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Mizmor 092 – A Day for Thinking
(א) מִזְמוֹר שִׁיר לְיוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת:
(1) A mizmor, a song for the day of Shabbos.
NOTE: For a PDF of this mizmor, please click here. This will enable you to print out the entire text of the article. [Rev. 0]
Key Concepts of Mizmor 092 (A Day for Thinking)
This is the third in the series of 11 mizmorim that were originally composed by Moshe Rabbeinu and subsequently incorporated into Tehilim by David. It was designed to be sung in Bais HaMikdash as the Song of the Day for Shabbos, the seventh day of the week.
The mizmor calls our attention to the special opportunity that Shabbos offers — to think deeply into the world that Hashem has given us. Since on Shabbos we are not harried by the ordinary demands of our working lives, this day of rest encourages us to think beyond the surface appearances and fallacies that undermine our emunah and bitachon in Hashem’s justice.
The mizmor offers as a focus of this contemplation the typical injustice and unfairness that we contend with every day. If Hashem represents truth and justice, why does He tolerate the apparent success of unworthy people? Why must good people be subjected to pain and suffering? The answer requires digging into our own mental resources, but is available to those who seek it.
We are caught up and confused by illusions because we look at events with a limited, short-term perspective. On Shabbos we can open our minds to the Divine perspective of a larger existence that does not stop with what we see every day, but extends into the long-term spiritual reality of human existence in this world and the eternity of the next.
Exploring the Mizmor
PART 1. SETTING THE TONE. In order to open our minds to the challenging ideas of this mizmor, it begins by reestablishing our foundation of gratitude and emunah in Hashem. That is done through the emotional power of music.
(א) מִזְמוֹר שִׁיר לְיוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת: (ב) טוֹב לְהֹדוֹת לַה’ וּלְזַמֵּר לְשִׁמְךָ עֶלְיוֹן: (ג) לְהַגִּיד בַּבֹּקֶר חַסְדֶּךָ וֶאֱמוּנָתְךָ בַּלֵּילוֹת: (ד) עֲלֵי עָשׂוֹר וַעֲלֵי נָבֶל עֲלֵי הִגָּיוֹן בְּכִנּוֹר: (ה) כִּי שִׂמַּחְתַּנִי ה’ בְּפָעֳלֶךָ בְּמַעֲשֵׂי יָדֶיךָ אֲרַנֵּן: (ו) מַה גָּדְלוּ מַעֲשֶׂיךָ ה’ מְאֹד עָמְקוּ מַחְשְׁבֹתֶיךָ:
(1) A mizmor, a song for the day of Shabbos. (2) It is good to give thanks to Hashem and to sing praises to Your Name, Most High. (3) To tell of your kindness in the morning of your faithfulness in the nights. (4) [Accompanied] by a ten-stringed instrument and bagpipe with meditative music on a harp. (5) For You have gladdened me, Hashem, with Your actions; I sing joyously at the works of Your hands. (6) How great are your works, Hashem; how deeply profound are your thoughts.
PART 2. UNEARNED SUCCESS. The mizmor now proceeds to help us understand the unearned success and apparent prosperity that we see around us. We are reminded to look beneath the surface and recognize that the happiness of the wicked is an illusion, which will ultimately be cut short. Hashem’s existence as the Creator and Provider is eternal and so He is well-placed to guarantee that the scales of justice will ultimately be balanced.
(ז) אִישׁ בַּעַר לֹא יֵדָע וּכְסִיל לֹא יָבִין אֶת זֹאת: (ח) בִּפְרֹחַ רְשָׁעִים כְּמוֹ עֵשֶׂב וַיָּצִיצוּ כָּל פֹּעֲלֵי אָוֶן לְהִשָּׁמְדָם עֲדֵי עַד: (ט) וְאַתָּה מָרוֹם לְעֹלָם ה’: (י) כִּי הִנֵּה אֹיְבֶיךָ ה’ כִּי הִנֵּה אֹיְבֶיךָ יֹאבֵדוּ יִתְפָּרְדוּ כָּל פֹּעֲלֵי אָוֶן:
(7) A simple-minded person does not know, nor does a fool understand all this. (8) When the wicked flourish like grass and when all evil doers blossom, it is so that they may be destroyed forever. (9) But You remain on high forever, Hashem. (10) Surely, Your enemies, Hashem will perish; all evildoers will be scattered.
