Tehillim with Malbim, 5782

These shiurim are being given 3 times a week in Y.U. in Rav Twersky’s shiur. We hope to add each shiur as the year progresses.

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See the table below the player for details about the shiurim in this series.

Track Title Length (mm:ss) Description
24Perek 1230:31Dovid Hamelech mentions 1) kefira against HKB”H 2) distorting the meaning of Torah 3) lashon hara. All 3 of these stem from ga’ava. Both chassidim and anshei emmes are gone, and there are plenty of fakers / smooth talkers.

Torah, both its nigleh and nistar, is full of chochmo. Asks Hashem to protect Torah from distortion, since reshaim encircle it and elevate inauthentic and cheap things. Have to preserve authenticity in all contexts where we teach Torah.
23Perek 1124:07How does one reconcile hashgacha the triumph of a rasha over a tzaddik? If hasgacha meant instantaneous reward/punishment, the evidence of HKB”H would be so overwhelming that we would have no bechira (see, “kafa aleihem har k’gigis”, as well as Chazon Ish, Y.D., 2:16.) HKB”H tests us by delaying results. A tzaddik who is being pursued by a rasha but still doesn’t falter, is discerned to be serving HKB”H mei’ahava. Yirah is a logical response / attitude, but it doesn’t allow a person to act heriocally and go beyond his natural capacity; the passion of ahava transcends logic and allows a person to be trascendent and persist even when logically his kochos should’ve been exhausted.
22Perek 10, Part 225:04The rasha feels invulnerable. Rasha preys on people throughout their lives. Even when old and bent over, people continue on same trajectory without a conscious effort to reflect; nothing affects us automatically. Aveira goreres aveira true in belief as well – wrong beliefs lead to even worse beliefs.

Dovid asks Hashem to be more obvious and smash the rasha. And asks Hashem to demand justice for the orphan, etc., and everyone will see where the mishpat is coming from, i.e. HKB”H.
21Perek 1026:41Malbim: Dovid Hamelech asking about rasha v’tov lo. People get confused by it, think rasha acting autonomously, etc. Leaves us with an inability to understand it. (If not for the Malbim, could understand the perek as a tefillah, akin to “lama yomru Mitzrayim leimor…”) If the context of that question is recognizing HKB”H, etc., only is a “tzarich iyun” – have to have humility to know we will not understand everything.
20Perek 9, part 218:23– different levels of hashgacha in Eretz Yisroel and dorshei Hashem vs. other contexts

– HKB”H’s hashgacha is middah k’neged middah. A person is the cause of his own downfall. In the physical world, there is cause and effect, if I do something dangerous and get hurt we’d call that a natural outcome not a “punishment”, same is true in the spiritual world; it is simple mishpat that the rasha stumbles over his own actions. Greater hashgacha over bnei Yisroel also middah k’neged middah – can’t expect a God in which one doesn’t believe to take care of one.

– let us realize when a rasha has his downfall that it is from Hashem
19Perek 936:49– Said on occasion of death of Labein.

– Malbim, Chovos Halevavos: hard for us to fully thank Hashem, because underneath our hoda’ah is a bakasha that the good continue. Rambam (Hil. Berachos, end Perek 10) – connects hoda’ah and bakasha; neither can really stand without the other. Why can’t we have hoda’ah without bakasha? Hoda’ah shouldn’t intimate independence of Hashem going forward, hence also need bakasha l’ha’ba. Does Malbim disagree? No, but saying the bakasha shouldn’t downplay the fullness of the hoda’ah, as if to say “thanks, but not sufficient.”

– “kol nifle’osecha” – teva also miracle.

– “Azamra” – based on recognition of HKB”H’s benefaction, appreciate Him.

– Once din was triggered against Labein via his attack on Dovid, Labein and his accomplices were judged for everything he had done to everyone.

