Psalms 34

1Of David, when he feigned madness in the presence of Abimelech, who turned him out, and he left.

אלְדָוִד בְּשַׁנּוֹתוֹ אֶת־טַעְמוֹ לִפְנֵי אֲבִימֶלֶךְ וַיְגָרֲשֵׁהוּ וַיֵּלַךְ׃

2I bless Hashem at all times; praise of Him is ever in my mouth.

באֲבָרֲכָה אֶת־יְהֹוָה בְּכָל־עֵת תָּמִיד תְּהִלָּתוֹ בְּפִי׃

3I glory in Hashem; let the lowly hear it and rejoice.

גבַּיהֹוָה תִּתְהַלֵּל נַפְשִׁי יִשְׁמְעוּ עֲנָוִים וְיִשְׂמָחוּ׃

4Exalt Hashem with me let us extol His name together.

דגַּדְּלוּ לַיהֹוָה אִתִּי וּנְרוֹמְמָה שְׁמוֹ יַחְדָּו׃

5I turned to Hashem, and He answered me; He saved me from all my terrors.

הדָּרַשְׁתִּי אֶת־יְהֹוָה וְעָנָנִי וּמִכָּל־מְגוּרוֹתַי הִצִּילָנִי׃

6Men look to Him and are radiant; let their faces not be downcast.

והִבִּיטוּ אֵלָיו וְנָהָרוּ וּפְנֵיהֶם אַל־יֶחְפָּרוּ׃

7Here was a lowly man who called, and Hashem listened, and delivered him from all his troubles.

זזֶה עָנִי קָרָא וַיהֹוָה שָׁמֵעַ וּמִכָּל־צָרוֹתָיו הוֹשִׁיעוֹ׃

8The angel of Hashem camps around those who fear Him and rescues them.

חחֹנֶה מַלְאַךְ־יְהֹוָה סָבִיב לִירֵאָיו וַיְחַלְּצֵם׃

9Taste and see how good Hashem is; happy the man who takes refuge in Him!

טטַעֲמוּ וּרְאוּ כִּי־טוֹב יְהֹוָה אַשְׁרֵי הַגֶּבֶר יֶחֱסֶה־בּוֹ׃

10Fear Hashem, you His consecrated ones, for those who fear Him lack nothing.

ייְראוּ אֶת־יְהֹוָה קְדֹשָׁיו כִּי־אֵין מַחְסוֹר לִירֵאָיו׃

11Lions have been reduced to starvation, but those who turn to Hashem shall not lack any good.

יאכְּפִירִים רָשׁוּ וְרָעֵבוּ וְדֹרְשֵׁי יְהֹוָה לֹא־יַחְסְרוּ כָל־טוֹב׃

12Come, my sons, listen to me; I will teach you what it is to fear Hashem.

יבלְכוּ־בָנִים שִׁמְעוּ־לִי יִרְאַת יְהֹוָה אֲלַמֶּדְכֶם׃

13Who is the man who is eager for life, who desires years of good fortune?

mee ha-EESH he-kha-FAYTZ kha-YIM o-HAYV ya-MEEM lir-OT TOV

יגמִי־הָאִישׁ הֶחָפֵץ חַיִּים אֹהֵב יָמִים לִרְאוֹת טוֹב׃

 34:13   Who is eager for life

Members of Kibbutz Chafetz Chaim studying Talmud after work, 1945

The kibbutz movement, which began in the 1920’s, was primarily a secular enterprise. Jewish pioneers sought to create an ideal living environment guided by brotherhood and shared idealism. However, there was also a religious kibbutz movement. In 1944, a group of religious Jews founded a kibbutz on the principles of Torah and religious idealism. They named their kibbutz in honor of one of the most towering rabbinic personalities of the century, Rabbi Israel Meir HaKohen Kagan, otherwise known as the Chafetz Chaim, the name of his book about the laws of guarding one’s speech. Chafetz Chaim means one “who is eager for life.” The name stems from this chapter in Tehillim where a question is raised, mee ha-eesh hechafeitz chaim (מי האיש החפץ חיים), ‘Who is the man who is eager for life?’ The response is found the next verse: One who guards his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech.

14Guard your tongue from evil, your lips from deceitful speech.

ידנְצֹר לְשׁוֹנְךָ מֵרָע וּשְׂפָתֶיךָ מִדַּבֵּר מִרְמָה׃

15Shun evil and do good, seek amity and pursue it.

טוסוּר מֵרָע וַעֲשֵׂה־טוֹב בַּקֵּשׁ שָׁלוֹם וְרָדְפֵהוּ׃

16The eyes of Hashem are on the righteous, His ears attentive to their cry.

טזעֵינֵי יְהֹוָה אֶל־צַדִּיקִים וְאָזְנָיו אֶל־שַׁוְעָתָם׃

17The face of Hashem is set against evildoers, to erase their names from the earth.

יזפְּנֵי יְהֹוָה בְּעֹשֵׂי רָע לְהַכְרִית מֵאֶרֶץ זִכְרָם׃

18They cry out, and Hashem hears, and saves them from all their troubles.

יחצָעֲקוּ וַיהֹוָה שָׁמֵעַ וּמִכָּל־צָרוֹתָם הִצִּילָם׃

19Hashem is close to the brokenhearted; those crushed in spirit He delivers.

יטקָרוֹב יְהֹוָה לְנִשְׁבְּרֵי־לֵב וְאֶת־דַּכְּאֵי־רוּחַ יוֹשִׁיעַ׃

20Though the misfortunes of the righteous be many, Hashem will save him from them all,

כרַבּוֹת רָעוֹת צַדִּיק וּמִכֻּלָּם יַצִּילֶנּוּ יְהֹוָה׃

21Keeping all his bones intact, not one of them being broken.

כאשֹׁמֵר כָּל־עַצְמוֹתָיו אַחַת מֵהֵנָּה לֹא נִשְׁבָּרָה׃

22One misfortune is the deathblow of the wicked; the foes of the righteous shall be ruined.

כבתְּמוֹתֵת רָשָׁע רָעָה וְשֹׂנְאֵי צַדִּיק יֶאְשָׁמוּ׃

23Hashem redeems the life of His servants; all who take refuge in Him shall not be ruined.

כגפּוֹדֶה יְהֹוָה נֶפֶשׁ עֲבָדָיו וְלֹא יֶאְשְׁמוּ כָּל־הַחֹסִים בּוֹ׃