בסיעתא דשמיא

פרק שירה | Perek Shirah (Chapter of Song), a hymn of creation

"The Song of Domesticated and Wild Animals," Leaves from Perek Shirah - British Library MS Or. 54 (Or. 12,983). Image by Aharon Varady (CC BY-SA)

“The Song of Domesticated and Wild Animals,” Leaves from Perek Shirah – British Library MS Or. 54 (Or. 12,983). Image by Aharon Varady (CC BY-SA)

Dr. Malachi Beit-Arie writes in his introduction to a facsimile edition of Perek Shira, the following:

[Perek Shira] has been preserved in more than 100 manuscripts, 20 of them copied in the Middle Ages, including geniza fragments, the earliest dating from about the tenth century. The versions differ considerably in content and arrangement, and classification of the manuscripts reveals the existence of three distinct traditions: Oriental-Italian, Sephardi and Ashkenazi. The first printed edition, with a commentary by Moses b. Joseph de Trani (printed as an appendix to his Beit Elohim; Venice, 1576), was followed by some 100 corrupt editions, generally accompanied by commentaries, translations into Yiddish, Ladino and German, and literary paraphrases to this day. Perek Shira is first mentioned in a polemical work of Salmon b. Jerohim, a Jerusalem Karaite of the first half of the tenth century. References to it can be found in European sources at the end of the 12th century and from the 13th century onward various interpretations, mainly kabbalistic, are known. It would seem that from the outset Perek Shira was intended as a liturgical text, as also seems apparent from the pseudepigraphic mystical additions. In the early Ashkenazi manuscripts it was included in maḥzorim and collections of special prayers in close proximity to prayers issuing from circles of Ḥasidei Ashkenaz. The spread of the later custom of reciting Perek Shira as a prayer and its inclusion in printed prayer books was mainly due to the influence of the Safed kabbalists.

Talmudic and midrashic sources contain hymns of the creation usually based on homiletic expansions of metaphorical descriptions and personifications of the created world in the Bible. The explicitly homiletic background of some of the hymns in Perek Shira indicates a possible connection between the other hymns and Tannaitic and Amoraic homiletics, and suggests a hymnal index to well-known, but mostly unpreserved, homiletics. The origin of this work, the period of its composition and its significance may be deduced from literary parallels. A Tannaitic source in the tractate Ḥagiga of the Jerusalem (Ḥag. 2:1,77a—b) and Babylonian Talmud (Ḥag. 14b), in hymns of nature associated with apocalyptic visions and with the teaching of ma’aseh merkaba serves as a key to Perek Shira’s close spiritual relationship with this literature. Parallels to it can be found in apocalyptic literature, in mystic layers in Talmudic literature, in Jewish mystical prayers surviving in fourth-century Greek Christian composition, in Heikhalot literature, and in Merkaba mysticism. The affinity of Perek Shira with Heikhalot literature, which abounds in hymns, can be noted in the explicitly mystic introduction to the seven crowings of the cock — the only non-hymnal text in the collection — and the striking resemblance between the language of the additions and that of Shi’ur Koma and other examples of this literature. In Seder Rabba de-Bereshit, a Heikhalot tract, in conjunction with the description of ma’aseh bereshit, there is a clear parallel to Perek Shira’s praise of creation and to the structure of its hymns. The concept reflected in this source is based on a belief in the existence of angelic archetypes of created beings who mediate between God and His creation, and express their role through singing hymns. As the first interpretations of Perek Shira also bear witness to its mystic character and angelologic significance, it would appear to be a mystical chapter of Heikhalot literature, dating from late Tannaitic — early Amoraic period, or early Middle Ages.

Some parallels to Perek Shira exist outside Hebrew literature: the Testament of Adam (preserved in Syriac, Greek, and in later translations), which contains horaries of praise by the whole of creation framed in an apocalyptic angelologic vision similar to that in Seder Rabba de-Bereshit and may have originated from Jewish Hellenistic circles; the Greek Physiologus of the second century, which reveals structural and formal parallels to Perek Shira; and Islamic oral traditions (Hadith) on the praise of created beings.

From the Book of Job (12:7-10):

וְֽאוּלָ֗ם שְׁאַל־נָ֣א בְהֵמ֣וֹת וְתֹרֶ֑ךָּ
וְע֥וֹף הַ֝שָּׁמַ֗יִם וְיַגֶּד־לָֽךְ׃
א֤וֹ שִׂ֣יחַ לָאָ֣רֶץ וְתֹרֶ֑ךָּ
וִֽיסַפְּר֥וּ לְ֝ךָ֗ דְּגֵ֣י הַיָּֽם׃
מִ֭י לֹא־יָדַ֣ע בְּכָל־אֵ֑לֶּה כִּ֥י יַד־יְ֝הוָה עָ֣שְׂתָה זֹּֽאת׃
אֲשֶׁ֣ר בְּ֭יָדוֹ נֶ֣פֶשׁ כָּל־חָ֑י וְ֝ר֗וּחַ כָּל־בְּשַׂר־אִֽישׁ׃
But ask now the animals, and they shall teach you;
And the birds of the sky, and they shall tell you;
Or speak to the Earth, and it shall teach you;
And the fishes of the sea shall declare unto you;
Who knows not among all these, That the hand of haShem has wrought this?
In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, And the breath of all humanity.

Below is the ordering of Perek Shira as presented in a 2003 edition of Perek Shira prepared by Rabbi Natan Slifkin, Director of the Biblical Museum of Natural History, corrected to his 2009 edition.

Introductory Text

אָמַר רַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר, כָּל הָעוֺסֵק בְּפֶּרֶק שִׁירָה בָּעוֺלָם הַזֶה זוֺכֶה וְאוֺמְרָה לְעוֺלָם הַבָּא שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר ״אָז יָשִׁיר מֹשֶׁה״ – ״שָׁר״ לֹא נֶאֱמַר אֶלָּא ״יָשִׁיר״ לָעוֺלָם הַבָּא׃
Rabbi Eliezer said: Anyone who involves himself with Perek Shirah in this world, merits saying it in the World-to-Come, as it says, “Then Moshe will sing”; it does not say “sang,” but “will sing” in the World-to-Come.

וְאָמַר רַבִּי כָּל הָעוֺסֵק בְּפֶרֶק שִׁירָה בָּעוֺלָם הַזֶה מַעִיד אֲנִי עָלָיו שֶׁהוּא בֶּן עוֺלָם הַבָּא וְנִצוֺל מִיֵצֶר הָרָע וּמִדִּין קָשֶׁה וּמִשָּׂטָן הַמַשְׁחִית וּמִכָּל מִינֵי מַזִיקִין וּמֵחֶבְלוֹ שֶׁל מָשִׁיחַ וּמִדִּינָה שֶׁל גֵּיהִנֹם וְזוֺכֶה לִלְמוֺד וּלְלַמֵד לִשְׁמוֹר וְלַעֲשׂוֺת וּלְקַיֵים וְתַלְמוּדוֺ מְקַיֵים בְּיָדוֺ וּמַאַרִיךְ יָמִים וְזוֺכֶה לְחַיֵי עוֺלָם הַבָּא׃
And Rebbi said: Anyone who involves himself with Perek Shirah in this world — I testify that he is destined for the World-to-Come, and he is saved from the evil inclination, and from harsh judgment, and from the destroying Satan, and from all types of enemies, and from the birth pangs of Mashiaḥ, and from the judgment of Gehennom; and he merits to learn and to teach, to observe and to fulfill and to perform [the Torah], and his studies are established in him, and his days are lengthened, and he merits life in the World-to-Come.

