As we discussed, the poetic song of Adon Olam serves as a “tikun” for the human arrogance that caused us to lose the Garden. The song therefore states that the “Awesome One will reign alone,” and it also states:
“And He was, and He is, and He will be in glory. He is One – there is no second to compare to Him, to place beside Him. Without beginning, without end – His is the power and dominion.”
After this stress on the Divine transcendence, the song concludes with an emphasis on the Divine immanence – the closeness of Hashem:
“He is my God, my Living Redeemer, a Rock in my travail at the time of distress. He is my Banner, and my Refuge for me, the portion of my cup when I call. Into His hand I shall entrust my spirit, when I sleep and when I awake. With my spirit, my body also; Hashem is with me, I shall not fear.”
Although in the process of tikun for human arrogance, we must humbly acknowledge that Hashem is the Awesome Sovereign of the Universe, we are to also realize that Hashem is the Compassionate and Life-Giving One Who is close to each of us. This is the concluding message of Adon Olam.
Yosef Ben Shlomo Hakohen (See below)
1. The concluding message of Adon Olam is in the spirit of the following Divine message:
“For thus said the Exalted and Uplifted One, Who abides forever and Whose Name is holy: I abide in exaltedness and holiness, but I am with the despondent and lowly of spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the despondent.” (Isaiah57:15).
According to the classical commentator, Rashi, Hashem is saying, “I am with the despondent and lowly of spirit upon whom I lower My Shechinah (Divine Presence).”
2. In Adon Olam, Hashem is called “the portion of my cup.” A similar phrase appears in Psalm 16:5: “Hashem is the portion of my inheritance and of my cup.” In his commentary on this verse, Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch says that the “portion of my cup” refers to the joys and pleasures which come from Hashem.
Another related interpretation is that my connection to Hashem is in itself my joy and pleasure. My soul stems from the Divine essence, and I therefore find joy in connecting to My Source.
3. “Into His hand I shall entrust my spirit.” – These words from Adon Olam are based on the following words from Psalm 31:6: “Into Your hand I entrust my spirit.”
We are all in the hands of Hashem, and this ancient Jewish message has influenced other peoples; in fact, there is an American spiritual titled, “He Got the Whole World in His Hands.” A source within our Sacred Scriptures for this idea can be found in the following passage:
“Please ask the animals, however, and they will teach you; the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you. Or speak to the earth, and it will teach you; the fish of the sea will report to you. Who cannot know from all these things that the hand of God made this; that in His hand is the soul of every living thing and the spirit of all humankind?” (Job 12:7-10).