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Wait on the Lord - Chazak!

Wait on the Lord -

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Kavveh el-Adonai

Psalm 27:14

Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart (Psalm 27:14 KJV).

In this famous verse, the imperative verb translated "wait" is the Hebrew word kavveh, which might better be rendered as "look for with anticipation!" or "hope!" (the root of this verb actually appears in the Hebrew word for hope: "tikvah"). Hope in the Lord and "chazak!" - be strong! (the Septuagint translates chazak as andridzou - act like a man!). That is, hope in the Lord, be stouthearted and decided in your convictions, and then God will instill courage to your heart.


Interestingly, you first step out in faith, obeying the mitzvah to hope in the LORD, and then God causes your heart to be filled with courage (the verb amets is hiphil, meaning the Lord produces the courage within you).

But it's not easy to wait.... An old Jewish prayer, uttered somewhat wistfully, is "O Lord, I know that Thou wilt help us; but wilt Thou help us before Thou wilt help us?"

This verse says that if you are hoping in Him, strong in your conviction, you will be given courage to bear whatever may befall you - and this is help indeed!

Wait, I say, on the Lord!



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Did you know?

During the concluding pasuk of each book of the Torah it is customary for the congregation to stand as the Torah reader reads the final words. Then, in a dramatic manner, he signals to the congregation, who then respond with "Chazak, chazak, ve-nit chazek" (Be strong, be strong, and let us be strengthened!):

Chazak! Chazak! v'nit chazeik!

This is a cry of encouragement to continue with the reading of the next book, and to return to this one again in due course. This custom may be derived from the words of Joshua to the children of Israel, "chazak ve'ematz" (be strong and courageous)
-- Joshua 1:6,7,9,18.

The Hebrew greeting Yasher Koach! means "May your strength be firm," and is often said to those who have had performed Torah reading aliyah at synagogue.

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