תהלים מזמור קט"ו - Tehilim Chapter 115
May 10, 2016
Beis Moshiach in #1018, 11 Nissan


 With English translation &   commentary

In Honor of Yud Alef Nissan 5776 

114 Years since the Rebbe’s birth 

ביום עשתי עשר נשיא לבני אשר  שנת הקהל תשע”ו

Kapitel 115

קאפי’ קט”ו

This Kapitel is the 3rd one of the הלל that is recited every ראש חודש & יום טוב, known as הלל המצרי  – “the Egyptian הלל”, since it contains within it the praises of יציאת מצרים. Chapter 136 of Tehilim is known as הלל הגדול – the great הלל.

This הלל, who said it? Rabbi Eliezer says: משה & בני ישראל  said it after crossing the ים סוףחכמים say: The prophets amongst them instituted it, that they should recite it at every juncture and whenever they are beset by troubles, upon being redeemed they recite it for their redemption.

(Gemoro פסחים 117a)

Since there is the great הלל, why do we say this one (every time that we are redeemed – Rashi)? Because it entails the following five: The exodus from Egypt – בצאת ישראל ממצרים , the splitting of the sea – הים ראה וינוס, the giving of the Torah – ההרים רקדו כאלים, the resurrection of the dead –  אתהלך לפני ה’ בארצות החיים, and the birth pangs of Moshiach – לא לנו.

(Gemoro פסחים 118a)

Rabbi Yochonon said: לא לנו ה’ לא לנו refers to the שעבוד מלכיות (the time of Golus when we are enslaved by the nations); some say Rabbi Yochonon said it refers to the war of Gog & Magog.


This psalm is a prayer for the lengthy Golus; asking Hashem to do for the sake of His name, that it not be desecrated amongst the nations.

Posuk 1

פסוק א’

Save us not for our sake, Hashem;

not in our merit[1] that of our good deeds[2] and our righteousness[3],

לֹא לָנוּ יְהֹוָה

לֹא לָנוּ

rather for Your name that is called upon us[4] give honor, lest the nations say “Where is their G-d [5]?

כִּי לְשִׁמְךָ תֵּן כָּבוֹד

That it be honored through Your kindness,

עַל חַסְדְּךָ

through Your truthfulness that You do for us[6].

עַל אֲמִתֶּךָ:

Another explanation: Just as You performed miracles for our ancestors when You took them out of Mitzraim (as in the previous Mizmor), so too You should do the same for us. Despite the fact that we are not worthy of miracles; do it for the sake of Your name, Your kindness and Your truthfulness. Our ancestors too were not worthy, and You redeemed them because of the kindness & promise made to the patriarchs[7].

Posuk 2

פסוק ב’

The claim of the Goyim that desecrates the name of Hashem

Why should the nations say,

לָמָּה יֹאמְרוּ הַגּוֹיִם

“Where is their God now[8] why does He not fight His people’s wars[9]?

אַיֵּה נָא אֱלֹהֵיהֶם:

The claim of the Goyim in general, and the “Goy” that is inside each person in particular is what causes a person to fall into the pit of material desires[10].

The fact that the Torah deals with the claim of the Goyim means that it has some logic and is not completely senseless.

The Goyim’s claim is “Where is their G-d”? How can Hashem be drawn down into the world through practical Mitzvos that are performed with material objects? Especially the Torah & Mitzvos that we perform after Matan Torah, which are primarily in the physical & material world[11].

Posuk 3

פסוק ג’

Response to the Goyim’s claim

But in truth[12] our God is in heaven

וֵאלֹהֵינוּ בַשָּׁמָיִם

all that He desires He does; all occurrences on earth are controlled by the decrees made in heaven[13].

כֹּל אֲשֶׁר חָפֵץ עָשָׂה:

Even the weaker one is more powerful when he’s on top; how much more so that Hashem who is all-powerful is up in heaven, He can certainly do everything as He wishes[14].

There are two types of מצות; the ones that are in Heaven, performed in the spiritual realms do not have the ability to elevate the sparks of G-dliness that have fallen into the lowest place. The ones that are connected to עשה – action, draw down from חפץ – the desire of Hashem, and therefore have the power to elevate the sparks of G-dliness that are in the material world, which are from a very high level[15].

