who involves himself in Torah for its own sake merits many things, and moreover the entire world is worthwhile for his sake; He is called “friend,” “beloved,” “lover of the Omnipresent,” “lover of [all] creatures,” “delighter of the Omnipresent,” “delighter of [all] creatures.” He is clothed in humility and reverence, and it prepares him to be righteous, devout, upright and trustworthy, and it distances him from sin, and draws him near to merit. We enjoy from him counsel and comprehension, understanding and strength, as it is said (Proverbs 8:14): “Mine is counsel and comprehension, I am understanding, mine is strength.” It gives him kingship and dominion, and [the ability to] investigate in judgment, and the secrets of the Torah are revealed to him, and he becomes like an ever-strengthening spring, and like a river that does not stop. He is modest and long-tempered, and forgives insult to him; And it enlarges him and raises him above all [that God] made.

The Rabbis according to the Mishnah say that one of the great benefits of knowing the Lord is being able to study His word. His word (the Bible, the Scriptures) draws us near, and enables us to be called a “friend, beloved, lover of the Omnipresent, lover of [all] creatures, delighter of the Omnipresent, delighter of [all] creatures. He is clothed in humility and reverence.” These descriptions tell us that the one who sits to study the Word of God is given the desire to pursue the Lord God of Israel and His Messiah Yeshua. But not only does God’s word have the effect to cause one to draw near, it also causes one to be humble and have a high regard (respect) for the Lord, that prepares the heart to be “righteous, devout, upright and trustworthy, and it distances him from sin, and draws him near to merit.” The reason is by the Holy Spirit of God that dwells within us, our souls are afflicted with the guilt of sin in our lives which leads to repentance. Studying God’s word also gives a person “kingship and dominion, and [the ability to] investigate in judgment, and the secrets of the Torah are revealed to him, and he becomes like an ever-strengthening spring, and like a river that does not stop.” Note John’s comment on this in Revelation 1:6. In addition to these things, the Mishnah tells us that studying God’s Word produces modesty, slow to anger (long tempered), forgiveness to others, and enlarges one and raises him above all that God has made. This sounds like what is said in Devarim / Deuteronomy 28:1 א וְהָיָה אִם-שָׁמוֹעַ תִּשְׁמַע בְּקוֹל יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לִשְׁמֹר לַעֲשֹוֹת אֶת-כָּל-מִצְוֹתָיו אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוְּךָ הַיּוֹם וּנְתָנְךָ יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ עֶלְיוֹן עַל כָּל-גּוֹיֵי הָאָרֶץ: 28:1 “Now it shall be, if you diligently obey the LORD your God, being careful to do all His commandments which I command you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. (NASB) As we can see, there are many benefits to knowing the Lord God of Israel and of His Messiah Yeshua. These things are connected to the Messiah in the following way according to the Words of Yeshua in John 14:15-21.

John 14:15-21

14:15 ‘If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. 14:16 ‘I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; 14:17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. 14:18 ‘I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 14:19 ‘After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. 14:20 ‘In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. 14:21 ‘He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.’ (NASB)

What did Yeshua mean that the Father in heaven would give “another Helper?” Who or what was the first helper? Could the first helper have been the giving of the Word of God in the form of the Torah? This interpretation would be consistent with Paul’s Words in Galatians 3:24 Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. (NASB) Note Paul believes the importance of the Torah is to lead us to the Messiah. Yeshua said that He will ask our Father in heaven to send another comforter, the Holy Spirit of God that will help us and empower us to overcome sin in our lives and to live obedient lives for the Lord because of His grace and mercy. He goes on to say that when we receive the Holy Spirit of God, we will know that He is the Messiah. The Lord God of Israel will show us and put in our hearts confirming that Yeshua is the Messiah. Note also the connection to the Mitzvot (Commandments) as loving God our Father in heaven, and loving Yeshua His Messiah. We are told that if we love Yeshua, the Father will also love us, which is connected to our fearing the Lord God, as the psalm states, Tehillim / Psalms 103:13 Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. (NASB)

David goes on to describe the benefits of the Lord in the psalm saying, ג הַסֹּלֵחַ לְכָל-עֲוֹנֵכִי הָרֹפֵא לְכָל-תַּחֲלֻאָיְכִי: ד הַגּוֹאֵל מִשַּׁחַת חַיָּיְכִי הַמְעַטְּרֵכִי חֶסֶד וְרַחֲמִים: ה הַמַּשְֹבִּיַע בַּטּוֹב עֶדְיֵךְ תִּתְחַדֵּשׁ כַּנֶּשֶׁר נְעוּרָיְכִי: 103:3 Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; 103:4 Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; 103:5 Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle. 103:6 The Lord performs righteous deeds And judgments for all who are oppressed. (NASB) The psalmist states the most important attributes and benefits of knowing and serving the Lord is that He pardons sin, heals diseases, redeems our lives, crowns us with mercy and grace, He is the giver of good things, and He performs righteous deeds and judgments for those who are oppressed. These certainly are the most important benefits of knowing and serving the Lord God of Israel. Note how these are the attributes that Ein Yaakov attributes to the Lord as well according to His commentary on the Amidah.

Ein Yaakov Megillah, Chapter 2:2

Our Rabbis were taught: Whence do we infer that we should mention the Patriarchs [in the prayer of Amida]? It is written (Ps. 29:1) Ascribe unto the Lord, ye sons of the mighty. And whence do we infer that we should mention [in the Amida the power [of God] ? It is written (Ib.) Ascribe unto the Lord glory and strength. And whence do we infer that the K’dusha [His Holiness] must be mentioned? It is written (Ib. 2) Ascribe unto the Lord the glory of His name; bow down to the Lord in the beauty of holiness. And what reason had they for placing the Benediction of Wisdom [fourth] after the Benediction K’dusha? Because it is said (Is. 29, 23) Then will they sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and the God of Israel will they reverence; and immediately follows: They also that were erring in spirit shall acquire understanding. And what reason had they in placing the Benediction concerning Repentance after Wisdom? Because it is written (Is. 6, 10) Lest his heart understand, and he will repent, and be healed. If so, we ought then to mention the section treating with Healing after Repentance [the sixth, instead of the eighth benediction] ? This you cannot assume, for it is written (Ib. 55, 7) And let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and unto our God, for He will abundantly pardon. The section of Pardon is therefore arranged after Repentance. But why did they desire to rely on this [verse], and not rely on the former? Because there is another passage to the same effect (Ps. 103:3) Who forgiveth all thy iniquities, who healeth all thy diseased, who redeemeth from the pit thy life. This means to say that both redemption and healing come after forgiveness. But there is a passage (Is. 6, 10) He will repent and be healed? [Hence healing follows repentance] ? This healing, however, does not refer to disease, but to forgiveness. And what reason had they in arranging the prayer for Redemption in the seventh Benediction? Said Raba: “Because Israel is destined to be redeemed in the seventh (Sabbatical) year, it was therefore designated in the seventh benediction. But has not the master said that in the sixth [of the Sabbatical years], there will be different rumors, in the seventh year of the Sabbatical years [great] wars will break out, and at the close of the seventh year Messiah b. David will appear? Hence in the seventh will there be war and not redemption. War will mark the beginning of the redemption. And what reason had they for arranging the prayer for Healing in the eighth Benedictions? “Because,” said R. Akiba, “circumcision takes place on the eighth day, and requires healing ; it was therefore designated in the seventh Benediction.” And what reason had they for arranging the prayer for the Blessing of the Year in the ninth Benediction? “This prayer,” said R. Alexandri, “is against those who raise prices, as it is written (Ps. 10:15), Break Thou the arm of the wicked, etc. And David also said it in the ninth chapter.” And what reason had they for arranging the prayer for the Reunion of the Exile after the Benediction of the Blessing [of the harvest] of the Year? Because it is written (Ezek. 36:8) But ye, O mountains of Israel, ye shall send forth your boughs, and your fruit shall ye bear for my people Israel; for they are near at hand to come. And as soon as the reunion of the exile will take place, there will be the punishment of the wicked, as it is said (Is. 1, 25) I will turn my hand against thee, and purge away as with lye thy dross. And further (26) it is written: I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counselors as at the beginning. After the judgment of the wicked there shall no more exist any sinners. This includes the arrogant, as it is said (Ib.) But destruction shall come over transgressors and sinners together. And those that forsake the Lord shall perish, and when sinners will cease to exist, the strength of the righteous is exalted; as it is written (Ps. 75:11) And all the strength of the wicked will I hew off, but the strength of the righteous shall be exalted. Righteous proselytes are included among the righteous; as it is said (Lev. 19:32) Before the hoary head shalt thou rise up, and honor the old man. And immediately it follows: If a stranger sojourn with thee, ye shall not vex him. And where will their horn be exalted? In Jerusalem; as it is said (Ps. 122:6) Pray ye for the peace of Jerusalem; may those that love ye prosper. And as soon as Jerusalem will be rebuilt David will come (Fol. 18) as it is said (Hos. 3:5) After that will the children of Israel return and seek for the Lord their God and David their king. And together with David will come prayer, as it is said (Is. 57, 7) Even these will I bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer. And as soon as prayer comes, service in the Temple will come with it, as it is said further: Their burnt-offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon My altar. And as soon as service comes, there will come a thanksgiving, as it is said (Ps. 50:23) Who so offereth thanksgiving glorifieth Me. And what reason had they for placing the Blessing of the Priests after the Benediction of Thanks giving? Because it is written (Lev. 9:22) And Aaron lifted up his hands toward the people, and blessed them, and came down after he had offered the sin-offering and burnt-offering and peace-offering. Why not say that he blessed them before the service? You cannot possibly think so; for it is written : He came down after he had offered — it is not written to offer, but after offering. Then why not say it immediately after the Benediction concerning the [restoration of the Temple] Service? You cannot possibly think so, because it is written : Whoso offereth the thanksgiving (glorifieth Me. And why did they desire to rely on this [verse], and not rely on the former? Because common sense teaches that service and thanksgiving are the same thing. And what reason had they for placing [the Benediction concerning] Peace after the Blessing of Priests? Because it is written (Num. 6:21) And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel and I will bless them; i.e., the blessing of the Holy One, praised be He! is peace, as it is said (Ps. 29:11) The Lord will bless His people with peace. [Hence the arrangement of the Amida or Eighteen Benedictions.] Now [let us see], if one hundred and twenty elders, among whom there were many prophets, have arranged the Eighteen Benedictions in accordance with their orders, why was it necessary that Simon of Peculi should rearrange them? They had been forgotten, therefore he reintroduced the order.

