Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
  Page title
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Special Signs: Understanding the Symbolism in Pesukei D'zimra

Symbolic Gestures

Throughout Jewish history there have been many incidents where an action gave power to words. One of the most dramatic examples involved the prophet Elisha and King Yoash when the Jewish people were at war with Aram. Elisha told King Yoash to shoot an arrow, and then said, “This is the arrow of G-d’s deliverance, and the deliverance from Aram; you shall fight Aram at Afeq until you destroy them.”

Afterwards, Elisha told King Yoash to take his arrows and smash them down on the ground, symbolizing the destruction of Aram, the enemies of the Jewish people. King Yoash took his arrows and hit them on the ground three times. At the conclusion of the story, Elisha revealed to the king that had he done this five or six times he would have completely annihilated Aram (Melachim II 13: 15-19).

From this incident, we see the power of symbolic gestures. Halachic authorities apply this idea to Ashrei, and suggest that while reciting the verse “Pose’ach es yadecha” one should turn up one’s palms (Ben Ish Chai, Vayigash 12; Makor Chaim 51,7). Opening one’s hands shows that one is ready to receive the abundant flow of blessing from Above, and helps us relate to the special power of this verse.

Some men have a custom to touch their tefillin while reciting this verse. Touching one’s tefillin while reciting “Pose’ach es yadecha” shows the connection between performing mitzvos and the fulfillment of one’s material needs. This small gesture reflects the ultimate purpose of Hashem’s sustenance of His creations: that we may do His will (Taamei Haminhagim p. 549).


Text Copyright © 2008 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and Torah.org


 


ARTICLES ON MIKETZ AND CHANUKAH:

View Complete List

Not a Minute Past the Expiration Date
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5757

Mercy Filling
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5763

Don't Be Jealous!
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5755

ArtScroll

O Chanukah, O Chanukah . . .
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5765

Divine or Not?
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5761

Chanukah Oil: A Real No-Know
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5762

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Candle Lighting Blessings
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5761

Sadly Released from Prison
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5758

Pharaoh Delivers A Not So Subtle Reminder: I Made You Who You Are
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5767

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Yiras Shomayim: The G-d-fearer
Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene - 5767

How Yosef Got His Job
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5774

Holy Eyes
Rabbi Label Lam - 5772

> Redeeming Factors
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5766

Light From Darkness, Take Two
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5766

Chanukah: A Postscript
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5756

Non Negotiable Part II
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5765



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information