raashi commentary on the verse in psalm

"Valley of the shadow of death"

Good nefeshim do not suffer the pangs of death as much as evil nefeshim suffer, for the hazaruth ha mautim touches the prophets only as a shadow. The passage of death comes as a crossing in the death valley that all have to go through, and fear comes only to koferim, not the haredim, ha gadol. That is why it is advised for all, G-d's chosen and goyim alike, to believe in the wager that Pascal partook in.


  • Welcome to Mi Yodeya! Please take a moment to look at our tour for some useful information about how this site works. Could you possibly edit your question to link to where you got this quote from? – DonielF Jun 13 '19 at 14:18

Pascal lived ~500 years after Rashi, so that should tip you off that something’s not right here. (EDIT: As should the quote being from a site called “Neo-Judaism” which regularly quotes the so-called “New Testament” to support its assertions.) Indeed, the only thing accurate about that quote is that the phrase “the valley of the shadow of death” appears in Psalms 23:4. What Rashi actually says on this verse is:

בגיא צלמות. בארץ חושך ועל מדבר זיף אמר, כל צלמות לשון חושך פירשו דונש בן לברט:

”The valley of the shadow of death” – in a land of darkness; regarding the desert of Ziph did he say this. All [instances of] צלמות means darkness, as Donesh Ben Lebrat explained it.

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  • Was King David going through a dark valley in the middle of the night when G-d revealed to him this? – David Hrabak Jun 13 '19 at 14:18
  • @DavidHrabak Psalms was written with Divine Inspiration, not prophecy. Tradition has it that he wrote Psalms securely in his throne room upon waking up every night at midnight (Berachos 3b). Now, David did at some point travel through the land of Ziph (I Samuel ch. 23), so perhaps he’s recalling his experiences there, when the land’s inhabitants tattled on him to then-king Saul, who wanted to kill him. Why specifically Ziph over any other place where Saul threatened his life I’m not sure - perhaps you should ask that separately. – DonielF Jun 13 '19 at 14:24
  • Thank you DonielF that was very informative. – David Hrabak Jun 13 '19 at 14:38

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