5 Then I thought of the days of old; I rehearsed all Your deeds, recounted the work of Your hands.
za-KHAR-tee ya-MEEM mi-KE-dem ha-GEE-tee v-khol pa-a-LE-kha b’-ma-a-SAY ya-DE-kha a-so-KHAY-akh
ה זָכַרְתִּי יָמִים מִקֶּדֶם הָגִיתִי בְכָל־פָּעֳלֶךָ בְּמַעֲשֵׂה יָדֶיךָ אֲשׂוֹחֵחַ׃
143:5 Then I thought of the days of old
Once again, David is in a perilous state. Enemies from close and far depress him and make him feel lost and alone. In this psalm, he invokes a different technique to lift himself out of the morass: Memory. Isolating one’s consciousness to the here and now can be lonesome and disheartening. Remembering that one is part of something greater than the present, however, can be uplifting. A number of biblical laws are related to past events and the idea of remembering, such as Shabbat, which is intended to remind us of both the creation of the world (Exodus 31:17) and the exodus from Egypt (Deuteronomy 5:15). In 1948, the framers of Israel’s Declaration of Independence knew precisely how to begin their journey towards nationhood, by recalling the past. They began the declaration of the establishment of the State of Israel as follows: “The Land of Israel was the birthplace of the Jewish people. Here their spiritual, religious and political identity was shaped. Here they first attained to statehood, created cultural values of national and universal significance and gave to the world the eternal Book of Books.”