תהלים ק״ד | Psalms 104, a hymn of creation translated by Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan (1945)

Source (Hebrew) Translation (English)

בָּרֲכִ֥י נַפְשִׁ֗י אֶת־יְה֫וָ֥ה
יְהוָ֣ה אֱ֭לֹהַי גָּדַ֣לְתָּ מְּאֹ֑ד
ה֭וֹד וְהָדָ֣ר לָבָֽשְׁתָּ׃
Bless YHVH, O my soul.
O YHVH my elo’ah, you are very great;
You are clothed with glory and majesty.

עֹֽטֶה־א֭וֹר כַּשַּׂלְמָ֑ה
נוֹטֶ֥ה שָׁ֝מַ֗יִם כַּיְרִיעָֽה׃
הַ֥מְקָרֶֽה בַמַּ֗יִם עֲ‍ֽלִיּ֫וֹתָ֥יו
You cover yourself with light as with a garment;
You stretch out the heavens like a curtain;
You lay the beams of your upper chambers in the waters.

הַשָּׂם־עָבִ֥ים רְכוּב֑וֹ
הַֽ֝מְהַלֵּ֗ךְ עַל־כַּנְפֵי־רֽוּחַ׃
You make the clouds your chariot;
You ride on the wings of the wind.

עֹשֶׂ֣ה מַלְאָכָ֣יו רוּח֑וֹת
מְ֝שָׁרְתָ֗יו אֵ֣שׁ לֹהֵֽט׃
You make winds your messengers,
The flaming fire your ministers.

יָֽסַד־אֶ֭רֶץ עַל־מְכוֹנֶ֑יהָ
בַּל־תִּ֝מּ֗וֹט עוֹלָ֥ם וָעֶֽד׃
תְּ֭הוֹם כַּלְּב֣וּשׁ כִּסִּית֑וֹ
You established the earth upon its foundations,
That it should not ever be moved;
You covered the deep as with a garment.

עַל־הָ֝רִ֗ים יַֽעַמְדוּ־מָֽיִם׃
מִן־גַּעֲרָ֣תְךָ֣ יְנוּס֑וּן
מִן־ק֥וֹל רַֽ֝עַמְךָ֗ יֵחָפֵזֽוּן׃
The waters had stood above the mountains.
At your rebuke they fled,
At the voice of your thunder they hasted away —

יַעֲל֣וּ הָ֭רִים יֵרְד֣וּ בְקָע֑וֹת
אֶל־מְ֝ק֗וֹם זֶ֤ה ׀ יָסַ֬דְתָּ לָהֶֽם׃
The mountains rose, the valleys sank down —
Unto the place which you had founded for them;

גְּֽבוּל־שַׂ֭מְתָּ בַּל־יַֽעֲבֹר֑וּן
בַּל־יְ֝שׁוּב֗וּן לְכַסּ֥וֹת הָאָֽרֶץ׃
You set a bound which they should not pass over,
That they might not return to cover the earth.

הַֽמְשַׁלֵּ֣חַ מַ֭עְיָנִים בַּנְּחָלִ֑ים
בֵּ֥ין הָ֝רִ֗ים יְהַלֵּכֽוּן׃
יַ֭שְׁקוּ כָּל־חַיְת֣וֹ שָׂדָ֑י
יִשְׁבְּר֖וּ פְרָאִ֣ים צְמָאָֽם׃
You make springs flow in the valleys;
They find their way among the hills;
They give drink to every creature of the field;
The wild asses quench their thirst.

עֲ֭לֵיהֶם עוֹף־הַשָּׁמַ֣יִם יִשְׁכּ֑וֹן
מִבֵּ֥ין עֳ֝פָאיִ֗ם יִתְּנוּ־קֽוֹל׃
Beside them dwell the birds of the air;
From among the branches they sing.

מַשְׁקֶ֣ה הָ֭רִים מֵעֲלִיּוֹתָ֑יו
מִפְּרִ֥י מַ֝עֲשֶׂ֗יךָ תִּשְׂבַּ֥ע הָאָֽרֶץ׃
You water the mountains from your upper chambers.
That the earth may be satisfied by the fruit of your handiwork.

