Dovid Hamelech states in Tehillim (116:16) the well-known words which we say in Hallel, “Ana Hashem, ki ani avdecha, ani avdicha ben amasecha. Pitachta li’mosei’rai — I give thanks to You, Hashem, for I am Your servant; I am Your servant the son of Your maidservant. You have opened up my bonds.”

The words of Dovid seem puzzling, for he declares himself as the ‘servant of Hashem’. Yet, at the very same moment, he seems to express his delight that his shackles were removed. A servant is normally bound to his master. If so, why would he wish to imply that he is pleased to be set free from his servitude?!

Rather, Dovid is stating, ‘I certainly am a servant of Hashem. However, I am not merely a servant who is acquired against my will that needs to be guarded at all times. Rather, I am a servant- the son of Your maidservant. My servitude is in my bloodstream. It is a natural part of me to always be Your faithful servant. This was handed down to me, from throughout all the generations, all the way back to Avraham Avinu. Just as Avraham was called a “faithful servant”, so too, is my calling in life. It is for this reason that it is completely unnecessary to keep me in bonds, for I would never forsake my servitude to You!’

By Rabbi Usher Smith. The Sefer “Passion for Perfection” by this author, is now available in Hebrew book stores.

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