14. The Sages debate David's intent with this psalm. Is he talking about Israel being attacked by its enemies or Israel being attacked from within by venal corruption? These days, take your pick. Never has Israel been at greater risk from forces who seek its destruction and never has Israel been more corrupt, unable to unify for the greater good of the nation. The brief glimmer of hope we may have felt when President Obama brought together Netanyahu, Abbas, Mubarak, Abdullah, Clinton, Mitchell and Blair, broke bread and made gains in the fight for peace, has nearly vanished. Today Mitchell sprints to the region to attempt to bridge the rifts; settlement expansion continues; Silwan and Sheikh Jarrah smolder; Ahmandinejad stands at the dais of the UN spewing insane hatred of Jews and Israel--and just like that, it seems, hope vanishes. "Oh that salvation of Israel were come out of Zion!" Peace is in our hands. Easy as it may be to continually blame others (for we have no lack of enemies) I say the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion.
15. As I write this blog post, I am listening to Jeff Spurgeon's morning show on WQXR. He's playing Johann Strauss II "Tales from the Vienna Woods, Opus 325." What a beautiful piece of music. All is in order. I could see reading Psalm 15 along to this music. David's words here are so perfectly structured, they're a delight to the ears and eyes, a calm ocean shore lapping waves of truth and righteousness on a concise horizon of morality, embracing a firmament of decency and goodness. Surely the authors of Pirke Avot read this psalm with great delight. I wonder what it would have sounded like, sung?
A Psalm of David
Eternal, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell upon your holy mountain?
He that walks uprightly and works righteousness, and speaks truth in his heart;
That has no slander upon his tongue, nor does evil to his fellow, nor takes up reproach against his neighbor;
In whose eyes a vile person is despised, but he honors them that fear the Eternal, he that swears to his own hurt and changes not;
He that does not charge interest, nor takes a bribe against the innocent, he that does these things shall never be moved.