(ילקוט, סוף תהלים) אָמְרוּ רַבּוֺתֵינוּ ז״ל עַל דָּוִד הַמֶלֶךְ ע״ה בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁסִּיֵים סֵפֶר תְּהִלִים זָחָה דַעַתּוֺ עָלָיו. אָמַר לִפְנֵי הַקָדוֺשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא ״יֵשׁ בְּרִיאָה שֶׁבָּרָאתָ בְּעוֺלמְךָ שֶׁאוֺמֶרֶת שִׁירוֺת וְתִשְׁבָּחוֺת יוֺתֵר מִמֶנִי?״ בְּאוֺתָהּ שָׁעָה נִזְרַמְנָה לוֺ צְפַרְדֵּעַ אַחַת וְאָמְרָה לוֺ, דָּוִד! אַל תָּזּוּחַ דַּעְתְּךָ עָלֶיךָ, שֶׁאֲנִי אוֺמֶרֶת שִׁירוֺת וְתִשְׁבָּחוֺת יוֺתֵר מִמֶּךָּ. וְלֹא עוֺר אֶלָּא כָּל שִׁירָה שֶׁאֲנִי אוֺמֶרֶת מְמַשֶּׁלֶת עָלֶיהָ שְׁלֹשֶׁת אֲלָפִים מָשָׁל שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (מלכים א ה יב) ״וַיְדַבֵּר שְׁלֹשֶׁת אֲלָפִים מָשָׁל וַיְהִי שִׁירוֺ חֲמִשָׁה וָאָלֶף.״ וְלֹא עוֺד אֶלָּא שֶׁאֲנִי עוֺסֶקֶת בְּמִצְוָה גְדוֺלָה, וְזוּ הִיא הַמִּצְוָה שֶׁאַנִי עוֺסֶקֶת בָּהּ – יֵשׁ בִּשְׂפַת הַיָם מִין אֶחָד שֶׁאֵין פַּרְנָסָתוֺ כִּי אִם מִן הַמַיִם וּבְשָעָה שֶׁהוּא רָעֵב נוֺטְלֵנִי וְאוֺכְלֵנִי לְקַיֵים מַה שֶׁנֶאֶמַר (משלי כה:כא-כב) ״אִם רָעֵב שֹׂנַֽאַךָ הַאֲכִילֵהוּ לֶחֶם וְאִם צָמֵא הַשְׁקֵהוּ מָיִם כִּי גֶחָלִים אַתָּה חֹתֶה עַל רֹאשׁוֺ וַיְהֹוָה יְשַׁלֶּם לָךָ״ אַל תִּקְרֵי יְשַׁלֶּם לָךְ אֶלָּא יַשְׁלִימֵהוּ לָךְ׃

[Yalkut Shimoni, end of Psalms]The Sages said concerning King David that when he completed the book of Psalms, he became proud. He said before the Holy One, Blessed be He, “Is there any creature You have created in Your world that says more songs and praises than I?” At that moment a frog happened across his path, and it said to him: David! Do not become proud, for I recite more songs and praises than you. Furthermore, every song I say contains three thousand parables, as it says, “And he spoke three thousand parables, and his songs were one thousand five hundred.” And furthermore, I am busy with a great mitzvah, and this is the mitzvah with which I am busy – there is a certain type of creature by the edge of the sea whose sustenance is entirely from [creatures living in] the water, and when it is hungry, it takes me and eats me, such that I fulfill that which it says, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; for you shall heap coals of fire on his head, and God shall reward you”; do not read “shall reward you” but instead “shall make him complete you.”

פרק ראשון

שָׁמַיִם אוֹמְרִים. הַשָּׁמַיִם מְסַפְּרִים כְּבוֹד אֵל וּמַעֲשֵׂה יָדָיו מַגִּיד הָרָקִיעַ׃ (תהלים יט, ב)
The Heavens are saying: “The heavens speak of God’s glory, and the skies tell of His handiwork.”

אֶרֶץ אוֹמֶרֶת. לְדָוִד מִזְמוֹר לַיהוה הָאָרֶץ וּמְלוֹאָהּ תֵּבֵל וְיֹשְׁבֵי בָּה׃ (תהלים כד א) ואומר. מִכְּנַף הָאָרֶץ זְמִרֹת שָׁמַעְנוּ צְבִי לַצָדִיק׃ (ישעיהו כד טז)
The Earth is saying: “The earth and every thing in it are God’s; the inhabited area and all that dwell within it.” And it is saying: From the wings of the land we have heard song, glory to the righteous.”

גַּן עֵדֶן אוֹמֵר. עוּרִי צָפוֹן וּבוֹאִי תֵימָן הָפִיחִי גַנִּי יִזְּלוּ בְשָׂמָיו יָבֹא דוֹדִי לְגַנּוֹ וְיֹאכַל פְּרִי מְגָדַיו׃ (שיר השירים ד טז)
The Garden of Eden is saying: “Arouse yourself, O north [wind], and come, O south! Blow upon my garden, let its spices flow out; let my Beloved come to His garden and eat of its precious fruit.”

גֵּיהִנֹּם אוֹמֵר. כִּי הִשְׂבִּיעַ נֶפֶשׁ שֹׁקֵקָה וְנֶפֶשׁ רְעֵבָה מִלֵּא טוֹב׃ (תהלים קז ט)
Gehinnom is saying: For He has satisfied the longing soul, and has filled the hungry soul with good.”

מִדְבַּר אוֹמֵר. יְשֻׂשׂוּם מִדְבָּר וְצִיָּה וְתָגֵל עֲרָבָה וְתִפְרַח כַּחֲבַצָּלֶת׃ (ישעיהו לה א)
The Wilderness is saying: “The wilderness and the desert shall rejoice, and the arid region shall exult, and blossom like the rose.”

שָׂדוֹת אוֹמְרִים. יהוה בְּחָכְמָה יָסַד אָרֶץ כּוֹנֵן שָׁמַיִם בִּתְבוּנָה׃ (משלי ג יט)
The Fields are saying: “God founded the land with wisdom; He established the heavens with understanding.”

מַיִם אוֹמְרִים. לְקֹול תִּתֹּו הֲמֹון מַיִם בַּשָּׁמַיִם וַיַּעַל נְשִׂאִים מִקְצֵה אָרֶץ בְּרָקִים לַמָּטָר עָשָׂה וַיֹּצֵא רוּחַ מֵאֹצְרֹתָיו׃ (ירמיה נא טז)
The Seas are saying: “More than the voices of many waters, than the mighty waves of the sea, God on high is mighty.”

יָמִים אוֹמְרִים. מִקֹּלוֹת מַיִם רַבִּים אַדִּירִים מִשְׁבְּרֵי יָם אַדִּיר בַּמָּרוֹם יהוה׃ (תהלים צג ד)
The Waters are saying: “When His voice resounds with a great mass of water in the heavens, and He raises vapors from the ends of the Earth; when He makes lightning amongst the rain, and He brings out the wind from its storehouses.”

נַהֲרוֹת אוֹמְרִים. נְהָרוֹת יִמְחֲאוּ כָף יַחַד הָרִים יְרַנֵּנוּ׃ (תהלים צח ח)
The Rivers are saying: “Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing for joy together!”