– There’s a precise correlation between yod’ei shemo and the hashgacha they receive. Those who see the world in a way that they see that Hashem’s hashgacha is all-encompassing in turn receive all-encompassing hasgacha.
18Perek 8, part 328:51– Malbim would agree that the universe also points to Hashem, but man points to him even more.

– Reviews arguments from the position that the universe is above and beyond man, then responds to them.

– Neshama is immortal, greater than the heavenly bodies. The partnership between guf & neshama is extraordinary, more than anything else in creation. Man was placed on top of it all, they all serve him, so the more there is in creation the greater it shows man is.

– We don’t seem to have any ability to discern how all of creation serves man. Rambam says it’s ratzon Hashem to have all of it, as well as to have man. Rambam says that if you explain creation to be here for us, it “makes sense.” Why? HKB”H doesn’t need man at all – no less of a mystery of why HKB”H created the world if we say all is for man than if say it’s there for some reason we don’t know. Either way we have to serve Hashem, etc.

Major yesod: a person should take what he does very seriously, but should not take himself seriously. Rambam reminding us of this.
17Perek 8, part 229:12– passuk 2: shem Hashem is an expression of how Hashem is revealed to us. Hashem’s essence is something we can’t grasp, and His name is the angle from which we can relate to Him. All chachmei Yisroel agree we can’t know His essence.

– the smallness of something is a reflection of greater wisdom (e.g. CPU), so the argument that the vast universe can’t be for tiny man is wrong. A person is a much more complex creation, albeit smaller, than the vastness of the heavenly bodies.

– the mind-body connection is not well understood; HKB”H combined the two domains.
16Perek 8: Introduction23:24Hakdama to Malbim’s peirush on this perek: how can one think that the vast universe is all created for man? This question/attitude is wrong – the entire universe was created for us, and what happens in nature is all driven by our actions, i.e. listening to Hashem or rebelling. Dovid Hamelech sets out in this perek to respond to the incorrect philosophical positions that posed the question above. Hashgacha pratis only makes sense, and any religion only makes sense, if man is the center of all.
15Perek 727:25– “tzidki” – actions, “tumi” – kavanas haLev.

– some judgements are “stand alone”, i.e. look just at the one person in a vacuum. Some are a “mishpat tzeirufi”, i.e. x in relation to y, and its impact thereon.

-Tzaddikim say shira when Hashem promises them something good, even before He delivers, since their emunah is so great that they say shira based on a havtacha. 1) they relate to a havtacha from Hashem as a reality 2) hoda’ah is thanking Hashem for benefit received, but shira is on the yad Hashem that is evident in a tov, for seeing yad Hashem. Thus shira can be said before the fact, which is what tzaddikim do.
14Perek 6, part 5. Perek 7.37:45– The type of death one will experience is something to daven for, thank for. Tachlis harbi’ah is to thank Hashem.

– The shame of teshuva is temporary, while the shame of the aveira will be lasting if he doesn’t do teshuva.

– Dovid punished as a part of the generation, as Moshe was, since he was not a tzaddik tamim (unlike Noach, who was saved since he was tamim.)

– There is a middah that a person is judged in his context (e.g. Lot wanted to stay away from Avraham since he. comparatively, is a rasha.)
13Perek 5, part 4. Perek 6.29:55– R”H – world judged 4 times, i.e. all the yomim tovim, and each time there’s din there is also mitzvas simcha. Clearly the simcha coming from din. “Yis’mechu hashomayim…ki bah lishpot es ha’aretz…” Mishpat represents a gilui of malchus shomayim in the world, which generates simcha. Same thing here – “yismechu kol chosei bo.”

– The beracha of Hashem is accompanied with a shemira to preserve it.

