תהלים ק״ד | Psalms 104, a hymn of creation translated by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi (2009)

Source (Hebrew) Translation (English)

[On Rosh Ḥodesh (New Moon Day) or any other day in which you appreciate God’s hand in nature insert Psalm 104]

בָּרֲכִ֥י נַפְשִׁ֗י אֶת־יְה֫וָ֥ה
יְהוָ֣ה אֱ֭לֹהַי גָּדַ֣לְתָּ מְּאֹ֑ד
ה֭וֹד וְהָדָ֣ר לָבָֽשְׁתָּ׃
Bless Yah breath of mine.
Yah, my God, You are so vast and great,
All veiled in pride and glory!

עֹֽטֶה־א֭וֹר כַּשַּׂלְמָ֑ה
נוֹטֶ֥ה שָׁ֝מַ֗יִם כַּיְרִיעָֽה׃
You are wrapped in Light.
The sky, You spread like a sheet.

הַ֥מְקָרֶֽה בַמַּ֗יִם עֲֽלִיּ֫וֹתָ֥יו
הַשָּׂם־עָבִ֥ים רְכוּב֑וֹ
הַֽ֝מְהַלֵּ֗ךְ עַל־כַּנְפֵי־רֽוּחַ׃
Your upper chambers are water roofed,
As You bestride clouds.
You waft on the wings of wind.

עֹשֶׂ֣ה מַלְאָכָ֣יו רוּח֑וֹת
מְ֝שָׁרְתָ֗יו
אֵ֣שׁ לֹהֵֽט׃
The breezes, You send
are Your aides,
Your helpers, blazing flames.

יָֽסַד־אֶ֭רֶץ עַל־מְכוֹנֶ֑יהָ
בַּל־תִּ֝מּ֗וֹט עוֹלָ֥ם וָעֶֽד׃
You founded Earth, so sound,
To outlast time itself.

תְּ֭הוֹם כַּלְּב֣וּשׁ כִּסִּית֑וֹ
עַל־הָ֝רִ֗ים יַֽעַמְדוּ־מָֽיִם׃
The abyss, You covered like a mantle
Water! On mountains rests.

מִן־גַּעֲרָ֣תְךָ֣ יְנוּס֑וּן
מִן־ק֥וֹל רַֽ֝עַמְךָ֗ יֵחָפֵזֽוּן׃
You sound a roar and they flee.
Your thunder makes them shake.

יַעֲל֣וּ הָ֭רִים יֵרְד֣וּ בְקָע֑וֹת
אֶל־מְ֝ק֗וֹם זֶ֤ה ׀ יָסַ֬דְתָּ לָהֶֽם׃
Mountains high and valleys low…
Their places they assume.

גְּֽבוּל־שַׂ֭מְתָּ בַּל־יַֽעֲבֹר֑וּן
בַּל־יְ֝שׁוּב֗וּן לְכַסּ֥וֹת הָאָֽרֶץ׃
You set them limits they cannot pass.
Never again to flood the land.

הַֽמְשַׁלֵּ֣חַ מַ֭עְיָנִים בַּנְּחָלִ֑ים
בֵּ֥ין הָ֝רִ֗ים יְהַלֵּכֽוּן׃

Springs flow into brooks
And snake between the mountains.

יַ֭שְׁקוּ כָּל־חַיְת֣וֹ שָׂדָ֑י
יִשְׁבְּר֖וּ פְרָאִ֣ים צְמָאָֽם׃
All the wild of field drink there.
The beasts slake there their thirst.

עֲ֭לֵיהֶם עוֹף־הַשָּׁמַ֣יִם יִשְׁכּ֑וֹן
מִבֵּ֥ין עֳ֝פָאיִ֗ם יִתְּנוּ־קֽוֹל׃
By their shores dwell birds that soar,
Sounding calls through leaves and reeds.