מַעְיָנוֹת אוֹמְרִים. וְשָׁרִים כְּחֹלְלִים כָּל מַעְיָנַי׃ (תהלים פז ז)
The Wellsprings are saying: “And as singers who are like dancers are all those who study You.”

פרק שני

יוֹם אוֹמֵר. יוֹם לְיוֹם יַבִּיעַ אֹמֶר וְלַיְלָה לְּלַיְלָה יְחַוֶּה דָּעַת׃ (תהלים יט ג)
The Day is saying: “Day to day utters speech, and night to night relates knowledge.”

לַיְלָה אוֹמֵר. לְהַגִּיד בַּבֹּקֶר חַסְדֶּךָ וֶאֱמוּנָתְךָ בַּלֵילוֹת׃ (תהלים צב ג)
The Night is saying: “To speak of His kindness in the morning, and of His faithfulness by nights.”

שֶׁמֶשׁ אוֹמֵר. שֶׁמֶשׁ יָרֵחַ עָמַד זְבֻלָה לְאוֹר חִצֶּיךָ יְהַלֵּכוּ לְנֹגַהּ בְּרַק חֲנִיתֶּךָ׃ (חבקוק ג יא)
The Sun is saying: “The sun, [when covered by] the moon, stood in its abode; they speed at the light of Your arrows, and at the shining of Your glittering spear.”

יָרֵחַ אוֹמֶרֶת. עָשָׂה יָרֵחַ לְמוֹעֲדִים שֶׁמֶשׁ יָדַע מְבוֹאוֹ׃ (תהלים קד יט)
The Moon is saying: “He made the moon for the festivals; the sun knows the time of its coming.”

כּוֹכָבִים אוֹמְרִים. אַתָּה הוּא יהוה לְבַדֶּךָ אַתָּה עָשִׂיתָ אֶת הַשָּׁמַיִם שְׁמֵי הַשָּׁמַיִם וְכָל צְבָאָם הָאָרֶץ וְכָל אֲשֶׁר עָלֶיהָ הַיַּמִּים וְכָל אֲשֶׁר בָּהֶם וְאַתָּה מְחַיֶּה אֶת כֻּלָּם וּצְבָא הַשָּׁמַיִם לְךָ מִשְׁתַּחֲוִים׃ (נחמיה ט ו)
The Stars are saying, “You, only You, are God; You made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host; the earth, and everything that is in it; the seas, and everything that is in them; and You preserve them all; and the host of heaven prostrate themselves to You.”

עָבִים אוֹמְרִים. יָשֶׁת חֹשֶׁךְ סִתְרוֹ סְבִיבוֹתָיו סֻכָּתוֹ חֶשְׁכַת מַיִם עָבֵי שְׁחָקִים׃ (תהלים יח ב)
The Thick Clouds are saying, “He made darkness His secret place; His pavilion around Him was dark with waters and thick clouds of the skies.”

עַנְנֵי כָּבוֹד אוֹמְרִים. אַף בְּרִי יַטְרִיחַ עָב יָפִיץ עֲנַן אוֹרוֹ׃ (איוב לז יא)
The Light Clouds are saying, “Also He burdens the thick cloud with an overflow; the cloud scatters its light.”

רוּחַ אוֹמֵר. אֹמַר לַצָּפוֹן תֵּנִי וּלְתֵימָן אַל תִּכְלָאִי הָבִיאִי בָנַי מֵרָחוֹק וּבְנוֹתַי מִקְצֵה הָאָרֶץ׃ (ישעיה מג ו)
The Wind is saying, “I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Do not withhold; bring My sons from far, and My daughters from the ends of the earth.”

בְּרָקִים אוֹמְרִים. בְּרָקִים לַמָּטָר עָשָׂה מוֹצֵא רוּחַ מֵאוֹצְרוֹ׃ (תהלים קלה ז)
The Lightning Bolts are saying, “He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; He makes lightning for the rain; He brings forth the wind from His storehouses.”

טַל אוֹמֵר. אֶהְיֶה כַטַּל לְיִשְׂרָאֵל יִפְרַח כַּשּׁוֹשַׁנָּה וְיַךְ שָׁרָשָׁיו כַּלְּבָנוֹן׃ (הושע יד ו)
The Dew is saying: “I shall be as the dew to Israel, he shall blossom as a rose, he shall spread forth his roots as the Lebanon.” Other texts add: “Arouse yourself O north [wind], and come, O south! Blow upon my garden, let its spices flow out; let my Beloved come to His garden and eat of its precious fruit.”

גְּשָׁמִים אוֹמְרִים. גֶּשֶׁם נְדָבוֹת תָּנִיף אֱלֹהִים נַחֲלָתְךָ וְנִלְאָה אַתָּה כוֹנַנְתָּ׃ (תהלים סח י)
The Rains are saying, “You, O Lord, poured a generous rain, to strengthen Your heritage when it languished.”

פרק שלישי
Chapter Three

אִילָנוֹת שֶׁבְּשָׂדֶה אוֹמְרִים. אָז יְרַנְּנוּ עֲצֵי הַיָּעַר מִלִּפְנֵי יהוה כִּי בָא לִשְׁפּוֹט אֶת הָאָרֶץ׃ (דברי הימים א טז לג)
The Wild Trees are saying, “Then shall the trees of the forest sing out at the presence of God, because He comes to judge the earth.”

גֶּפֶן אוֹמֶרֶת. כֹּה אָמַר יהוה כַּאֲשֶׁר יִמָּצֵא הַתִּירוֹשׁ בָּאֶשְׁכּוֹל וְאָמַר אַל תַּשְׁחִיתֵהוּ כִּי בְרָכָה בּוֹ כֵּן אֶעֱשֶׂה לְמַעַן עֲבָדַי לְבִלְתִּי הַשְׁחִית הַכֹּל׃ (ישעיה סה ח)
The Vine is saying, “So says God: As the wine is found in the cluster, and one says: Do not destroy it, for a blessing is in it – so shall I do for the sake of my servants, so as not to destroy eveiything.”

תְּאֵנָה אוֹמֶרֶת. נֹצֵר תְּאֵנָה יֹאכַל פִּרְיָהּ׃ (משלי כז יח)
The Fig is saying: “The one who guards the fig shall eat of her fruits.”

רִמּוֹן אוֹמֵר. כְּפֶלַח הָרִמּוֹן רַקָּתֵךְ מִבַּעַד לְצַמָּתֵךְ׃ (שיר השירים ד ג)
The Pomegranate is saying, “Your cheeks are like a piece of a pomegranate behind your veil.”

תָּמָר אוֹמֵר. צַדִּיק כַּתָּמָר יִפְרָח כְּאֶרֶז בַּלְּבָנוֹן יִשְׂגֶּה׃ (תהלים צב יג)
The Palm is saying, “The righteous flourish like the palm tree; they grow like a cedar in Lebanon.”

תַּפּוּחַ אוֹמֵר. כְּתַפּוּחַ בַּעֲצֵי הַיַּעַר כֵּן דּוֹדִי בֵּין הַבָּנִים בְּצִלּוֹ חִמַּדְתִּי וְיָשַׁבְתִּי וּפִרְיוֹ מָתוֹק לְחִכִּי׃ (שיר השירים ב ג)
The Esrog is saying, “Like the esrog tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among young men. I sat down under his shadow with delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.”