Ein Yaakov is commenting upon the Amidah and its arrangement and makes the argument for why the Amidah is organized in the way that it is. In a parallel fashion to Tehillim / Psalms 103, Ein Yaakov states the benefits of the Lord God of Israel may be found in the Amidah that He pardons sin to those who repent, and heals diseases for those who seek Him. Note that Ein Yaakov interprets the healing of God as a reference to that of forgiveness and restoration. The Lord redeems our lives, crowns us with His mercy and grace, He is the giver of good things, and He performs righteous deeds and judgments for those who are oppressed. In all of these things we learn, according to the Torah and the Psalms, that the Name of God will be placed upon His people, and the Lord will bless His people with peace. This peace is given in and through the Messiah Yeshua, and note his commentary mentions a time of great wars where in the year of redemption the Messiah son of David, the conquering king, will come to deliver His people. The manner in which the people place the Name of God upon themselves is described in Midrash Rabbah Bereshit 44.

Midrash Rabbah Bereishit 44

R. Yudan said in the name of R. Eliezer: Three things annul harsh (bad) verdicts (decrees), and they are: Prayer, and Righteousness, and Repentance. And all three occur in one verse. (II Chron. 7:14) “When My people, who bear My name, humble themselves, and pray,” this is Prayer, “and seek My face,” this is Righteousness, “and turn from their evil ways,” this is Repentance; and afterward “I will forgive their transgression!, and I will heal their land.”

בראשית רבה מ״ד

(יב) ר’ יודן בשם ר’ אלעזר אמר: שלושה דברים מבטלים גזירות רעות, ואלו הם: תפלה וצדקה ותשובה, ושלושתן נאמרו בפסוק אחד, הה”ד (ד”ה ב ז): ויכנעו עמי אשר נקרא שמי עליהם. ויתפללו, זו תפלה. ויבקשו פני, הרי צדקה, כמה דאת אמר: (תהלים יז): אני בצדק אחזה פניך. וישובו מדרכם הרעה, זו תשובה. ואח”כ (ד”ה ב ז): ואסלח לחטאם וארפא את ארצם.

The idea here is that God’s people will seek the Lord in prayer, righteousness, and repentance. 2 Chronicles 7:14 states that those who bear the Name of God will humble themselves and prayer, seek the Lord’s face in righteous deeds, and turn from their evil ways in repentance (Teshuvah). Can you think of any other ways in which we glorify God by the way we live our lives? The rabbis say these are the attributes of God are balanced by the attributes of His people who exhibit these things, being prayerful, humble, living in righteousness and holiness, justice and truth, repentant (turning from evil), being merciful and showing grace towards others. We become like the one we worship. Who or what do you place first in your life?

David recognizes that the Lord lovingly gave Israel His Torah, saying, ו עֹשֵֹה צְדָקוֹת יְהֹוָה וּמִשְׁפָּטִים לְכָל-עֲשׁוּקִים: ז יוֹדִיעַ דְּרָכָיו לְמֹשֶׁה לִבְנֵי יִשְֹרָאֵל עֲלִילוֹתָיו: ח רַחוּם וְחַנּוּן יְהֹוָה אֶרֶךְ אַפַּיִם וְרַב-חָסֶד: ט לֹא-לָנֶצַח יָרִיב וְלֹא לְעוֹלָם יִטּוֹר: י לֹא כַחֲטָאֵינוּ עָשָֹה לָנוּ וְלֹא כַעֲוֹנֹתֵינוּ גָּמַל עָלֵינוּ: יא כִּי כִגְבֹהַּ שָׁמַיִם עַל-הָאָרֶץ גָּבַר חַסְדּוֹ עַל-יְרֵאָיו: יב כִּרְחֹק מִזְרָח מִמַּעֲרָב הִרְחִיק מִמֶּנּוּ אֶת-פְּשָׁעֵינוּ: יג כְּרַחֵם אָב עַל-בָּנִים רִחַם יְהֹוָה עַל-יְרֵאָיו: 103:7 He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel. 103:8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious, Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness. 103:9 He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever. 103:10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. 103:11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. 103:13 Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. (NASB) All of these attributes David ascribes to the Lord God in heaven are taught to us according to the Apostolic Writings which is indicated by what John wrote in John 1:16 saying that we received grace in place of the grace that was already given.

John 1:15-18

1:15 John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, `He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’” 1:16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 1:17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 1:18 No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known. (NIV)

Notice here how John is contrasting Yeshua to Moshe and draws in the message given in the Torah of a prophet who was to come who would function like Moshe (Devarim / Deuteronomy 18). It is interesting how John states that “the law was given through Moshe; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” There appears to be some sort of opposing view here that is implied. Was the Torah not the truth of God? Does John believe the Torah was not given because of the grace of God? Why do you think John makes this kind of comparison? In John 1:18, he says “No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.” (NIV) John is emphasizing something here from Parashat Ki Tisa from Shemot / Exodus 33-34. Though Moshe ascended the mountain and descended, he did not see God face to face. This was demonstrated in Shemot / Exodus 34 by the Lord placing Moshe in a crevice in the rock, putting His hand over the mouth of the crevice and passing before him, and then allowing Moshe to see his back side while at the same time proclaiming His forgiveness, grace and mercy, long suffering and slowness to anger. Whereby, Yeshua is said to have descended and then ascended back to the place he was before (Ephesians 4:10). The point of this emphasis is not to create a doctrine to say that Yeshua has done away with the Torah. John is emphasizing the importance of believing upon the Messiah of God for salvation. Yeshua is the goal of Torah which leads us to repentance and leads us to the Messiah (Galatians 3:24). Romans 11 also clearly states that non-Jews are grafted into the covenant, into the olive tree, the remnant of Israel by their conversion from paganism, to faith in the God of Israel by their faith in Yeshua. Part of being Yeshua’s disciples is following the Torah that God gave to Israel while recognizing that it doesn’t save, because we all fall short or miss the mark at one point or another in our lives. Many in the Christian faith however miss this point over and over again and the reason is due to theology being the primary focus rather than seeking and searching the truth according to the Scriptures.

