God’s Goodness — the Testament of Nature, for Thanksgiving Day by Rabbi Milton Steinberg (1945)

Hebrew English

God’s Goodness — the Testament of Nature

Your goodness, O YHVH,
is written large and bold in the Testament of Nature,
in the orderliness, the majesty and the beauty of the physical world.
Wherefore, with the psalmist of old,
we, on this Day of Thanksgiving, speak your praise.

בָּרֲכִ֥י נַפְשִׁ֗י אֶת־יְה֫וָ֥ה
יְהוָ֣ה אֱ֭לֹהַי גָּדַ֣לְתָּ מְּאֹ֑ד
ה֭וֹד וְהָדָ֣ר לָבָֽשְׁתָּ׃ (תהלים קד:א)
Bless YHVH, O my soul.
O YHVH my elo’ah, you are very great;
You are clothed with glory and majesty.[1]Psalms 104:1.

עֹֽטֶה־א֭וֹר כַּשַּׂלְמָ֑ה
נוֹטֶ֥ה שָׁ֝מַ֗יִם כַּיְרִיעָֽה׃ (תהלים קד:ב)
You cover yourself with light as with a garment,
And stretch out the heavens like a curtain.[2]Psalms 104:2.

הַשָּׂם־עָבִ֥ים רְכוּב֑וֹ…
הַֽ֝מְהַלֵּ֗ךְ עַל־כַּנְפֵי־רֽוּחַ׃ (תהלים קד:ג חלק)
עֹשֶׂ֣ה מַלְאָכָ֣יו רוּח֑וֹת
מְ֝שָׁרְתָ֗יו אֵ֣שׁ לֹהֵֽט׃ (תהלים קד:ד)
You make the clouds your chariot;
You ride on the wings of the wind.[3]Psalms 104:3 part.
You make winds your messengers,
The flaming fire your ministers.[4]Psalms 104:4.

יָֽסַד־אֶ֭רֶץ עַל־מְכוֹנֶ֑יהָ
בַּל־תִּ֝מּ֗וֹט עוֹלָ֥ם וָעֶֽד׃ (תהלים קד:ה)
הַֽמְשַׁלֵּ֣חַ מַ֭עְיָנִים בַּנְּחָלִ֑ים
בֵּ֥ין הָ֝רִ֗ים יְהַלֵּכֽוּן׃ (תהלים קד:י)
You established the earth upon its foundations,
That it should not ever be moved.[5]Psalms 104:5.
You make springs flow in the valleys;
They find their way among the hills;[6]Psalms 104:10.

יַ֭שְׁקוּ כָּל־חַיְת֣וֹ שָׂדָ֑י
יִשְׁבְּר֖וּ פְרָאִ֣ים צְמָאָֽם׃ (תהלים קד:יא)
They give drink to every beast of the field;
The wild asses quench their thirst.[7]Psalms 104:11.

עֲ֭לֵיהֶם עוֹף־הַשָּׁמַ֣יִם יִשְׁכּ֑וֹן
מִבֵּ֥ין עֳ֝פָאיִ֗ם יִתְּנוּ־קֽוֹל׃ (תהלים קד:יב)
Beside them dwell the birds of the air;
From among the branches they sing.[8]Psalms 104:12.

מַשְׁקֶ֣ה הָ֭רִים מֵעֲלִיּוֹתָ֑יו
מִפְּרִ֥י מַ֝עֲשֶׂ֗יךָ תִּשְׂבַּ֥ע הָאָֽרֶץ׃ (תהלים קד:יג)
You water the mountains from your upper chambers,
That the earth may be satisfied by the fruit of your handiwork.[9]Psalms 104:13.

מַצְמִ֤יחַ חָצִ֨יר ׀ לַבְּהֵמָ֗ה
וְ֭עֵשֶׂב לַעֲבֹדַ֣ת הָאָדָ֑ם
לְה֥וֹצִיא לֶ֝֗חֶם מִן־הָאָֽרֶץ׃ (תהלים קד:יד)
You make grass grow for the cattle,
And herbage for the service of man,
To bring forth bread out of the earth,[10]Psalms 104:14.

וְיַ֤יִן ׀ יְשַׂמַּ֬ח לְֽבַב־אֱנ֗וֹשׁ…
וְ֝לֶ֗חֶם לְֽבַב־אֱנ֥וֹשׁ יִסְעָֽד׃ (תהלים קד:טו חלק)
And wine that cheers the heart of man,
And bread that sustains man’s strength.[11]Psalms 104:15 part.