PART 3. SURVIVAL OF THE RIGHTEOUS. The mizmor visualizes the ultimate survival of law-abiding people despite the vicious attacks of their enemies. The insults and threats will soon be forgotten because the righteous have been anointed with a flow of ever-fresh oil.
(יא) וַתָּרֶם כִּרְאֵים קַרְנִי בַּלֹּתִי בְּשֶׁמֶן רַעֲנָן: (יב) וַתַּבֵּט עֵינִי בְּשׁוּרָי בַּקָּמִים עָלַי מְרֵעִים תִּשְׁמַעְנָה אָזְנָי:
(11) You raised my horn [of strength] like that of a noble creature of the wild; I have been anointed with ever-fresh oil. (12) My eyes have seen [the downfall of] my ever-watching foes; when I am attacked by wicked antagonists, my ears hear [Your assurance].
PART 4. THE RIGHTEOUS FLOURISH. The mizmor concludes with the image of the long-term prosperity of the righteous people. Such people are likened to tall and sturdy trees, whose life span extends far into the future, reinforcing the lesson of Hashem’s eternal justice. That lesson is then concluded emphatically by the ringing statement, “There is no injustice in Him.”
(יג) צַדִּיק כַּתָּמָר יִפְרָח כְּאֶרֶז בַּלְּבָנוֹן יִשְׂגֶּה: (יד) שְׁתוּלִים בְּבֵית ה’בְּחַצְרוֹת אֱלֹהֵינוּ יַפְרִיחוּ: (טו) עוֹד יְנוּבוּן בְּשֵׂיבָה דְּשֵׁנִים וְרַעֲנַנִּים יִהְיוּ: (טז) לְהַגִּיד כִּי יָשָׁר ה’ צוּרִי וְלֹא עַוְלָתָה בּוֹ:
(13) The righteous man will flourish like the date palm; he will thrive like the cedar of Lebanon. (14) Planted in the house of Hashem, they will flourish in the courtyards of our G-d. (15) They will still be fruitful in old age; they will be vigorous and fresh, (16) declaring that Hashem is straight and upright. He is my Rock and there is no injustice in Him.
Learning the Mizmor
(א) מִזְמוֹר שִׁיר לְיוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת:
This mizmor is a song  מִזְמוֹר שִׁיר  to be performed in the Bais HaMikdash on the day of Shabbos — לְיוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת .
(ב) טוֹב לְהֹדוֹת לַה’ 
וּלְזַמֵּר לְשִׁמְךָ עֶלְיוֹן:
Shabbos is the day when my freedom from mundane occupations enables me to devote more of my thoughts to my relationship with Hashem. Therefore, especially on this day, it is good to give thanks to You, Hashem — טוֹב לְהֹדוֹת לַה’ and to sing praises to Your Name — וּלְזַמֵּר לְשִׁמְךָ You are recognized by all of mankind as the Most High — עֶלְיוֹן , even by those who worship lesser forces.
(ג) לְהַגִּיד בַּבֹּקֶר חַסְדֶּךָ 
וֶאֱמוּנָתְךָ בַּלֵּילוֹת:
Regardless of my current situation, I welcome Shabbos with joy. It is a day for me to tell of your kindness in the morning — לְהַגִּיד בַּבֹּקֶר חַסְדֶּךָ at the dawn of better times for all of mankind, and it is a day for me to tell of your faithfulness in the nights — וֶאֱמוּנָתְךָ בַּלֵּילוֹת of darkest exile when I look to Your promise of redemption.
