Psalm 42 – SING & LEARN

Summary by Sherri, below the video

1. For the conductor, a maskil of the sons of Korah.

2. As a hart cries longingly for rivulets of water, so does my soul cry longingly to You, O God.

3. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; when will I come and appear before God?

4. My tears were my bread day and night when they say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”

5. These things I will remember, and I will pour out my soul [because of the pain which is] upon me, how I passed on with the throng; I walked slowly with them until the house of God with a joyful shouting and thanksgiving, a celebrating multitude.

6. Why are you downcast, my soul, and why do you stir within me? Hope to God, for I will yet thank Him for the salvations of His presence.

7. My God, my soul is downcast upon me; therefore, I will remember You from the land of Jordan and the peaks of Hermon, from the young mountain.

8. Deep calls to deep to the sound of Your water channels; all Your breakers and waves passed over me.

9. By day, may the Lord command His kindness, and at night, may His resting place be with me, a prayer to the God of my life.

10. I will say to God, my Rock, “Why have You forgotten me? Why should I walk in gloom under the oppression of the enemy?”

11. With murder in my bones, my oppressors have reproached me by saying to me all day long, “Where is your God?”

12. Why are you downcast, my soul, and why do you stir within me? Hope to God, for I will yet thank Him for the salvations of my countenance and my God.


 In tonight’s class, we started by asking who is Korach and how this psalm can be from the “sons of Korach” (as Korach and his family were swallowed by the earth when they rebelled against Moshe and Aaron in the desert).  He then explained that three of his sons did t’shuvah and moved away from their father after Moshe warned people to stay away from Korach. (Bamidar 15).
The Rabbi spoke of the recurrent theme in the psalms (no matter who wrote each one) that the worst thing is separation from G-d.  He said that King David wrote most of the psalms and that King David went from the highs to the lows and back again several times in his life (e.g., besting Goliath/the Phlishtim in battle, running for his life from King Saul, losing his dear friend Jonathan, becoming King and being venerated by his people, running for his life from his son, etc.), so he was uniquely suited to write the psalms.
We talked about water being a metaphor for the Torah (for example: “They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11: 9) ) .   And how Jews have been killed because of our refusal to separate from the Torah (hence the image of waves passing over the psalmist).  And how the psalm ends with a hopeful statement (again, as most do) – this time with reiterating a belief in and gratitude toward G-d.