At the beginning of the weekday Maariv prayer service, we say a verse from Psalms 78:38.

The Artscroll translation reads:

"He the Merciful One is forgiving of iniquity and does not destroy frequently withdrawing His anger not arousing His entire rage"

We learn from here that G-d does not destroy frequently, but I want to know:

  • how often DOES G-d destroy?

  • Who/what is He destroying?

  • What does G-d's infrequent destroying have to do with the Maariv prayer serivce?

This question is Purim Torah and is not intended to be taken completely seriously. See the Purim Torah policy.

closed as too localized by Isaac Moses Mar 12 '12 at 5:10

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  • I have removed the purim tag as nothing in this question or the supplied answers indicate purim torah. – avi Mar 6 '12 at 14:52
  • @avi, I've reverted your edit. The whole question is based on an intentional misreading of the translation. It's not intended to be serious, and trying to force it to be will make some people take the intentional misreading seriously, which would be unfortunate. If you don't like it as P"T, I suggest that you vote it down. – Isaac Moses Mar 6 '12 at 14:59
  • Well, I first tried commenting on the answer, that the answer wasn't very purimy... and the comment was that the question isn't either... one of these is wrong, and it's really hard to tell which one is which. – avi Mar 6 '12 at 15:38
  • @avi, This happens to be an instance of Purim Torah (silly due to the intentional misreading) that happens to be in an un-Purimy mood (about destruction). Formally, it's a perfectly valid example of the former. Again, if you think the mood is excessively unseasonal, you're welcome to downvote (and to comment to the author, which I think is done now). – Isaac Moses Mar 6 '12 at 15:47
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    @avi, I've upgraded the disclaimer, here and on the policy post. It's harder to miss now. – Isaac Moses Mar 6 '12 at 17:37

Hashem destroys once every 28 years. Since the first man after the mabul to be destroyed (by a curse) was Cham, we bless G-d's destruction with the bircas ha-cham-ah.

What does G-d destroy? Our good night's sleep! All of these snoozers who usually roll outta bed at like 7:29am for the 7:30 minyan - once every 28 years, these guys feel compelled to get up super duper early for vasikin! (Which is not something they are va-seekin the rest of the time).

What's the connection to maariv? Simple! We are grateful to Hashem that he doesn't destroy our precious sleep any more often than once in 28 years!

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    :) But what about Erev Pesach on Shabbos, which happens a lot more often than 28 years, and also causes people to miss out on some good שינה בשבת תענוג? – Alex Mar 7 '12 at 16:04
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    @Alex according to those who allow the eating of matzah ashira on Shabbos Erev Pesach, one need not get up early enough to pray shachris and eat two meals. This is actually the preferable method, as we learn in Psalms 13:6 "Ashira Lashem Ki Gamal Alai" Give (matzah) ashira to Hashem; or may a camel be upon me!" – user1095 Mar 7 '12 at 18:09

The word ישחית is actually a transitive verb, "makes corrupt." So:

  1. Generally G-d doesn't make people corrupt; "everything is in the hands of Heaven except for fear of Heaven (Brachos 33b)." There are occasional rare exceptions, such as Pharaoh.

  2. He makes such people corrupt, so that they can get their lumps.

  3. Specifically, so that Pharaoh and his people could be punished with the plague of darkness. We thank Hashem that we're not that kind of person, and that the oncoming darkness we see at Maariv is a natural one.

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    This doesn't sound very purimy... – avi Mar 6 '12 at 6:42
  • Added in a source (if you don't mind). – Hacham Gabriel Mar 6 '12 at 12:43
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    @Avi neither does the question. – Seth J Mar 6 '12 at 13:26
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    @avi Let me clarify. I meant that it could be a serious question with a serious answer. IMHO it's pretty clear (though a bit subtle) that the question is intended in jest. Likewise the answer. +1 from me. – Seth J Mar 6 '12 at 15:58
  • -1 you didn't answer the question. I wanted to know how often G-d destroys people (how infrequent is "does not destroy frequently"). Just like a measurement of k'zayis, beitzah, tefach, "in the freezer" - you know, real Torah measurements! – user1095 Mar 7 '12 at 8:23