שִׁבֹּלֶת חִטִּים שִׁיר הַמַּעֲלוֹת מִמַּעֲמַקִּים קְרָאתִיךָ יהוה׃ (תהלים קד א)
The Sheaves of Wheat are saying, “A song of ascents: Out of the depths have I cried to You, O God.”

שִׁבֹּלֶת שְׂעוֹרִים תְּפִלָּה לְעָנִי כִי יַעֲטֹף וְלִפְנֵי יהוה יִשְׁפֹּךְ שִׂיחוֹ׃ (תהלים קב א)
The Sheaves of Barley are saying, “A prayer of the pauper, when he swoons, and pours out his speech before God.”

שְׁאַר הַשִׁבֲּלִים אוֹמְרִים. לָבְשׁוּ כָרִים הַצֹּאן וַעֲמָקִים יַעַטְפוּ בָר יִתְרוֹעֲעוּ אַף יָשִׁירוּ׃ (תהלים סה יד)
The Other Sheaves are saying, “The meadows are clothed with flocks; the valleys also are covered over with grain; they shout for joy, they also sing.”

יְרָקוֹת שֶׁבַּשָּׂדֶה אוֹמְרִים. תְּלָמֶיהָ רַוֵּה נַחֵת גְּדוּדֶהָ בִּרְבִיבִים תְּמֹגְגֶנָּה צִמְחָהּ תְּבָרֵךְ׃ (תהלים סה יא)
The Vegetables of the Field are saying, “You water its furrows abundantly; You settle its ridges; you make it soft with showers; You bless its growth.”

דְּשָׁאִים אוֹמְרִים. יְהִי כְבוֹד יהוה לְעוֹלָם יִשְׂמַח יהוה בְּמַעֲשָׂיו׃ (תהלים קד לא)
The Grasses are saying, “May the glory of God endure forever; may God rejoice in His works.”

פרק רביעי

תַּרְנְגוֹל אוֹמֵר. בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁבָּא הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא אֵצֶל הַצַּדִּיקִים בְּגַן עֵדֶן, זוֹלְפִים כֹּל אִילָנֵי גַּן עֵדֶן בַּשָּׁמַיִם, וּמְרַנְּנִים וּמְשַׁבְּחִים, וְאָז גַּם הוּא מִתְעוֹרֵר וּמְשַׁבֵּחַ׃ (זוהר ב קצה:ב, ויקהל)
The Rooster is saying, “When the Holy One, blessed be He, comes to the righteous in the Garden of Eden, all the trees in the Garden of Eden scatter their spices, and they rejoice and praise, and then He, too, is aroused and praises.”

בְּקוֹל רִאשׁוֹן אוֹמֵר. זֶה דּוֹר דֹּרְשָׁו מְבַקְשֵׁי פָנֶיךָ יַעֲקֹב סֶלָה׃ שְׂאוּ שְׁעָרִים רָאשֵׁיכֶם וְהִנָּשְׂאוּ פִּתְחֵי עוֹלָם וְיָבוֹא מֶלֶךְ הַכָּבוֹד׃ מִי זֶה מֶלֶךְ הַכָּבוֹד יהוה עִזּוּז וְגִבּוֹר יהוה גִּבּוֹר מִלְחָמָה׃ (תהלים כד ז-ח)
In its first call it says, “Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? God strong and mighty, God mighty in battle!”

בְּקוֹל שֵׁנִי אוֹמֵר. שְׂאוּ שְׁעָרִים רָאשֵׁיכֶם וּשְׂאוּ פִּתְחֵי עוֹלָם וְיָבֹא מֶלֶךְ הַכָּבוֹד׃ מִי הוּא זֶה מֶלֶךְ הַכָּבוֹד יהוה צְבָאוֹת הוּא מֶלֶךְ הַכָּבוֹד סֶלָה׃ (תהלים כד ט-י)
In its second call, it says, “Lift up your heads, O gates! Lift them up, O everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in. Who is He, this King of glory? God of hosts, He is the King of glory, Selah!”

בְּקוֹל שְׁלִישִׁי אוֹמֵר. עִמְדוּ צַדִּיקִים וְעִסְקוֹ בַּתּוֹרָה, כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּהְיֶה שְׂכַרְכֶם כָּפוּל לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא׃

In its third call it says, “Stand, O righteous ones, and busy yourselves with Torah, so that your reward shall be double in the World-to-Come.”

בְּקוֹל רְבִיעִי אוֹמֵר. לִישׁוּעָתְךָ קִוִּיתִי יהוה׃ (בראשית מט יח)
In its fourth call it says, “I have hoped for your salvation, O God.”

בְּקוֹל חֲמִישִׁי אוֹמֵר. עַד מָתַי עָצֵל תִּשְׁכָּב מָתַי תָּקוּם מִשְּׁנָתֶךָ׃ (משלי ו ט)
In its fifth call, it is saying, “How long will you sleep, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep?”

בְּקוֹל שִׂישִׂי אוֹמֵר. אַל תֶּאֱהַב שֵׁנָה פֶּן תִּוָּרֵשׁ פְּקַח עֵינֶיךָ שְׂבַע לָחֶם׃ (משלי כ יג)
In its sixth call, it is saying, “Do not love sleep, lest you come to poverty; open your eyes, and you shall be satisfied with bread.”

בְּקוֹל שְׁבִיעִי אוֹמֵר. עֵת לַעֲשׂוֹת לַיהוה הֵפֵרוּ תּוֹרָתֶךָ׃ (תהלים קיט קכו)
In its seventh call, it is saying, “It is time to act for God; for they have made void Your Torah.”

תַּרְנְגֹלֶת אוֹמֶרֶת. נֹתֵן לֶחֶם לְכָל בָּשָׂר כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ׃ (תהלים קלו כה)
The Hen is saying, “He gives bread to all flesh, for His kindness endures forever.”

יוֹנָה אוֹמֶרֶת. כְּסוּס עָגוּר כֵּן אֲצַפְצֵף אֶהְגֶּה כַּיּוֹנָה דַּלּוּ עֵינַי לַמָּרוֹם אֲדֹנָי עָשְׁקָה לִּי עָרְבֵנִי׃ (ישעיה לח יד) אוֹמֶרֶת יוֹנָה לִפְנֵי הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, רִבּוֹנוֹ שֶׁל עוֹלַם, יִהְיוּ מְזוֹנוֹתַי מְרוֹרִים כְּזַיִת בְּיָדְךָ, וְאַל יִהְיוּ מְתוּקִים כִּדְבַשׁ, עַל יְדֵי בַּשָּׁר וְדָם׃
(ערובין יח ב מד-מה)
The Dove is saying, “Like a swift or crane, so do I chatter; I moan like a dove; my eyes fail with looking upward; O God, I am oppressed, be my senility.” The dove says before The Holy One, Blessed be He: “Master of the World! May my sustenance be as bitter as an olive in Your Hand, rather than it being sweet as honey through flesh and blood.”

נֶשֶׁר אוֹמֵר. וְאַתָּה יהוה אֱלֹהִים צְבָאוֹת אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל הָקִיצָה לִפְקֹד כָּל הַגּוֹיִם אַל תָּחֹן כָּל בֹּגְדֵי אָוֶן סֶלָה׃ (תהלים נט ו)
The Vulture is saying, “And You, God, Lord of Hosts, Lord of Israel, awake to punish all the nations; do not be gracious to any wicked traitors, sela!”

