Psalm 145


Adonai is near to all who call, to all who call God with sincerity. (145:18)

Psalm 145, also known as Ashrei (even though the lines beginning with the word Ashrei come from two different Psalms), is an alphabetical acrostic. From a liturgical point of view it is a popular Psalm, recited three times a day because of the verse, “You open your hand and satisfy the desire of every living creature” (verse 16). I love that verse but decided to write about the kof verse instead, because it reminded me of the aphorism attributed to French novelist and playwright Jean Giraudoux, “The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that you’ve got it made.”

Faked sincerely can fool many people most of the time. In the end, however, living a lie is unsustainable. God is the purest form of truth-detector and will make sure that eventually the lie will collapse. To paraphrase Pirke Avot’s teaching about one mitzvah leading to another (and one sin leading to another), one lie will lead to another lie, to another lie, to another, until the pile of falsehoods collapses from its own weight.

The extent to which one feels close to God depends entirely on the sincerity of one’s belief that God is an imminent presence in the world. There will be times in your life when The Presence is in shadow. Psalm 145, especially this verse, is a reminder that eclipses are temporary and with time, patience, and sincere dedication to one’s religious practice of mitzvot, you will again feel God’s presence.

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