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Psalms 117

1Praise Hashem, all you nations; extol Him, all you peoples,

אהַלְלוּ אֶת־יְהֹוָה כָּל־גּוֹיִם שַׁבְּחוּהוּ כָּל־הָאֻמִּים׃

2for great is His steadfast love toward us; the faithfulness of Hashem endures forever. Hallelujah.

KEE ga-VAR a-LAY-nu khas-DO ve-e-met a-do-NAI l'-o-LAM ha-l'-lu-YAH

בכִּי גָבַר עָלֵינוּ חַסְדּוֹ וֶאֱמֶת־יְהֹוָה לְעוֹלָם הַלְלוּ־יָהּ׃

 117:2   For great is His steadfast love toward us

In this short psalm we learn of the interaction of two seemingly contradictory attributes of Hashem: Chesed (חסד), ‘mercy,’ which is translated here as ‘steadfast love,’ and emet (אמת), ‘truth.’ Each of these seems to annul the other, as it is often the case that in truth, a person does not deserve mercy. Yet the psalmist clearly highlights both at the same time. On the one hand, the quality of mercy is more pronounced in this verse, since it is described as “great”. On the other hand, the concluding words of the verse herald the truth of God, which endures forever. Perhaps the two ideas are not as contradictory as it first appears, as a life dedicated to kindness and mercy ultimately engenders a legacy of eternal truth.