Psalm 22

“My heart is like wax.” (22:15)

In the Psalm, the melting wax heart denotes weakness. But taken in and of itself, a wax heart is the opposite of a hard heart. Rather than being hard-hearted and stubborn, isn’t it better to have a sensitive malleable heart? A hard-hearted person thinks of himself or herself first. Do these people really need my help? Why should I be the one to step in? How will I benefit? A soft-hearted person thinks of others first and looks for ways to ease their suffering. A heart of wax is the price we pay for being vulnerable and allowing ourselves to feel.

Psalm 21

“You have set upon his head a crown of fine gold.” (21:4)

We might understand the function of a kippah to be a mark of identification as a Jew and a reminder to the wearer of his or her Jewish responsibilities. A gold crown is a kippah, a thousand times heavier. Every person wears a crown denoting him or her as a being created in the image of God. It’s the ultimate participation trophy, with a twist. The crown is a weighty burden that functions as a constant reminder to live up to the responsibility and privilege of being human.

Psalm 20

“May God grant you your heart’s desire, and fulfill your every plan.” (20:5)

Is this a blessing or a curse? We want a lot of things, but not everything our heart desires is actually good for us or for the world. We make plans that fail when our desire overreaches our ability to ensure success. Sometimes, the best thing that can happen to us is to be reminded that our plans and our heart’s desires are not enduring, forcing us to take a second look at the priorities in our lives. May your heart’s desire and your every plan be aligned with your very best God-given potential.

Psalm 19

“A groom going forth from the chamber …” (19:6)

Each human soul is a world unto itself, created in the image of God. When two such souls meet under the huppah at the wedding ceremony, there is an infinity of potential. We don’t know what this couple is going to do together, how they will motivate each other to reach their highest potential, if or how they will raise children and what gifts the children will bring to the world. The undeveloped energy is the groom, the sun, going forth from its chamber on its way to bring amazing light into the world.

Psalm 18

“Gliding on the wings of the wind.” (18:11)

In order for a kite to experience lift, it needs resistance. If you let go of the string and let it fly free, it will quickly crash into the ground (or a tree, if you’re Charlie Brown). If you pull on the string, forcing air to flow over and under the surfaces of the kite, you create a high pressure area beneath the kite and a low pressure area above the kite. The high pressure zone lifts the kite towards the low pressure zone. We, too, need some resistance, some challenges in our life, to reach our highest potential.