The spirit or “form” of every creation is sustained by Hashem’s word, whereas the material aspect of it is created and sustained by the higher level of Hashem’s will & desire[16].

The existence of Hashem in the higher spiritual worlds (our G-d is in Heaven) is something that everyone agrees to. It is only with regard to His existence within the physical world that they claim “Where is their G-d”. We answer them, however, that just as our G-d is in heaven, so also the action of the physical world, can only exist as a result of the sustenance that comes from the higher level of G-d’s desire[17].

Posuk 4

פסוק ד’

Worthlessness of the idols versus the powerfulness of Hashem

Their idols are but silver and gold,

the handiwork of man, with no substance or Godly powers[18].

עֲצַבֵּיהֶם כֶּסֶף וְזָהָב מַעֲשֵׂה יְדֵי אָדָם:

The idols are referred to as עצבים from the word עצבון, implying that they cause only distress to their worshipers and do not help them in any way. It is very disgraceful for a man to worship his own handiwork[19].

The Previos Rebbe related: As a young child the Mitteler Rebbe commented about a group of people who were looking down: “עצביהם – their sadness, is a result of כסף וזהב – silver & gold, not spiritual silver & gold, fear & love of Hashem, but the material kind[20].

Posuk 5

פסוק ה’

Although they have a mouth, they do not speak;

פֶּה לָהֶם וְלֹא יְדַבֵּרוּ

they have eyes but they do not see. The sculptors themselves are greater than the idols, as they do have the ability to speak and see[21].

עֵינַיִם לָהֶם וְלֹא יִרְאוּ:

The Gemoro says that for גוים the thin covering over the eye is not considered a מום, whereas for Jews it is. The covering over the eye of חכמה, the inability to properly grasp G-dliness as a result of being involved with the material world – for a Goy that is not considered to be a blemish, being that Goyim come from the outer level of G-dliness. This is why it is written about them עינים להם ולא יראו – since they do not have the ability to appreciate G-dliness. Regarding Jews, however, it is written “And all the children of Israel see”, because we are connected to the oneness of Hashem. This is why we can refine even the material world, and perceive the G-dliness within it[22].

When the Alter Rebbe wished to bless Reb Yekusiel Liepler with long life, he said: “But let it not be “farmer (coarse) years” that they have eyes but they do not see they have ears but they do not hear. They do not see G-dliness nor hear G-dliness[23].

Posuk 6

פסוק ו’

They have ears but they do not hear;

אָזְנַיִם לָהֶם וְלֹא יִשְׁמָעוּ

they have a nose but they do not smell. They do not possess any of the four senses[24].

אַף לָהֶם וְלֹא יְרִיחוּן:

Posuk 7

פסוק ז’

Their hands-but they do not feel;

their feet-but they do not walk;

they do not murmur with their throat. They do not even have the ability to make a sound like a bird[25].

יְדֵיהֶם | וְלֹא יְמִישׁוּן

רַגְלֵיהֶם וְלֹא יְהַלֵּכוּ

לֹא יֶהְגּוּ בִּגְרוֹנָם:

Posuk 8

פסוק ח’

We pray[26] that those who worship idols as gods, should be just like the idols, not having the ability to speak just like the idols themselves[27]:

Like them shall be those who make them, and

כְּמוֹהֶם יִהְיוּ עֹשֵׂיהֶם

all who trust in them should also be like them[28].

כֹּל אֲשֶׁר בֹּטֵחַ בָּהֶם:

Posuk 9

פסוק ט’

We now return to the Jewish people who don’t follow the foolishness

Israel on the other hand[29], trust in Hashem;

He always[30] was and is their help and their shield.

יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּטַח בַּיהֹוָה

 עֶזְרָם וּמָגִנָּם הוּא:

Posuk 10

פסוק י’

After speaking of Israel as a whole, we speak of the holiest amongst them[31], the כהנים &   [32]לוים

House of Aharon who are constantly close to Hashem, trust in Hashem, that their Avoda will be accepted and have the desired effect[33];

בֵּית אַהֲרֹן בִּטְחוּ בַיהֹוָה

He is their help and their shield.

