“Leave Me Alone, God”

Rabbi Shai Held

Reading Psalm 39

What happens when people find life so painful that they cannot contain their disappointment in God, no matter how hard they try? In this session, we’ll do a close literary and theological reading of Psalm 39, which expresses the agony and despair of a person undergoing unendurable suffering. We’ll explore both the fierce power and the stubborn ambiguity of the text: is it a prayer of hope or despair, or both? Does the psalmist’s relationship with God end in resolution or rupture? We’ll discuss the possible role of lament, both in the psalmist’s life and (potentially) in our own.