(ד) עֲלֵי עָשׂוֹר וַעֲלֵי נָבֶל 
עֲלֵי הִגָּיוֹן בְּכִנּוֹר:
My words in praise and gratitude to You are accompanied by a ten-stringed instrument — עֲלֵי עָשׂוֹר and the stirring melody of the ten-tone bagpipe — וַעֲלֵי נָבֶל , with meditative music on the ten-stringed harp — עֲלֵי הִגָּיוֹן בְּכִנּוֹר The variety of instruments corresponds to the variety of things to be thankful for. Their wondrous harmonies and moving melodies inspire me to greater depths of spiritual insight.
(ה) כִּי שִׂמַּחְתַּנִי ה’ בְּפָעֳלֶךָ 
בְּמַעֲשֵׂי יָדֶיךָ אֲרַנֵּן:
For You have gladdened me, Hashem, with Your actions — כִּי שִׂמַּחְתַּנִי ה’ בְּפָעֳלֶךָ which are intellectually gratifying like the Shabbos itself that offers man time to reflect on the meaning of what has been accomplished during the previous six days. I sing joyously at the works of Your hands  בְּמַעֲשֵׂי יָדֶיךָ אֲרַנֵּן , including the wonders of nature and the special miracles that You have done for me.
(ו) מַה גָּדְלוּ מַעֲשֶׂיךָ ה’
מְאֹד עָמְקוּ מַחְשְׁבֹתֶיךָ:
How great are your works, Hashem — מַה גָּדְלוּ מַעֲשֶׂיךָ ה’ We can only wonder at the awesomeness of Your Creation and we can only feel completely incapable of assessing what You have wrought. Deeply profound are your thoughts — מְאֹד עָמְקוּ מַחְשְׁבֹתֶיךָ which are at the basis of all the phenomena of nature and of all the events of history.
(ז) אִישׁ בַּעַר לֹא יֵדָע 
וּכְסִיל לֹא יָבִין אֶת זֹאת:
A simple-minded person does not know — אִישׁ בַּעַר לֹא יֵדָע , nor does a self-centered fool understand all this — וּכְסִיל לֹא יָבִין אֶת זֹאת that is outlined in the coming verses, for the lesson that Shabbos is designed to teach requires humility and a willingness to learn. As a result they are likely to renounce their faith in the ultimate justice and fairness of Hashem.
(ח) בִּפְרֹחַ רְשָׁעִים כְּמוֹ עֵשֶׂב 
וַיָּצִיצוּ כָּל פֹּעֲלֵי אָוֶן 
לְהִשָּׁמְדָם עֲדֵי עַד:
When the wicked flourish like grass  בִּפְרֹחַ רְשָׁעִים כְּמוֹ עֵשֶׂב and when all evil doers blossom — וַיָּצִיצוּ כָּל פֹּעֲלֵי אָוֶן they do not realize that it is only so that they may be destroyed forever — לְהִשָּׁמְדָם עֲדֵי עַד . Their prosperity was Hashem’s way of rewarding them for their few good deeds in this world, in order to deny them the World to Come. It has always been true that whenever nations have succumbed to moral corruption, they have produced tyrants who in turn proved to be the scourges of their own people.
(ט) וְאַתָּה מָרוֹם לְעֹלָם ה’:
But You remain on high forever, Hashem — וְאַתָּה מָרוֹם לְעֹלָם ה’ and see all. You always have the upper hand and will ensure justice is served, if not in this world, then in the world to come. In the end there is no alternative for the wicked but to accept Your judgment. As for the man of evil, no direct act of Divine intervention is even necessary to eradicate him. He will self-destruct.
(י) כִּי הִנֵּה אֹיְבֶיךָ ה’ כִּי הִנֵּה אֹיְבֶיךָ יֹאבֵדוּ 
יִתְפָּרְדוּ כָּל פֹּעֲלֵי אָוֶן:
Based on what we have already seen, we are convinced that surely Your enemies, Hashem — כִּי הִנֵּה אֹיְבֶיךָ ה’ , will eventually perish — כִּי הִנֵּה אֹיְבֶיךָ יֹאבֵדוּ through Your intervention; all evildoers will eventually be scattered — יִתְפָּרְדוּ כָּל פֹּעֲלֵי אָוֶן because of their own disunity.
