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 119-016 (Beis 8) – Fascination
David began the Beis segment of the mizmor from the perspective of a young man faced with the daunting complexity of the Torah and its mitzvos. During the course of the segment he explored various aspects of learning Torah, including his dependence on Hashem as the Teacher (Beis 4) and his joy in learning (Beis 6).
He now ends the segment by summarizing his approach to learning as being one of total absorption in the Torah and its mitzvos. This expresses David’s fascination with the continuous unfolding of new insight while living a Torah life.
He mentions specific categories of mitzvos in the various pesukim. However, many of the thoughts he expresses could easily apply in varying degrees to the other categories. However, it is useful to think about the specific categories because it helps the student become more knowledgable of a mitzvah by thinking of how it fits in to the overall scheme.
Exploring the Mizmor
(טז) בְּחֻקֹּתֶיךָ אֶשְׁתַּעֲשָׁע לֹא אֶשְׁכַּח דְּבָרֶךָ:
I will absorb myself in Your Chukim, I will not forget Your word.
David reveals his fascination with the Chukim by describing his feeling of being totally absorbed in learning whatever he can about them. He is convinced that the effort he is putting into that intense involvement will prevent him from ever forgetting them.
Learning the Mizmor
(טז) בְּחֻקֹּתֶיךָ אֶשְׁתַּעֲשָׁע
לֹא אֶשְׁכַּח דְּבָרֶךָ:
I will absorb myself in Your Chukim — בְּחֻקֹּתֶיךָ אֶשְׁתַּעֲשָׁע even though they do not easily lend themselves to rational interpretation. As a result, I am sure that I will not forget Your word — לֹא אֶשְׁכַּח דְּבָרֶךָ .
A series of insights illuminating this pasuk are presented here. The numbers identifying the insights refer to the listing of sources below.
(1) The word אֶשְׁתַּעֲשָׁע is based on a root ( שעע ) which suggests stroking and repeatedly turning to something. This recalls the way a child becomes so fascinated with a toy that he is oblivious to any distraction.
(2) David says he is constantly and repeatedly occupying myself with the study of Chukim in order that he will not forget them.
(3) The joy that I get in familiarizing myself with the Chukim ensures that I will not forget them.
(4) The word בְּחֻקֹּתֶיךָ (Your Chukim) also suggest the complex laws by which Hashem runs the universe. David is fascinated by the wondrous world we live in.
The primary sources used for the additional insights illuminating this pasuk are listed below.
(2) – מצודות
(3) – רד”ק
(4) – אבן עזרא