Before the High Holidays

אדוני שפתי תפתח ופי יגיד תהילתך
Adonai Sfatai tiftach oofee yagid tehilatecha

These words are taken out of Psalm 51. “God, open up my lips, that my mouth may declare your praise.” Who said that? You may be surprised to know that King David said that in probably one of the lowest points of his life. When he was told that he did something bad, that he actually sinned! Let’s take us a little back into the past. King David is watching from his top roof of the palace and he sees a beautiful woman bathing. He likes her. He wants her. So without consideration of who she is and what is her marital status he takes her to be with him. She becomes pregnant, and King David arranges for her husband ,who was one of his leader soldiers to be in the front line, knowing that it may kill him. And so he dies. A while later, the prophet Nathan comes to King David and and tells him about a rich guy who has all the sheep he could want but he wanted that one sheep that belonged to a poor guy. King David was outraged. He said that the rich guy is wrong. The prophet Nathan looked at him and said – it is you.

That moment was very clear for king David how wrong and sinful he was. So he turned to God and he said -God open my lips so my mouth can tell your praises.

Sometimes we all do the wrong thing and it’s very hard for us to recognize it or to have the courage to make it better. So it was for King David : he needed help opening his mouth so words of praise can come out. In this High Holy days season, I hope that as you say these six words you will internalize it and ask God to open your mouth so you will be moved to do the right thing : only then you could and be able to sing God praises.

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