Dreamer's Refuge

A Student of Sense and Nonsense

Psalm 1

I have been reading the Tehillim, and in the introduction the Sages say that each Jew is commanded (by tradition) to write their own interpretations of the various inspired texts in the Torah and other related books. So this is my attempt; I will not be repeating what was already found in the commentary, but only what comes to mind that I have not already seen elsewhere.

Psalm 1

1 Fortunate is the man who did not go in the counsel of the wicked, nor stood in the path of the sinners, nor sat in the company of scoffers. 2 Rather his desire is in the Torah of God, and in His Torah he meditates day and night. 3 He shall be as a tree planted besides streams of water, which, being well-irrigated, brings forth its fruit in its season, and whose leave do not wilt; and whatever he does shall prosper. 4 Not so the wicked – who are rather like chaff, driven by the wind. 5 The wicked shall therefore not endure in judgment not sinners in the assembly of the righteous. 6 For God pays attention to and blesses the path of the righteous – whereas the path of the wicked shall perish.

Psalm 1 – Tehillim

INTERPRETATION

Verse 1 and 2:

…are pretty clear, though I find it interesting that there are three external actions (go, stood, sat) combined with three internal qualities of a person.

Verse 3:

The simile to water, tree, fruit, and leaf is interesting. The commentary is clear on the symbolism, but it does not add much to the “leaf” part. Nor to the “fruit in its season”… it does mention that “fruits” come in the right time, but fruits could also be modifications in behavior (actions in the external world which were mentioned in verse 1). It could also be that the “season” is in “winter” (after you die) and not necessarily in the physical world, nor even in this lifetime. An action you do today could create a ripple of other actions and events that “brings forth its fruit” in 100+ years time to someone you never met. Or to yourself in a different incarnation.

Leaves are the power engines of the plant, they creates energy via photons/carbon/water -> sugar, etc, and promote the circulatory system from promoting evaporation. This passage could also be connected with Blood, which in the Tanya says that “the Soul is clothed in the blood of the human being.”

So in combination with the similes, you could say the Torah (Bible, or Law of God) is spiritual sustenance that feeds the very things you need to keep us going. And if that is lacking, we wilt, because while we may have all our material needs met, we lack the spiritual nourishment to sustain us. In society that might look like Depression, Mental Illness, “Deaths of Despair” etc…

Verse 4:

In the commentary it says that wicked people seek wealth and power, sinners endlessly pursue pleasure, and scoffers live for news and gossip (slander, lies, etc).

There is a saying “go where the wind blows”; This saying comes to mind with people that seek (or have these as their highest axioms) power, fame, or wealth. They are hollow (like chaff), and have seemingly no ethics or morality that would be their central core. (the seed) So they go wherever the society, culture, trends, fashion, etc, etc, takes them.

Verse 5:

Because the wicked and sinners are unrepentant, they will not endure being judged, nor have a foot to stand on when they are in the presence of those that are righteous (or those that end up repenting(doing teshuvah));

In practical terms their actions will eventually catch up to them.

People will find out what that the greedy and unethical are doing, or for hedonists (people that lack moderation in their pleasure seeking), things like physical/mental health, and other related issues come up.

I find it interesting that scoffer is missing here.

Verse 6:

People that follow the moral path given by the divine, will be blessed and survive due to their their actions, however people that stray from the path that promotes life, will end up destroying themselves with their own actions.

In a practical sense when a culture promotes a balance between physical and spiritual life, that culture will be “blessed” and produce good fruit. A culture that pursues wealth, power and pleasure etc, will wilt and die by their own actions.

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