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Mizmor 043 - A Bright Future

(א) שָׁפְטֵנִי אֱלֹקִים וְרִיבָה רִיבִי מִגּוֹי לֹא חָסִיד מֵאִישׁ מִרְמָה וְעַוְלָה תְפַלְּטֵנִי:
(1) Grant me justice, O G-d. Take up my struggle against a nation that does not practice humane principles. Liberate me from a man of deceit and injustice.
NOTE: For a PDF of this mizmor, please click here. This will enable you to print out the entire text of the article. [Rev 5]
Key Concepts of Mizmor 043 - A Bright Future
As the singer begins Mizmor 043, he senses that the consolations of the previous mizmor (042) have not been fully successful in assuaging the pain of the Exile. Reminders of the tragic past and present sufferings have made it difficult for the nation to be consoled. And so the singer makes another attempt in the new mizmor, this time focusing the nation’s attention on the bright future that awaits when the Geulah (Redemption) comes. These thoughts lead the singer to invoke a vivid picture of the time when the nation will once more experience the intense joy of being welcomed by Hashem in Yerushalayim.
Exploring the Mizmor
This mizmor has no introductory pasuk (verse) because it was composed as the conclusion to the previous one. Together these mizmorim express the yearnings and tefillos of the Jewish nation in a time of Exile. The two mizmorim are linked by a key pasuk in which the nation tries to console its anguished soul with the assurance that the long-awaited Geulah will surely come. This consolation appears at two points in the previous mizmor and then again at the end of the current mizmor (see Part 3 below). The repetition is needed because so much has been lost and the sufferings are so great.
PART 1. A PLEA FOR JUSTICE. The singer begins with the nation’s earnest plea, asking Hashem to come to our aid and grant us a yeshuah (deliverance) from a cruel and deceitful enemy.
(א) שָׁפְטֵנִי אֱלֹקִים וְרִיבָה רִיבִי מִגּוֹי לֹא חָסִיד מֵאִישׁ מִרְמָה וְעַוְלָה תְפַלְּטֵנִי: (ב) כִּי אַתָּה אֱלֹקֵי מָעוּזִּי לָמָה זְנַחְתָּנִי לָמָּה קֹדֵר אֶתְהַלֵּךְ בְּלַחַץ אוֹיֵב:
(1) Grant me justice, O G-d. Take up my struggle against a nation that does not practice humane principles. Liberate me from a man of deceit and injustice. (2) For You are the G-d of my strength. Why have You forsaken me? Why must I walk in gloom, under the oppression of the enemy?
PART 2. A PLEA FOR THE GEULAH. Thoughts of the yeshuah lead the singer to invoke a vivid picture of the glorious future when the Geulah comes and the nation will once more experience the intense joy of being welcomed by Hashem in Yerushalayim. Then the thirst that was poetically described at the beginning of the previous mizmor will finally be quenched.
(ג) שְׁלַח אוֹרְךָ וַאֲמִתְּךָ הֵמָּה יַנְחוּנִי יְבִיאוּנִי אֶל הַר קָדְשְׁךָ וְאֶל מִשְׁכְּנוֹתֶיךָ: (ד) וְאָבוֹאָה אֶל מִזְבַּח אֱלֹקִים אֶל קֵ־ל שִׂמְחַת גִּילִי וְאוֹדְךָ בְכִנּוֹר אֱלֹקִים אֱלֹקָי:
(3) Send Your light and Your truth. They will guide me. They will bring me to Your holy mountain and to Your Sanctuaries. (4) I will then come to the altar of G-d, to G-d, the joy of my delight. I will praise You upon the lyre O G-d, my G-d.
PART 3. CONSOLATION. The mizmor concludes with the same pasuk of consolation that was used at the end of the previous mizmor. But this time the singer is confident that the consolation has become truly effective.