The Aramaic Translation states the following:

Targum Translation

Toviyah / Psalms 103:7-13

103:7 He revealed his ways to Moses, his deeds to the children of Israel. 103:8 The Lord is merciful and compassionate; he loathes anger and does many deeds of goodness and truth. 103:9 He will not quarrel always, nor will he retain hostility forever. 103:10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor has he repaid us according to our iniquities. 103:11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his goodness to those who fear him. 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, thus far has he removed from us our transgressions. 103:13 As a father (abba) who loves the children, so the Lord loves those who fear him.(EMC)

ז גלי אורחתיה למשה לבני ישראל עובדוי׃ ח רחמנא וחננא יהוה מרחיק רגז ומסגי למעבד טבון טבוואן וקשוט׃ ט לא לעלמין ינצי ולא לעלם ינטור דבבו׃ י לא כחובנא עבד לנא ולא כעויתנא שלים לנא׃ יא ארום היך היכמה גביהין שמיא מעילוי ארעא הכדין גבר טוביה על דחלוי׃ יב היך הי כמה דרחיק מדינחא מן מערבא הכדין ארחיק מיננא ית סורחננא׃ יג היך הי כמה די רחים חייס אבא על בניא הכדין רחים חייס יהוה על דחלוי דדחלין מיניה׃

The Targum translation is identical to the MT. The most significant point of the psalm is in Tehillim / Psalms 103:7 which states גלי אורחתיה למשה לבני ישראל עובדוי 103:7 He revealed his ways to Moses, his deeds to the children of Israel.(EMC) The key word here is עובדוי (avodav) which is similar to עבדין טבין ‏ (avodin tovin) “good deeds.” The concept here is the Lord revealing His good works to Israel where Israel is to then do the same. Note the Septuagint states, 103:7 ἐγνώρισεν τὰς ὁδοὺς αὐτοῦ τῷ Μωυσῇ τοῖς υἱοῖς Ισραηλ τὰ θελήματα αὐτοῦ 103:7 He made known his ways to Moses, his will to the children of Israel. (LXX) Note the LXX states θελήματα thelemata the making known of “his will” or “his wants.” The will of God is to live according to His word. What do you think that word is that we are called to obey? A major discussion that is very relevant today is the question “are follows of Yeshua under the Law?” Also, I have seen others also ask questions such as, “Is there really such a thing as ‘Torah observance’?” due to the absence of the Temple in Jerusalem. The words “under the law” in the NT is a technical reference by Paul to being judged guilty. The problem with the question is Paul speaks of all believers being responsible to upholding the law (Romans 3:31) while yet not being “under the law.” There appears to be a contradiction if we do not recognize that the phrase “under the law” is a technical reference to being judged guilty. The point again is that 2000 years of misinterpreted Pauline doctrine and the theologies that surround these interpretations are never addressed. We have to be able to set aside the theologies that we have been taught in order to overcome our presuppositions on what it means to “obey Torah” or the obligation of every believer to be “Torah obedient” (see John 15:1-10) The following questions may help, “What does it mean to obey the law? (righteousness)” and “What does it mean to disobey the law? (sin)” When Christian theology states “We are no longer under the law” is this synonymous to saying “it is OK to disobey the law? (it is ok to sin?)” Most Christians I have asked this question will say “of course not, the phrase not being under the law does not mean we have a license to sin.” Which is followed by, “since Jesus kept the law we don’t have to.” The fallacy in the logic however is the concept of “We don’t ‘have to obey’” because Jesus did. Scripture speaks contrary to this however according to 1 John 1:5-6, and 1 Peter 1:14-15 and the disciples clear references to Parashat Kedoshim (Vayikra / Leviticus 19).

Dr. Daniel C Juster and John Parsons have stated the following:

“With the coming of the New Covenant, there is a change of relationship between the circumcised and the uncircumcised. Since the New Testament teaches specifically on the relationship of Jew and Gentile in the new reality of the body of believers, we cannot simply transfer the practices of pre-Yeshua times into the New Covenant period.” (Dr. Daniel C. Juster)

“Since the word Torah itself means “instruction” or “direction” about how to live rightly before God and man, it should not be surprising to see how it can change in relation to the covenants God established with mankind and Israel.” (John Parsons)

Note the point of these statements, and the major point of Yeshua coming into this world was to change the relationship between the circumcision (Israel) and the uncircumcised (the nations). This new covenant in Yeshua changed the status of the Gentile believers in the sense that there is no difference between Jew and Gentile (Romans 10:12, Galatians 3:28) in faith, and that the Torah has not passed away. The Christian response to these statements are “Jesus never said to keep Moses’ commandments. JESUS said, ‘If you love ME keep MY commandments.’” The major question then is “What commandments did Yeshua give?” Based on past discussions, the Christian response is that Yeshua gave 38 commands according to the gospels. The interesting point is however that these 38 commands are all consistent with the Torah. We know Yeshua said, “I and the Father are one” and in John 15 “obey my commands?” The Christian logic goes something like this:

OLD: Matthew 22:37-40 — Yeshua kept His Father’s commandments and therefore fulfilled.

NEW: 1 John 3:22-24 and John 15:12, 17 (13:34) — We keep Yeshua’s commandments.

John 15:10 “If you keep MY commandments, you will abide in MY LOVE; just as I have kept MY FATHER’S commandments, and abide in His love.

So the idea is that Yeshua established new commands, and thus the old commands has become obsolete because Yeshua fulfilled them. It is interesting to read elsewhere in Scripture regarding the commandments according to the Apostle Peter.

2 Peter 2:20-21

2:20 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 2:21 For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them. (NASB)

Note how Peter speaks of those who believed and followed the way according to the Holy Commandment which had been passed down, and then these people decided to turn from the commandment and live their lives in sin which results in their death and separation from God. Pay attention to the context of 2 Peter chapter 2.

The psalmist continues in his psalm saying, יד כִּי הוּא יָדַע יִצְרֵנוּ זָכוּר כִּי-עָפָר אֲנָחְנוּ: טו אֱנוֹשׁ כֶּחָצִיר יָמָיו כְּצִיץ הַשָּׂדֶה כֵּן יָצִיץ: טז כִּי רוּחַ עָבְרָה-בּוֹ וְאֵינֶנּוּ וְלֹא-יַכִּירֶנּוּ עוֹד מְקוֹמוֹ: יז וְחֶסֶד יְהֹוָה | מֵעוֹלָם וְעַד-עוֹלָם עַל-יְרֵאָיו וְצִדְקָתוֹ לִבְנֵי בָנִים: 103:14 For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust. 103:15 As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes. 103:16 When the wind has passed over it, it is no more, And its place acknowledges it no longer. 103:17 But the lovingkindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, And His righteousness to children’s children, (NASB) Note the significance of these statements. The psalmist recognizes the limitations of man as frail, few in days, and but dust, like a blade of grass which is quick to whither, and like the wind when once past is gone and no longer present. The nothingness of man and the futility of his life is spoken of extensively in Ecclesiastes. Regardless of the frailty of man, the Lord God is merciful and desires to have a relationship with us. The significance of God’s mercy is emphasized in the statement, וְחֶסֶד יְהֹוָה | מֵעוֹלָם וְעַד-עוֹלָם עַל-יְרֵאָיו וְצִדְקָתוֹ לִבְנֵי בָנִים 103:17 But the lovingkindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, And His righteousness to children’s children, (NASB) The lovingkindness again is translated from the word Chesed (חֶסֶד) which speaks of the grace of God, which is said to be מֵעוֹלָם וְעַד-עוֹלָם everlasting to everlasting. This is similar to what we read in Isaiah 24:5-6.

