Psalm 34

Close to twenty-five years ago, Elie Wiesel dedicated our CBI sanctuary. As tribute to the great writer and teacher, Osi Sladek sang verses from Psalm 34: “Me Ha’Ish”- “Who is the person that desires life? Who loves days to see goodness? Guard your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit. Turn from evil and do good; seek pease and pursue it.” I love the words and the melody, composed by Baruch Chait (which you can hear on the YouTube videos below).

Psalm 34 begins with a reference to a frightened David, who feigned madness by scratching on a wall and drooling down his beard before the Philistine ruler who banished him from his presence. The Biblical story (I Samuel 21) evokes the question: “How does God protect us in moments of danger and lead us forward in life?” Among the answers that the Psalm provides is that trust in God will lead to calm and even to radiance. Moreover, God provides a protective angel and directs us to become human angels by loving a life of goodness. At the center of this Psalm is wisdom teaching, those three verses that resonate with a beautiful melody.