“[A] treasured possession.” (135:4)
The Biblical foundational story of human origins asserts that human beings are designed to partner, rather than spend their life alone. To unite in partnership with another human being is to know that one is treasured by another human being. To partner is to commit oneself to love another as oneself. Every person wants to be treasured at times, to be placed on a pedestal and treated like a king or queen. Everyone has moments in their life when they want and need to nurture and be nurtured, to comfort and be comforted.
“Yours is the power to forgive.” (130:4)
You control one of the greatest superpowers, the power to forgive. Be not stingy nor overly generous with forgiveness. Forgiving too quickly missed the opportunity help the other person appreciate how hurtful his or her actions were, and learn how to repair the damage. Withholding forgiveness is more damaging to you than the other person, because it keeps your hurt alive while the other person has moved on. You have the superpower of forgiveness. When used wisely, you can profoundly change both your life and the other’s.
“Your guardian will not slumber.” (121:3)
Think about parents who just brought home a tiny infant, helpless and demanding. Mom and Dad are understandably reluctant to leave this new member of their household unsupervised, even while the baby is sleeping. So no matter where they are in the house, there is a monitor, video or audio, connecting them to baby. When they themselves go to sleep, the lightest baby peep, the softest cry, is enough to wake them. And in fact often the lack of sounds, the thought that they can’t hear the baby breathing, is enough to rouse them in a panic. Such is the protective nature of love.
“Steadfast love overwhelms us.” (117:2)
At the end of a celebration of my 18th year as rabbi of my synagogue, the cantor asked me to stand in the middle of the center aisle of the sanctuary. He then asked the congregation to stand around me in concentric circles so they could either put their hands on my shoulders or on the shoulders of someone else who was connected to me. After the entire group was physically attached in this way, he led them in the Priestly blessing from Numbers, “May Adonai bless you and protect you ….” I was overwhelmed by the power of the congregation’s love.
“God’s/His steadfast love is eternal.” (100:5)
If we measure love as a feeling, our love towards our siblings, spouse, parents, and children waxes and wanes. Psalm 100, however, does not consider love to be a feeling but rather a connecting strand. Our model for love is that no matter how God might “feel” about Israel at any given moment — exasperated, angry, joyful, loving, betrayed, happy — the connection of love is unbroken. If we behave with this understanding, then even when we are disciplining our children, we will temper it with love. When we are exasperated with our parents, we will respond with love. When we are angry at our spouse, we approach him or her with love.