Psalm 27 starts: "The Lord is my light and my salvation." It is read at the end of the morning service throughout the month of Elul and until Hoshana Rabba, the seventh day of the Sukkot festival. In the discourse that follows, taken from the Zohar, parashat Miketz, page 188a, Rabbi Yaisa and Rabbi Yehuda discuss verse 6 of the psalm, that reads: "And now shall my head be lifted up above all my enemies around me; therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tent, I will sing and play music to the Lord". Throughout this discourse have this verse in mind so you can see its words sparkle in the light of the analysis according to Kabbala.

"And Joseph was governor over the land" (Gen. 42:6). Rabbi Yaisa opened his discourse [on this verse with a quote from Psalm 27]: "And now shall my head be lifted up above all my enemies around me". Come and see, when the Holy One blessed be He, is pleased with a person [who has repented of his misdeeds and now acts properly] He raises him up above all people in the world and makes him the head of all and all those who hate him submit to his authority. Rejection boosts the true believer higher…

King David was hated by his brothers who pushed him away from their company and the Holy One blessed be He, raised him up above all the peoples of the world. His father in law, King Saul, wanted to kill him, and he ran away and the Holy One blessed be He raised him up over all his kingdom. [This is referred to when King David says that G‑d has "lifted my head above all my enemies around me"]. Joseph was also pushed away by his brothers [who sold him into slavery], but afterwards they all bowed and prostrated themselves before him, as is written: "And Joseph's brothers came and bowed down before him with their faces on the earth".(Gen. 42:6)

From these archetypal examples we learn that rejection doesn't damage a rectified personality, instead the opposite occurs and the negative power of the rejection boosts the true believer higher in society.

From a different perspective, the verse states, "And now shall my head be lifted up". What is the meaning of the word "now" [in Hebrew, "veatah"]? It is like the word "you". ["Veatah" spelled with the letter ayin in Hebrew means "now"; "Veatah" spelled with the letter alef instead of the letter ayin, means "and you".] It is time as associated with the letter hei that is the final letter of the four-letter name of G‑d…

The word "veatah" when spelled with an alef hints at the sefira of tiferet that is above the sefirot of yesod and malchut in the Tree of Life. King David is praying that You, G‑d, from the sefira of tiferet, raise up my head, i.e. the sefira of malchut, above the enemies or kelipot. The middle column of the Tree of Life is protected by the two other branches of the tree from the grasp of external forces. The exception is the sefira of malchut that stands alone at the root of the tree and as such needs extra guarding - or needs to be lifted up into the sefirot above it.

Rabbi Yehuda said: We have learned that the word "now" [in Hebrew, "et"] represents a very high level, and what is "this time" [in Hebrew, "etah"]? It is time as associated with the letter hei that is the final letter of the four-letter name of G‑d [the Tetragrammaton].

"Veatah" is G‑d and His court of judgment. The letter vav refers to the level of Zeir Anpin

Rabbi Yehuda is explaining that the letter vav refers to the level of Zeir Anpin and the word "now"/"atah" hints at the sefira of malchut. Time is a concept related to our physical reality, and in this interpretation King David is directing his prayer to combine the spiritual with the physical in the word "now".

[And King David further prayed] "Raise up my head" in honor and kingship. "…Above my enemies that surround me", these are the other kings of the earth. "And I will offer sacrifices in his tent", this refers to Jerusalem [the Temple] and also the Tabernacle [in Nov and Givon]. "Sacrifices of joy [in Hebrew, "terua"] means sacrifices accompanied with music so that all the word should hear. ["Terua" is the name for a loud blast on a shofar. King David is promising G‑d a very public broadcasting of his thanksgiving offering.]

"I will sing and play" refers to the same side [gevura] as the terua blast because song and praise comes from the same side [of the Tree of Life] as the terua. Music…cuts one off from the mundane, elevating the listener and the player to a higher spiritual plane…

Singing and playing musical instruments is related to the sefira of gevura, on the left side of the Tree of Life. Music requires exactness and fine tuning and cuts one off from the mundane, elevating the listener and the player to a higher spiritual plane. All of these actions are related to the sefira of gevura that is situated below the sefira of bina or consciousness of the Divine. Thus, elevating ourselves through song and praise of G‑d leads to a better appreciation of G‑d through lifting our spirit to the sefira of bina.

Another interpretation: "And now lift up my head" refers to the community of Israel [not only to King David but for all Israel]. "…On my enemies that surround me" refers to Esau and his ministers; "…and I will sacrifice in His Tent" refers to Israel [bringing sacrifices in the Temple].

"Sacrifices of terua" this is as is written, "The sacrifice to G‑d is a contrite spirit"(Psalms 51:19). This causes harsh judgment to be removed from the world. "…I will sing and I will play" refers to the constant and everlasting praise [Israel] give G‑d.

In this interpretation King David is speaking on behalf of all Israel and is pleading that they be elevated over their enemies in order that they may humble themselves before G‑d in constant joy.

Another interpretation: "And now raise up my head…" as against all [enemies, internal and external], the good inclination over the bad inclination, as is written "…over my enemies that surround me". This refers to the inclination to evil that surrounds a person and hates him in all he does. "And I will offer sacrifices of joy" this refers to Torah that was given from the side of fire [gevura], as is written "from His right hand a fiery law for them"(Deut. 33:2), since it is in the merit of the Torah that the head is raised up and enemies broken before a person, as is written, "You have subdued under me those who rose up against me."(Psalms 18:40)


Zohar, parashat Miketz p. 188a; translation and commentary by Simcha-Shmuel Treister

Copyright 2003 by KabbalaOnline.org. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this work or portions thereof, in any form, unless with permission, in writing, from Kabbala Online.