יִ֭שְׂבְּעוּ עֲצֵ֣י יְהוָ֑ה
אַֽרְזֵ֥י לְ֝בָנ֗וֹן אֲשֶׁ֣ר נָטָֽע׃ (תהלים קד:טז)
The trees of YHVH drink their fill,
The cedars of Lebanon, which He has planted.[12]Psalms 104:16.

עָשָׂ֣ה יָ֭רֵחַ לְמוֹעֲדִ֑ים
שֶׁ֝֗מֶשׁ יָדַ֥ע מְבוֹאֽוֹ׃ (תהלים קד:יט)
You have appointed the moon for festival seasons,
The sun which knows its time for setting.[13]Psalms 104:19.

מָֽה־רַבּ֬וּ מַעֲשֶׂ֨יךָ ׀ יְֽהוָ֗ה
כֻּ֭לָּם בְּחָכְמָ֣ה עָשִׂ֑יתָ… (תהלים קד:כד חלק)
How manifold are your works, O YHVH!
In wisdom you have made them all.[14]Psalms 104:24 part.

הַֽלְל֣וּ אֶת־יְ֭הוָה מִן־הַשָּׁמַ֑יִם
הַֽ֝לְל֗וּהוּ בַּמְּרוֹמִֽים׃ (תהלים קמח:א חלק)
Praise YHVH from the heavens!
Praise Him in the heights![15]Psalms 148:1 part.

הַֽלְל֥וּהוּ כָל־מַלְאָכָ֑יו
הַֽ֝לְל֗וּהוּ כָּל־צבאו [צְבָאָֽיו׃] (תהלים קמח:ב)
Praise Him, all His angels!
Praise Him, all His hosts![16]Psalms 148:2.

הַֽ֭לְלוּהוּ שֶׁ֣מֶשׁ וְיָרֵ֑חַ
הַ֝לְל֗וּהוּ כָּל־כּ֥וֹכְבֵי אֽוֹר׃ (תהלים קמח:ג)
Praise Him, sun and moon!
Praise Him, all stars of light![17]Psalms 148:3.

יְֽ֭הַֽלְלוּ אֶת־שֵׁ֣ם יְהוָ֑ה
כִּ֤י ה֭וּא צִוָּ֣ה וְנִבְרָֽאוּ׃ (תהלים קמח:ה)
Let them praise the Name of YHVH;
For He commanded, and they were created.[18]Psalms 148:5.

הַֽלְל֣וּ אֶת־יְ֭הוָה מִן־הָאָ֑רֶץ
תַּ֝נִּינִ֗ים וְכָל־תְּהֹמֽוֹת׃ (תהלים קמח:ז)
Praise YHVH from the earth,
Ye sea-monsters, and all deeps![19]Psalms 148:7.

אֵ֣שׁ וּ֭בָרָד שֶׁ֣לֶג וְקִיט֑וֹר
ר֥וּחַ סְ֝עָרָ֗ה עֹשָׂ֥ה דְבָרֽוֹ׃ (תהלים קמח:ח)
Fire and hail, snow and vapor,
Stormy wind, fulfilling His behest![20]Psalms 148:8.

הֶהָרִ֥ים וְכָל־גְּבָע֑וֹת
עֵ֥ץ פְּ֝רִ֗י וְכָל־אֲרָזִֽים׃ (תהלים קמח:ט)
Mountains and all hills,
Fruitful trees and all cedars![21]Psalms 148:9.

הַֽחַיָּ֥ה וְכָל־בְּהֵמָ֑ה
רֶ֝֗מֶשׂ וְצִפּ֥וֹר כָּנָֽף׃ (תהלים קמח:י)
Beasts and all cattle,
Creeping things and winged birds![22]Psalms 148:10.

מַלְכֵי־אֶ֭רֶץ וְכָל־לְאֻמִּ֑ים
שָׂ֝רִ֗ים וְכָל־שֹׁ֥פְטֵי אָֽרֶץ׃ (תהלים קמח:יא)
Kings of the earth and all nations,
Princes and all earthly rulers![23]Psalms 148:11.

בַּחוּרִ֥ים וְגַם־בְּתוּל֑וֹת
זְ֝קֵנִ֗ים עִם־נְעָרִֽים׃ (תהלים קמח:יב)
Young men and maidens,
Old men and children![24]Psalms 148:12.