מַשְׁקֶ֣ה הָ֭רִים
מֵעֲלִיּוֹתָ֑יו
You drench the hills
From Your Upper Chambers.

מִפְּרִ֥י מַ֝עֲשֶׂ֗יךָ
תִּשְׂבַּ֥ע הָאָֽרֶץ׃
From your hands’ produce
The Earth is filled.

מַצְמִ֤יחַ חָצִ֨יר ׀ לַבְּהֵמָ֗ה
וְ֭עֵשֶׂב לַעֲבֹדַ֣ת הָאָדָ֑ם
You grow fodder for the tamed beasts,
And herbs with human labor,

לְה֥וֹצִיא לֶ֝֗חֶם מִן־הָאָֽרֶץ׃
וְיַ֤יִן ׀ יְשַׂמַּ֬ח לְֽבַב־אֱנ֗וֹשׁ
To bring forth bread from Earth.
And wine to delight the sad ones,

לְהַצְהִ֣יל פָּנִ֣ים מִשָּׁ֑מֶן
וְ֝לֶ֗חֶם לְֽבַב־אֱנ֥וֹשׁ יִסְעָֽד׃
And oil… that softens skin,
And bread… that sustains the weak.

יִ֭שְׂבְּעוּ עֲצֵ֣י יְהוָ֑ה
אַֽרְזֵ֥י לְ֝בָנ֗וֹן אֲשֶׁ֣ר נָטָֽע׃
Even the trees you sate with sap.
The cedars You planted on the Lebanon.

אֲשֶׁר־שָׁ֭ם צִפֳּרִ֣ים יְקַנֵּ֑נוּ
חֲ֝סִידָ֗ה בְּרוֹשִׁ֥ים בֵּיתָֽהּ׃
There, birds find their nesting.
There, storks find homes to rest.

הָרִ֣ים הַ֭גְּבֹהִים לַיְּעֵלִ֑ים
סְ֝לָעִ֗ים מַחְסֶ֥ה לַֽשְׁפַנִּֽים׃
Antelopes bound on the heights.
Marmots hide behind rocks.[1]a/k/a, the rock hyrax

עָשָׂ֣ה יָ֭רֵחַ לְמוֹעֲדִ֑ים
שֶׁ֝֗מֶשׁ יָדַ֥ע מְבוֹאֽוֹ׃
The Moon pulls tides and seasons.
The sun knows where to set.

תָּֽשֶׁת־חֹ֭שֶׁךְ וִ֣יהִי לָ֑יְלָה
בּֽוֹ־תִ֝רְמֹ֗שׂ כָּל־חַיְתוֹ־יָֽעַר׃
You darken dusk to night.
The forest’s night life stirs.

הַ֭כְּפִירִים שֹׁאֲגִ֣ים לַטָּ֑רֶף
וּלְבַקֵּ֖שׁ מֵאֵ֣ל אָכְלָֽם׃
The big cats cry for prey,
Praying God for their food.

תִּזְרַ֣ח הַ֭שֶּׁמֶשׁ יֵאָסֵפ֑וּן
וְאֶל־מְ֝עוֹנֹתָ֗ם יִרְבָּצֽוּן׃
They return at the rising of the sun,
To crouch once more in lairs.

יֵצֵ֣א אָדָ֣ם לְפָעֳל֑וֹ
וְֽלַעֲבֹ֖דָת֣וֹ עֲדֵי־עָֽרֶב׃
While humans go out to work,
To their toil, up to night.

מָֽה־רַבּ֬וּ מַעֲשֶׂ֨יךָ ׀ יְֽהוָ֗ה
כֻּ֭לָּם בְּחָכְמָ֣ה עָשִׂ֑יתָ
מָלְאָ֥ה הָ֝אָ֗רֶץ קִנְיָנֶֽךָ׃
How many things You do!
So wisely are they made.
All Earth, at Your command.

