נשבע להרע ולא ימיר
This psalm of King David is very short, containing just five pesuquim (Biblical verses). But is very rich in meaning.
The text begins with a question:
PASUQ 1: “Who deserves to live in Your tent, who deserves to dwell in Your Sanctuary?”.
The words “live in His tent”, “dwell in His sanctuary” refers to achieving a very high spiritual state. “Living in God’s vicinity means feeling very close to Him, continuously. This depends, first, on the person’s desire to get closer to Him. And also on HaShem’s will, in considering this individual deserving His special attention [hashgacha peratit]. The question then is: What are the virtues that a man or a woman should cultivate to deserve living close to God, and, as Maimonides explains, to deserve HaShem’s attention?
PASUQ 2: “He who conducts himself with integrity, acts with righteousness, and speaks the truth in his heart.”
This pasuq lists the virtues that one must have to become this “ideal human being” who deserves to live in His presence. It is worth noticing that all the qualities mentioned here have to do with integrity and honesty. It does not mean that other aspects of the Tora, religious rituals and ceremonies, are less important. It is only that this Psalm focuses specifically on morality. This pasuq speaks of three ethical principles that guide the deeds of a “good person”: integrity, justice and truthfulness. The next verse, as we will see now, will mention three wrongdoing that a “good person” should avoid.
PASUQ 3: “He does not slander with his tongue, nor he does evil to his fellow man, nor he offends his neighbor.”
Again, we see that this Psalm emphasizes the moral actions (ben adam lahabero) rather than the ceremonials (ben adam lamaqom). The first offense mentioned here is leshon hara: speaking ill of another person, behind his or her back, in words that, even if true, may cause harm to that person. Then, the pasuq refers to avoiding causing material damages, like stealing or assaulting someone physically. And finally, King David mentions not to offend others and avoiding causing emotional harm, i.e., damages that are caused mostly by words: insulting, offending or verbally abusing someone, etc.
PASUQ 4: ” He despises men who do evil; but would honor God fearing people. If he swears [he will fulfill his promise and] will not change, although [by keeping his word] he will loss”.
This pasuq relates to the conduct of this good man with himself. A decent man or woman does not envy the wicked, even if they succeed and prosper. The role model for this person are God-fearing people. That is, individuals who are conducting their lives with a permanent awareness that HaShem is watching what they do. Finally, a good man is, above all, honest. And how do you measure integrity in Judaism? When a person has already committed himself to do a business transaction, and although he did not sign anything, he gave his word. And then he realizes, or it happens that under new circumstances, to carry out that transaction will harm him economically and he would lose a lot of money by keeping his word. In these circumstances, the decent man will no retract himself. He will not change his words and will not deny his commitment. The man who deserves to live close to God, will honor his words. Would rather loss money than breaking his promise. This, in Judaism, is the epitome of integrity .
PASUQ 5: “He would not give his money at interest, or accept bribes to incriminate the innocent. He who does this, will never stumble” and will deserve to live in the proximity of God, in this world and in the next.
א מִזְמוֹר, לְדָוִד: ה’, מִי יָגוּר בְּאָהֳלֶךָ; מִי יִשְׁכֹּן, בְּהַר קָדְשֶׁךָ.
ב הוֹלֵךְ תָּמִים, וּפֹעֵל צֶדֶק; וְדֹבֵר אֱמֶת, בִּלְבָבוֹ.
ג לֹא-רָגַל, עַל-לְשֹׁנוֹ לֹא-עָשָׂה לְרֵעֵהוּ רָעָה; וְחֶרְפָּה, לֹא נָשָׂא עַל-קְרֹבוֹ.
ד נִבְזֶה, בְּעֵינָיו נִמְאָס וְאֶת-יִרְאֵי ה’ יְכַבֵּד; נִשְׁבַּע לְהָרַע, וְלֹא יָמִר.
ה כסְפּוֹ, לֹא-נָתַן בְּנֶשֶׁךְ וְשֹׁחַד עַל-נָקִי, לֹא לָקָח: עֹשֵׂה-אֵלֶּה לֹא יִמּוֹט לְעוֹלָם.