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Key Concepts of Mizmor 119-013 (Beis 5) – Sharing Torah
The process of learning Torah is not limited to listening to the words of the Torah and studying them. A higher degree of fulfillment in learning Torah requires a sense of sharing the insights of the Torah with other people. The Torah was given to the nation of Yisrael as a community and it needs to be absorbed and lived by the people as a community.
A person’s lips symbolize the mechanism that we have been given to share wisdom. By formulating and expressing words verbally a person tests his own understanding and teaches it to others. Furthermore, each time he recounts the words of the Torah he rises to a higher level in his understanding of what he has learned.
This is especially true of the aspect of the Torah called Mishpatim. Since their rationale is relatively straightforward, there is much more depth in these teachings than is initially apparent. The more a person repeats the words and the ideas the greater is his comprehension and the greater is his appreciation for their wisdom.
Exploring the Mizmor
In this pasuk David describes how he has adopted the practice of sharing the Mishpatim using the instrument of his lips.
(יג) בִּשְׂפָתַי סִפַּרְתִּי כֹּל מִשְׁפְּטֵי פִיךָ:
With my lips I have recounted all the Mishpatim of Your mouth.
David refers to the Mishpatim symbolically as the product of the mouth of Hashem. This symbolism is important because it was used by Hashem in describing the Creation of the world through His spoken words. It also symbolize the living spirit which Hashem breathed into man in giving him life. That spiritual breath represents the conversion of abstract ideas into the physical existence of speech and action.
The mouth of Hashem is therefore the means by which His wisdom is transmitted to man. Man is then permitted to emulate his Creator by using his own mouth to share that wisdom with others.
Learning the Mizmor
(יג) בִּשְׂפָתַי סִפַּרְתִּי
כֹּל מִשְׁפְּטֵי פִיךָ:
With my lips I have recounted — בִּשְׂפָתַי סִפַּרְתִּי all the Mishpatim (the ordnances) of Your mouth — כֹּל מִשְׁפְּטֵי פִיךָ and shared them with other men, thereby increasing my own understanding.
Three insights illuminating this pasuk are presented below. The numbers identifying the insights refer to the listing of sources at the end of the segment.
(1) In the previous pasuk (119-012) David asked Hashem to teach him the Torah. Now he commits himself to sharing that which he has been taught.
(2) David describes his sharing of the Torah with the word סִפַּרְתִּי . This word implies repeating things that are already known, but each retelling may bring with it further insight. It is therefore used in the retelling of the departure from Mitzrayim during the Pesach Seder.
(3) David says that he has refrained from making assumptions about the knowledge of his listensers. He has gone over all the details (כֹּל מִשְׁפְּטֵי) .
The primary sources used for the additional insights illuminating this pasuk are listed below.
(1) – מצודות
(2) – מלבי”ם
(3) – נר לרגלי