How can we see our enemies through the eyes of David Hamelech? Consider that the word Love and Enemy have the same gematria of 13?
Rebbe Nachman gave the Tikkun HaKlali to us so that we would open our minds to the blessings Hashem sends to us every day to help us come back to him.
We hope this article, exploring Psalm 41, the third Psalm of the Tikkun Haklali, will help you learn more of the deeper meanings it contains, making the words your own.
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Psalm 41 is the final Psalm of the first book (of five) within Psalms — a reflection of the five books of the Chumash. King David wrote this first book, magnificently capturing events in his life. In Psalm 41, David contemplates the experiences of the poor and sick and the reward that comes to those who actively assist them. He provides a contrasting narration of the betrayal of his enemies and his enduring role in the destiny of the Jewish Nation.
In this article, we will focus on the word enemies found in verse 41:6:
:אוֹיְבַי יֹאמְרוּ רַע לִי מָתַי יָמוּת וְאָבַד שְׁמו
My enemies speak evil of me, “When will he die, and his name perish?
How can we see our enemies through the eyes of David Hamelech? Consider that the word Love and Enemy have the same gematria of 13: א ה ב ה – א ב י.
Correspondingly, The Thirteen Attributes of Mercy expresses Hashem’s loving-kindness (Exodus 34:6–7). Hashem governs the world with these Divine Attributes. As his children, we try to emulate Him, acting with mercy and love even with hostile or perceived personal enemies. Rebbe Nachman advises us to study The Thirteen Attributes of Mercy, bringing the words into our lives. Breslov teachings famously tell us to see the good in others and ourselves to ease tensions with whom we might have real or imagined enmity, indeed someone who wishes to harm us (Likutey Moharan l, 282). We have Rabbinical Courts to settle disputes.
Further, The Baal Shem Tov famously teaches on “ki hinei oiveicha, Hashem, ki hinei oiveicha yovedu” which we say in Mizmor Shir L’Yom HaShabbos in Kabbalas Shabbos. He says, “ki hinei oiveicha Hashem,” if you realize that Hashem sent your enemies, then “ki hinei oieveicha yovedu” – your enemies disappear. They are no longer enemies:
כִּי הִנֵּה אֹיְבֶיךָ יְהֹוָה כִּי־הִנֵּה אֹיְבֶיךָ יֹאבֵדוּ יִתְפָּרְדוּ כׇּל־פֹּעֲלֵי אָוֶן׃
Surely, Your enemies, O LORD, surely, Your enemies disappear; all evildoers are scattered. (Psalm 92:10)
Reb Nosson teaches us that “All the wars in the world are really the one war against the evil inclination.” (Meshivat Nefesf, Restore My Soul quoting Reb Nosson from Lekutey Halachot).
As his children, we try to emulate Him, acting with mercy and love even with hostile or perceived personal enemies…
All these teachings refer to personal challenges. However, aggressive and fearless actions are mandated to combat the enemies of the Torah and the Jewish Nation:
יְמִֽינְךָ֣ יְהוָ֔ה נֶאְדָּרִ֖י בַּכֹּ֑חַ יְמִֽינְךָ֥ יְהוָ֖ה תִּרְעַ֥ץ אוֹיֵֽב׃
Thy right hand, O LORD, glorious in power, Thy right hand, O LORD, dashes in pieces the enemy. (Exodus 15:6)
כִּ֣י אִם־שָׁמ֤וֹעַ תִּשְׁמַע֙ בְּקֹל֔וֹ וְעָשִׂ֕יתָ כֹּ֖ל אֲשֶׁ֣ר אֲדַבֵּ֑ר וְאָֽיַבְתִּי֙ אֶת־אֹ֣יְבֶ֔יךָ וְצַרְתִּ֖י אֶת־צֹרְרֶֽיךָ׃
But if you obey him and do all that I say, I will be an enemy to your enemies and a foe to your foes. (Exodus 22:23)
וְכִֽי־תָבֹ֨אוּ מִלְחָמָ֜ה בְּאַרְצְכֶ֗ם עַל־הַצַּר֙ הַצֹּרֵ֣ר אֶתְכֶ֔ם וַהֲרֵעֹתֶ֖ם בַּחֲצֹצְר֑וֹת וֲנִזְכַּרְתֶּ֗ם לִפְנֵי֙ יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹֽהֵיכֶ֔ם וְנוֹשַׁעְתֶּ֖ם מֵאֹיְבֵיכֶֽם׃
And if you go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresses you, then you shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and you shall be remembered before the Lord your God, and you shall be saved from your enemies. (Numbers 10:9)
Breslov teachings famously tell us to see the good in others and ourselves…
When King David went out to battle, he made himself hard as wood. But when he was sitting and learning Torah, he made himself as pliant as a worm (Moed Kattan 16B).
We require Emuna to embrace perceived personal antagonists and defeat national foes. Reb Nosson relates: The source of one’s strength in this battle lies in faith. The foundation of our entire faith lies in the affirmation of God’s unity, which we make when we recite the SHEMA. Through this faith alone, you can win every battle, physical and spiritual. If you are firm with your faith in God, no battle can make you afraid (Meshivat Nefesf, Restore My Soul quoting Reb Nosson from Lekutey Halachot).
Psalm 41 can teach us acts of faith, prayer, Torah study, and simple good deeds. Visiting the sick and helping those in need will give us the strength to move beyond real or imagined personal enemies and help defeat our holy Nation’s enemies and detractors.
Can you add your suggestions and experiences in confronting personal or national enemies?
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Click here to purchase Calling Out to Hashem (with Tikkun HaKlali): Teachings of Rebbe Nachman on the Importance of Saying Psalms, Prayers, and Meditations, published by the Breslov Research Institute.