• Rabbi Yonah Burr

To the One that Grants Victory

Updated: Mar 19

In ספר תהלים, many psalms begins with an introductory word or phrase such as הללו, שיר המעלות, אשרי, משכיל, etc. One such word is especially interesting.



The word is למנצח – “to the One that grants victory”. To what victory does this refer?


The Gemara in Pesachim (119a) elaborates: Says Rav Kahana in the name of Rav Yishmael the son of Rav Yossi, “what is meant by ‘to the One that grants victory- a song of David’? Sing to the One that allows Himself to be defeated, and rejoices over it!”


“Come and see, that the wonderous ways of Hashem are not like the ways of a mortal king- the way of a mortal is to be upset when he is defeated. But Hashem’s way is to be ‘defeated’ and actually rejoice over it!”


One example of this is the story of the sin of the golden calf. Hashem says, I would have destroyed the Jewish People over their sin, had Moshe not stood in the breach and blocked me.


Hashem presents it as if Moshe was victorious and overpowered the Divine Will so to speak, by saving the Jewish People with his prayers.


In fact, it was Hashem Himself who hinted to Moshe that his prayers would be accepted- Hashem gives us the power of t’fillah, and allows us to change the attribute of strict justice into the attribute of mercy.


This is analogous to a parent who only warns with a punishment having the child’s best interest in mind.


This serves as a tremendous chizuk and encouragement to us! Hashem wants nothing more than that we should be successful, and all the strictness and punishment is simply to prod us to succeed. And if we take the hint and daven to Him, that itself is success and the objective of the threat is met.


May we continue to be inspired by the message of Purim and Pesach, and may we merit the true, final redemption speedily in our days!


Have a wonderful Shabbos


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