Appraising God: Reading Psalm 146

Haim Watzman

A preview of a conversation I’ll be leading at an all-night Shavu’ot study session this evening—happy holiday to all.

Ostensibly simple, theologically maddening, Psalm 146 is one of my favorite biblical poems—precisely, perhaps, because its ostensible simplicity is so maddening. And since it gets recited each day in the morning service, where it appears just after “Ashrei” and as the beginning of the hymns of praise that precede the prayer service proper, it’s hard to avoid.

The problem at the heart of this poem, and its daily recitation, is that it isn’t true. But before I get to that, let’s look at the structure.

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