Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Psalm 17

“Display Your faithfulness in wondrous deeds, You who deliver with Your right hand those who seek refuge from assailants. Guard me like the apple of Your eye; hide me in the shadow of Your wings.”                -Psalm 17: 7-8
Since the arrival of 5771, I committed myself to read at least two chapters from the book of Pslams per day, in hopes of inspiration of any sort. Since then, however, I have just read a monotony of liturgies regarding G-d and His power, mercy, and kindness, etc. Though the words, written by the famous King David, are indeed eloquently expressed, I had yet to read anything remotely meaningful to my every day life. That is, until today.
After skimming through various divine-related Psalms, I came across Psalm 17. Though Psalm 17 was written for and about G-d, I used my unorthodox faith perspective to discover an interpretation of my own. After coming across this particular verse, (printed above), I slowly began to wonder if these words could be relative to people, rather than just a divine figure.
Display Your faithfulness in wondrous deeds..”
This obviously doesn’t only apply to G-d. There are many Jews, Gentiles, and people of all back rounds who display their faith through wondrous deeds. The concept of faith alone ensues to strong and powerful actions. People in our history, whether biblical or recent, have formed reputations for themselves by their faith and deeds. We recognize and honor the faithful people like Mother Theresa and Susannah Heschel, who have changed the world because of their faiths. We also recognize more than honor the unordinary people, like Pastor Terry Jones in Gainesville, who has also changed the world, though not quite for the better, because of his faith. Along with G-d, people in the world displayed their faithfulness in wondrous deeds, and have shaped the world with their actions, whether those actions and intentions were remarkable or merely terrifying.
You who deliver with Your right hand those who seek refuge from assailants.”
Though in religious history and spiritual present day life, G-d has used His right hand to comfort those who were and continue to be afraid, there are people who spend their lives comforting others today. In fact, many synagogue and church outreach programs prioritize their journeys around “Bikor Cholim," or the visiting of those who are assailed physically or mentally. Even I know a certain person that assuages my daily incidents with my personal assailant, that being math. In history, in my community, and in my own home, I am very fortunate to know people who use their right hands to comfort others.
“Guard me like the apple of Your eye, hide me in the shadow of Your wings.”
 G-d is certainly believed to guard “Kol Israel,” or the people of Israel, along with “v’al kol yoshvei tevel,” or all the others dwelling in the world. I also know, however, that the average parent is believed to fulfill the words of this verse. I could ask any parents in my community today, and would most likely hear that they not only feel obligated, but the desire to guard their children from any possible harm in the world. All the parents that I am fortunate to know undoubtedly use the apples of their eyes to watch over their children. In this case, my parents are no different.
When I read and analyzed this particular verse in Psalm 17, I realized that all of these relatable indications of the verse apply to my dad, Michael Goldberg. Though he would perhaps be the last one I know to affiliate himself to any organized religion, he is the first person I know to promote faith, or hope, through action. His actions of faith revolve around kindness to the ones he loves, and even the people he barely knows. With his right hand always bringing to comfort to those who need, my dad applies faith to every one of his actions, even if he may not realize it. As a reliable parent, he ensures me that my one deadly assailant, math, will not expunge my life, but also as a fellow fifteen year old would, he makes me laugh to replace the moments where I would have otherwise cried.
“Guard me like the apple of Your eye, hide me in the shadow of Your wings.”
Out of love, my dad guards me inside the shadow of his wings, but encourages me to create a set of wings for myself. I’ve been raised under his right hand of inspiration and creativity, but also with a motivation to perfect my own right hand. My dad implies every day that my sisters, mom, and me are the apples of his eye, and I hope he knows that he is the apple (or toasted bagel with munster cheese and tomato) of ours. After fifteen years of knowing him, I can easily say that I not only love my dad unconditionally as a parent, but as one of my best friends, and as he reaches a new age and chapter of his life, I hope he knows and will remember this for the next 364 days following October 7th, and for the rest of the years to come.    
No, neither my dad, nor anyone that could relate to this entire verse, is G-d, but maybe there’s a reason that this particular verse stood out among the others. I’m sure that for parents, guarding their children is like second nature, but for the children, we usually recognize our parents’ actions as more evident than those of G-d Himself. I strongly believe that this verse, with these words, don’t only praise G-d’s actions, but also model the standards of every exceptional parent in the world. Though my only proof of that is my faith, I have every reason in life to praise G-d, or whatever divine figure works above, for He created my parents who model Psalm 17 today.
I may not have read the Old Testament chapter of Psalms as traditionally as how it’s written, but I can happily say that after reading Psalm 17, I have found my inspiration, and he doesn’t leave the four walls of my home. Happy Birthday, Dad; I love you very much.

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