The Power of the 23rd Psalm

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Green pastures. Still waters. And that valley of the shadow of death. Those words alone may be enough to evoke the piece from the Hebrew Scriptures that many people can recite in its entirety, even it they’re not religious. The 23rd Psalm is the one that begins “The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want.” It’s only fifteen lines long, 57 words in its original Hebrew. It’s often read out loud at funerals, and whispered privately at moments of fear and grief.

Rabbi Harold Kushner has a new book on the 23rd Psalm that he says completes a conversation he began after the death of his fourteen year old son, when he first raised questions about why bad things happen to good people.


Harold S. Kushner, author, “The Lord Is My Shepherd: Healing Wisdom of the Twenty-third Psalm”, Rabbi Laureate, Temple Israel, Natick, Massachusetts