זֶ֤ה ׀ הַיָּ֥ם גָּדוֹל֮ וּרְחַ֪ב
יָ֫דָ֥יִם שָֽׁם־רֶ֭מֶשׂ וְאֵ֣ין מִסְפָּ֑ר
חַיּ֥וֹת קְ֝טַנּ֗וֹת עִם־גְּדֹלֽוֹת׃
This vast sea beyond all grasp.
Countless are the creatures in her,
Tiny ones and giant whales.

שָׁ֭ם אֳנִיּ֣וֹת יְהַלֵּכ֑וּן
לִ֝וְיָתָ֗ן זֶֽה־יָצַ֥רְתָּ
לְשַֽׂחֶק־בּֽוֹ׃
There go stately ships.
This Leviathan You shaped
To play and romp therein.

כֻּ֭לָּם אֵלֶ֣יךָ יְשַׂבֵּר֑וּן
לָתֵ֖ת אָכְלָ֣ם בְּעִתּֽוֹ׃
They all rely on Your care,
To feed them well each time.

תִּתֵּ֣ן לָ֭הֶם יִלְקֹט֑וּן
תִּפְתַּ֥ח יָֽ֝דְךָ֗ יִשְׂבְּע֥וּן טֽוֹב׃
You give to them and they take it.
Your hand’s gifts sate them well.

תַּסְתִּ֥יר פָּנֶיךָ֮ יִֽבָּהֵ֫ל֥וּן
תֹּסֵ֣ף ר֭וּחָם יִגְוָע֑וּן
וְֽאֶל־עֲפָרָ֥ם יְשׁוּבֽוּן׃
You hide your face, they panic.
You recall their breaths, they die.
They return to their dust.

תְּשַׁלַּ֣ח ר֭וּחֲךָ
יִבָּרֵא֑וּן
וּ֝תְחַדֵּ֗שׁ פְּנֵ֣י אֲדָמָֽה׃
You send your spirit,
And they are re-created.
So too, You renew life on Earth.

יְהִ֤י כְב֣וֹד יְהוָ֣ה לְעוֹלָ֑ם
יִשְׂמַ֖ח יְהוָ֣ה בְּמַעֲשָֽׂיו׃
Let Your glory, Yah, fill time and space.
Take Joy, O Yah, in what You do!

הַמַּבִּ֣יט לָ֭אָרֶץ וַתִּרְעָ֑ד
יִגַּ֖ע בֶּהָרִ֣ים וְֽיֶעֱשָֽׁנוּ׃
You look at Earth and she trembles,
Hills You touch, and they smoke.

אָשִׁ֣ירָה לַיהוָ֣ה בְּחַיָּ֑י
אֲזַמְּרָ֖ה לֵאלֹהַ֣י בְּעוֹדִֽי׃
I live Your song, my Yah,
My Yah, I am Your tune.

יֶעֱרַ֣ב עָלָ֣יו שִׂיחִ֑י
אָ֝נֹכִ֗י אֶשְׂמַ֥ח בַּיהוָֽה׃
Let my talking give You joy.
I am so happy, my Yah!

יִתַּ֤מּוּ חַטָּאִ֨ים ׀ מִן־הָאָ֡רֶץ
וּרְשָׁעִ֤ים ׀ ע֤וֹד אֵינָ֗ם
I wish no sin exist on Earth.
All wickedness were gone.

בָּרֲכִ֣י נַ֭פְשִׁי אֶת־יְהוָ֗ה
הַֽלְלוּ־יָֽהּ׃
Bless that Yah, my soul, my breath.
HALLELU-YAH!

Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, z”l, included his translation of “Barkhi Nafshi” (Psalms 104) for Rosh Ḥodesh in his Siddur Tehillat Hashem Yidaber Pi (2009). To the best of my ability, I have set his translation side-by-side with the verses comprising the Psalm. –Aharon N. Varady

Source(s)

Notes   [ + ]

  1. a/k/a, the rock hyrax

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