The War in Israel Part 16: The Power of Ashrei VII

וגדולתך אספרנה ועזוז נוראותיך יאמרו,– And of Your awesome power they will speak, and your greatness I shall relate.

וצדקתך ירננו זכר רב טובך יביעו,– A recollection of Your abundant goodness they will utter, and of Your righteousness they will sing exultantly. 


Most of the world population will speak of Hashem’s awesome power – ועזוז נוראותיך יאמרו – such as the Makos in Mitzrayim and the earth swallowing up Korach. As a result, they will personally fear Hashem’s awesome punishment. However, David HaMelech says, I will speak of the great chesed of Hashem – וגדולתך אספרנה – since these awesome acts were performed for the benefit of those who love Him. Through hearing David HaMelech speak in this manner, the general world population will come to understand that awesome punishments were for their benefit. They will then express in a powerful manner (like a powerful well – יביעו)1 the remembrance of the great good that Hashem performed for them when He brought these awesome punishments for the benefit of those who love His Name – זכר רב טובך יביעו.2

The Malbim’s understanding, as presented above, seems to focus on past events. The שערי חיים, a talmid of the Chasam Sofer, understands it in a way that pertains to our personal lives. He uses the story of Yosef and his brothers as a prime example. Throughout the entire episode, it appeared very dark for both Yosef and Yaakov. Yaakov lost his treasured son, and Yosef was a slave undergoing many hardships and challenges along the way. When the veil was finally lifted, it became clear to all that this was Hashem’s plan for klal Yisrael, to be provided for in the years of hunger and beyond.

We as a people and as individuals travel through different periods of time. During the dark times, the general world population speaks about “עזוז נוראותיך.” Sometimes, the veil will be lifted in our lifetimes and we will then thank and praise Hashem. The general population will wait until after they actually see Hashem’s plan unfold to what they can now understand clearly is good before praising and thanking Him. Sometimes, we will not understand how certain events were for our good until the next world or until Mashiach comes. David HaMelech teaches all of us to remember that Hashem loves us more than anyone else can, and knows absolutely what is best for us. All of history and all that happens in our lives are for our good. David HaMelech says, I will praise and thank Hashem in the midst of the dark period because I know – right now – at this moment – that it is for my best. 

We all go through sweet times, challenging times, and even times that feel painful and bitter. While the level of David HaMelech – actually feeling and talking about the good in great detail (אספרנה – in detail like a story), that is, even at the time of darkness – is beyond the expected reach of most, we should at least strive to fulfill וצדקתך ירננו. This refers both to "צדוק הדין" (proclaiming that all Hashem does is just, even when bitter), as well as proclaiming that the sweet is a result of Hashem’s צדקה and not because we deserve it. We are to proclaim this before others – ירננו.

רוקח חלק א׳ עמוד קמ״ה 1

מלבים תהלים קמ״ה:ו' 2