Rav Kook Torah

Psalm 100: Recognizing God's 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. His faithfulness is for all generations.” (Psalm 100:5).

The psalm concludes with a firm belief in God as the ultimate Source of all goodness. But what is the meaning of the last verset: “His faithfulness is for all generations”?

Seeing the Big Picture

Our world is inherently imperfect, and God’s kindness is not always readily apparent. This difficulty is due to our limited perspective on reality.

By way of example, imagine that we were to see a man wielding a large saw and severing a person’s leg. This would appear to us to be a cruel and vicious act.

Afterward, however, we see the larger picture: we discover that the man is a surgeon who performed the amputation to save the patient’s life due to a diseased leg. This realization leads to a complete reversal in our interpretation of the act. We now understand that it was an act of compassion and healing.

The psalmist notes that our awareness of goodness in the world would be more pronounced if we could observe many generations in one glance. God’s kindness “is for all generations”

In fact, we should recognize that even if we could view all generations, from the very first to the very last, this would only unveil one aspect of God’s actions, flowing from His boundless goodness. This is still a partial view, a two-dimensional slice of reality.

Nevertheless, the goodness that may be concealed at a certain point in time will eventually be revealed in subsequent generations. By comprehending the broader scope and depth of events, we recognize God’s emunah, the authenticity of His goodness and kindness.

This broader outlook inspires us to give thanks, to express our joyous epiphany in speech. “His kindness is forever,” throughout the ages; and “His faithfulness is for all generations.”

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