יְהַלְל֤וּ ׀ אֶת־שֵׁ֬ם יְהוָ֗ה
כִּֽי־נִשְׂגָּ֣ב שְׁמ֣וֹ לְבַדּ֑וֹ
ה֝וֹד֗וֹ עַל־אֶ֥רֶץ וְשָׁמָֽיִם׃ (תהלים קמח:יג)
Let them praise the name of YHVH,
For His Name alone is exalted;
His majesty is over earth and heaven.[25]Psalms 148:13.

יְהִ֤י כְב֣וֹד יְהוָ֣ה לְעוֹלָ֑ם
יִשְׂמַ֖ח יְהוָ֣ה בְּמַעֲשָֽׂיו׃ (תהלים קד:כא)
May the glory of YHVH endure forever;
Let YHVH rejoice in His works.[26]Psalms 104:31.

פָּקַ֥דְתָּ הָאָ֨רֶץ ׀ וַתְּשֹׁ֪קְקֶ֡הָ רַבַּ֬ת תַּעְשְׁרֶ֗נָּה
פֶּ֣לֶג אֱ֭לֹהִים מָ֣לֵא מָ֑יִם
תָּכִ֥ין דְּ֝גָנָ֗ם כִּי־כֵ֥ן תְּכִינֶֽהָ׃ (תהלים סה:י)
You are mindful of the earth, and water her, enriching her greatly
With the mighty stream full of water,
Preparing her for the corn which you provide.[27]Psalms 65:10.

תְּלָמֶ֣יהָ רַ֭וֵּה…
בִּרְבִיבִ֥ים תְּ֝מֹגְגֶ֗נָּה
צִמְחָ֥הּ תְּבָרֵֽךְ׃ (תהלים סה:יא חלק)
Watering her furrows,
You make her soft with showers;
You bless her growth.[28]Psalms 65:11 part.

עִ֭טַּרְתָּ שְׁנַ֣ת טוֹבָתֶ֑ךָ
וּ֝מַעְגָּלֶ֗יךָ יִרְעֲפ֥וּן דָּֽשֶׁן׃ (תהלים סה:יב)
You crown the year with your goodness;
And your paths ooze fertility.[29]Psalms 65:12.

יִ֭רְעֲפוּ נְא֣וֹת מִדְבָּ֑ר
וְ֝גִ֗יל גְּבָע֥וֹת תַּחְגֹּֽרְנָה׃ (תהלים סה:יג)
The pastures of the wilderness overflow;
And the hills wear a girdle of joy.[30]Psalms 65:13.

לָבְשׁ֬וּ כָרִ֨ים ׀ הַצֹּ֗אן
וַעֲמָקִ֥ים יַֽעַטְפוּ־בָ֑ר
יִ֝תְרוֹעֲע֗וּ אַף־יָשִֽׁירוּ׃ (תהלים סה:יד)
The meadows are clothed with flocks;
And the valleys are covered with corn;
They shout for joy, yea, they sing.[31]Psalms 65:14.

“God’s Goodness — the Testament of Nature” by Rabbi Milton Steinberg appears on pages 553-556 of The Sabbath Prayer Book (Jewish Reconstructionist Foundation, 1945) as part of a service for Thanksgiving Day. It is the last of four “testaments,” the other three being the testament of Man, Israel, and America respectively. I have supplied the Hebrew verses corresponding to the vernacular English text provided by Rabbi Steinberg. I have replaced Anglicizations and archaisms. –Aharon Varady

Source(s)

Notes   [ + ]

  1. Psalms 104:1.
  2. Psalms 104:2.
  3. Psalms 104:3 part.
  4. Psalms 104:4.
  5. Psalms 104:5.
  6. Psalms 104:10.
  7. Psalms 104:11.
  8. Psalms 104:12.
  9. Psalms 104:13.
  10. Psalms 104:14.
  11. Psalms 104:15 part.
  12. Psalms 104:16.
  13. Psalms 104:19.
  14. Psalms 104:24 part.
  15. Psalms 148:1 part.
  16. Psalms 148:2.
  17. Psalms 148:3.
  18. Psalms 148:5.
  19. Psalms 148:7.
  20. Psalms 148:8.
  21. Psalms 148:9.
  22. Psalms 148:10.
  23. Psalms 148:11.
  24. Psalms 148:12.
  25. Psalms 148:13.
  26. Psalms 104:31.
  27. Psalms 65:10.
  28. Psalms 65:11 part.
  29. Psalms 65:12.
  30. Psalms 65:13.
  31. Psalms 65:14.

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