Isaiah 24:5-6

24:5 The earth is defiled by its people; they have disobeyed the laws, violated the statutes and broken the everlasting covenant. 24:6 Therefore a curse consumes the earth; its people must bear their guilt. Therefore earth’s inhabitants are burned up, and very few are left. (NASB)

Isaiah 24 speaks of all the earth being defiled by its people having been disobedient to the commands, violating the statutes, and breaking the everlasting covenant. Because of the sin of many, the curse consumes the inhabitants of the earth and the people bear their guilt. According to the Torah (Devarim / Deuteronomy 18), Moshe taught that a prophet greater than him would one day come and that we must listen to him or be cut off. Yeshua also said that he was the one greater than Moshe and that we are to listen to him and his commands. The Christian response is that “Yeshua never taught to keep Moshe’s commandments.” The problem with this statement is that Yeshua said he brought His Father doctrine not his own (John 7:16 Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. NASB). If he taught a different law than His Father then he has failed the test as the Prophet sent of God according to Moshe who leads his people away from the command is not the Messiah. In addition, the Torah is not “Moshe’s commands,” the commands are the Lord’s according to Parashat Behaalotcha (Vayikra / Leviticus 26). The Lord God of Israel gave them to Moses to teach the children of God how to walk in righteousness, holiness, justice, and truth, the ways that brings blessings and protection. Yeshua did not give any new commandments that Moses did not give, but expanded upon the commands given in the Torah teaching his people how to obey God’s Torah, saying John 13:34 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” (NASB) This was a teaching that stood in opposition to the rabbinic teaching of his day. Yeshua expanded upon the Torah on how to apply God’s Word in practice (practical application). These are not new in the sense of the “new” substituting the “old,” or as Peter wrote “the holy commandment handed on to them.”

David concludes his psalm saying, יח לְשֹׁמְרֵי בְרִיתוֹ וּלְזֹכְרֵי פִקֻּדָיו לַעֲשֹוֹתָם: יט יְהוָה בַּשָּׁמַיִם הֵכִין כִּסְאוֹ וּמַלְכוּתוֹ בַּכֹּל מָשָׁלָה: כ בָּרֲכוּ יְהֹוָה מַלְאָכָיו גִּבֹּרֵי כֹחַ עֹשֵֹי דְבָרוֹ לִשְׁמֹעַ בְּקוֹל דְּבָרוֹ: כא בָּרֲכוּ יְהֹוָה כָּל-צְבָאָיו מְשָׁרְתָיו עֹשֵֹי רְצוֹנוֹ: כב בָּרֲכוּ יְהֹוָה | כָּל-מַעֲשָֹיו בְּכָל-מְקֹמוֹת מֶמְשַׁלְתּוֹ בָּרֲכִי נַפְשִׁי אֶת-יְהֹוָה: 103:18 To those who keep His covenant And remember His precepts to do them. 103:19 The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, And His sovereignty rules over all. 103:20 Bless the Lord, you His angels, Mighty in strength, who perform His word, Obeying the voice of His word! 103:21 Bless the Lord, all you His hosts, You who serve Him, doing His will. 103:22 Bless the Lord, all you works of His, In all places of His dominion; Bless the Lord, O my soul! (NASB) David points out the most significant aspect of his previous statement, וְחֶסֶד יְהֹוָה | מֵעוֹלָם וְעַד-עוֹלָם עַל-יְרֵאָיו וְצִדְקָתוֹ לִבְנֵי בָנִים 103:17 But the lovingkindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, And His righteousness to children’s children, (NASB) saying this occurs to those who keep His covenant and remember his precepts to do them. The application of Scripture comes by the way of faith. If we truly do believe Yeshua is the Messiah and believe in our Father who sent him, we will walk in his ways, and begin to conform our lives unto his ways. This is how the psalmist can say definitively יט יְהוָה בַּשָּׁמַיִם הֵכִין כִּסְאוֹ וּמַלְכוּתוֹ בַּכֹּל מָשָׁלָה: 103:19 The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, And His sovereignty rules over all. (NASB) The question though is are you willing to give control of your life over unto the Lord God in heaven and to Yeshua the Messiah? Are you willing to lay your will and life down to turn for your ways unto God’s ways? Doing so brings glory and praise to the Everlasting God of Israel and to Yeshua His Messiah. And because of God’s powerful work in our lives, we too can say as David did, כב בָּרֲכוּ יְהֹוָה | כָּל-מַעֲשָֹיו בְּכָל-מְקֹמוֹת מֶמְשַׁלְתּוֹ בָּרֲכִי נַפְשִׁי אֶת-יְהֹוָה: 103:22 Bless the Lord, all you works of His, In all places of His dominion; Bless the Lord, O my soul! (NASB)

Rabbinic Commentary

The Rabbinic Commentary (Midrash) on Tehillim / Psalms 103 has 18 parts. Reading through the Midrash we will be looking at Part 2, 4, ,5 and 8. Let’s begin by outlining Midrash Tehillim Chapter 103, Parts 2, 4, 5, and 8.

Outline of Midrash Tehillim / Psalms, Chapter 103, Part 2, 4, 5, and 8

Part 2

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying, “In a different exposition of Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name (Tehillim / Psalms 103:1).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Rabbi Levi said in the name of Rabbi Hama, A sculptor makes a statute; the sculptor dies, but his sculpture endures.
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis open the midrash with a discussion on the soul and the man who is a sculptor.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis say the Lord makes a sculptor but in a different way.
  • The Concluding phrase says, “Therefore, David offered praise, Blessed the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name.”

Part 4

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying, “Another comment on Bless the Lord O my soul.”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Why did David command his soul to offer praise to the Holy One blessed be He?
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis open with a discussion on David commanding his soul to praise the Lord because the soul sustains a man, and similarly, the Lord sustains the world.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis expand upon the mashal saying the soul does not eat or drink, but yet sustains a man, and so it is with the Lord God in heaven.
  • The Concluding phrase says, “Accordingly, David said, Let the soul, possessed of all these attributes, come and give thanks and offer praise to the Holy One blessed be He, who possesses all these attributes.”

Part 5

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying, “Another exposition of Bless the Lord, O my soul.”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “The soul no man knows where its place is; even so, the Holy One blessed be He, no man knows where His place is.
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis say that even the holy angels do not know where the Lord has placed His throne.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis speak or not knowing where the throne is located. Could the throne of God be located in our hearts?
  • The Concluding phrase says, “You can see for yourself that this is so, it is clearly stated by Ezekiel that when he saw the likeness of God, he fainted away. OF this it is written, And when I saw it, I fell upon my face (Ezekiel 1:28).”

Part 8

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying, “Bless the Lord who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies (Tehillim / Psalms 103:4).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Rabbi johanan held that this verse referred to Sinai, When Israel received the Torah, there came down sixty myriads of ministering angels, who set crowns upon the heads of the children of Israel.
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis opens with the Lord crowning His lovingkindness upon his people.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal) with the Torah of God being given at Sinai as an act of lovingkindness.
  • The Concluding phrase says, “Rabbi Yudan held that the latter part of this verse referred to Job to whom it was said, Gird up your loins like an eagle (Job 38:3) that is, like an eagle who has lighted upon a dung heap and shakes itself clean, so Job shook himself free of suffering and was renewed. Hence, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.”

Midrash Tehillim 103, Part 2 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying, “In a different exposition of Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name (Tehillim / Psalms 103:1).” The homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Rabbi Levi said in the name of Rabbi Hama, A sculptor makes a statute; the sculptor dies, but his sculpture endures.” The rabbis open the midrash with a discussion on the soul and the man who is a sculptor. From the beginning of civilization, statues have been created to represent gods and ancient kings, possibly in the hope of making man immortal, or to even have the likenesses carved after the imaginations of one’s heart of a person’s gods, and hence portrait sculpture was created. For thousands of years sculpture has filled many roles in human life, from the religious as can be seen in many cultures, Egyptian mythology, Greek mythology, or on the Temple mount with the pomegranates and cherubim as described of Solomon’s temple according to the Scriptures. The issue contained within the world of sculpture was that the materials wood, bronze, and stone were used in the creation and connection of the spiritual with the physical realms, and because of the religious connections, the Torah commanded that no graven image be created, either in heaven, or on earth (Shemot / Exodus 20:4), in connection to the worship, service, and sacrifice unto the Lord God of Israel.