מַצְמִ֤יחַ חָצִ֨יר ׀ לַבְּהֵמָ֗ה
וְ֭עֵשֶׂב לַעֲבֹדַ֣ת הָאָדָ֑ם
לְה֥וֹצִיא לֶ֝֗חֶם מִן־הָאָֽרֶץ׃
You make grass grow for the cattle,
And herbage for the service of man,
To bring forth food from the earth,

וְיַ֤יִן ׀ יְשַׂמַּ֬ח לְֽבַב־אֱנ֗וֹשׁ
לְהַצְהִ֣יל פָּנִ֣ים מִשָּׁ֑מֶן
וְ֝לֶ֗חֶם לְֽבַב־אֱנ֥וֹשׁ יִסְעָֽד׃
And wine that cheers the heart of man,
And oil to make his face bright,
And bread that sustains man’s strength.

יִ֭שְׂבְּעוּ עֲצֵ֣י יְהוָ֑ה
אַֽרְזֵ֥י לְ֝בָנ֗וֹן אֲשֶׁ֣ר נָטָֽע׃
אֲשֶׁר־שָׁ֭ם צִפֳּרִ֣ים יְקַנֵּ֑נוּ
חֲ֝סִידָ֗ה בְּרוֹשִׁ֥ים בֵּיתָֽהּ׃
The trees of YHVH drink their fill,
The cedars of Lebanon which He has planted,
Wherein birds build their nests,
The fir-trees wherein the stork makes her home.

הָרִ֣ים הַ֭גְּבֹהִים לַיְּעֵלִ֑ים
סְ֝לָעִ֗ים מַחְסֶ֥ה לַֽשְׁפַנִּֽים׃
The high mountains are for the wild goats;
The rocks are a refuge for the conies.[1]a/k/a, the rock hyrax

עָשָׂ֣ה יָ֭רֵחַ לְמוֹעֲדִ֑ים
שֶׁ֝֗מֶשׁ יָדַ֥ע מְבוֹאֽוֹ׃
You have appointed the moon for festival seasons,
The sun which knows its time for setting.

תָּֽשֶׁת־חֹ֭שֶׁךְ וִ֣יהִי לָ֑יְלָה
בּֽוֹ־תִ֝רְמֹ֗שׂ כָּל־חַיְתוֹ־יָֽעַר׃
הַ֭כְּפִירִים שֹׁאֲגִ֣ים לַטָּ֑רֶף
וּלְבַקֵּ֖שׁ מֵאֵ֣ל אָכְלָֽם׃
You make darkness and it is night,
In which all the creatures of the forest prowl,
The young lions roaring after their prey,
And seeking their food from El.

תִּזְרַ֣ח הַ֭שֶּׁמֶשׁ יֵאָסֵפ֑וּן
וְאֶל־מְ֝עוֹנֹתָ֗ם יִרְבָּצֽוּן׃
When the sun rises, they go to cover
And lie down in their lairs.

יֵצֵ֣א אָדָ֣ם לְפָעֳל֑וֹ
וְֽלַעֲבֹ֖דָת֣וֹ עֲדֵי־עָֽרֶב׃
Then man goes forth to his work,
And to his labor until evening.

מָֽה־רַבּ֬וּ מַעֲשֶׂ֨יךָ ׀ יְֽהוָ֗ה
כֻּ֭לָּם בְּחָכְמָ֣ה עָשִׂ֑יתָ
מָלְאָ֥ה הָ֝אָ֗רֶץ קִנְיָנֶֽךָ׃
How manifold are your works, O YHVH!
In wisdom have you made them all;
The earth is full of your creations.