עָגוּר אוֹמֵר. הוֹדוּ לַיהוה בְּכִנּוֹר בְּנֵבֶל עָשׂוֹר זַמְּרוּ לוֹ׃ (תהלים לג ב)
The Crane is saying, “Give thanks to God with the lyre, make music for Him with the ten-stringed harp.”

צִפּוֹר אוֹמֵר. גַּם צִפּוֹר מָצְאָה בַיִת וּדְרוֹר קֵן לָהּ אֲשֶׁר שָׁתָה אֶפְרֹחֶיהָ אֶת מִזְבְּחוֹתֶיךָ יהוה צְבָאוֹת מַלְכִּי וֵאלֹהָי׃ (תהלים פד ד)
The Songbird is saying, “The songbird has also found her home, and the sparrow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young – Your altars, God of Hosts, my King and my Lord.”

סְנוּנִית אוֹמֶרֶת. לְמַעַן יְזַמֶּרְךָ כָבוֹד וְלֹא יִדֹּם יהוה אֱלֹהַי לְעוֹלָם אוֹדֶךָּ׃ (תהלים לג יג)
The Swallow is saying, “So that my soul shall praise You, and shall not be silent, God my Lord, I shall give thanks to You forever.”

טַסִּית אוֹמֶרֶת. עֶזְרִי מֵעִם יהוה עֹשֵׂה שָׁמַיִם וָאָרֶץ׃ (תהלים קכא ב)
The Swift is saying: “My help is from God, Maker of Heaven and earth.”

צִיָּה אוֹמֶרֶת. אוֹר זָרֻעַ לַצַּדִּיק וּלְיִשְׁרֵי לֵב שִׂמְחָה׃ (תהלים צז יב)
The Stormy Petrel is saying: “Light is sown for the righteous, and joy for the straight-hearted.”

רְצִפִי אוֹמֵר. נַחֲמוּ נַחֲמוּ עַמִּי יֹאמַר אֱלֹהֵיכֶם׃ (ישעיה מ א)
The Laughing Dove is saying: “Comfort My people, comfort them, says your Lord.”

חֲסִידָה אוֹמֶרֶת. דַּבְּרוּ עַל לֵב יְרוּשָׁלִַם וְקִרְאוּ אֵלֶיהָ כִּי מָלְאָה צְבָאָהּ כִּי נִרְצָה עֲוֹנָהּ כִּי לָקְחָה מִיַּד יהוה כִּפְלַיִם בְּכָל חַטֹּאתֶיהָ׃ (ישעיה מ ב)
The Stork is saying: “Speak to the heart of Jerusalem, and call to her, for her time has arrived, for her sins have been pardoned, for she has taken double from God’s hand for all her sins.”

עוֹרֵב אוֹמֵר. מִי יָכִין לָעֹרֵב צֵידוֹ כִּי יְלָדָיו אֶל אֵל יְשַׁוֵּעוּ׃ (איוב לח מא)
The Raven is saying, “Who prepares food for the raven, when his young ones cry out to God?”

זַרְזִיר אוֹמֵר. נוֹדַע בַּגּוֹיִם זַרְעָם וְצֶאֱצָאֵיהֶם בְּתוֹךְ הָעַמִּים כָּל רֹאֵיהֶם יַכִּירוּם כִּי הֵם זֶרַע בֵּרַךְ יהוה׃ (ישעיה סא ט)
The Starling is saying, “Their seed shall be known among the nations, and their offspring among the peoples; all who see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which God has blessed.”

אֲוַז שֶׁבַּבַּיִת אוֹמֶרֶת. הוֹדוּ לַיהוה קִרְאוּ בִשְׁמוֹ הוֹדִיעוּ בָעַמִּים עֲלִילוֹתָיו׃ שִׁירוּ לוֹ זַמְּרוּ לוֹ שִׂיחוּ בְּכָל נִפְלְאוֹתָיו׃
(תהלים קה א-ב)
The Domestic Goose is saying, “Give thanks to God, call upon His Name, make His works known amongst the peoples, sing to Him, make music for Him, speak of all His wonders.”

אֲוַז הַבָּר הַמְּשׁוֹטֶטֶת בַּמִּדְבָּר כְּשֶׁרוֹאֵה אֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל עוֹסְקִים בַּתּוֹרָה אוֹמֶרֶת. קוֹל קוֹרֵא בַּמִּדְבָּר, פָּנוּ דֶּרֶךְ יהוה, יַשְׁרוּ בַּעֲרָבָה מְסִלָּה לֶאֱלֹהֵינוּ׃ (ישעיה מ ג) וְעַל מְצִיאוּת מְזוֹנוֹתֶיהָ בַּמִּדְבָּר אוֹמֶרֶת. אָרוּר הַגֶּבֶר אַשֵּׁר יִבְטַח בָּאָדָם, בָּרוּךְ הַגֶּבֶר אֲשֶׁר יִבְטַח בְּיהוה וְהָיָה יהוה מִבְטָחוֹ׃ (ירמיה יז:ה-ז)
The Wild Goose flying in the wilderness, when it sees Israel busy with Torah, is saying, “A voice cries, Prepare in the wilderness the way of God, make straight in the desert a path for our God.”. And upon finding its food in the wilderness, it says, “Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings… Blessed is the man who trusts in God, and God shall be his assurance.”

פְרוֹגִיוֹת אוֹמְרִים. בִּטְחוּ בַיהוה עֲדֵי עַד כִּי בְּיָהּ יהוה צוּר עוֹלָמִים׃ (ישעיה כו ד)
The Ducks are saying, “Trust in God forever and ever, for God, the Eternal, is the strength of worlds.”

רַחֲמָהּ אוֹמֶרֶת. אֶשְׁרְקָה לָהֶם וַאֲקַבְּצֵם כִּי פְדִיתִים וְרָבוּ כְּמוֹ רָבוּ׃ (זכריה י ח)
The Bee-Eater is saying: “I will whistle to them and gather them, for I have redeemed them, and they shall increase as they have before increased.”

צִפֹּרֶת כְּרָמִים אוֹמֶרֶת. אֶשָּׂא עֵינַי אֵל הֶהָרִים מֵאַיִן יָבֹא עֶזְרִי׃ (תהלים קכא א)
The Grasshopper is saying: “I lift my eyes up to the mountains, where shall my help come from?”

חָסִיל אוֹמֵר. יהוה אֱלֹהַי אַתָּה אֲרוֹמִמְךָ אוֹדֶה שִׁמְךָ כִּי עָשִׂיתָ פֶּלֶא עֵצוֹת מֵרָחוֹק אֱמוּנָה אֹמֶן׃ (ישעיה כה א)
The Locust is saying, “O God, You are my Lord; I will exalt You, I will praise Your Name; for You have done wondrous things; Your counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.”

שְׂמָמִית אוֹמֶרֶת. הַלְלוּהוּ בְצִלְצְלֵי שָׁמַע הַלְלוּהוּ בְּצִלְצְלֵי תְרוּעָה׃ (תהלים קנ ה)
The Spider is saying, “Praise Him with sounding cymbals! Praise Him with loud clashing cymbals!”