The entire midrash states the following:

מדרש תהלים פרק קג סימן ב

ב דבר אחר ברכי נפשי את ה׳ [וכל קרבי את שם קדשו]. אמר ר׳ לוי בשם ר׳ חמא הצייר הזה צר איקונין, הצייר מת וצורתו קיימת, והקב״ה אינו כן אלא הקב״ה צר את האדם הזה והאדם מת והקב״ה חי וקיים, מה שאין כן הצייר יכול לעשות ולא הכסף, הכסף הזה שהוא צורף (האנדרינוס) [האנדרינטוס] הצורף מת (והאנדרינוס) [והאנדרינטוס] קיים, אבל הקב״ה צר את האדם, האדם מת, והקב״ה חי וקיים לעולמי עולמים. דבר אחר מלך בשר ודם הוא אוכל וצורתו אינה אוכלת, אבל הקב״ה אינו כן צורתו אוכלת והוא אינו אוכל, שנאמר אתה הוא ה׳ לבדך [וגו׳] ואתה מחיה את כולם (נחמיה ט ו). דבר אחר הצייר הזה צר צורה ולא יכול לצור נפש ומעים, אבל הקב״ה צר צורה האדם וצר בו נפש ובני מעים, לכך דוד מקלס ברכי נפשי את ה׳ וכל קרבי את שם קדשו.

Midrash Tehillim 103, Part 2

2. In a different exposition of Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name (Tehillim / Psalms 103:1), Rabbi Levi said in the name of Rabbi Hama, A sculptor makes a statute; the sculptor dies, but his sculpture endures. But with the Holy One blessed be He, made man, and man dies, but the Holy One blessed be He lives and endures. This neither the sculptor nor the silversmith can do. The silversmith casts an image, the silversmith dies; the casting endures. But the Holy One blessed be He, made man and it is man who dies; it is the Holy One blessed be He, who lives and endures forever and ever. Another comment, A mortal king, he eats, but an image of him does not eat. Not so the Holy One blessed be He, His image man eats, but He does not eat, as is said You are the Lord even You alone, You have made the earth, and all the things that are therein and You preserve them all (Nehemiah 9:6). Another comment, A sculptor makes a statute, but cannot make a soul or vital organs. But the Holy One blessed be He, made a statue, man, and within him, made a soul and vital organs. Therefore, David offered praise, Blessed the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name.

The rabbis provide a different perspective in regard to the sculptor who creates an image, when he dies, his sculpture endures, it continues, while memory of the man passes away. Eventually, the sculpture also decays and fades, and is remembered no more. In contrast, the Lord God of Israel (Hakivah, הקב״ה), the rabbis say והקב״ה חי וקיים “the Holy One blessed be He, lives and raises up (endures),” establishing the eternal nature of God, stating that the Lord made man, where man dies, and the Holy One blessed be He however endures forever and the memory of His works are not forgotten in history. The rabbis are placing a spin on the interpretation, how the Lord never dies, but His sculptures (men) do die and pass away. For the Lord, these things are not the same as with man. The midrash states this is something neither the sculptor nor the silversmith are able to do. The rabbis continue with another interpretation, saying the following:

A mortal king, he eats, but an image of him does not eat. Not so the Holy One blessed be He, His image man eats, but He does not eat, as is said You are the Lord even You alone, You have made the earth, and all the things that are therein and You preserve them all (Nehemiah 9:6).

The idea here is that the sculpture (image) of a man does not eat, where the sculpture bears the image of the king and does not have to do anything in order to continue to bear that image. The man (king) on the other hand in order to maintain his image (appearance) he must continue to eat, else his body would begin to decay and die. This may be paralleled to a man bearing the image of God. First, it is impossible to build an image of God (Sculpture), the Torah says that this is a sin before the Lord if one attempts to do so. The Scriptures describe the Lord God in heaven as having revealed His ways to His people, and the people are to walk in those ways (Righteousness, holiness, justice, and truth). The man bearing the image of God does so through obedience to the commands. In order for a man to continue to bear the image of God, he must continue in obedience to the Lord. The Lord God of Israel however does not need to eat, in order to preserve His attributes or to preserve the earth below. The Lord preserves the earth based solely in Himself. This is why the Talmud Bavli Megillah 14a states what it does in the following reference.

Talmud Bavli Megillah 14a

… Because the measure of the Holy One, Blessed Be He, is not like the measure of flesh and blood. The measure of flesh and blood is that the deeds of its hands outlives it; however, the Holy One, Blessed Be He, outlives the deeds of His hands. (I Samuel 2:2) “…and there is no Rock (tzur) like our God.” There is no artist (tzayar) like our God. A human forms an object on the face of a wall, and he is not able to place a breath in it, or a soul, or organs, or bowels; but the Holy One, Blessed Be He, forms an object in the midst of an object and places in it breath, soul, organs, and bowels…

The Talmud states that the deeds of man’s hands outlive man, as in the Midrashic example of the Sculpture. The Lord God of Israel however, He outlives His deeds, adding emphasis to the fact that the Lord is our Rock upon which we stand. The significance and limitation of man is that he can create an image, but is unable to give it breath (life). The Lord on the other hand is able to form man, and to give him breath and a living soul. The Rabbis continue in their interpretation according to Radak on Bereshit / Genesis 1:27 Part 1.

Radak on Bereshit / Genesis 1:27 Part 1

ויברא אלוקים את האדם בצלמו, the expression ברא, i.e. a totally new creation, refers only to man’s soul, as indicated by the word בצלמו, in G’d’s image, something that had not yet been created. The Torah wanted to draw a line of distinction between the construction of man’s body and that of his soul. When describing the construction of man’s body, (chapter 2 verse 7), the wording is וייצר אלוקים את האדם עפר מן האדמה, “G’d fashioned man from dust of the earth, etc;” the expression יצר is not one that can be applied to something abstract such as the soul. However, the word עשה, מעשה, is applicable both to bodies and to abstract beings such as souls.

As far as the verse (Zecharayh 12,1) ויוצר רוח אדם בקרבו, “He fashioned man’s spirit inside of him,” is concerned, the prophet referred to an instrument used by the body, something like the heart of the brain. These organs are instruments supporting the power of the spirit. The reason why, at this point the Torah (Moses) did not mention the making of man’s body, is because it is mentioned in the paragraph beginning with the words אלה תולדות השמים והארץ. (Genesis 2:4) In that paragraph some other details are mentioned which have been omitted at this point in order to refer to them in that passage in chapter 2. The whole story mentioned there also belongs to the report of what had transpired during these 6 days of creation.

The significance of the Lord God being the creator, is in His ability to create the mind, body, soul, and life itself. Radak claims this is drawn out in the text on the creation days. Midrash Tehillim 103, Part 2 concludes saying, “Therefore, David offered praise, Blessed the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name.” The way the Lord created us, the soul, is unique in His creation because we having been made in the image of God are able to create new things, to think upon them, and to contemplate our being, our own existence and the limitations of of who we are. No other creature has this capability. This uniqueness is singled out according to David’s words, calling to the soul, the unique creation, to bless the Name of the Lord.

Midrash Tehillim 103, Part 4 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying, “Another comment on Bless the Lord O my soul.” The homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Why did David command his soul to offer praise to the Holy One blessed be He?” The entire Midrash states the following:

מדרש תהלים פרק קג סימן ד

ד דבר אחר ברכי נפשי. למה מקלס דוד לפני הקב״ה בנפש, רבנן אמרו מה הנפש הזו סובלת את הגוף, כך הקב״ה סובל את עולמו, ומה הנפש הזו יחידה בגוף, כך הקב״ה יחיד בעולמו, ומה הנפש הזו אינה אוכלת ואינה שותת, כך הקב״ה אינו אוכל ואינו שותה, מה הנפש טהורה בגוף שהיא למעלה, אף הקב״ה טהור והוא למעלה מעולם, מה הנפש רואה ואינה נראית, כך הקב״ה רואה ואינו נראה, תבא הנפש שיש בה כל המדות הללו ותודה ותקלס להקב״ה שיש בו כל המדות הללו.