(ה) מַה תִּשְׁתּוֹחֲחִי נַפְשִׁי וּמַה תֶּהֱמִי עָלָי הוֹחִילִי לֵאלֹקִים כִּי עוֹד אוֹדֶנּוּ יְשׁוּעֹת פָּנַי וֵאלֹקָי:
(5) [The nation consoles its soul:] “Why are you downcast, my soul, and confused within me? Wait and look to G-d! For I shall yet thank Him for yeshuos in my own lifetime, [demonstrating to all that He is] my G-d.”
Learning the Mizmor
PART 1. A PLEA FOR JUSTICE.
(א) שָׁפְטֵנִי אֱלֹקִים וְרִיבָה רִיבִי 
מִגּוֹי לֹא חָסִיד 
מֵאִישׁ מִרְמָה וְעַוְלָה תְפַלְּטֵנִי:
Grant me justice against the enemy that has tormented me, O G-d — שָׁפְטֵנִי אֱלֹקִים . Take up my struggle against a cruel nation  וְרִיבָה רִיבִי מִגּוֹי  that does not practice the humane principles  לֹא חָסִיד  to which it gives lip service. Liberate me especially from the vicious individuals in those nations, each of whom is a man of deceit and injustice — מֵאִישׁ מִרְמָה וְעַוְלָה תְפַלְּטֵנִי .
(ב) כִּי אַתָּה אֱלֹקֵי מָעוּזִּי 
לָמָה זְנַחְתָּנִי 
לָמָּה קֹדֵר אֶתְהַלֵּךְ בְּלַחַץ אוֹיֵב:
Only You can help me against my enemies for You are the G-d of my strength  כִּי אַתָּה אֱלֹקֵי מָעוּזִּי . I depend on You and You have given me the intelligence to appreciate Your wonders, so why have You forsaken me — לָמָה זְנַחְתָּנִי  from serving You in Yerushalayim? You helped me in the past. Why must I now walk in gloom, under the oppression of the enemy — לָמָּה קֹדֵר אֶתְהַלֵּךְ בְּלַחַץ אוֹיֵב ?
PART 2. A PLEA FOR THE GEULAH.
(ג) שְׁלַח אוֹרְךָ וַאֲמִתְּךָ הֵמָּה יַנְחוּנִי 
יְבִיאוּנִי אֶל הַר קָדְשְׁךָ וְאֶל מִשְׁכְּנוֹתֶיךָ:
Send Your light  שְׁלַח אוֹרְךָ (the Mashiach) to displace the gloom in which I am now walking and to reveal Your wonders. Send Your truth — וַאֲמִתְּךָ  to fulfill Your promise of the Geulah and overcome the cruel deceit of the enemy. Your light and Your truth will guide me — הֵמָּה יַנְחוּנִי  out of this Exile. They will bring me to Your holy mountain  יְבִיאוּנִי אֶל הַר קָדְשְׁךָ  in Yerushalayim and to Your Sanctuaries — וְאֶל מִשְׁכְּנוֹתֶיךָ , the courtyards and structures in the Bais HaMikdash, once more to be rebuilt.
(ד) וְאָבוֹאָה אֶל מִזְבַּח אֱלֹקִים 
אֶל קֵ־ל שִׂמְחַת גִּילִי
I will then once more come to the altar of G-d — וְאָבוֹאָה אֶל מִזְבַּח אֱלֹקִים , Who will be recognized by all as the Judge of the earth. There I will offer sacrifices of thanksgiving as in former days, to G-d, the joy of my delight — אֶל קֵ־ל שִׂמְחַת גִּילִי . I will find my true inner joy only if I can know that it was G-d Who granted this happiness to me. I will then again experience a sublime closeness to Hashem, which will truly be the highest delight that man can experience in this world.
וְאוֹדְךָ בְכִנּוֹר אֱלֹקִים אֱלֹקָי:
To accompany the offerings, I will praise You upon the lyre — וְאוֹדְךָ בְכִנּוֹר  in gratitude for my yeshuah, O G-d  אֱלֹקִים . You will be revealed to the world as my G-d — אֱלֹקָי , Who has not abandoned me forever in the Exile.
