Tehillim, Psalm 34:9 is most often translated as: Taste and see, (that) HaShem is good. Sometimes this verse is explained as to taste and see His Goodness.

But Rabbi Elimelech of Lizhensk interprets this verse: ‘Taste and see that all goodness is in fact G‑d.’ And the Shem Olam understand it to mean "Reflect (taste) and see that Hashem is good." And another interpretation (Rabbi Mordechai Becher) could be "Contemplate/Comprehend and see that Hashem is good.” 'Taste' as explained niet the Malbim Deens to refers to one's individual perception/understanding.

Is this a literal taste or is it more like within the saying: 'Taste live' ?

  • @DanF commented and wrote that ta'am also means reason. Seems logical and a nice addition to comprehend, contemplate and reflect. Sense and judgment are other words I think of. I know 'taste' is a 'experience'. Is this the kind of taste tehillim talks about?
    – Levi
    Sep 29, 2016 at 20:16
  • Well it seems like according to R. Becher it does not mean literal taste, so what exactly are you asking?
    – mevaqesh
    Sep 29, 2016 at 21:15
  • @mevaqesh I'm looking for the connection between all other meanings and taste
    – Levi
    Oct 3, 2016 at 15:51
  • Are you assuming that a word can only have a single meaning, and that all of its usages must reflect a single definition? If so, cnsider editing this into the question.
    – mevaqesh
    Oct 5, 2016 at 0:39

1 Answer 1


See Ibn Ezra's explanation on the verse. He says, טעמו refers to what the heart "sees" and ראו refers to what the eyes see.

In Judaism, the heart is often referred to as the center of knowledge or wisdom. (Sometimes the head or brain is, as well.)

Integrating this into the rest of the verse, it means see with your eyes and internalize it (contemplate or "reason" through it) and you will realize that G-d is good. (The word טעם also means "reason". It seems that this is the meaning meant in this verse.)

This meaning of "reasoning" is also expressed by Metzudat Tzion commentary on this verse. He cites another verse from Mishlei (a verse that you should recognize, incidentally) with similar usage.

  • @DanF, this would explain the translation of ta'am as taste (to chew over means fig. thinking something over) a little bit as well. Because to taste means for food to enter our being, trough the mouth, but which is really experienced in the brain. Scientes claim often that taste is much more than a tasting with the mouth and involves a lot of senses, experiences, thoughts and emotions. For me this Psalm is saying: experience and perceive that G-d is good. And I really like your explanation adding to my own thoughts.
    – Levi
    Sep 30, 2016 at 4:55
  • @mevaqesh I don't believe that my statement implied that Judaism is the ONLY religion that believed this. Of course, it is possible that Judaism may have been the FIRST religion to establish this "rule".
    – DanF
    Sep 30, 2016 at 13:17
  • I appreciate that you liked it. I esp. enjoy questions that delve into Hebrew word meaning, and moreso, those that try to relate what appear to be different meanings of a word or phrase. Shanah Tovah.
    – DanF
    Sep 30, 2016 at 13:20
  • @mevaqesh G-d forbid that I would say what you're claiming! Maybe it came across that way. I'm merely implying that perhaps the Torah (or Gemarra, etc.) stated something already that science has merely confirmed, eventually. The Torah is stating a principle, based on G-d's wisdom. Science uses theory and methodology to prove what we already know.
    – DanF
    Sep 30, 2016 at 15:57
  • @mevaqesh Got it. Shanah Tovah.
    – DanF
    Sep 30, 2016 at 19:45

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