Jewish Wisdom

Peace | Listening | Healing Psalms | Sayings of the Rabbinic Sages

Happiness in Perpetuity

Happiness in Perpetuity




Shalom, Shalom, you’ll find Shalom the nicest greeting you know;

It means bonjour, salud, and skoal and twice as much as hello.
It means a million lovely things, like peace be yours, welcome home.
And even when you say goodbye, you say goodbye with Shalom.

It’s a very useful word, it can get you through the day;
All you really need to know,
You can hardly go wrong,
This is your home as long as you say:
Shalom, the nicest greeting I know;
Shalom means twice as much as hello.
It means a million lovely things, like peace be yours, welcome home.
And even when you say goodbye,
If your voice has "I don’t want to go" in it,
Say goodbye with a little "hello" in it,
And say goodbye with shalom.

Jerry Herman, Milk and Honey, 1961

Whether used as a salutation or farewell, shalom can be translated best as “wholeness,” “completeness” or “integrity.” Shalom is commonly translated as “peace,” but it connotes peace in the fullest sense, not merely as the opposite of “war,” “strife,” “contention” or “conflict.” Shalom includes the kind of peace, both internal or external, personal or social, that connotes tranquility, harmony, prosperity, contentment and what some call peace of mind. Its shades of meaning include something akin to the French “le bonheur.” Shalom means the kind of peace which does not imply the eradication differences or the elimination of conflict; rather, shalom points to the kind of peace in which differences are integrated into a complex whole. Read more …


שְׁמִעָת הָעֹזֶן

Sh’mi’at Ha-ozen

Sometimes we feel besieged on every side; there are just too many claims on our attention.How can we pay attention to everyone—our children, our spouses, our parents, our bosses, the media, our leaders, our friends, et al —who needs or wants us to listen to them? Everyone is so insistent that we must pay attention to their message, that what they have to say is more important than all the other messages with which we are bombarded daily.

And yet, in the welter of messages we become aware of each and every day, the most important messages are often lost. The slickest messages, the messages most effective in breaking through to our awareness, are not always the most important.The most sincere words uttered by the most sincere voices, coming from the people most important in our lives, are often the most inarticulate, least insistent and most ineffectively expressed.Most of what we hear “goes in one ear and out the other.” Read more …

Kabbalah Tree

Kabbalah Tree

The Healing Psalms

Sefer Tehillim, the Book of Psalms, is a collection of religious poems dating back to the most ancient days of our people. Of the 150 psalms preserved in the Bible, many are associated with King David, the "sweet singer of Zion" who ruled in the 10th century B.C.E. The psalms have long been integral to Jewish worship, from the time of the First Temple through to the present. Many are songs praising the majesty, magnificence, and redemptive powers of God. Others are elegies on the themes of suffering, confession, and pleas for pardon. Yet others sing of ethics and the how one ought to live, serving a didactic function for the listener. Unlike the rest of the Tanakh, in which God commands and reaches toward humanity to teach, prod, reward, punish, and generally mold to God’s ways, the Tehillim come entirely from the human heart and reach toward God, glorifying, pleading, expressing gratitude, praising. While the rest of the Tanakh speaks of the experience of a nation in its covenant with God, the Psalms speak from the depths of individual souls searching for the Divine in their individual lives. Commenting on Psalm 18, Midrash Tehillim tells us: "Rabbi Yudan said in the name of Rabbi Judah: Whatever David says in his Book [of Psalms] pertains to himself, to all Israel, and to all times." Herein lies the magic of the Psalms: they speak to the individual soul, to an entire people, indeed to all souls in all times and places. While time and situation may change, human nature does not and the Psalms speak from and to the essence of being human and in search of God in our lives.

When we are sick, in pain, or in distress, we need comfort and healing. Psalms can be a source of comfort and healing, helping us feel God’s presence in our lives. You might want these psalms for yourself, or perhaps you are seeking them for someone you know. As awesome as the healing power of the psalms can be for many people, your presence in their lives and at their sickbed, is all the more powerful. Print out these psalms and take them to someone in need and read them to him/her and you’ll soon learn just how powerful, and how important your presence is. Read more …

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