PART 3. CONSOLATION.
(ה) מַה תִּשְׁתּוֹחֲחִי נַפְשִׁי 
וּמַה תֶּהֱמִי עָלָי
[The nation consoles its soul:] Why are you downcast, my soul — מַה תִּשְׁתּוֹחֲחִי נַפְשִׁי , and why are you confused within me  וּמַה תֶּהֱמִי עָלָי ? Why are you allowing yourself to be affected by the taunts of your tormentors? Why do you let them shake your emunah?
הוֹחִילִי לֵאלֹקִים 
כִּי עוֹד אוֹדֶנּוּ יְשׁוּעֹת פָּנַי וֵאלֹקָי:
Wait confidently and look to G-d — הוֹחִילִי לֵאלֹקִים  for the yeshuahFor  כִּי  just as I praised Him for past yeshuos, I shall yet have the opportunity to answer the nations who have been humiliating me and I will be able to thank Him  עוֹד אוֹדֶנּוּ  for yeshuos in my own lifetime  יְשׁוּעוֹת פָּנַי , demonstrating to all that He is my G-d  וֵאלֹקָי , as He has always been.
Living the Mizmor
Listed below are some of the lessons that you can draw from this mizmor, as well as some of the thoughts you might have in mind when you say the words of the mizmor as a tefillah, expressing your devotion to Hashem.
Tefillos for Life - Your Yeshuah.
[43:1] DEFENSE. – מִגּוֹי לֹא חָסִיד שָׁפְטֵנִי אֱלֹקִים וְרִיבָה רִיבִי – “Grant me justice, O G-d. Take up my struggle against a nation that does not practice humane principles.” When you are confronted by cruel enemies who seek to harm you, ask Hashem to act for you by defeating them.
[43:1] LIBERATION. – מֵאִישׁ מִרְמָה וְעַוְלָה תְפַלְּטֵנִי – “Liberate me from a man of deceit and injustice.” When you are being victimized by an unscrupulous individual, ask Hashem to frustrate his evil intentions.
Tefillos for Life - Your Relationship with Hashem.
[43:2] STRENGTH. – כִּי אַתָּה אֱלֹקֵי מָעוּזִּי לָמָה זְנַחְתָּנִי – “For You are the G-d of my strength. Why have You forsaken me?” Declare your continued reliance upon Hashem and ask Him to restore His closeness to you.
[43:3] GUIDANCE. – שְׁלַח אוֹרְךָ וַאֲמִתְּךָ הֵמָּה יַנְחוּנִי – “Send Your light and Your truth. They will guide me.” Look for Hashem’s guidance, based upon the light of the Torah.
[43:4] DELIGHT. – וְאָבוֹאָה אֶל מִזְבַּח אֱלֹקִים אֶל קֵ־ל שִׂמְחַת גִּילִי – “I will then come to the altar of G-d, to G-d, the joy of my delight.” – Visualize your delight in restoring your closeness with Hashem.
Lessons for Life - Your Attitude.
[43:5] COMFORT. – מַה תִּשְׁתּוֹחֲחִי נַפְשִׁי וּמַה תֶּהֱמִי עָלָי הוֹחִילִי לֵאלֹקִים – “Why are you downcast, my soul, and confused within me? Wait and look to G-d!” Work on yourself to restore your optimism and have faith that your Geulah will surely come.
Sources
The primary sources used in the interpretation of the verses of this mizmor are listed below.
א - אבן עזרא, רד"ק, המאירי, בן־רמוך, רשר"ה
ב - אבן עזרא, בן־רמוך, ספורנו
ג - אבן עזרא, מלבי"ם
ד - רש"י, אבן עזרא, רד"ק, בן־רמוך, אבן יחייא,רשר"ה
ה - אבן יחייא, ספורנו, מצודות, עמוס חכם