Photo Credit: Jewish Press

As we are in the heat of the Days of Awe, there is a powerful segulah, a propitious activity in which all of us can take advantage of, and yet most of us are unaware of its power. We all know the custom of saying L’Dovid Hashem Ori, the 27th Chapter of Tehillim from the beginning of Elul until Shemini Atzeres. The earliest record of this custom is from the siddur of Rab Shabtai Mei’Rakshov, zt”l, zy”a, although some people ascribe it even earlier, to the Baal Shem Tov, zt”l, zy”a.

What most people are unaware of is what Rab Shabtai wrote about the custom. He reveals, “It is a tradition in our hands that whoever says this psalm with concentration from Elul till Simchas Torah will be declared innocent in judgment and will cancel from upon himself all harsh and evil decrees.” This is also cited in the widely accepted Mateh Efraim. The Chida adds that with proper saying of this psalm, one can be confident that he will live out his days with goodness.


The simple connection between this psalm and this time of the year lies in its opening and subsequent statements. As the Medrash elaborates, Hashem Ori – Hashem is my light, zu Rosh Hashana – this refers to the Day of Judgment. V’yishi – and my salvation, zu Yom Kippur – the Day of Atonement. Ki yitz’pneini b’suko b’yom ra’ah – for Hashem shelters me in his booth on a day of evil, zu Succos – this alludes to Succos. Furthermore, in this psalm, Dovid HaMelech reveals the mission statement, the primary focus of his life. He passionately declares, “Achas sho’alti mei’eis Hashem, osah avakeish: Shivti b’veis Hashem kol y’mei chaiyai, lachazos b’noam Hashem ul’vakeir b’heichalo – I have one request from Hashem, for this I beseech you: that I should dwell in the House of Hashem to see the sweetness of Hashem and to visit His Abode.”

When we ask Hashem on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur for renewed life and menuchas hanefesh, a contentment of spirit, our petition is much more effective and successful if we give Hashem a strong reason to grant our request. We learn this idea from the Haggadah shel Pesach. There, the Haggadah instructs before saying the Mah Nishtana, “Kan haben sho’el.” Most take this to mean, “Here the son asks (the four questions),” but the great rebbes of old interpret, “Here is the proper place (for parents) to ask for a son,” for we are giving Hashem a powerful reason to grant us this boon in order that we should fulfill the mitzvah of answering our son’s Mah Nishtana. So too, we emulate Dovid HaMelech’s mission statement and ask Hashem to grant us a trouble-free life so we could see the sweetness of Hashem by learning His Torah, which is described as “Deracheha darchei noam – Its ways are ways of sweetness,” and to regularly, and without interruption, be able to visit His Abode, our shul, which is our Mikdash Me’at, our mini sanctuary.

Indeed, in the beginning of every week, we enunciate these two missions in our havdala prayer. In prose, very similar to the psalm of L’Dovid, we say, “Hinei, Ke’l yoshuasi, evtach v’lo efchad, ki azi v’zimras Kah, Hashem, vayehi li liyeshua – Behold the Almighty is my salvation, I will trust in Him and not be afraid, for Hashem is my might and my song, and therefore Hashem is to me a salvation.” Here again, we have reference to the twofold mission statement: my might refers to the Torah, as it says in the verse, “Hashem oz l’amo yitein – Hashem gave might (the Torah) to his nation,” and zimras Kah, refers to praying and connecting with Hashem.

So, let’s utilize this powerful segulah of L’Dovid Hashem Ori, saying it with intense concentration and may it help us be blessed with a k’siva v’chasima tova, a sweet, happy, healthy, and wonderful New Year.

(To be continued)

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