Midrash Tehillim 103, Part 4

4. Another comment on Bless the Lord O my soul. Why did David command his soul to offer praise to the Holy One blessed be He? The Rabbis said, As the soul sustains the body, so the Holy One blessed be He, sustains His world; and as the soul is unique in the body, so the Holy One blessed be He, is unique in His world; and as the soul does not eat and does not drink, so the Holy One blessed be He, does not eat and does not drink; and as the soul, because it comes from above, stays pure in the body, so the Holy One blessed be He, exalted above the world, is pure; and as the soul sees, though it is not seen, so the Holy One blessed be He, sees and is not seen. Accordingly, David said, Let the soul, possessed of all these attributes, come and give thanks and offer praise to the Holy One blessed be He, who possesses all these attributes.

In Midrash Tehillim 103 Part 4, the rabbis state that the soul of a man sustains him, and that the soul does not need to eat in order to obtain its sustaining power. Similarly, the Lord God of Israel (הקב״ה) sustains the world, and He does not need to eat in order to obtain His sustaining power. The Lord God in heaven is unique just as the soul of a man is unique in the world. Additional parallels to this way of thinking, of the sustaining power of the soul and of God as not based upon food, may be found in the Talmud Bavli Berakhot 17b.

Talmud Bavli Berakhot 17b

The goal of wisdom is repentance and good works; so that a man shall not read [Torah] and study [Mishnah] and then contradict his father or mother or teacher or anybody greater than he in knowledge and number [of years]; as it is said, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, a good understanding have all that do thereafter” (Ps. cxi. 10). “All that learn” is not said here, but “all that do thereafter,” i.e. they that practice Torah for its own sake, but not they that practice Torah not for its own sake. As for him who does not fulfill the Torah for its own sake, it were better had he never been created. It was a favorite saying of Rab: Not like this world is the world to come. In the world to come there is neither eating nor drinking; no procreation of children or business transactions; no envy or hatred or rivalry; but the righteous sit enthroned, their crowns on their heads, and enjoy the luster of the Shekinah; as it is said, “And they beheld God, and did eat and drink” (Exod. xxiv. ll). Our Rabbis have taught : Greater is the promise given by the Holy One, blessed be He, to women than to men; as it is said, “Rise up, ye women that, are at ease, and hear My voice; ye confident daughters, give ear unto My speech” (Is. xxxii. 9). Rab asked R. Hiyya : Wherewith do women acquire merit? By sending their children to learn [Torah] in the Synagogue and their husbands to study in the schools of the Rabbis, and waiting for their husbands until they return from the schools of the Rabbis. As the Rabbis departed from the school of R. Ammi (another version: R. Hannina’s school), they said to him: Mayest thou see thy world in thy life-time, and may thine end be in the life of the world to come and thy hope throughout the generations. May thy heart meditate in understanding, thy mouth speak wisdom, thy tongue abound in joyful songs, thine eyelids set thy glance straight before thee, thine eyes be illumined with the light of the Torah, thy countenance shine like the splendor of the firmament, thy lips utter knowledge, thy reins exult with up-rightness, and thy feet run to hear the words of the Ancient of days. As the Rabbis departed from the school of Rab Hisda (another version: the school of R. Samuel b. Nahmani) they said to him: “Our leaders are well laden; with no breach, and no going forth, and no outcry in our broad places” (Ps. cxliv. 14). “Our leaders are well laden” — Rab and Samuel (another version: R. Johanan and R. Eleazar) [differ in interpretation]; one says, “Our leaders” in Torah “are well laden” with religious duties; the other says, “Our leaders” in Torah and religious duties “are well laden” with sufferings.

The Talmud speaks of studying the Torah and Mishnah for the purpose of its own sake, and the futility of doing so since obedience to God’s word should be a function of our love for the Lord and because of His mercy and grace. The rabbis parallel the world to come in relation to the one who does not eat, the soul, and the Lord God in heaven, in relation to the Torah command. “Not like this world is the world to come. In the world to come there is neither eating nor drinking; no procreation of children or business transactions; no envy or hatred or rivalry ; but the righteous sit enthroned, their crowns on their heads, and enjoy the luster of the Shekinah.” The idea here is that the soul of a man is sustained by the mitzvot. The physical body is what detracts from the soul, takes a man’s soul into darkness, distress, and sufferings. The Word of God however states we should have “feet that run to hear the words of the Ancient of days.” The Midrash states that the soul does not eat or drink because it comes from above. Midrash Tehillim 103, Part 4 concludes saying, “Accordingly, David said, Let the soul, possessed of all these attributes, come and give thanks and offer praise to the Holy One blessed be He, who possesses all these attributes.” The soul is rightly put into man for the purpose of worship and praise unto the Lord God in heaven. The Talmud parallels the one who studies Torah, to men seeing the Olam Haba in their life times, where the attributes of such a person who listens and obeys is to the eyes being illuminated and one’s countenance shining forth the glory of God, the lips uttering knowledge, and our reins being set in righteousness. The question then is “What are your reins set upon?” Bondage? Disobedience? Sin? Unholiness? Those who spend their time in the Word of God, speak wisdom, and their tongues abound in joyful songs, according to the Talmud. All of these things are the attributes of God in which we are called to bear the image of in the Messiah Yeshua. Our lives are called to bear the testimony of God, and this is why David said what he did, כב בָּרֲכוּ יְהֹוָה | כָּל-מַעֲשָֹיו בְּכָל-מְקֹמוֹת מֶמְשַׁלְתּוֹ בָּרֲכִי נַפְשִׁי אֶת-יְהֹוָה: 103:22 Bless the Lord, all you works of His, In all places of His dominion; Bless the Lord, O my soul! (NASB) The created creatures bless the Lord by route, we however bless the Lord by choice and purpose.

Midrash Tehillim 103, Part 5 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying, “Another exposition of Bless the Lord, O my soul.” The homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “The soul no man knows where its place is; even so, the Holy One blessed be He, no man knows where His place is.” The Torah does not go into detail about the functionality of the human soul. The soul appears to function as the collective consciousness, it is what makes us who we are, unique as individuals. The soul represents our entire element of existence, and consists of both the spiritual and material things. The soul is the composition of who we are and the Scriptures do not provide us with a specific location. The Torah states in Bereshit / Genesis 2:7, ז וַיִּיצֶר יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהִים אֶת-הָאָדָם עָפָר מִן-הָאֲדָמָה וַיִּפַּח בְּאַפָּיו נִשְׁמַת חַיִּים וַיְהִי הָאָדָם לְנֶפֶשׁ חַיָּה: 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. (NASB) The Scriptures say that the Lord breathed into us the breath of life and we became a nefesh khai (לְנֶפֶשׁ חַיָּה) a living soul. Therefore the soul is connected to the material part of our bodies, this is why when we die we are told that our soul departs (Bereshit / Genesis 35:18). The Rabbis in the Midrash are in agreement, the location of the soul within the human body is unknown. The Midrash parallels not knowing the location of the soul to not knowing the location of God’s throne, or the dwelling place of the Lord God of Israel.

The entire midrash states the following:

מדרש תהלים פרק קג סימן ה

ה דבר אחר ברכי נפשי את ה׳. מה הנפש אין אדם יודע אי זה מקומה, כך הקב״ה אין אדם יודע אי זה מקומו, שאפילו חיות הקודש שטעונות כסא הכבוד, אינן יודעות אי זה מקומו ובאי זה מקום הוא נתון, ולפיכך הן אומרים ברוך כבוד ה׳ ממקומו (יחזקאל ג יב), אמר דוד תבא הנפש שאין אדם יודע מקומה, ובאיזה מקום היא נתונה, ותקלס להקב״ה שהוא למעלה מעולמו, ואין אדם יודע אי זה מקומו. מעשה באדם אחד ששאל לרבן גמליאל באיזה מקום הקב״ה נתון, אמר לו איני יודע, אמר לו זו היא תפלתכם וחכמתכם שאתם מתפללין לפניו בכל יום, ואין אתם יודעין איזה מקומו, אמר לו רבן גמליאל הרי שאלת ממני דבר שהוא רחוק ממני ג׳ אלפים ות״ק שנה, הריני שואל לך דבר שהוא נתון אצלך יומם ולילה ואמור לי איזה מקומו, ואיזה זה, אמר לו זו הנפש שהיא נתונה אצלך, אמור לי באיזה מקום היא נתונה, אמר לו איני יודע, אמר לו תיפח רוחי׳ דהאי גברא, אם דבר שהוא נתון אצלך אין אתה יודע איזה מקומו, ואתה שאלת אותי על דבר שהוא רחוק ממני ג׳ אלפים ות״ק שנה, אמר לו יפה אנו עושים שמשתחוים למעשה ידינו, שאנו מביטים בו בכל שעה, אמר לו מעשה ידיכם אתם רואים, והמה אין רואין אתכם, אבל הקב״ה רואה למעשה ידיו, ומעשה ידיו אינם רואים אותו, שנאמר כי לא יראני האדם וחי (שמות לג כ), תדע לך שכן הוא מפורש על ידי יחזקאל כשראה דמותו נשמטה נפשו ממנו, הדא הוא דכתיב ואראה ואפל על פני (יחזקאל א כח).

