B”H5 Tishrei 5773, Friday, at a Starbucks in Philadelphia
Dearest Sweet Beloved Divine Parent,
Thank You for opening up for me the Book of Psalms like never before. In the past, I was blocked from appreciating it largely because it appeared to me like prayers of a warrior to inflict the worst on his foes, often with disregard that they are people too ~ who love life and yearn to love and be loved. So I’d look at the work with pained misunderstanding, “Why do i want to pray for people’s demise? Shouldn’t I rather pray for their enlightenment and that they change their ways?”
Yet, for years I endured what to a large extent felt like dour recitations, often glossing over the meaning of what I was saying. I endured these recitations because the Lubavitcher Rebbe said to say them and generations upon generations of good and saintly Jews have recited them. Besides, there were some Psalms with a happy and even optimistic message. Some Psalms contained wise teachings. While these thoughts kept me going, they didn’t get at an answer to my core revulsion.
However, this Rosh Hashana something clicked inside. In the back of my mind I remembered something Rebbe Nachman [of Breslov] remarked about the mention of enemies in Psalms. He remarked that all the times [when] Psalms mentions enemies, the text is referring to our inner tempter, whose surface efforts are designed to destroy; though his inner design is to build us through free choice.
[Taken] in isolation this statement just meant to me that we need to imbue Psalms with a contemporary application, since many of us are not members of the Jewish military. I felt that this was a holy and creative way to answer this revulsion that others like myself must have felt. However, it didn’t hit home with the [kind of] universal messianic cosmic message that helps me internalize it. My spiritual appetite wasn’t yet aroused.
Upon entering Rosh Hashana, You expanded this message for me to the extent that I was able to appreciate that by praying for the demise of the “enemies” in Psalms, I am actually praying for souls to be free to shine, to fulfill their true potentials.
Yes, it's a problem of the inner tempter, but, it's also a problem of his larger context; the spiritual forces he uses to limit perspectives and cast a net of selfishness over souls. To one extent or another many souls are caught in the clutches of these forces. These forces are the ‘enemies” Psalms refers to. By praying for their demise, I’m praying for the freedom of all human souls.
Thank You …
Love and Kisses ...