“מִזְמ֡וֹר שִׁירוּ לַיהוָה שִׁיר חָדָשׁ כִּי נִפְלָאוֹת עָשָׂה הוֹשִׁיעָה לּוֹ יְמִינוֹ וּזְרוֹעַ קָדְשׁוֹ.”
“A Psalm. Sing a new song to YHVH, For He has done wonderful things, His right hand and His holy arm have gained the victory for Him.”
Rabbi Shimon opens this study with this verse and says that the first word, ‘A Psalm’ ‘מִזְמ֡וֹר’ has the cantillation sign that is called ‘פזר-גדול.’ It is upright and points above. It means that this psalm is adorned with a supernal crown on its head.
This psalm was chanted by the cows carrying the Holy Ark back to the Holy Tabernacle (1 Samuel 6:12). They mooed, “Sing a new song to YHVH, For He has done wonderful things” to the many chariots and appointees of several levels that came down from the heavens to welcome the Holy Ark.
“Song to YHVH” is in a male form, and he asks what the difference between here, where ‘Song’ ‘שיר’ is male, and when Moses sang ‘This song,’ ‘הַשִּׁירָה הַזֹּאת’ that is female is.
With Moses, the Ark was by itself, and ‘this’ ‘זאת’ is Malchut, the Shechina called Ark. They came out of exile with Israel. For that reason, Moses sang ‘הַשִּׁירָה הַזֹּאת,’ ‘This song’ in a female form, referring to the Shechina. But here, the cows carried the Ark that is Malchut, but in it was concealed Zeir Anpin that is the Torah. For that reason, psalms 98 says ‘a new song’ ‘שיר חדש’ in a male form.
The story in 1 Samuel begins in Chapter 4. The Israelites were confident that Hashem is with them and went to war with the Philistines. The philistines were stronger and killed about 4000 from Israel. Then Israel decided to bring the Holy Ark from the Tabernacle to support them in the fight against the Philistines. It didn’t help, and the Philistines killed 30,000 from Israel, including the two sons of the High Priest that escorted the Holy Ark.
The Philistines captured the Holy Ark and brought it to the house of Dagon, their idol god. In the morning, they saw that the statue of Dagon fell in front of holy Ark. They erected Dagon again, and then we read in 1 Samuel 5:4
“And when they arose early the next morning, there was Dagon, fallen on its face to the ground before the ark of YHVH. The head of Dagon and both the palms of its hands were broken off on the threshold; only Dagon’s torso was left of it.”
While the Holy Ark was in their temple, the Philistine also suffered from other diseases and plagues. They understood that the Holy Ark is the cause of their pains and chose to return the Ark to Israel and avoid additional suffering. They consulted with their priests and magicians on how to return the Holy Ark. They suggested taking a new wagon with two pure cows, load it with gifts of gold, and send the wagon on its way back home. The cows knew the way and were singing with joy.
We can learn a few lessons from this story.
Going to ‘war’ because we think that we are righteous is wrong. War is fire and always burns.
Israel lost the first battle, yet they continued. If we start something that involves aspects of judgments and get a ‘message’ to pull back, we should follow the message and avoid further pain and suffering. If we follow a selfless act of Chessed and experience obstacles, then the obstacles come from the other side in most cases.
We should not rely on sacred books or amulets to support us. They can be used only as a tool to remind us that the source of all protection is Hashem. Dependent on physical representation is idol worship. Prayers to Hashem with a sincere heart are the best connection.
The Philistines captured the Holy Ark because Hashem allowed it to happen. Then Hashem sent a message that there are no other Gods but him. He dropped their god to the floor in front of him, and when they didn’t get the message, Hashem broke their god’s head and hands. He further inflicted different plagues on the people and their properties. They knew that Hashem is the God of Israel, and even if they lost a few battles, he would always be with Israel.
Hashem doesn’t have ‘agents.’ Israel has tools to connect to him, but the tools are not replacements for him. We pray and express our desires to Hashem but at the same time submit to him.
“רַבּוֹת מַחֲשָׁבוֹת בְּלֶב אִישׁ וַעֲצַת יְהוָה הִיא תָקוּם.”
“Many plans are in a person’s heart, but the YHVH’s decree will prevail.”