Midrash Tehillim 103, Part 5

5. Another exposition of Bless the Lord, O my soul, The soul no man knows where its place is; even so, the Holy One blessed be He, no man knows where His place is. Not even the sacred creatures that carry the throne of glory know where God’s place is, or in what place God sits. Therefore, Blessed be the glory of the Lord from His place (Ezekiel 3:12) is as much as they can say. Accordingly, David said, Let the soul, whose place no man knows, nor knows the place where it is set, come and offer praise to the Holy One blessed be He, who is above His world and whose place no man knows. It happened that a certain man asked Rabban Gamaliel in what place the Holy One blessed be He, sits, and Rabban Gamaliel replied, I do not know. And the man said, Is this your prayer and your wisdom, you who pray to God every day, and yet do not know where His place is? Thereupon Rabban Gamaliel replied, Behold, you ask me about something which is thirty five hundred years journey away from me. Now I will ask you about something which sits with you day and night, and do you tell me where its place is. The man asked, and what is that? And Rabban Gamaliel replied, it is the soul which sits within you. Tell me in what place it is set. And when the man said, I do not know, Rabban Gamaliel replied, May the breath of life blow out of this man! Although you know not the place of something which sits within you, yet you ask me about something which is thirty five hundred years journey away from me! The man went on to say to Rabban Gamaliel, we do well to bow down to the work of our hands, which we can always look upon. Rabban Gamaliel answered, You see the work of your hands, but it cannot see you. The Holy One blessed be He, sees the work of His hands, but the work of His hands cannot see Him, as is said Man will not see Me, not even a sacred creature will (Shemot / Exodus 33:20). You can see for yourself that this is so, it is clearly stated by Ezekiel that when he saw the likeness of God, he fainted away. Of this it is written, And when I saw it, I fell upon my face (Ezekiel 1:28).

It is interesting how the rabbis conclude saying, “Not even the sacred creatures that carry the throne of glory know where God’s place is, or in what place God sits.” Why do you think they make this statement, saying the sacred creatures carry the throne of glory, but do not know where God sits? Is the throne of God different from the throne of glory? Micaiah (1 Kings 22:19), Isaiah (Isaiah 6), Ezekiel (Ezekiel 1) and Daniel (Daniel 7:9) all speak of God’s throne, although some philosophers such as Saʿadiah Gaon and Maimonides, interpreted such mention of a “throne” as allegory. However, we read in the Apostolic Writings that one day, all creation will bow to the majesty of God (Philippians 2:9–11) at His throne. Those who are given crowns surrounding the throne of God will “lay their crowns before the throne and say: ‘You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power’” (Revelation 4:10–11). Yeshua calls heaven “God’s throne” in Matthew 5:34, recalling the words of the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 66:1, “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool.” Other references to God’s throne are found in 2 Chronicles 18:18, Tehillim / Psalm 11:4, Hebrews 8:1 and 12:2, and Revelation 1:4, 3:21, 4:2, etc. Though man does not know the location of the place where the Lord God our Father in heaven sits, the Midrash states, “Therefore, Blessed be the glory of the Lord from His place (Ezekiel 3:12) is as much as they can say. Therefore, Blessed be the glory of the Lord from His place (Ezekiel 3:12) is as much as they can say. Accordingly, David said, Let the soul, whose place no man knows, nor knows the place where it is set, come and offer praise to the Holy One blessed be He, who is above His world and whose place no man knows.” The soul is called upon to bless, worship, and bring glory to the Lord God in heaven. Special knowledge is not necessary in order to do these things.

The Midrash continues with a conversation between Rabbi Gamaliel and a certain man over the location of the Lord God in heaven. Midrash Tehillim 103, Part 5 concludes saying, “Rabban Gamaliel answered, You see the work of your hands, but it cannot see you. The Holy One blessed be He, sees the work of His hands, but the work of His hands cannot see Him, as is said Man will not see Me, not even a sacred creature will (Shemot / Exodus 33:20). You can see for yourself that this is so, it is clearly stated by Ezekiel that when he saw the likeness of God, he fainted away. Of this it is written, And when I saw it, I fell upon my face (Ezekiel 1:28).” The point of the midrash may be that seeing or knowing the location of God’s throne is not necessary for our going before the Lord in prayer, to speak to or to receive an answer from the Lord our Father in heaven. Note, in the Apostolic Writings, Yeshua is said to be seated at the right hand of the throne of God (Acts 2:33, 7:55-56; Romans 8:34; Ephesians 1:20; Colossians 3:1, Hebrews 1, 8, 10, 12, 1 Peter 3:22, Revelation 3:21). The location of the throne is not given, but the location of Yeshua is!

Midrash Tehillim 103, Part 8 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying, “Bless the Lord who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies (Tehillim / Psalms 103:4).” How does the Lord God our Father in heaven crown us with lovingkindness? The homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Rabbi johanan held that this verse referred to Sinai, When Israel received the Torah, there came down sixty myriads of ministering angels, who set crowns upon the heads of the children of Israel.”

The entire midrash states the following:

מדרש תהלים פרק קג סימן ח

ח המשביע בטוב עדיך. ר׳ יוחנן פתר קרא בסיני, בשעה שקבלו ישראל את התורה ירדו ששים ריבוא של מלאכי השרת ונתנו עטרות בראשיהון. ר׳ אבא בר כהנא בשם ר׳ יוחנן אמר מאה ועשרים ריבוא, והי׳ אחד נותן עטרה בראשו, ואחד חוגרו זיין. ר׳ יודן אומר הלבישן פורפיראות, שנאמר ואלבשך רקמה (יחזקאל טז י). ר׳ הונא דציפורין אמר זוניאות חגרו, שנאמר ואחבשך בשש (שם שם יחזקאל ט״ז), ר׳ שמעון [בן יוחאי] אומר כלי זיין נתן להם ושם המפורש כתוב עליו, הוי המשביע בטוב עדיך. [המשביע בטוב עדיך תתחדש כנשר נעוריכי]. ר׳ יודן פתר באיוב (אזור) [אזר] נא כגבר חלציך (איוב לח ג), כאדם שישב באשפה ומנער עצמו, כך איוב מנער את עצמו מן הייסורין ונתחדש, הוי אומר תתחדש כנשר נעוריכי.

Midrash Tehillim 103, Part 8

8. Bless the Lord who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies (Tehillim / Psalms 103:4). Rabbi Johanan held that this verse referred to Sinai, When Israel received the Torah, there came down sixty myriads of ministering angels, who set crowns upon the heads of the children of Israel. Rabbi Abba son of Kahana maintained in the name of Rabbi Johanan, that there came down one hundred and tweny myriads of ministering angels, and as one angel set a crown upon the head of an Israelite, another angel would gird him with a weapon. Rabbi Yudan said, God clothed the children of Israel with royal purple, as is said, I clothed you also with richly woven work (Ezekiel 16:10). Rabbi Hunna of Sepphoris said, God girded the children of Israel about with aprons of linen, as is said, I girded you with fine linen. Rabbi Simeon son of Yohai maintained that God gave to the children of Israel a weapon upon which the Ineffable Name was written. Hence, Bless the Lord who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies. Who satisfies your old age with good things; so that your youth is renewed like the eagle (Tehillim / Psalms 103:5). Rabbi Yudan held that the latter part of this verse referred to Job to whom it was said, Gird up your loins like an eagle (Job 38:3) that is, like an eagle who has lighted upon a dung heap and shakes itself clean, so Job shook himself free of suffering and was renewed. Hence, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.

