Psalm 1 Verse 1

The psalm begins, "Happy is the man" (Ashrei ha-ish). "Man", is pronounced 'ish', whereas 'ha-ish' means "the man." This means that there is a difference between people. A person can attain the level of "the man." The first word is 'ashrei' which means "happy," and also sounds like 'ashur' which means "a stride forward" (Hirsch).

If we want to "stride forward" in our lives, the answer lies in the Torah. The verse continues "that don't walk in the counsel of the wicked, and don't stand in the path of the sinful, and don't sit in the gathering of the scorners." They counsel, they have a path, they have a gathering. They are the organized ones, they say. Those people are going to consistently claim that they are 'ashur,' they are the forward ones, progressive ones. The psalm as it develops makes the point that being "forward" in this sense is not the goal at all in life. Continued tomorrow.


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