L'David - Part 2

In our first segment, we presented the Malbim, who explained that the overarching theme of Perek 27 of T’hilim is d’veikus (“attachment”) or, perhaps easier to relate to, “connection.”  D’veikus, according to many, is the purpose of life and of all of our service to Hashem, including learning Torah, tefilah, and chesed. We will be saying L’David over 100 times in the coming few weeks, with the goal of strengthening our connection and bond to Hashem.

Since d’veikus is the purpose of life and all we do, it behooves us to spend at least one segment to delve a bit deeper into d’veikus. There is actually a dispute among the Rishonim as to the definition of d’veikus. The Rambam does not define d’veikus as connection with Hashem. However, he presents virtually an identical description for the highest level of ahavas Hashem, love of Hashem, to the way the Ramban and others define d’veikus. The Rambam’s view of the purpose of life is loving Hashem at this highest level, which is nonstop connection and thinking about Hashem.

How do we attain these highest levels and purpose of life ? The Rambam writes that by contemplating the wisdom and wonder of creation and Hashem’s creations, we will come to greater love and awareness of Hashem’s awesomeness.

Other Rishonim write that by contemplating Hashem’s constant kindness on national, communal, family, and individual levels, we will come to greater awareness and love.

The Rosh writes that the foundation of the entire Torah is awareness of Hashem’s constant guidance and involvement in the world, and specifically in our own individual lives (“hashgachah pratis”). This will certainly bring us to greater and greater awareness of both Hashem’s awesomeness and kindness and will lead us to greater love and connection.

Stories of others are nice but have minuscule lasting impact on us when compared to heightening our own awareness of Hashem’s constant guiding Hand in our daily lives. Many, including the Rambam, the Ramban, and the Ramchal, write that the degree of Hashem’s involvement (some understand this to be literal, and some understand this to mean the degree to which we feel His involvement) in our lives is a mirror or shadow of our seeking His involvement.

We must also mention that learning Torah does not lead us to d’veikus. It is d’veikus. It is Hashem speaking to us.

In summary, we have three methods, in addition to learning Torah, prescribed by Rishonim to generate greater awareness, connection, and love: the purpose of our existence and all we do. Some may relate more to one method over the others. Each of us should utilize the unique gifts Hashem has bestowed upon us to connect in the way Hashem has chosen for us.

Other ways mentioned are meaningful and heartfelt tefilahbrachos, and routinely asking Hashem for help and thanking Him. Rabbi Zev Pliskin advocates using the words of David HaMelech in T’hilim and finding multiple opportunities a day to say “חֶסֶד אֵ-ל כָּל-הַיּוֹםchesed Keil kol ha’yom (the kindness of Hashem is all day long)” [T’hilim 52:3], as we thank Hashem for yet another kindness that we recognize throughout our day.

Finally, the highest expression of loving Hashem is bitachon when we experience pain and tribulations in our lives. David HaMelech had every tzarah one can have with the exception of earning a living. He was pursued and hounded by enemies, betrayed by his own son, suffered grave illness, and more. Yet, he remained steadfast in his trust and reliance on Hashem. He felt the pain and cried in anguish, but never lost his trust in – and reliance on – Hashem. That is the highest expression of ahavas Hashem. This is one of the major themes of Perek 27 (L’David). Hashem is my light and salvation. Light dissipates darkness. When David experienced pain in his life, he felt Hashem’s light shining in the darkness. The first and last pasuk of this perek, as well as many p’sukim in between, speak about bitachon.

Let us seize the opportunity to infuse ourselves with d’veikus, love of Hashem, and bitachon as we recite this perek twice daily over the next few weeks.