The rabbis open with the Lord crowning His lovingkindness upon his people and explain that this is a reference to Sinai and the giving of the Torah of God being an act of lovingkindness. Can you think of any examples on why the giving of the Torah at Sinai was an act of lovingkindness (חסד, grace)? In Judaism, the Mishnah establishes chesed as one of the core pillars of the faith (“The world rests upon three things, Torah, avodah, and gemilut hasadim.” Mishnah Pirkei Avot 1:2). In the Talmud Bavli Sukkot 49b, we read a discussion defining chesed by contrasting it with another fundamental Jewish value of Tzedakah (Righteousness). Chesed is pointed out as connected to Tzedakah because it is something that we physically do, for our neighbor or for the poor.

Mishnah Pirkei Avot 1:2

שִׁמְעוֹן הַצַּדִּיק הָיָה מִשְּׁיָרֵי כְנֶסֶת הַגְּדוֹלָה. הוּא הָיָה אוֹמֵר, עַל שְׁלשָׁה דְבָרִים הָעוֹלָם עוֹמֵד, עַל הַתּוֹרָה וְעַל הָעֲבוֹדָה וְעַל גְּמִילוּת חֲסָדִים: Shimon the Righteous was from the remnants of the Great Assembly. He would say, “On three things the world stands: on the Torah, on the service and on acts of lovingkindness.”

The reason the giving of the Torah at Sinai was an act of lovingkindness is because the Lord God of Israel is showing us the manner in which we are to live and to treat others with Chesed, mercy, and grace. In addition, the Lord lovingly gave us His Torah which functions as something to turn towards, to walk in, and to live our lives by. A way to understand what it means to turn from sin and death unto life which are rooted in righteousness, holiness, justice, and truth. The Torah is designed to lead us to repentance and to the Messiah! This is why the midrash states “When Israel received the Torah, there came down sixty myriads of ministering angels, who set crowns upon the heads of the children of Israel… God clothed the children of Israel with royal purple, as is said, I clothed you also with richly woven work (Ezekiel 16:10)… God gave to the children of Israel a weapon upon which the Ineffable Name was written. Hence, Bless the Lord who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies. Who satisfies your old age with good things; so that your youth is renewed like the eagle (Tehillim / Psalms 103:5).” The purpose of the Torah is to enable us to perform Teshuvah (Repentance), we recognize our short coming and failures and turn our lives to the Word of God, to truth, righteousness, justice, mercy, and grace. The concept of lovingkindness, Chesed, חסד, grace, is rooted throughout the Torah, such that we are challenged every day in regard to God’s Word, to put ourselves upon the path of righteousness, as opposed to taking our own personal theologies and/or the way that leads unto death. In the concept of Chesed, when faced with desperation, pain, poverty, or isolation, whenever we open ourselves up to contact with these difficult experiences and to meet individual people with chesed, regardless of our circumstances, we are challenged to be good to our neighbor because of our love for our Father in heaven and for Yeshua who lived the example for us. This is why it is so important to discuss these things within a Jewish historical context and within the context of the Torah.

Note also how important the concepts of Chesed and Teshuvah are tied to Yeshua the Messiah, and why this is the central focus of the Apostolic Writings. Isaiah said in Isaiah 42:1-7 how important it is for both the Jew and Gentile to believe in the Messiah according to his messianic prophecy.

Isaiah 42:1-7

42:1 ‘Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom My soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations. 42:2 ‘He will not cry out or raise His voice, Nor make His voice heard in the street. 42:3 ‘A bruised reed He will not break And a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish; He will faithfully bring forth justice. 42:4 ‘He will not be disheartened or crushed Until He has established justice in the earth; And the coastlands will wait expectantly for His law.’ 42:5 Thus says God the Lord, Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread out the earth and its offspring, Who gives breath to the people on it And spirit to those who walk in it, 42:6 ‘I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness, I will also hold you by the hand and watch over you, And I will appoint you as a covenant to the people, As a light to the nations, 42:7 To open blind eyes, To bring out prisoners from the dungeon And those who dwell in darkness from the prison. (NASB, א הֵן עַבְדִּי אֶתְמָךְ-בּוֹ בְּחִירִי רָצְתָה נַפְשִׁי נָתַתִּי רוּחִי עָלָיו מִשְׁפָּט לַגּוֹיִם יוֹצִיא: ב לֹא יִצְעַק וְלֹא יִשָּׂא וְלֹא-יַשְׁמִיעַ בַּחוּץ קוֹלוֹ: ג קָנֶה רָצוּץ לֹא יִשְׁבּוֹר וּפִשְׁתָּה כֵהָה לֹא יְכַבֶּנָּה לֶאֱמֶת יוֹצִיא מִשְׁפָּט: ד לֹא יִכְהֶה וְלֹא יָרוּץ עַד-יָשִֹים בָּאָרֶץ מִשְׁפָּט וּלְתוֹרָתוֹ אִיִּים יְיַחֵילוּ: ה כֹּה-אָמַר הָאֵל | יְהֹוָה בּוֹרֵא הַשָּׁמַיִם וְנוֹטֵיהֶם רֹקַע הָאָרֶץ וְצֶאֱצָאֶיהָ נֹתֵן נְשָׁמָה לָעָם עָלֶיהָ וְרוּחַ לַהֹלְכִים בָּהּ: ו אֲנִי יְהֹוָה קְרָאתִיךָ בְצֶדֶק וְאַחְזֵק בְּיָדֶךָ וְאֶצָּרְךָ וְאֶתֶּנְךָ לִבְרִית עָם לְאוֹר גּוֹיִם: ז לִפְקֹחַ עֵינַיִם עִוְרוֹת לְהוֹצִיא מִמַּסְגֵּר אַסִּיר מִבֵּית כֶּלֶא ישְׁבֵי חשֶׁךְ:)

Isaiah speaks of the Servant the Lord has chosen who will bring justice to the nations (גּוֹיִם). Note in context, Isaiah states, 42:21 The Lord was pleased for His righteousness’ sake To make the law great and glorious. (NASB) This is in the matter of Chesed and Teshuvah in the Messiah that is connected to the Torah. Isaiah states of this Servant of God, 42:6 ‘I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness, I will also hold you by the hand and watch over you, And I will appoint you as a covenant to the people, As a light to the nations. (NASB) Notice he says that the Lord God of Israel will appoint him “as a covenant” to the people (Israel) and as a light to the nations (גּוֹיִם). This is significant because Isaiah is saying that it is through the Messiah both Israel and the nations will a covenant be established. This is connected to the mercy of God, and is connected to Chesed and Teshuvah drawing in the Torah, therefore the Torah has not passed away as modern theologies would suggest.

Midrash Tehillim 103, Part 8 concludes saying, “Rabbi Yudan held that the latter part of this verse referred to Job to whom it was said, Gird up your loins like an eagle (Job 38:3) that is, like an eagle who has lighted upon a dung heap and shakes itself clean, so Job shook himself free of suffering and was renewed. Hence, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.” The rabbis say what the Lord God does for His people, He “… satisfies your old age with good things; so that your youth is renewed like the eagle (Tehillim / Psalms 103:5).” The eagle is paralleled to Job, and to falling in a dung heap and becoming dirty. This is a reference to sin in the life of a believer, and as the eagle, we are to raise ourselves up, shake ourselves off, and turn from sin. The gospel of Yeshua was to live a repentant life, to turn from sin, and to live our lives for the Lord according to the Torah. Understanding this powerful truth, as it is connected to the covenant of God changes our understanding of who we are in the Messiah at the most basic level. The Lord wants us to live empowered lives, to overcome sin, and to live for Him in righteousness (Tzedakah), grace (Chesed), and truth. What we do in this life does matter! It is in these things that He has given us reasons to rejoice, to magnify and glorify His name, which are all related to the work He is doing in our lives and to His Torah. Let’s Pray!

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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!