Rav Kook Torah

Psalm 100: Manifest Kindness

The final verse of Mizmor Le-Todah, the short psalm of thanksgiving, reads:

“כִּי טוֹב ה', לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ, וְעַד דֹּר וָדֹר אֱמוּנָתוֹ”

“For the Eternal is good; His kindness is forever; until generation to generation is His faith.” (Psalm 100:5).

The psalm concludes with a firm belief in God as the Source of all good. But what is the meaning of the last verset — “until generation to generation is His faith"?

The Big Picture

Our world is an imperfect one, and God’s kindness is not always apparent. This difficulty is due to our narrow view of reality.

By way of example, imagine that we were to see a man grab ahold of a large saw and cut off someone’s leg. This would appear to us to be a cruel and vicious act. But if afterwards we were able to see the larger picture: we realized that the man with the saw is a surgeon, and that he amputated his patient’s diseased leg in order to save his life. Our interpretation of the act has now made a 180% reversal. We now understand that it was an act of kindness and healing!

The psalmist notes that, in terms of our awareness of goodness in the world, it would be more evident if we could examine many generations together in one glance. (In fact, we should recognize that even if we could view all the generations together, from the very first until the very last, this would only reveal one realm of God’s activities, flowing from His infinite goodness. This is still a partial view, a two-dimensional slice of reality.)

Nonetheless, the revealed goodness which is hidden at one point in time will be revealed many generations later. By ’seeing the bigger picture,’ in breath and depth, God’s emunah, authentication of God’s goodness and kindness, is substantiated.

This broader outlook inspires us to give thanks, to express our joyous epiphany in speech. “For God’s goodness and kindness are eternal,” throughout the ages. “Until generation to generation is His faith.

(Adapted from Olat Re’iyah vol I, p. 223)