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(א) מִזְמוֹר לְתוֹדָה הָרִיעוּ לַה’ כָּל־הָאָרֶץ:
(1) A mizmor of thanksgiving. Everyone on earth, sing out to Hashem.
NOTE: For a PDF of this mizmor, please click here. This will enable you to print out the entire text of the article. [Rev. 1]
Key Concepts of Mizmor 100 (Gratitude)
This is the final mizmor in the series of 11 mizmorim (90 — 100) that were originally composed by Moshe Rabbeinu and subsequently incorporated into Tehilim by David Hamelech. The mizmor was originally designed to be recited when bringing the Korban Todah thanksgiving offering in the Bais Hamikdash (Vayikra 7:12 and 22:29).
Typically, an individual brings this korban when he is saved after going through a life-threatening experience, such as recovering from a serious illness. However, the korban may be offered at any time that a person feels the need to express his gratitude to Hashem.
The mizmor consists of only five pesukim, but because of its great significance it has been incorporated into the daily Shacharis tefillos, and is recited on most days directly after בָּרוּךְ שֶׁאָמַר . The mizmor is recited earnestly while standing as a sign of respect. In earlier times it was sung with exuberance by the entire congregation. The rationale behind the daily recitation of this mizmor is that every person should thank Hashem for his continued survival in the face of the visible and invisible dangers that beset him.
The mizmor itself is not limited to the people of Yisrael. It is structured as an invitation to the entire world to join our nation in giving thanks to Hashem and praising Him for His goodness.
The thanks that we offer to Hashem are an exercise in humility. We do not feel that we are doing Hashem a favor by expressing our thanks or by taking the trouble to come to the Bais Hamikdash to offer thanksgiving sacrifices. Rather, it is we who are grateful for being privileged to enter His domain. Therefore, we add praise in addition to our thanksgiving. It is a compliment for us that Hashem wants us to bless His name, considering our insignificance.
Exploring the Mizmor
We begin the mizmor by singing out our joy at being alive through the goodness of Hashem. We then declare our devotion to Hashem and the debt that we owe Him for having created us and for continuing to sustain us. Finally, we express our eternal gratitude to Hashem and our appreciation of His kindness and his faithfulness.
PART 1. OUR JOY. Filled with joy at being alive and serving Hashem we invite all of mankind to join us in our song of gratitude.
(א) מִזְמוֹר לְתוֹדָה הָרִיעוּ לַה’ כָּל־הָאָרֶץ: (ב) עִבְדוּ אֶת־ה’ בְּשִׂמְחָה בֹּאוּ לְפָנָיו בִּרְנָנָה:
(1) A mizmor of thanksgiving. Everyone on earth, sing out to Hashem. (2) Serve Hashem with joy. Come before Him with joyous singing.
PART 2. OUR DEVOTION. We acknowledge Hashem as our Creator. We can only exist through His kindnesses and so we visualize ourselves as a flock of sheep under His loving care. He has created us and He continues to sustain us.
(ג) דְּעוּ כִּי־ה’ הוּא אֱלֹקִים הוּא־עָשָׂנוּ [ולא] וְלוֹ אֲנַחְנוּ עַמּוֹ וְצֹאן מַרְעִיתוֹ:
(3) Know that Hashem, He is G-d. [1] He made us and we are His. [2] He made us, not us. [We are] His people and the flock of his pasture.
[Note that one word in this pasuk is repeated, once in the form that is written ( ולא and one in the form that is publicly read ( וְלוֹ ). Both forms contribute to the meaning as explained below under “Learning the Mizmor.”]
PART 3. OUR GRATITUDE. We visualize the grand procession of mankind entering the gates of the Bais Hamikdash, His special domain. It is there that we thank Him and praise Him for His divine qualities of kindness and faithfulness.
(ד) בֹּאוּ שְׁעָרָיו בְּתוֹדָה חֲצֵרֹתָיו בִּתְהִלָּה הוֹדוּ־לוֹ בָּרֲכוּ שְׁמוֹ: (ה) כִּי־טוֹב ה’ לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ וְעַד־דֹּר וָדֹר אֱמוּנָתוֹ:
(4) Enter His gates with thanksgiving, His courtyards with praise. Thank Him, bless His Name. (5) For Hashem is good. His kindness is everlasting and His faithfulness extends to every generation.