עֶזְרָם וּמָגִנָּם הוּא:

Posuk 11

פסוק י”א

Now we speak of those who although they do not belong to the Jewish nation they fear Hashem and worship only him.

Those of each of the other nations[34] who fear Hashem, trust in Hashem;

יִרְאֵי יְהֹוָה בִּטְחוּ בַיהֹוָה

He is their help and their shield

עֶזְרָם וּמָגִנָּם הוּא:

Another explanation: G-d fearing refers to wise people who study Torah and contemplate the greatness of Hashem, which causes them to recognize and understand the advantages of trusting in Hashem[35].

Posuk 12

פסוק י”ב

Hashem should / will remember & bless those (mentioned earlier) who trust only in Him.

Hashem, Who has always[36] remembered us, shall bless His nation;

יְהֹוָה זְכָרָנוּ יְבָרֵךְ

Another explanation: Hashem! Remember us for the good and bless us[37]

ה’ זכרנו יברך refers to the blessings that Hashem blesses the males; יברך את בית ישראל – He blesses the females. When a man weds, Hashem gives him a double portion of blessings; one for him & one for his wife[38].

Specifically, He shall bless the house of Israel;

יְבָרֵךְ אֶת בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל

He shall bless the house of Aharon because of the blessings that they give the Jewish people with a good heart & with love[39].

יְבָרֵךְ אֶת בֵּית אַהֲרֹן:

Posuk 13

פסוק י”ג

He shall bless those who fear Hashem,

יְבָרֵךְ יִרְאֵי יְהֹוָה

the small together with the great equally[40].

הַקְּטַנִּים עִם הַגְּדֹלִים:

In the previous Psukim, “the house of” automatically includes both old and young, whereas, when saying “those who fear Hashem”, the Posuk specifies that He should bless the young for the sake of the old[41].

Posuk 14

פסוק י”ד

May Hashem constantly increase His blessing[42] upon you, upon you and upon your children.

יֹסֵף יְהֹוָה עֲלֵיכֶם

עֲלֵיכֶם וְעַל בְּנֵיכֶם:

After stating that Hashem should bless, we explain that blessing consists of constant increase, whereas a curse is connected to decreasing[43].

Posuk 15

פסוק ט”ו

The blessings should come repeatedly[44] and be constantly lasting[45]

You will be blessed by Hashem, the Maker of heaven and earth who therefore  has the power to bestow blessings upon whomever  He wishes[46].

בְּרוּכִים אַתֶּם לַיהֹוָה עֹשֵׂה שָׁמַיִם וָאָרֶץ:

When a person performs a מצוה, Hashem creates a new heaven from the intent of the Mitzva (השמים שמים לה’ – the Heavens are from the thought for Hashem), and a new earth from the action of the מצוה. As a result, Hashem’s blessings are bestowed upon the person doing the מצוה – “You are blessed by Hashem, for making heaven & earth[47]”.

Posuk 16

פסוק ט”ז

The heavens are heavens for Hashem’s presence[48], but the earth He gave to the children of man although He controls everything on earth as well, He has appointed people to be in charge[49].

הַשָּׁמַיִם שָׁמַיִם לַיהֹוָה וְהָאָרֶץ נָתַן לִבְנֵי אָדָם:

All of earth receives its sustenance through the various levels of appointed constellations in the sky, except for the land of Israel that is not controlled by anything other than Hashem Himself[50].

Posuk 17

פסוק י”ז

All the above good & blessings are not for those who don’t recognize Hashem and instead worship idols for they shall die an eternal death[51]

The dead who die an eternal death because they do not praise or recognize God, nor do those who truly descend to the grave[52] in body & soul[53]

לֹא הַמֵּתִים יְהַלְלוּ יָהּ וְלֹא כָּל יֹרְדֵי דוּמָה:


When we say that the dead cannot praise G-d it is not as if we are G-d forbid mocking the destitute, rather it refers to the Resha’im who even during their lifetime are considered to be dead that they {cannot praise Hashem} because they become confused with foreign thoughts[54].