– perek 6: according to Malbim, tochacha is about clarifying. Works well with Rambam in Hilchos De’os about not humiliating the person giving tochacha to. Dovid asks that HKB”H’s tochacha not be given b’af. For yisurin, Dovid asks that there not be inner enmity from HKB”H towards him. A punishment can come as an instrument of kapara (e.g. on a tzaddik), or as the destruction of bad (e.g. on a rasha). Yisruin shel ahava come for the person;s good, either kapara or to increase his reward in olam haba.
12Perek 5, part 328:30– “va’ani b’rov chasdecha…” – creation is all a chessed from HKB”H. Since HBK”H is the greatest ba’al chessed, makes sense to daven to him with requests. But, essence of tefillah is being focused on HKB”H.

– Asking Hashem that we be on the right path and that it be smooth.

Dovid Hamelech’s enemies opposed not just him, but also HKB”H. Same is true about those who oppress the Jewish people.
11Perek 5, part 228:16– “ki lo Keil chofetz reasha ata, lo yagurcha ra”: mythology deified humans, created “gods” in the image of man. Why does Dovid have to address something so crude and obviously wrong? Because when something wrong is widespread enough, it sows confusion and people are susceptible to it. This is a very important chinuch lesson.

– “…yesa’ev Hashem” – in the moral universe, evil naturally “bonds” with evil; Iran with terrorists organozations, China with Russia, etc. Hashem does not.

– “va’ani b’rov chasdecha…” – avoda zara is not “only” that they have the wrong address to whom/what they are directing their avodah; but in addition, the whole concept of avoda zara is to get the deity to be positive to you, i.e. it’s all pragmatic. Avoda zara has no notion of lishma – it’s all a quid pro quo. We are not only supposed to reject avoda zara itself, but also reject the purely pragmatic approach to avoda, i.e. avoda should be lishma. Shelo lishma is just a building block; avodas Hashem is not about “what’s in it for me.”
10Perek 529:50– Conditions for best Tefillah:
1. requires eloquence and precision. Tefillah d’oraysa – no set text, time, or frequency other then once a day; it was personal expression. Once chazal made the set text for tefillah, it’s not my spontaneous expression, I need license to daven and chazal need to tell me when to do so, etc., since the eloquence will be limited by it not being my personal expression. Why is using few, choice words so important? 1) Demonstrates his seeing the “meeting” as a valuable privilege 2) Mitzvos are supposed to be done the best way possible; tefillah is done via speech, so should be best words possible
2. Thoughts and speech should be aligned
3. Don’t daven for inconsequential matters
4. Trust Hashem exclusively, 100%. Supposed to make hishtadlus, but results determined by Hashem. Bitachon is an attitude that accompanies and frames hishtadlus, not a substitute for it.

– Hashem will bring an end to trouble just as morning brings end to troubles of night
9Perek 3, part 2. Perek 4.25:48– HKB”H gives a targeted yeshua. Wrong halachically to expose chayalim to more danger to avoid civilian casualties. The idea that a civilian casualty is somehow worse than a chayal being killed is wrong. HKB”H can miraculously differentiate within precision, but people have to make hishtadlus within our constraints.

– Background to perek 4: leitzanei hador attributed famine to Dovid’s aveira. Urim v’tumim reveled it was due to Shaul having killed the givonim. Once the givonim are appeased, the famine stops.
– Dovid asks Hashem to respond to end the chilul Hashem. Asks from different angles: Dovid’s zechus, rachamim, chanina.

– Those wanting to attack will blow something out of proportion or fabricate. Will also project their own shortcomings on their target.
8Perek 2, part 4. Perek 3, part 1.26:21– “haskilu…hivasru…” Ahavas Hashem emerges from sechel; it is not an emotional state, is not generated by emotion.

– Malbim: each section of perek 3 ends with the word “Selah”, which indicates “full stop”, i.e. end of section.

