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A Psalm—a song for the dedication of the Temple—by David:

I will exalt you have raised me up and not allowed my enemies to rejoice over me.

Adonai my God, I cried out to You and You healed me.

Adonai, you have raised my soul from the lower world; You have saved me from descending into the pit.

Let God’s devout ones sing to Adonai, and give thanks to God’s holy Name.

For the Eternal One remains angry for but a moment; it is God’s will that we remain alive!

Although weeping may last throughout the night, joy comes in the morning.

I arrogantly declared, “I will never falter,” but it is You, Adonai, who supported my greatness with Your might. Had you concealed Your face, I would have been confounded.

To You, Adonai, do I cry out, and to my Lord do I appeal: What benefit is there in my death, in my descent into the pit? Will the dust thank You? Will it declare Your truth?

Hear me, Adonai, and show me Your favor. Adonai, be my Helper!

You have changed my mourning into dancing; You have undone my sackcloth and wrapped me in gladness, so that my soul might sing to You and not be silenced.

Adonai, my God, forever I will thank You!

One of the most moving passages in the Hebrew Bible, Psalm 30 concludes the introductory section of the service every morning of the year. Because of its opening phrase (mizmor shir Hanukkat ha-bayit—“a Psalm for the Dedication of the Temple”), it is also recited at the conclusion of the service on each of the eight days of Hanukka, the festival that recalls the Maccabean rededication of the Temple.

When we grapple with illness, sorrow or despair, we need to be reassured that God is not angry with us. Quite the opposite: the Eternal One is supporting us through this difficult night, and joy will blaze forth with the rising of the sun!

We find a similar passage in Psalm 126, where the Israelites are celebrating their return to Jerusalem after having been exiled in Babylon: ha-zor-im bedim-a berina ikzzoru: “Those who sow in tears, shall reap in joy.”

When the Book of Psalms talks about “falling into the pit,” it usually means that we are allowing sadness and melancholy to overwhelm us. Psalm 30 comes to remind us, every day and twice a day during Hanukka, that we are always in the palm of God’s hands. 

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