(יא) וַתָּרֶם כִּרְאֵים קַרְנִי 
בַּלֹּתִי בְּשֶׁמֶן רַעֲנָן:
As for any success I have, it is not my own doing; it is You. You raised my horn of strength like that of a noble creature of the wild — וַתָּרֶם כִּרְאֵים קַרְנִי which owes its stature to You. I have been anointed with ever-fresh oil — בַּלֹּתִי בְּשֶׁמֶן רַעֲנָן symbolizing material enjoyment as well as spiritual and moral consecration.
(יב) וַתַּבֵּט עֵינִי בְּשׁוּרָי 
בַּקָּמִים עָלַי מְרֵעִים תִּשְׁמַעְנָה אָזְנָי:
My eyes have seen the downfall of my ever-watching foes  וַתַּבֵּט עֵינִי בְּשׁוּרָי , who lie in wait for me and watch for a moment of weakness. When I am attacked by wicked antagonists that hate what I stand for — בַּקָּמִים עָלַי מְרֵעִים , my ears hear — תִּשְׁמַעְנָה אָזְנָי an assurance from Heaven that they will not succeed.
(יג) צַדִּיק כַּתָּמָר יִפְרָח 
כְּאֶרֶז בַּלְּבָנוֹן יִשְׂגֶּה:
The righteous man will flourish like the tall date palm — צַדִּיק כַּתָּמָר יִפְרָח producing his fruit in the form of offspring. He will thrive like the towering cedar of Lebanon  כְּאֶרֶז בַּלְּבָנוֹן יִשְׂגֶּה which grows to be strong and enduring. Like fragrance of the cedar, the righteous man will be renowned for his good deeds.
(יד) שְׁתוּלִים בְּבֵית ה’
בְּחַצְרוֹת אֱלֹקֵינוּ יַפְרִיחוּ:
Planted in the house of Hashem — שְׁתוּלִים בְּבֵית ה’ with their roots drawing vigor and strength from the Torah, they will flourish throught the nation in all of the courtyards of our G-d  בְּחַצְרוֹת אֱלֹקֵינוּ יַפְרִיחוּ .
(טו) עוֹד יְנוּבוּן בְּשֵׂיבָה 
דְּשֵׁנִים וְרַעֲנַנִּים יִהְיוּ:
They will still be fruitful in old age — עוֹד יְנוּבוּן בְּשֵׂיבָה continually increasing in wisdom as they grow older. They will be vigorous and fresh  דְּשֵׁנִים וְרַעֲנַנִּים יִהְיוּ ,
(טז) לְהַגִּיד כִּי יָשָׁר ה’ 
צוּרִי וְלֹא עַוְלָתָה בּוֹ:
declaring that Hashem is straight and upright — לְהַגִּיד כִּי יָשָׁר ה’ as is evident from the prosperity of the righteous and the downfall of the wicked. He is my Rock and there is no injustice in Him — צוּרִי וְלֹא עַוְלָתָה בּוֹ .
The primary sources used in the interpretation of the verses in this mizmor are listed below.
א – רש”י, מצודות, מלבי”ם
ב – אבן עזרא, רד”ק, מלבי”ם
ג – רש”י, אבן עזרא, רד”ק, ספורנו, רשר”ה
ד – רש”י, רד”ק, מלבי”ם, רשר”ה, נר לרגלי
ה – אבן עזרא, רד”ק, מצודות
ו – אבן עזרא, רד”ק, רשר”ה, דעת סופרים
ז – רש”י, מצודות, המאירי, רשר”ה
ח – רש”י, רשר”ה, דעת סופרים
ט – רש”י, רד”ק, מצודות, ספורנו, רשר”ה
י – אבן עזרא, מלבי”ם, ספורנו, רשר”ה
יא – רד”ק, מצודות, מלבי”ם, בן־רמוך, רשר”ה, נר לרגלי
יב – רש”י, רד”ק, תרגום, רשר”ה
יג – רש”י, רד”ק, מצודות, מלבי”ם, ספורנו, רשר”ה
יד – מצודות, בן רמוך, רשר”ה, נר לרגלי
טו – מצודות, מצודות
טז – רד”ק, רשר”ה