זֶ֤ה ׀ הַיָּ֥ם גָּדוֹל֮ וּרְחַ֪ב
יָ֫דָ֥יִם שָֽׁם־רֶ֭מֶשׂ וְאֵ֣ין מִסְפָּ֑ר
חַיּ֥וֹת קְ֝טַנּ֗וֹת עִם־גְּדֹלֽוֹת׃
Yonder is the sea, vast and wide,
Wherein are countless swarms,
Living creatures, small and great,

שָׁ֭ם אֳנִיּ֣וֹת יְהַלֵּכ֑וּן
לִ֝וְיָתָ֗ן זֶֽה־יָצַ֥רְתָּ לְשַֽׂחֶק־בּֽוֹ׃
Making their way like ships,
Leviathan, whom you have formed to frolic therein.

כֻּ֭לָּם אֵלֶ֣יךָ יְשַׂבֵּר֑וּן
לָתֵ֖ת אָכְלָ֣ם בְּעִתּֽוֹ׃
All of them look to you
To give them their food in due season.

תִּתֵּ֣ן לָ֭הֶם יִלְקֹט֑וּן
תִּפְתַּ֥ח יָֽ֝דְךָ֗ יִשְׂבְּע֥וּן טֽוֹב׃
You give it to them — they gather it;
You open your hand — they are well satisfied.

תַּסְתִּ֥יר פָּנֶיךָ֮ יִֽבָּהֵ֫ל֥וּן
תֹּסֵ֣ף ר֭וּחָם יִגְוָע֑וּן
וְֽאֶל־עֲפָרָ֥ם יְשׁוּבֽוּן׃
You hide your face — they are affrighted;
You withdraw their breath — they perish,
And return to their dust.

תְּשַׁלַּ֣ח ר֭וּחֲךָ יִבָּרֵא֑וּן
וּ֝תְחַדֵּ֗שׁ פְּנֵ֣י אֲדָמָֽה׃
You send forth your spirit — they are created,
And you renew the face of the earth.

יְהִ֤י כְב֣וֹד יְהוָ֣ה לְעוֹלָ֑ם
יִשְׂמַ֖ח יְהוָ֣ה בְּמַעֲשָֽׂיו׃
May the glory of YHVH endure for ever;
May YHVH rejoice in His works.

הַמַּבִּ֣יט לָ֭אָרֶץ וַתִּרְעָ֑ד
יִגַּ֖ע בֶּהָרִ֣ים וְֽיֶעֱשָֽׁנוּ׃
He but looks on the earth, and it trembles;
He but touches the mountains, and they smoke.

אָשִׁ֣ירָה לַיהוָ֣ה בְּחַיָּ֑י
אֲזַמְּרָ֖ה לֵאלֹהַ֣י בְּעוֹדִֽי׃
I will sing to YHVH while I live;
I will sing praise to my elo’ah while I have my being.

יֶעֱרַ֣ב עָלָ֣יו שִׂיחִ֑י
אָ֝נֹכִ֗י אֶשְׂמַ֥ח בַּיהוָֽה׃
May my meditation be sweet unto Him —
I will rejoice in YHVH.

יִתַּ֤מּוּ חַטָּאִ֨ים ׀ מִן־הָאָ֡רֶץ
וּרְשָׁעִ֤ים ׀ ע֤וֹד אֵינָ֗ם
May sinners vanish from the earth,
And the wicked be no more.

בָּרֲכִ֣י נַ֭פְשִׁי אֶת־יְהוָ֗ה
הַֽלְלוּ־יָֽהּ׃
Bless YHVH, O my soul.
Hallelujah.

Psalms 104, translated by Mordecai Kaplan and presented as “God as Creator and Renewer of Nature” can be found on p. 360-5 of his The Sabbath Prayer Book (New York: The Jewish Reconstructionist Foundation, 1945), the first prayer in a subsection of supplementary prayers called “GOD IN NATURE.” I have slightly adapted this translation by replacing most archaisms, “the Lord” with ‘YHVH,’ and “beast” with ‘creature.’ –Aharon Varady

The Psalms is traditionally read near the end of shaḥarit (morning) services on Rosh Ḥodesh (New Moon festival days). Verses 1-2 are recited upon donning the tallit gadol.

Source(s)

Notes   [ + ]

  1. a/k/a, the rock hyrax

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