זְבוּב אוֹמֵר. בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁאֵין יִשְׂרָאֵל עוֹסְקִים בַּתּוֹרָה, קוֹל אֹמֵר קְרָא וְאָמַר מָה אֶקְרָא כָּל הַבָּשָׂר חָצִיר וְכָל חַסְדּוֹ כְּצִיץ הַשָּׂדֶה׃ יָבֵשׁ חָצִיר נָבֵל צִיץ כִּי רוּחַ יהוה נָשְׁבָה בּוֹ אָכֵן חָצִיר הָעָם׃ יָבֵשׁ חָצִיר נָבֵל צִיץ וּדְבַר אֱלֹהֵינוּ יָקוּם לְעוֹלָם׃ (ישעיה מ ו-ח) בּוֹרֵא נִיב שְׂפָתָיִם שָׁלוֹם שָׁלוֹם לָרָחוֹק וְלַקָּרוֹב אָמַר יהוה וּרְפָאתִיו׃ (ישעיה נז יט)
The Fly, when Israel is not busying itself with Torah, is saying, “The voice said, ‘Call out.’ And he said, ‘What shall I call out? All flesh is grass, and all its grace is as the flower of the field.’ ‘…The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our Lord shall endure forever. “I will create a new expression of the lips; Peace, peace for him who is far off and for him who is near, says God; and I will heal him.”

תַּנִּינִים אוֹמְרִים. הַלְלוּ אֶת יהוה מִן הָאָרֶץ תַּנִּינִים וְכָל תְּהֹמוֹת׃ (תהלים קמח ז)
The Sea Monsters are saying: “Praise God from the land, the sea monsters and all the depths.”

לִוְיָתַן אוֹמֵר. הוֹדוּ לַיהוה כִּי טוֹב כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ׃ (תהלים קלו א)
The Leviathan is saying, “Give thanks to God for He is good, for His kindness endures forever.”

דָּגִים אוֹמְרִים. קוֹל יהוה עַל הַמָּיִם אֵל הַכָּבוֹד הִרְעִים יהוה עַל מַיִם רַבִּים׃ (תהלים כט ג)
The Fishes are saying, “The voice of God is upon the waters, the God of glory thunders, God is upon many waters.”

צְפַרְדֵּעַ אוֹמֶרֶת. בָּרוּךְ שֵׁם כְּבוֹד מַלְכוּתוֹ לְעוֹלַם וָעֶד׃ (פסחים נו א)
The Frog is saying, Blessed is the Name of the honor of His Kingdom for all eternity.”

פרק חמישי
Chapter Five

בְּהֵמָה דַּקָּה טְהוֹרָה אוֹמֶרֶת. מִי כָמֹכָה בָּאֵלִם יהוה מִי כָּמֹכָה נֶאְדָּר בַּקֹּדֶשׁ נוֹרָא תְהִלֹּת עֹשֵׂה פֶלֶא: (שמות טו יא)
The Sheep is saying: “Who is like You among the mighty ones, God, who is like You, mighty in holiness, awesome in praise, worker of wonders.”

בְּהֵמָה גַּסָּה טְהוֹרָה אוֹמֶרֶת. הַרְנִינוּ לֵאלֹהִים עוּזֵּנוּ הָרִיעוּ לֵאלֹהֵי יַעֲקֹב׃ (תהלים פא ב)
The Cow is saying: “Rejoice to the Lord over our strength, trumpet to the Lord of Yaakov!”

בְּהֵמָה דַּקָּה טְמֵאָה אוֹמֶרֶת. הֵיטִיבָה יהוה לַטּוֹבִים וְלִישָׁרִים בְּלִבּוֹתָם׃ (תהלים קכה ד)
The Pig is saying: “God is good to the good, and to the straight-hearted.”

בְּהֵמָה גַּסָּה טְמֵאָה אוֹמֶרֶת. יְגִיעַ כַּפֶּיךָ כִּי תֹאכֵל אַשְׁרֶיךָ וְטוֹב לָךְ׃ (תהלים קכח ב)
The Beast of Burden is saying: “When you eat the fruit of your labors, happy are you and good is your lot.”

גַּמַּל אוֹמֵר. יהוה מִמָּרוֹם יִשְׁאָג וּמִמְּעוֹן קָדְשׁוֹ יִתֵּן קוֹלוֹ שָׁאֹג יִשְׁאַג עַל נָוֵהוּ׃ (ירמיה כה ל)
The Camel is saying: “God shall roar from upon high and cause His voice to sound forth from His holy place, His shout echoes profoundly over His dwelling place.”

סוּס אוֹמֵר. הִנֵּה כְעֵינֵי עֲבָדִים אֶל יַד אֲדוֹנֵיהֶם כְּעֵינֵי שִׁפְחָה אֶל יַד גְּבִרְתָּהּ כֵּן עֵינֵינוּ אֶל יהוה אֱלֹהֵינוּ עַד שֶׁיְּחָנֵּנוּ׃ (תהלים קכג ב)
The Horse is saying: “Behold, as the eyes of the servants to the hand of their master, as the eyes of the maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so are our eyes to God our Lord until He will favor us.”

פֶּרֶד אוֹמֵר. יוֹדוּךָ יהוה כָּל מַלְכֵי אָרֶץ כִּי שָׁמְעוּ אִמְרֵי פִיךָ׃ (תהלים קלח ד)
The Mule is saying, “All the kings of the earth shall acknowledge You, God, for they have heard the sayings of Your mouth.”

חֲמוֹר אוֹמֵר. לְךָ יהוה הַגְּדֻלָּה וְהַגְּבוּרָה וְהַתִּפְאֶרֶת וְהַנֵּצַח וְהַהוֹד כִּי כֹל בַּשָּׁמַיִם וּבָאָרֶץ לְךָ יהוה הַמַּמְלָכָה וְהַמִּתְנַשֵּׂא לְכֹל לְרֹאשׁ׃ (דברי הימים א, כט יא)
The Donkey is saying: “Yours, God, is the greatness, and the might, and the splendor, and the victory, and the glory, for everything in the Heavens and earth [is Yours]; Yours, God, is the kingship, and the exaltation over all.”

שׁוֹר אוֹמֵר. אָז יָשִׁיר משֶׁה וּבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת הַשִּׁירָה הַזֹּאת לַיהוה וַיֹּאמְרוּ לֵאמֹר אָשִׁירָה לַּיהוה כִּי גָאֹה גָּאָה סוּס וְרֹכְבוֹ רָמָה בַיָּם׃ (שמות טו א)
The Ox is saying, “Then Moshe and the Children of Israel sang this song to God, and they said, I shall sing to God, for He has triumphed; He has thrown the horse and its rider into the sea.”

חַיּוֹת הַשָּׂדֶה אוֹמְרִים. בָּרוּךְ הַטּוֹב וְהַמֵּטִיב׃ (ברכות מח ב)
The Wild Animals are saying, “Blessed is the One Who is good and bestows good.”

צְבִי אוֹמֵר. וַאֲנִי אָשִׁיר עֻזֶּךָ וַאֲרַנֵּן לַבֹּקֶר חַסְדֶּךָ כִּי הָיִיתָ מִשְׂגָּב לִי וּמָנוֹס בְּיוֹם צַר לִי׃ (תהלים נט יז)
The Gazelle is saying: “And I shall sing of Your strength, I shall rejoice of Your kindness in the morning, for You were a refuge to me, and a hiding place on the day of my oppression.”

פִּיל אוֹמֵר. מַה גָּדְלוּ מַעֲשֶׂיךָ יהוה מְאֹד עָמְקוּ מַחְשְׁבֹתֶיךָ׃ (תהלים צב ו)
The Elephant is saying: “How great are Your works, God; Your thoughts are tremendously deep.”

