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The shortest chapter in the book of Psalms is one we recite as part of our prayers on holidays and the New Moon:

Psalms 117:1-2 (translation from Sefaria):

הַֽלְל֣וּ אֶת־יְ֭הוָה כָּל־גּוֹיִ֑ם שַׁ֝בְּח֗וּהוּ כָּל־הָאֻמִּֽים׃ כִּ֥י גָ֘בַ֤ר עָלֵ֨ינוּ ׀ חַסְדּ֗וֹ וֶֽאֱמֶת־יְהוָ֥ה לְעוֹלָ֗ם הַֽלְלוּ־יָֽהּ׃

O praise the LORD, all ye nations; Laud Him, all ye peoples. For His mercy is great toward us; And the truth of the LORD endureth for ever. Hallelujah.

Why should the nations praise G-d for showing mercy to Jews? How does this benefit them or what incentive is there for them to do so? And, how does the author of this Psalm suggest that they do this? Is it by reciting these verses or via some other means?

  • @DoubleAA - I'm fine with the edit. However, if "chapter" means "perek", isn't, in fact, this one the shortest in all of Tana"ch? – DanF May 3 '16 at 2:27
  • Chapter here means what is in Yiddish called "kapitel". There are traditionally breaks between Kapitlach judaism.stackexchange.com/a/22862/759 – Double AA May 3 '16 at 2:29
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This question was once asked to Rav Yonatan Eybeschutz. He replied: We Jews only know of the major plots concocted to exterminate us; the non-Jews, however know how many additional plans of theirs were thwarted by G-d. Thus, at the end of days (as per Radak and general understanding), having been forced to recognize G-d's hand, they will praise Hashem 'for His mercy is great upon us'.

(If I remember correctly, I read this in the book (דבר תורה לשולחן שבת (שמות.)

As for how they would do praise Hashem, assumingly it would be in the manner of praising anyone-- complements, recounting greatness, etc. I see no reason for David HaMelech to have to elaborate on this point; it seems common knowledge how to praise people.

  • Nice explanation. If possible, provide a link to the D'var Torah (your 2nd par.) – DanF May 3 '16 at 2:16
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Radak explain this as a reference to yemos haMoshiah, when Am Israel will be redeemed and all nations will come to recognize Hashem.

This would explain why the other nations will praise G-d from what He will have done for us. See Isaiah in 2:3-4 and Micah 4:2-3.

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