19 You have put friend and neighbor far from me and my companions out of my sight.
hir-KHAK-ta mi-ME-nee o-HAYV va-RAY-a m’-yu-da-AI makh-SHAKH
יט הִרְחַקְתָּ מִמֶּנִּי אֹהֵב וָרֵעַ מְיֻדָּעַי מַחְשָׁךְ׃
88:19 And my companions out of my sight
This psalm is similar to a lamentation, as it ends on a very sad note. Though unusual, this type of psalm also belongs in the Psalter, which depicts a range of human experiences, and not only those with “happy endings.” While scholars debate the identity of the authors of the psalm, since verse 1 attributes it to both the sons of Korach and Hayman the Ezrahite, the Sages suggest that the psalm was authored by the congregation of Israel as a whole. At times of total darkness and exile, the Jewish people struggle to find words to express faith in God’s ultimate salvation. While the last words reflect this horrible state of bleak loneliness, we should note that the entire psalm was directed to Hashem, God of salvation (verse 2). God desires our expressions of suffering and our cries. This, too, is His praise.