1 Happy is the man who has not followed the counsel of the wicked, or taken the path of sinners, or joined the company of the insolent;
ash-ray ha-EESH a-SHER LO ha-LAKH ba-a-TZAT r’-sha-EEM uv-DE-rekh KHA-ta-eem LO a-MAD uv-mo-SHAV lay-TZEEM LO ya-SHAV
א אַשְׁרֵי־הָאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר לֹא הָלַךְ בַּעֲצַת רְשָׁעִים וּבְדֶרֶךְ חַטָּאִים לֹא עָמָד וּבְמוֹשַׁב לֵצִים לֹא יָשָׁב׃
1:1 Happy is the man who has not followed the counsel of the wicked
King David begins Sefer Tehillim, a collection of songs of praise for the Lord, by focusing on man. His first action is to walk, in Hebrew halakh (הלך), and immediately upon setting out on his journey he is forced to decide which path he should take: righteous or wicked, fruitful or barren. This ‘walking’ reminds us of God’s first words to Avraham directing him to travel to the Land of Israel, lech lecha (לך לך), ‘Go forth’ (Genesis 12:1), and more significantly, kum hithalekh ba’aretz (קום התהלך בארץ), ‘Arise, walk about the land’ (Genesis 13:17). David may have been reminding us that while praising God transcends time and place, Sefer Tehillim was written in the Land of Israel, the ancient walking grounds of our forefathers.