Learning the Mizmor
(א) מִזְמוֹר לְתוֹדָה 
הָרִיעוּ לַה‘ כָּל הָאָרֶץ:
A mizmor of thanksgiving — מִזְמוֹר לְתוֹדָה We invite everyone on earth to sing out to Hashem in great joy — הָרִיעוּ לַה’ כָּל־הָאָרֶץ Our gratitude for Hashem’s kindnesses prompts us to invite the entire world to join us in serving Him. We want everyone to share our joy.
(ב) עִבְדוּ אֶת ה‘ בְּשִׂמְחָה
Serve Hashem with the joy — עִבְדוּ אֶת־ה’ בְּשִׂמְחָה that comes from knowing that we have pleased Him and He will reward us for serving Him. We would serve Him anyway, but His way is to reward those who are deserving and this distinguishes Him from the false gods that men have worshipped over the centuries. We are happy to devote our energies to His service in whatever we are doing throughout the day. This is because we earnestly try to make everything that we do acceptable to Him.
בֹּאוּ לְפָנָיו בִּרְנָנָה:
Come before Him with joyous singing — בֹּאוּ לְפָנָיו בִּרְנָנָה for the Divine Presence will not rest upon someone enveloped in sadness.
(ג) דְּעוּ כִּי ה‘ הוּא אֱלֹקִים
Know that Hashem, He is G-d — דְּעוּ כִּי־ה’ הוּא אֱלֹקִים If you wish to benefit from his kindness, you must also realize that He is a Judge and demands justice. If you don’t obey His law you will no longer be worthy of His kindness.
הוּא עָשָׂנוּ וְלוֹ [קרי] אֲנַחְנוּ
[as read] He made us and we are His — הוּא־עָשָׂנוּ ולא וְלוֹ אֲנַחְנוּ , so He has the responsibility to provide us with our livelihood. Furthermore, since we are His He has concern for our welfare and is sensitive to our pain when we suffer.
הוּא עָשָׂנוּ וְלֹא [כתיב] אֲנַחְנוּ
[as written] He made us, it was not us who made ourselves – עָשָׂנוּ ולא וְלוֹ אֲנַחְנוּ , so we must serve Him.
עַמּוֹ וְצֹאן מַרְעִיתוֹ:
We are His people and the flock of his pasture — עַמּוֹ וְצֹאן מַרְעִיתוֹ and therefore has taken the responsibility for providing us with sustenance.
(ד) בֹּאוּ שְׁעָרָיו בְּתוֹדָה 
חֲצֵרֹתָיו בִּתְהִלָּה 
הוֹדוּ לוֹ בָּרֲכוּ שְׁמוֹ:
When we come to the Bais Hamikdash we do so with the intent of thanking and praising him. We invite each other to enter His gates with thanksgiving — בֹּאוּ שְׁעָרָיו בְּתוֹדָה Enter His courtyards with praise for his mighty acts — חֲצֵרֹתָיו בִּתְהִלָּה . Thank Him, bless His Name — הוֹדוּ־לוֹ בָּרֲכוּ שְׁמוֹ in the confident hope that His kindness will extend to the future.
(ה) כִּי טוֹב ה‘ 
לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ
וְעַד דֹּר וָדֹר אֱמוּנָתוֹ:
For Hashem is good — כִּי־טוֹב ה’ but we are not automatically entitled to the good things that have happened to us. Rather they are an expression of His kindness. His kindness is everlasting — לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ , and His faithfulness in keeping His promise extends to every generation — וְעַד־דֹּר וָדֹר אֱמוּנָתוֹ not just to the generation when the promise was made.
The primary sources used in the interpretation of the verses in this mizmor are listed below.
א – רד”ק, מצודות
ב – מלבי”ם, רשר”ה
ג – אבן עזרא, רד”ק, מצודות, אלשיך, נר לרגלי
ד – אלשיך, נר לרגלי
ה – אלשיך, נר לרגלי