אַרְיֵה אוֹמֵר יהוה כַּגִּבּוֹר יֵצֵא כְּאִישׁ מִלְחָמוֹת יָעִיר קִנְאָה יָרִיעַ אַף יַצְרִיחַ עַל אֹיְבָיו יִתְגַּבָּר׃ (ישעיה מב יג)
The Lion is saying: “God shall go out as a mighty man, He shall arouse zeal He shall say, even roar, He shall prevail over His enemies.”

דֹּב אוֹמֵר. יִשְׂאוּ מִדְבָּר וְעָרָיו חֲצֵרִים תֵּשֵׁב קֵדָר יָרֹנּוּ ישְׁבֵי סֶלַע מֵרֹאשׁ הָרִים יִצְוָחוּ׃ (ישעיה מב יא)
The Bear is saying: “Let the wilderness and its cities lift up their voice, the village that Kedar inhabits; let the inhabitants of the rocks sing, let them shout from the peaks of the mountains. Let them give glory to God, and tell of His praise in the islands.”

זְאֵב אוֹמֵר. עַל כָּל דְּבַר פֶּשַׁע עַל שׁוֹר עַל חֲמוֹר עַל שֶׂה עַל שַׂלְמָה עַל כָּל אֲבֵדָה אֲשֶׁר יֹאמַר כִּי הוּא זֶה עַד הָאֱלֹהִים יָבֹא דְּבַר שְׁנֵיהֶם אֲשֶׁר יַרְשִׁיעֻן אֱלֹהִים יְשַׁלֵּם שְׁנַיִם לְרֵעֵהוּ׃ (שמות כב ח)
The Wolf is saying: “For every matter of iniquity, for the ox, the donkey, the lamb, the garment, for every lost item about which he says, ‘This is it,’ the matter of both of them shall come before the judge; he who the judge finds guilty shall pay double to the other.”

שׁוּעַל אוֹמֵר. הוֹי בֹּנֶה בֵיתוֹ בְּלֹא צֶדֶק וַעֲלִיּוֹתָיו בְּלֹא מִשְׁפָּט בְּרֵעֵהוּ יַעֲבֹד חִנָּם וּפֹעֲלוֹ לֹא יִתֶּן לוֹ׃ (ירמיה כב יג)
The Fox is saying: “Woe to him that builds his house without justice, and his chambers without lawfulness; that uses his friend’s service without wages, and does not give him for his hire.”

זַרְזִיר אוֹמֵר. רַנְּנוּ צַדִּיקִים בַּיהוה לַיְשָׁרִים נָאוָה תְהִלָּה׃ (תהלים לג א)
The Hound is saying, “Let the righteous rejoice in God, praise is befitting to the straight.”

חָתוּל אוֹמֵר. אֶרְדּוֹף אוֹיְבַי וְאַשִֹּיגֵם וְלֹא אָשׁוּב עַד כַּלּוֹתָם׃ (תהלים יח לח)
The Cat is saying, “If you rise up like a vulture, and place your nest among the stars, from there I shall bring you down, says God.”

עַכְבָּר אוֺמֵר. אֲרוֺמִמְךָ יְהֹוָה כִּי דִלִּיתָנִי וְלֹא שִׂמַּחְתָּ אֹיְבַי לִי׃ (תהלים ל ב)
And The Mouse says, “I shall exalt you, God, for You have impoverished me, and You have not let my enemies rejoice over me.”

וּכְּשֶׁמַגִיעוֺ אוֺמֵר הַחָתוּל. אֶרְדּוֺף אוֺיְבַי וְאַשִּׂיגֵס וְלֹא אָשׁוּב עַד כַּלּוֺתָם׃ (תהלים יח לח)
And when the cat catches it, the cat says, “I have pursued my enemies and overtaken them, and I did not return until they were destroyed.”

וְהָעַכְבָּר אוֺמֵר. וְאַתָּה צַדִיק עַל כָּל הַבָּא עָלַי כִּי אֶמֶת עָשִׂיתָ וַאֲנִי הִרְשָׁעְתִּי׃ (נחמיה ט לג)
And the mouse says, “You are just for all that comes upon me, for You have acted truthfully, and I have been wicked.”

פרק ששי

שְׁרָצִים אוֹמְרִים. יִשְׂמַח יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּעֹשָׂיו בְּנֵי צִיּוֹן יָגִילוּ בְמַלְכָּם׃ (תהלים קמט ב)
The Creeping Creatures are saying, “Let Israel rejoice in He Who made him; let the children of Zion be joyful in their King.”. Alternate version: “May the glory of God endure forever; may God rejoice in His works.”

אֵלִים שֶׁבַּשְּׁרָצִים אוֹמְרִים. אֶשְׁתְּךָ כְּגֶפֶן פֹּרִיָּה בְּיַרְכְּתֵי בֵיתֶךָ בָּנֶיךָ כִּשְׁתִלֵי זֵיתִים סָבִיב לְשֻׁלְחָנֶךָ׃ (תהלים קכח ג)
The Prolific Creeping Creatures are saying, “Your wife shall be like a fruittful vine in the recesses of your house; your children like olive shoots around your table.”

נָחָשׁ אוֹמֵר. סוֹמֵךְ יהוה לְכָל הַנֹּפְלִים וְזוֹקֵף לְכָל הַכְּפוּפִים׃ (תהלים קמה טו)
The Snake is saying: “God supports all the fallen, and straightens all the bent.”

עַקְרַב אוֹמֵר. טוֹב יהוה לַכֹּל וְרַחֲמָיו עַל כָּל מַעֲשָׂיו׃ (תהלים קמה ט)
The Scorpion is saying, “God is good to all, and His mercy is upon all of His handiwork.”

שַׁבְּלוּל אוֹמֵר. כְּמוֹ שַׁבְּלוּל תֶּמֶס יַהֲלֹךְ נֵפֶל אֵשֶׁת בַּל חָזוּ שָׁמֶשׁ׃ (תהלים נח ט)
The Snail is saying, “Like the snail that melts away, the stillborn of a mole that does not see the sun.”

נְמָלָה אוֹמֶרֶת. לֵךְ אֶל נְמָלָה עָצֵל רְאֵה דְרָכֶיהָ וַחֲכָם׃ (ספר משלי ו ו)
The Ant it is saying, “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise.”

חֻלְדָּה אוֹמֶרֶת. כֹּל הַנְּשָׁמָה תְּהַלֵּל יָהּ הַלְלוּיָה׃ (תהלים קנ ו)
The Rat is saying: “Let every soul praise God, Halleluyah!”

כְּלָבִים אוֹמְרִים. בֹּאוּ נִשְׁתַּחֲוֶה וְנִכְרָעָה נִבְרְכָה לִפְנֵי יהוה עֹשֵׂנוּ׃ (תהלים צה ו)
The Dogs are saying, “Come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before God our Maker.”

