L'David - Part 4

לְדָוִד ה' אוֹרִי וְיִשְׁעִי מִמִּי אִירָא, ה' מָעוֹז חַיַּי מִמִּי אֶפְחָד

Hashem is my light (in the darkness of trouble) and my salvation, (therefore) whom shall I fear? Hashem is the strength of my life, (so) from whom shall I be afraid?

Let us now analyze the first pasuk through the eyes of the Malbim. In this first pasuk, Hashem is referred to as אוֹרִי וְיִשְׁעִי–ori v’yish’i (my light and my salvation) andמָעוֹז חַיַּי–ma’oz chayai (the strength of my life). There are also two statements of bitachon (trust and reliance on Hashem): מִמִּי אִירָא–mi’mi ira (whom shall I fear?) andמִמִּי אֶפְחָד–mi’mi efchad (from whom shall I be afraid?).

The Malbim explains יראה–yir’ah” as fear of a danger that we are aware of. David HaMelech is telling us that he does not fear enemies he knows about, who will attack in the darkness, because Hashem is “ori, my light – mi’mi ira, whom shall I fear?”

Nor does he fear enemies that he is aware of, that attack openly because they are mightier or greater in number, because Hashem is “yish’i, my salvation – mi’mi efchad, from whom shall I be afraid?”

The Malbim defines “פחד–pachad” as fear of an unknown threat. David HaMelech had many enemies. He had reason to be concerned about and to fear unknown, lurking danger. However, he states that he did not fear, because Hashem is ma’oz chayai (the strength of my life). David felt secure because of His trust and reliance upon Hashem. 

Perhaps we can work on applying bitachon in our lives in the same way as David. Often, there are situations in our lives that are fearful to us. At the present time, there may be great pains and the immediate future looks bleak. These are “enemies” we are well familiar with right now. We feel the pain and suffering of darkness.

We are now coming closer and closer to Rosh HaShanah, the day of our judgment. What will be our fate with respect to our current challenges and pains? To this, we can apply “Hashem ori v’yish’i” – Hashem is my light and my salvation, mi’mi ira? We need not fear our situation. We only need to fear and be aware of Hashem. He can remove our darkness at any time and turn our situation into great light.

There are also fears we have about the future. What will the coming year bring? Perhaps we observe what happened to us and others this past year and are in dread over what might occur to us in the coming year. To this, we can apply “Hashem ma’oz chayai” – Hashem is the strength of my life, mi’mi efchad – whom (or what) shall I dread?


T'hilim 16:8-9

שִׁוִּיתִי ה' לְנֶגְדִּי תָמִיד, כִּי מִימִינִי בַּל אֶמּוֹט

I have set Hashem before me always; because He is at my right hand, I shall not falter.

לָכֵן שָׂמַח לִבִּי וַיָּגֶל כְּבוֹדִי, אַף בְּשָׂרִי יִשְׁכֹּן לָבֶטַח

For this reason, my heart rejoices, and my soul is elated; my flesh, too, rests in confidence.

When we place Hashem before us constantly, we will not falter. Our hearts and minds will rejoice, our souls will be elated, and even our physical bodies will rest in confidence.

One of the greatest ways we can prepare for Rosh HaShanah is to work on strengthening our bitachon and our “shivisi.”  Tefilah presents an especially powerful opportunity to internalize our bitachon and “shivisi” deeper and deeper into our neshamos and hearts. When we are in Shemoneh Esrei, we are standing before our Father, our King, speaking directly to Him, pleading for our various needs. What better time and place can there be to strengthen our awareness of Hashem and truly feel His presence, His love, and our trust and reliance upon Him for every detail of our spiritual and physical lives? If not now, then when?