TEHILIM # 11: when it seems that nobody is watching…

עיניו יחזו עפעפיו יבחנו בני אדם
(11:1) In this Mizmor David’s friends advise him and his family to flee. They say that the enemy is close, lurking, waiting for a chance to attack. And the best option is to “escape to the mountains like birds”. In the mountains they will be safe, because the predators cannot reach them there. But David refuses to escape. He has faith in HaShem. And says “My trust is in HaShem.” He is my refuge.
(11:2) David recognizes that his enemies “are preparing their bows and arrows to shoot him from the darkness.” Here “darkness” does not necessarily refer to physical darkness, but rather to “anonymity and secrecy”. David’s worst enemies are not those whom he must face openly in the battlefield. The most dangerous men are those who conspire against King David in secret. Those living in his own court. The traitors. Those who praise him in public, or those who are there to protect him, but are secretly planning his death.
(11:3) David recognizes that in times of danger is natural that “a righteous man would wonder what can I do against my enemies?”.  At that moment it seems that the only solution is to escape, fly-off into the mountains.
(11:4) But King David has a answer for his friends and for himself: In the earthly, visible stage, it seems that the wicked triumphs  and continues succeeding in its corrupt mission. At first glance, nothing can stop the wicked from wreaking havoc. But, David says, do not forget that “HaShem from His heavenly throne sees everything that happens in our world, and He distinguishes among men”. In other words, God distinguishes between good men and bad men, between the righteous and the corrupt. Men can pretend loyalty or fake piety in front of other men. But unlike human eyes which can be fooled by trickery, lies and duplicity, “HaShem’s sight penetrates the hearts of men.” He, and He alone, knows the truth. He knows what we feel, think and plan.
(11:5) And then, there is more. God is not a passive observer. A spectator. “HaShem loves the righteous”, and somehow He protects them. “HaShem does not tolerate (and actually hates) the man who seeks corruption and violence”, and somehow, eventually, will punish him.
(11:6) We saw what HaShem did to the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, epitome of immorality and injustice, He “destroyed them with fire and brimstone.” HaShem does not practice impunity. He will not leave unpunished the injustice of the wicked.
(11:7) ” HaShem loves the right causes, and He protects those who turn their eyes towards Him.” “Turning the eye, looking to HaShem” does not refers here to prayer, to the men who raise their eyes to beseech God in times of need. It refers above all to the righteous. And how does David define a righteous person? Righteous are those who consider, before they act, if what they are about to do is right or wrong “in the eyes of God”. The righteous are those men and women who have a full and permanent awareness that God is watching us. The righteous who “look up to God”, striving to live a life which is worthy and rightful in the eyes of God.