Tehillim 1:1

Dovid HaMelech begins where Moshe left off
Dovid HaMelech begins Sefer Tehillim with the word Ashrei. The Medrash (Medrash Tehillim §1) states that where Yaakov left off with the word bizos, Moshe Rabbeinu began with vizos habracha. Where Moshe ended with the word ashrecho, Dovid HaMelech began with the word Ashrei. What is the meaning of the Medrash? Furthermore, what is the connection of Yaakov’s blessing to Moshe’s blessing, and what is the association between Moshe’s blessing and Dovid’s opening words?
The significance of zos
In order to answer these questions, we need to understand the meaning of the word zos. It is said (Vayikra 16:3) bizos yavo Aharon el hakodesh, with this shall Aharon come into the Sanctuary. The Medrash (Vayikra Rabbah 21:6) states that Aharon entered with the merit of Torah of which it is said vizos hatorah, with the merit of milah which is said zos, and in the merit of many mitzvos of which it is said zos. This Medrash also requires an explanation, as the word zos, which literally means this, does not seem to have any significance of its own. Perhaps the idea can be understood with the words of the Sifri that draws a distinction between the prophecy of Moshe and all other prophets. Regarding the prophecy of Moshe it is said (Bamidbar 30:2) zeh hadavar asher tzivah HaShem, this is the thing that HaShem has commanded. Regarding other prophets, however, it is said koh amar HaShem, so says HaShem. The word zeh is written in the masculine sense, whereas the word koh is in the feminine sense. Similarly, the word zos is feminine. In general, words that are in a masculine tense denote a revealed idea, whereas words that are in the feminine tense have a connotation of concealment. Thus, the Medrash in Vayikra is teaching us that when Aharon entered into the Holy of Holies, he was entering into a concealed area, and he needed merits to enter into such a holy location. It was for this reason that Aharon entered with the mitzvos which state zos, as these mitzvos denote concealment. Milah is a concealed mitzvah, and even Torah study is praiseworthy when one studies discreetly (See Gemara Moed Katan 16b regarding the verse in Shir HaShirim 7:2 chamukei yireichayich).
The blessings of Yaakov, Moshe and Dovid contained concealed blessings
Now we can better understand the first Medrash that states that Moshe began where Yaakov left off. The Medrash states that although Yaakov did not bless Reuven, Shimon and Levi explicitly, he incorporated their blessing in his other sons’ blessings, and this is what is meant by the words (Bereishis 49:28) vizos asher diber lahem avihem vayivarech osam, and this is what their father spoke to them and he blessed them. In a similar vein, Moshe began his blessings to the tribes with the word vizos, as Moshe did not bless Shimon directly. Rather, Moshe incorporated the blessing for Shimon in the blessing of Yehudah. Moshe completed his blessing with the word ashrecho, you are fortunate, and Dovid HaMelech began with the word ashrei, fortunate.
The fortunate person, concealed and revealed
Dovid HaMelech initially describes the fortunate person as one who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, does not stand in the path of the sinners, and does not sit in the setting of the scorners. This is the concealed aspect of the fortunate person. The revealed side of the fortunate person is that he toils in Torah study. This is the explanation for the Medrash that states that Moshe continued where Yaakov left off and Dovid continued where Moshe finished.

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