כֹּל הַנְּשָׁמָה תְּהַלֵּל יָ-הּ. הַלְלוּ-יָ-הּ.
(And beyond all instruments,) every soul itself should praise Hashem (for He created them), (and especially Yisrael should) praise Hashem (for His tremendous kindnesses to us)!
There are many inspirational understandings to the last pasuk of this mizmor, which is the last of this section of P’sukei D’Zimrah, as well as the last in all of Sefer T’hilim. We will present some of these, which can be woven together to formulate the message that David HaMelech wishes to impart to all of us as he concludes T’hilim.
“Having enumerated the many different instruments and musical tones with which one may praise G-d, the Psalmist concludes that nothing can compare with the praise the soul can offer to G-d. For the intelligent soul utilizes every human sense to discover the wonders of G-d’s creation and to appreciate His abundant kindness.” [HaRav Avrohom Chaim Feuer in ArtScroll Tehillim, based on the Radak]
However, the praise coming from the neshamah must be from the entire neshamah (“kol ha’neshamah”). It must be with our sincere innermost feelings and not mere lip service. [HaRav Avrohom Chaim Feuer in ArtScroll Tehillim, based on Eitz Yosef and Chazah Zion]
The word neshamah can also mean “breath” (n’shimah). Praise Hashem for every breath and with every breath.
Too often, we take life for granted. Unfortunately, at times, we only wake up when we hear that someone our age or younger than us has died. Then we begin to appreciate every second of life and every breath. When we thank Hashem in Modim for our lives, which are in Hashem’s Hands, and for our neshamos, which are deposited with Him at night, it is a good opportunity to take a deep breath and reflect for a moment on the precious gift of life that Hashem is granting to us at every moment. Praise and thank Hashem for every breath.
Our neshamos have tremendous capabilities. As stated earlier, “For the intelligent soul utilizes every human sense to discover the wonders of G-d’s creation and to appreciate His abundant kindness.” Praise Hashem with every breath. [HaRav Avrohom Chaim Feuer in ArtScroll Tehillim, based on the Yalkut Shim’oni]
Lastly, this pasuk “is the summons to all kinds of souls (i.e., to all men): those who have a tendency to meditate, or to rejoice, or to be humble, or to marvel at Hashem’s wonders, or to yearn to come close to Him. Although everyone is urged to bestir all of his potentialities, yet men differ greatly in their natures. They are summoned to unite and contribute their abilities, just as each individual is urged to utilize all aspects of his character.” [HaRav Avigdor Miller, Praise, My Soul!]
To summarize, “Kol ha’neshamah” can mean:
• The entirety of the neshamah – We must praise Hashem sincerely with our minds and with all of our hearts.
• With every breath – We must recognize and contemplate Hashem’s wonders and abundant kindness.
• For every breath – We must contemplate the precious gift of every breath of life, and we must praise Hashem for it.
• Every type of neshamah – They can all praise Hashem, each one according to the strengths, weaknesses, life challenges, and settings with which Hashem created it. All neshamos are asked to unite together and praise Hashem, each in its own way, but as part of the whole of B’nei Yisrael, the Jewish people.
May we all – unified as one – merit to praise Hashem with the coming of Mashiach, speedily in our days.