‘Many Non-Jews Regard This Psalm As Sacred’

During the third meal of the Sabbath (when the sun is going down Saturday evening), traditional Jews sing the 23rd Psalm in Hebrew (along with Yedid Nefesh and the Grace After Meals).

Now picture an Orthodox shul where everyone’s enjoying their meal and their conversation.

The rabbis starts the singing of the psalm. Half the crowd follows along but the louder half carry on with their chats.

The rabbi calls halt and asks everyone to sing. "Many non-Jews regard this psalm as sacred," he says.

Herman Wouk writes in his book The Will to Live On about inviting a Christian Bible scholar along to morning prayers and how he was horrified about how the Jews were rattling off the psalms with the least grace and dignity.

Dennis Prager tells of bringing a non-Jewish friend temple.

After 45 minutes, the goy asks him, "When do services begin?"

Dennis tried to explain that they’d been going on for almost an hour.

The more religious the Jews, the more they talk in shul (because they’re spent so much time in shul over their life and know the prayers backwards and forwards, that they regard shul as their second home and they talk).

John Updike writes that Christians regard belief in God as an either or proposition while for Jews, familiarity (being the Chosen People) breeds contempt.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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