– 2 camps opposing Dovid: those simply wanting to install Avshalom as king, and the second group considered him a sinner, rejected by Hashem. Hashem protects Dovid against both groups. “kavod” refers to neshama.
– “Vaya’aneini mei’har kadsho” – highlighting that he will daven in the direction of the mikdash, and he need not be near it to be answered

– “Elokai” – refers to the special, personal divine providence on Dovid.
7 Perek 2, part 326:10– at the very time that the goyim are organizing to rebel, HKB”H is raising Dovid up. When HKB”H determines what will be, nothing a person does can interfere with the way it plays out or with the result. E.g., Paroh was an instrument for “sapair Shemi b’chol ha’aretz”. Similarly, the malchei Cana’an would serve to reveal that Dovid is mashiach Hashem one way or another. One the one hand we have free choice, but on the other hand Hashem’s plan will not be derailed regardless.

– Ratzon Hashem can/does happen “on the turn of a dime.” Yosef was rushed out of the pit, one’s death can come suddenly as well. Hence the need to prepare now.
Tefillah can work because it changes us. Also because HKB”H’s way is that the beracha can be there waiting but we have to daven for it.

– Yiras onesh will allow you to rejoice in the end. A person can’t stand in the way of a gezeiras Shomayim, rather we can choose how it will be fulfilled.
6Perek 2, part 222:41– Mitzvos that don’t have a reason which is intuitive to people they will be mevateil, mitzvos that do have a reason which is intuitive to people they will simply throw off. Malbim is saying there are both chukim and mishpatim in 7 mitzvos bnei Noach. Eiver min hachai includes even if two animals were fighting and something came off, in which case there’s no human reason explanation for its issur. Further, even within something like murder, human reason can say “murder” is bad but abortion or euthanasia is ok, hence even within mishpatim there are chukim.

-“Hashem yilag lamo” – we don’t necessarily know Hashem’s timetable for sechar & onesh, sometimes its olam hazehm sometimes it’s olam haba.
5Perek 1, part 5. Perek 2, part 129:50“ki yode’a Hashem derech tzaddikim” yedi’a means connection, and that connection is the source of nitzchiyus for the tzaddikim. The opposite is true for reshaim.
“Meshicho” – meshicha means an appointment forever, hence refers to Dovid Hamelech. Goyim were looking to overthrow mitzvos Hashem and sovereignty of Dovid.
4Perek 1, part 425:49– One who is not a tzaddik or gadol can increase his own impact and accomplishments by facilitating the agenda of a tzaddik/gadol

– Both sobering and inspirational is the reality that people are not born as tzaddikim, rather they worked hard to become so, which means we have no excuses not to work towards shleimus. In learning, we are limited by our intellectual capacities, and should set appropriate goals.
3Perek 1, part 330:57-“etz shasul al palgei mayim…piryo yitein” – Malbim: even in Mishpatim, a person guided only by reason will come up short, like a tree in a dry place. Rav zt”l said similarly that even our observance of Mishpatim must be kept as Chukim, or even basic Mishpatim, e.g. murder, will not be kept, e.g. abortion, euthanasia, etc. In order to get desired outcome, logic applied must be Torah’s logic.

– “aleihu lo yibol” – the way to not be over focused-on gashmius is to have the right amount.
2Perek 1, part 228:24– “Higayon” – sometimes means speech, sometimes thought. Both mean “bringing forth”, either by articulating or by meivin davar miToch davar. Hence, “B’Toraso ye’he’ge” means lilmod al menas la’asos. Rema, Shach, etc., discuss that one must learn nigleh before nistar (i.e. al menas la’asos comes first.) When people don’t listen to what Chazal/poskim say, not only is it a chutzpa, but it doesn’t work – they will not / don’t succeed in their study of nistar. Knowing nigleh also necessary to avoid bad misunderstandings of the nistar.

– “Asher piyo yitein b’ito” – Torah & ma’asim tovim provide immortality, i.e. olam haba.
1Perek 128:11“Hatslacha” refers to physical success, “osher” to spiritual. There are multiple different types/dimensions of shleimus. Supposed to do mitzvos with a conviction that they are good & emmes. Torah is supposed to mold us.