Posuk 18

פסוק ח”י

Those who are alive & receive Hashem’s blessings will forever bless Him[55]

But we the souls of the righteous[56] shall consistently bless and praise God from now until everlasting. praise God!

וַאֲנַחְנוּ | נְבָרֵךְ יָהּ מֵעַתָּה וְעַד עוֹלָם הַלְלוּיָהּ:


A person’s soul constantly wishes to depart from the body so that it can live in the true (spiritual) life. The only reason that it comes back is because “we bless G-d”. The letter י expresses the world to come, and the letter ה expresses this world. The blessing and increase of the ability to recognize Hashem in both worlds can only be accomplished by us – the Jewish people[57].


Lovingly dedicated to the Rebbe

May he lead us out of Golus Now!


“בניסן נגאלו ובניסן עתידין להגאל”


Published by:

[1] Targum

[2] Rashi

[3]Metzudas Dovid

[4] Ibn Ezra

[5] Rashi (& Radak) – explain that it continues into the following Pasuk

[6]Metzudas Dovid

[7] Radak – explains that in some S’forim, this is in fact a continuation of the previous Mizmor

[8] Metzudos & Ibn Ezra translate the word נא to mean “now”

[9]Metzudas Dovid

[10] מאמר יהי ה”א עמנו 5685 of the Previous Rebbe

[11] מאמר יהי ה”א עמנו 5715 of the Rebbe

[12]Metzudas Dovid – Radak adds that they are fools & don’t differentiate between our G-d who is in heaven & controls everything in both heaven & earth, to their gods who are worthless.

[13] Ibn Ezra

[14]Metzudas Dovid and continues that since Hashem’s power is now just as it has always been, we ask that He demonstrate this power thus silencing the claim of the Goyim.

[15] מאמר יהי ה”א עמנו of the Previous Rebbe & the Rebbe

[16] שערי אורה of the Mitteler Rebbe p. 78

[17] Hemshech 5672 of the Rebbe Rashab p. 167

[18]Metzudas Dovid - explains that their being of gold & silver means they don’t have substance, and being the handiwork of man they cannot possibly possess G-dly powers.

[19] Ibn Ezra

[20] The Rebbe – 2nd day of שבועות 5716

[21] Ibn Ezrai

[22] Tzemach Tzedek – Derech Mitzvosecha מצות מחצית השקל

[23] Hayom Yom 6th of Cheshvan

[24] Ibn Ezra – Eating is not mentioned being that it is not a necessity

[25] Ibn Ezra & Metzudas Tzion

[26] Radak & Ibn Ezra.  Metzudas Dovid explains: דוד המלך is cursing idol worshipers.

[27] Metzudas Dovid

[28] Metzudas Dovid

[29] Metzudas Dovid

[30] Metzudas Dovid & Ibn Ezra

[31] Ibn Ezra

[32] Radak

[33] Radak

[34] Radak & Ibn Ezra – Rashi & Metzudas Dovid explain that it refers to גרים.

[35] Radak’s 1st expalnation

[36] Metzudas Dovid

[37] Targum

[38] Zohar

[39] Zohar

[40] Ibn Ezra

[41] Radak – whereas earlier when talking about those who trust Hashem we do not specify young, being that they don’t have the understanding to (properly) trust

[42] Metzudas Dovid

[43] Ibn Ezra

[44] Metzudos – He should bless you again & again

[45] Ibn Ezra

[46] Ibn Ezra

[47] The Ba’al Shem tov in כתר שם טוב

[48] Targum

[49] Metzudas Dovid & Ibn Ezra

[50] Zohar

[51] Metzudas Dovid

[52] Metzudas Tziyon – דומה is a the grave where there is דממה – complete silence

[53] Radak & Ibn Ezra – Hashem gives a person the ability to recognize Him; those who do not utilize this ability are those who truly descend to the grave

[54] Tanya Igeres Hatshuva Ch. 7

[55] Metzudas Dovid

[56] Ibn Ezra

[57] The Alter Rebbe

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