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Wisdom and Comfort from the Psalms

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January 3, 2013

Shalom,

The book of Psalms has provided me with the deepest comfort during the most trying times. It is my sanctuary, where I feel safe and comforted. Although written thousands of years ago, the psalms resonate in my soul and provide a safe path through the emotional hills and valleys of life. In good times and bad, this sacred gift that King David left us is one of our direct channels to God.

I remember visiting Israel with my family as a little girl and watching with fascination the elderly women on buses hold their books of psalms to their hearts and close their eyes in prayer. There is something extraordinary about these ancient Hebrew songs that shed a holy light around each person reciting them.

I keep books of psalms all over my house, so that at any given moment I can reach for one of them and pray. I feel so blessed to be able to recite the same prayers as King David did thousands of years ago. Sometimes I can almost feel him smiling down from heaven at the honor we are giving to God by keeping those prayers alive!

I believe it is my responsibility to pass down this rich heritage to my children. There is no greater joy for me than watching them dance together while singing psalms. Even as I was giving birth to my children I recited psalms through the painful contractions, hoping to pass this gift of holiness on to them. Sometimes I cry with joy and thanksgiving when, years later, I now see my children dancing and singing one of their favorites, Psalm 100: “Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.”

The book of Psalms has been my sanctuary of prayer, and I am grateful to God for that. If I’m feeling sick, distraught, or worried, it can calm my nerves and remind me that I am not alone because God is always with me. During moments of joy and thanksgiving, I use psalms to praise God and give thanks, remembering the words of Psalm 95, which says, “Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.”

My hope for you today is that you will find as much joy, wisdom, and spiritual nourishment in the psalms as I have. May God’s word be a blessing to all of us as we join in praying for peace in Israel and around the world – and may we all see our prayers come to fruition, and witness a lasting peace in the holy city of Jerusalem. Amen!

With blessings from the Holy Land,

Yael