Tuesday, October 28, 2008

אַתָּה סֵתֶר לִי

Several times a day, we say the verse: אַתָּה סֵתֶר לִי, מִצַּר תִּצְּרֵנִי רָנֵּי פַלֵּט תְּסובְבֵנִי סֶלָה - “You are my Shelter, from distress you save; with songs of deliverance You surround me, Selah” (Tehilim 32:7). Rebbe Nachman of Breslov (Likutei Mohoran 213) cautions that one should pause after the words אַתָּה סֵתֶר לִי before saying the next word, מִצַּר. This is because the first letters of אַ׳תָּה ס׳ֵתֶר ל׳ִי are the Name ס־א־ל, which Hashem uses to protect a person from death. The מ of מִצַּר is also the מ of מָוֶת, death. When this מ gets added onto the Name mentioned, it becomes סמא״ל, the name of the satan, and he tries to harm the person. The satan turns the first letters of אַ׳תָּה ס׳ֵתֶר ל׳ִי into ס׳וֹף אָ׳דָם לָ׳מוּת - “the end of man is to die”. If one is careful to pause then he has the “You are my Shelter” and also “from distress you save…”.

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