Hallelukah, ki tov zamrah Elokeinu, ki na’im navah s’hilah.
Hallelukah! For it is good to make music to our G-d, for praise is pleasant and befitting.
The theme of the first Hallelukah was the individual’s bitachon – our total trust and reliance on Hashem even in painful and challenging times. We now move to our collective bitachon as Hashem’s people and nation.
The first pasuk is challenging to read but powerfully inspiring. It can be read and understood in different ways. What we present in this segment is based on the Meshech Chochmah (quoted by sefer Tal’lei Oros) and the Malbim.
Both the Meshech Chochmah and the Malbim place the emphasis of the message of this pasuk on the word “Elokeinu,” though they each focus on a different aspect of the word. This is a word we recite quite often, as it is found in many brachos and throughout our tefilos. We need to first understand what the word Elokeinu encompasses before we can discuss the applications to this pasuk.
The following are some of the meanings implicit in the word “Elokeinu” each time we recite it:
- Our G-d: We, B’nei Yisrael, have a unique and special close relationship with Hashem. HaRav Avigdor Miller zt”l would point out that the phrase “Hashem, Elokei Yisrael” is mentioned at least 165 times throughout Tanach.
- Din (judgment): This particular name of Hashem represents judgment, while some other names represent compassion.
III. Hashgachah Pratis (Divine Providence): While some other names represent the generality that Hashem is Master over all, this name represents Hashem as the One Who is involved in every aspect and detail of our individual and collective lives.
- All-Powerful, All-Capable, Almighty
With these four meanings in mind, we suggest the following meaning of this pasuk, using both the Meshech Chochmah and the Malbim:
In general, in this world, man finds it extremely difficult to harmonize the experiences of pain and “good.” We experience them as opposites. If we are in pain, that is not “tov (good).” However, when it comes to Hashem’s managing the world, pain and good can, and on a certain level, are always one and the same. We will only see the full picture of how when Mashiach arrives – or in the next world – but we believe fully that all Hashem does is for our good and our benefit, and that includes the great pains we have undergone as a nation and as individuals.
“Zemer,” as we had mentioned in Hallelukah 1–1, is a higher level than ordinary praise. When we sing to Hashem, even through the pain (Elokeinu as din), knowing that Hashem is providing us exactly what we need right now (Elokeinu as hashgachah pratis and as “our G-d”) as He marches us toward the rebuilding of Yerushalayim and the ultimate redemption (which the following p’sukim speak about), that is the highest level of praise to Hashem.
Each incident of pain experienced separately in isolation can be excruciatingly painful and difficult. However, when viewed as painful steps, laying the next brick in the final Beis HaMikdash, we are able to rise to the level of singing to Hashem, because He is Elokeinu: our almighty G-d Who knows all, Who loves us uniquely, Who is directly orchestrating each detail of our history and lives, as He leads us out of our long exile to the coming of Mashiach bimheirah b’yameinu – Amein.
To access print versions of previous Tefilah segments, please visit OU Torah’s Search portal, select the Topic of “Tefillah,” and then select “Weekly Tefilah Focus” from the Series list.
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