For the week ending 9 September 2023 / 23 Elul 5783

Perek Shira: The Song of the Mouse

by Rabbi Reuven Lauffer
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The Mouse says: “And You are righteous regarding all that has befallen me, for You have acted justly and I have been wicked.” (See Nechemiah 9:33.)

The mouse breeds prolifically in every environment and is the most notorious of household pests. The Sages term it as “wicked” because, although it has basic animal intelligence, it will nibble on and destroy clothing without benefit to itself. If it sees abundant food, it calls its fellow mice to join in its plunder. When it is eventually caught, it sings of Hashem’s justice in removing the wicked from society.

The mouse’s song finds expression in every Jew, especially before and during the Days of Judgment. If a Jew stumbles on a sin, he readily admits guilt and resolves to prevent a reoccurrence. If a calamity befalls him, he declares it to be a gift of atonement and moves on. A Jew turns sinfulness into righteousness, and punishment into praise. Even his very admission of guilt is a Heavenly song!

  • Sources: Talmud Yerushalmi (Bava Metzia 3:5), cited in Sifsei Chaim

*In loving memory of Harav Zeev Shlomo ben Zecharia Leib

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