Clean hands and a pure heart, or, Greetings from Coronaland

In Jewish tradition, Psalm 24 is recited as the Psalm of the Day (“as the Levites used to recite in the temple”) for Sundays, and is also recited when putting away the Torah at any morning service that is not on Shabbat. Verse 4, though, is probably one of your mom’s or grandma’s favorite proverbs just on general principles:

“Who may go up to the mountain of the Lord? And who may stand in His holy place? One with clean hands and a pure heart.”

Psalm 24:3-4

I’ve always liked this psalm, and after playing with this particular verse for a while, I released the design below on Etsy exactly one year ago today. Click through the images to see the listings.

Verse 4a by itself
Framed by Verse 3 in a circular format.

Needless to say, however, with the sudden cultural emphasis on frequent and effective handwashing, this verse has been much on my mind in the last month. I venture to suggest that singing through the first 4 verses of the psalm is as good a way as any to time your 20-second handwashing.

L’David mizmor:
LaShem ha-aretz u’meloah, teivel v-yoshvei vah;

Ki hu al ha-yamim yesadah, v-al neharot yechoneneha.

Mi ya’aleh b’har HaShem, u-mi yakum bimkom kadsho?

Neki chapayim u-var levav, asher lo nasa lashav nafshi,
v-lo nishba l-mirma.

(Note that Jewish tradition discourages reciting prayers or blessings, using the name of God, or speaking of “matters of Torah” while in the bathroom. However, this isn’t strictly a prayer nor from the Torah, and we elide the name of God anyway in casual use, so I personally think it’s within bounds. As always, consult your local rabbi.)

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