(ילקוט שמעוני פרשת בא רמז קפז) רַבִּי יְשַׁעְיָה תַּלְמִידוֺ שֶׁל רַבִּי חֲנִינָא בֶּן דּוֺסָא הִתְעַגָּה חָמֵשׁ וּשְׁמוֺנִים תַּעֲנִיּוֺת. אָמַר כְּלָבִים שֶׁכָּתוּב בָּהֶם (ישעיה נו יא) וְהַכְּלָבִים עַזֵּי נֶפֶשׁ לֹא יָדְעוּ שָׂבְעָה, יִזְכּוּ לוֺמַר שִׁירָה. עָנָה לוֺ מַלְאָךְ מִן הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאָמַר לוֺ יְשַעְיָה עַד מָתַי אַתָּה מִתְעַנֶּה עַל זֶה הַדָּבָר שְׁבוּעָה הִיא מִלִּפְנֵי הַמָּקוֺם בָּרוּךְ הוּא מִיּוֺם שֶׁגִּילָּה סוֺדוֺ לַחֲבַקּוּק הַנָּבִיא לֹא גִלָּה דָבָר זֶה לְשׁוּם בְּרִיאָה בָּעוֺלָם. אֶלָּא בִּשְׁבִיל שֶׁתַּלְמִידוֺ שֶׁל אָדָם גָּדוֺל אַתָּה שְׁלָחוּנִי מִן הַשָּׁמַיִם לִזְדַקֵּק אֵלֶיךָ לְהַגִיד לְךָ בַּמֶה זָכוּ הַכְּלָבִים לוֺמַר שִׁירָה. לְפִי שֶׁכָּתוּב בָּהֶם (שמות יא ז) וּלְכֹל בְּנִי יִשְׂרָאֵל לֹא יֶחֱרַץ כֶּלֶב לְשׁוֺנוֺ. וְלֹא עוֺד אֶלָּא שֶׁזָכוּ לְעַבֵּד עוֺרוֺת מִצּוֹאָתָם שֶׁכּוֺתְבִים בָּהֶם תְּפִילִּין וּמְזוּזוֺת וְסִפְרֵי תּוֺרָה. עַל כֵּן זָכוּ לוֺמַר שׁירָה. וּלְעִנְיַן הַשְׁאֵלָה שֶּׁשָּׁאַלתָּ חֲזוֺר לַאֲחֹרֶיךָ וְאַל תּוֺסִיף בַּדָּבָר הַזֶּה עוֺד, כְּמוֺ שֶׁכָּתוּב (משלי כא כג) שׁוֺמֵר פִּיו וּלְשׁוֺנוֺ שׁוֺמֵר מִצָּרוֺת נַפְשׁוֺ.
[Yalkut Shimoni, Bo 187:] Rabbi Yeshayah, student of Rabbi Ḥanina ben Dosa, fasted eighty-five fasts. He said, Dogs, about which it is written, “The dogs are brazen of spirit; they do not know satisfaction” — shall they merit saying a song? An angel answered him from Heaven and said to him, Yeshayah, until when will you fast over this? It is an oath from the Holy One, Blessed is He; from the day that He revealed His secret to Havakuk the prophet, He has not revealed this matter to anyone in the world. But because you are the student of a great man, I have been sent from Heaven to assist you. They said that dogs have written about them, “No dog sharpened its tongue against any of the children of Israel”. Furthermore, they merited that hides are tanned with their excrement, on which Tefillin, Mezuzos, and Torah scrolls are written. For this reason they merited saying a song. And regarding what you asked, take back your word and do not continue in this way, as it is written, “He that guards his mouth and tongue, guards from afflictions of his soul.”

בָּרוּךְ יהוה לְעוֹלָם אָמֵן וְאָמֵן׃
בָּרוּךְ יהוה מְצִיוֺן שׁוֺכֵן יְרוּשָלָיִם הַלְלוּיָהּ׃ בָּרוּךְ יהוה אֱלֹהִים אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל עֹשֵׂה נִפְלָאוֺת לְבַדּוֺ׃ וּבָרוּךְ שֵׁם כְּבוֺדוֺ לְעוֺלָם וְיִמָּלֵא כְבוֺדוֺ אֶת כָּל הָאָרֶץ אָמֵן וְאָמֵן׃
Blessed is YHVH forever, Amen and Amen. Blessed is YHVH from Tsiyon, Dweller in Jerusalem, praise Yah! Blessed is YHVH Elohim, Eloah of Israel, worker of wonders alone. And blessed is the Name of His kavod, and His kavod should fill the entire land, Amen and Amen.

We are grateful to Rabbi Natan Slifkin for sharing his edition of Perek Shirah with an Open Content license. Rabbi Slifkin writes,

Perek Shirah, a work of tremendous historic value, is extremely mysterious and cryptic. However, various commentaries have been written on it over the last five hundred years, which give an insight into what the verse is telling us to learn from the creature. Nature’s Song, (Targum/Feldheim 2001), is the first English explanation of Perek Shirah. It makes use of rare ancient commentaries on Perek Shirah, as well as contemporary insights from fields of science such as meteorology and zoology. The result is a Biblical encyclopedia of the natural world, synthesizing the ancient with the modern. Nature’s Song is an encyclopedic work; beautifully designed, lavishly illustrated, and extensively footnoted.

We wish to congratulate Rabbi Slifkin on the publication of his most recent work, The Torah Encyclopedia of the Animal Kingdom (2015) available from his Biblical Museum of Natural History.

Facsimile van Oriental Ms. 12.983 v.d. British Library. Genummerd exemplaar 253 van de 550
1 Kings 5:12
Proverbs 25:21-22
Psalms 19:2
Psalms 24:1
Isaiah 24:16
Song of Songs 4:16
Psalms 107:9
Isaiah 35:1
Proverbs 3:19
Psalms 93:4
Jeremiah 51:16
Psalms 98:8
Psalms 87:7
Psalms 19:3
Psalms 92:3
Ḥabakuk 3:11
Psalms 104:19
Nehemiah 9:6
Psalms 18:12
Job 37:11
Isaiah 43:6
Psalms 135:7
Hoshea 14:6
Song of Songs 4:16
Psalms 68:10
1 Chronicles 16:33
Isaiah 65:8
Proverbs 27:18
Song of Songs 4:3
Psalms 92:13
Song of Songs 2:3
Psalms 130:1
Psalms 102:1
Psalms 65:14
Psalms 65:11
Psalms 104:31
quoted in Zohar 2, 195b (Vayakhel)
Psalms 24:7-8
Psalms 24:9-10
Genesis 49:18
Proverbs 6:9
Proverbs 20:13
Psalms 119:126
Psalms 136:25
Isaiah 38:14
Talmud, Eruvin 18b 44-45
Psalms 59:6
Psalms 33:2
Psalms 84:4
Psalms 30:13
Psalms 121:2
Psalms 97:11
Isaiah 1:40
Isaiah 40:2
Job 38:41
Isaiah 61:9
Psalms 105:1-2
Isaiah 40:3
Jeremiah 17:5-7
Isaiah 26:4
Zechariah 10:8
Psalms 121:1
Isaiah 25:1
Psalms 150:5
Isaiah 40:6,8; 57:19
Psalms 148:7
Psalms 136:1
Psalms 29:3
Talmud, Pesachim 56a
Exodus 15:11
Psalms 81 :2
Psalms 125:4
Psalms 128:2
Jeremiah 25:30
Psalms 123:2
Psalms 138:4
1 Chronicles 29:11
Exodus 15:1
Talmud, Berachos 48b
Psalms 59:17
Psalms 92:6
Isaiah 42:13
Isaiah 42:11-12
Exodus 22:8
Jeremiah 22:13
Psalms 33:1
Obadiah 1:4
Psalms 30:2
Psalms 18:38
Cf. Nehemiah 9:33
Psalms 149:2
Psalms 104:31
Psalms 128:3
Psalms 145:14
Psalms 145:9
Psalms 58:9
Proverbs 6:6
Psalms 150:6
Psalms 95:6
Isaiah 56:11
Exodus 11:7
Proverbs 21:23

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