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 119-004 (Aleph 4) – The Doctrines
The Torah is a sacred trust that Hashem has given to teach us how He wants us to live our lives. It presents the prescribed rules of behavior in the form of mitzvos. Some of the mitzvos are Testimonies, as discussed above (119-002). Another way of grouping the mitzvos is to consider those that we are called upon to perform primarily with our minds rather than with our bodies. These Doctrines ( פִּקֻּדִים ) teach the basic principles of Hashem’s relationship with the world and with mankind. They also instruct man in what his attitude should be towards Hashem and to other men.
An example of the mitzvos that we must perform with our thoughts is the obligation to be aware at all times that Hashem exists. As presented by the sefer Chovos Halevavos, the mitzvos of the mind include all of the thoughts and ideas that we are required to have at specific times throughout our lives, but not necessarily all the time.
The word פִּקֻּדִים is associated with the word פִּקָּדוֹן , meaning a deposit. This is because the mitzvos have been entrusted with us by Hashem and it is up to us to perform them faithfully. The same word is associated with the word תִפְקְדֶנּוּ , which is used in Mizmor 008 (8:5) to mean “having in mind.” These mitzvos need to be on our minds whenever the opportunity arises.
Exploring the Mizmor
(ד) אַתָּה צִוִּיתָה פִקֻּדֶיךָ לִשְׁמֹר מְאֹד:
You have issued Your doctrines to be faithfully observed.
In this pasuk David begins addressing Hashem directly (You) for he is emphasizing man’s relationship with Hashem which is defined by the Doctrines. He also emphasizes the importance of their faithful observance. Only Hashem knows what is in a man’s mind. The responsibility to fulfill Hashem’s sacred trust rests with each individual.
Learning the Mizmor
(ד) אַתָּה צִוִּיתָה פִקֻּדֶיךָ
Because You, Hashem, have issued Your doctrines — אַתָּה צִוִּיתָה פִקֻּדֶיךָ , it is all the more reason for them to be faithfully observed — לִשְׁמֹר מְאֹד by each individual.
A series of insights illuminating this pasuk are presented below. The numbers identifying the insights refer to the listing of sources below.
(1) The details of the mitzvos of the mind have been primarily conveyed to us by the Neviim (Prophets).
(2) An alternate view of the Doctrines is that they are physical mitzvos that correspond to the Testimonies, which are the true mitzvos of the mind.
(3) Another view is that they are the mitzvos that have been implanted into our conscience so that they existed in conceptual form and were held for safekeeping even before the Torah was given at Sinai.
The primary sources used for the additional insights illuminating this pasuk are listed below.
(1) – אבן עזרא
(2) – מלבים
(3) אבן יחיא