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אַשְׁרֵי | Ashrei (Psalms 145), arranged by Aharon N. Varady

Source (Hebrew) Translation (English)

אַשְׁרֵ֥י תְמִֽימֵי־דָ֑רֶךְ
הַֽ֝הֹלְכִ֗ים בְּתוֹרַ֥ת יְהוָֽה׃
אַ֭שְׁרֵי נֹצְרֵ֥י עֵדֹתָ֗יו
בְּכׇל־לֵ֥ב יִדְרְשֽׁוּהוּ׃ (תהלים קיט:א-ב)
Blessed[1]The translation here of “blessed” for אשרי is based upon the following insight shared by Raanan Eichler in his article, “The Priestly Asherah,” in which he writes: “One of the essential meanings of the root אשׁר clearly overlaps with that of ברך , “bless”, to a great degree. Thus Psalm 72:17, the finale of “the prayers of David son of Jesse” (v. 20), reads, “may people bless themselves by him; may all nations אשׁר him” (וְיִתְבָּרְכוּ בוֹ כָּל גּוֹיִם יְאַשְּׁרוּהוּ ). Deut 33:24, in the blessing of Moses, reads, “blessed among children is Asher” (בָּרוּךְ מִבָּנִים אָשֵׁר ).” are they upright in the path,
who walk with the teaching of YHVH.
Blessed are they who keep their testimonies,
who seek Hashem with all their attention.[2]Psalms 119:1-2.

אַשְׁרֵ֣י אָ֭דָם עֽוֹז־ל֥וֹ בָ֑ךְ
מְ֝סִלּ֗וֹת בִּלְבָבָֽם׃ (תהלים פד:ו)
Blessed is the one who finds refuge in you,
whose mind is on the [pilgrim] highways.[3]Psalms 84:6

אַשְׁרֵ֣י הָ֭עָם יוֹדְעֵ֣י תְרוּעָ֑ה
יְ֝הוָ֗ה בְּֽאוֹר־פָּנֶ֥יךָ יְהַלֵּכֽוּן׃ (תהלים פט:טז)
Blessed are the people that know the joyful yawp;
they walk, YHVH, in the light of your countenance.[4]Psalms 89:16

אַשְׁרֵ֤י ׀ תִּֽבְחַ֣ר וּתְקָרֵב֮
יִשְׁכֹּ֪ן חֲצֵ֫רֶ֥יךָ
נִ֭שְׂבְּעָה בְּט֣וּב בֵּיתֶ֑ךָ
קְ֝דֹ֗שׁ הֵיכָלֶֽךָ׃ (תהלים סה:ה)
Blessed is the one whom you choose and bring near
that they may dwell in your courts;
may we be satisfied with the goodness of your house
the holy place of your Temple![5]Psalms 75:5

אַ֥שְֽׁרֵי אָדָ֗ם לֹ֤א יַחְשֹׁ֬ב יְהוָ֣ה ל֣וֹ עָוֺ֑ן
וְאֵ֖ין בְּרוּח֣וֹ רְמִיָּה׃ (תהלים לב:ב)
Blessed is the one whom YHVH does not hold guilty,
and in whose spirit there is no deceit.[6]Psalms 32:2

אַשְׁרֵ֥י נְֽשׂוּי־פֶּ֗שַׁע
כְּס֣וּי חֲטָאָֽה׃ (תהלים לב:א)
Blessed are they whose transgression is forgiven,
whose sin is concealed.[7]Psalms 32:1

אַ֥שְֽׁרֵי־הָאִ֗ישׁ אֲשֶׁ֤ר ׀ לֹ֥א הָלַךְ֮ בַּעֲצַ֪ת רְשָׁ֫עִ֥ים
וּבְדֶ֣רֶךְ חַ֭טָּאִים לֹ֥א עָמָ֑ד
וּבְמוֹשַׁ֥ב לֵ֝צִ֗ים לֹ֣א יָשָֽׁב׃ (תהלים א:א)
Blessed is the one who has not followed the counsel of the wicked,
or taken the path of sinners,
or joined the company of the insolent.[8]Psalms 1:1

אַ֭שְׁרֵי שֹׁמְרֵ֣י מִשְׁפָּ֑ט
עֹשֵׂ֖ה צְדָקָ֣ה בְכׇל־עֵֽת׃ (תהלים קו:ג)
Blessed are those who act justly,
who are righteous at all times.[9]Psalms 106:3

אַ֭שְׁרֵי יוֹשְׁבֵ֣י בֵיתֶ֑ךָ
ע֝֗וֹד יְֽהַלְל֥וּךָ סֶּֽלָה׃ (תהלים פד:ה)
Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
they forever praise you. Selah![10]Psalms 84:5

אַשְׁרֵ֣י הָ֭עָם שֶׁכָּ֣כָה לּ֑וֹ
אַֽשְׁרֵ֥י הָ֝עָ֗ם שֶׁיֲהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהָֽיו׃ (תהלים קמד:טו)
Blessed are the people who have it so;
blessed are the people whose elo’ah is YHVH.[11]Psalms 144:15

תְּהִלָּ֗ה
לְדָ֫וִ֥ד
A Tehillah,
of David.

אֲרוֹמִמְךָ֣ אֱלוֹהַ֣י הַמֶּ֑לֶךְ
וַאֲבָרֲכָ֥ה שִׁ֝מְךָ֗ לְעוֹלָ֥ם וָעֶֽד׃
בְּכׇל־י֥וֹם אֲבָרֲכֶ֑ךָּ
וַאֲהַלְלָ֥ה שִׁ֝מְךָ֗ לְעוֹלָ֥ם וָעֶֽד׃
גָּ֘ד֤וֹל יְהוָ֣ה וּמְהֻלָּ֣ל מְאֹ֑ד
וְ֝לִגְדֻלָּת֗וֹ אֵ֣ין חֵֽקֶר׃
 I shall exalt you, my elo’ah the King;
I will bless your name in the cosmos forever.
 Every day will I bless you;
I will praise your Name in the cosmos forever.
 Tremendous is YHVH and greatly praised;
there is no end to contemplating their immensity.

דּ֣וֹר לְ֭דוֹר יְשַׁבַּ֣ח מַעֲשֶׂ֑יךָ
וּגְב֖וּרֹתֶ֣יךָ יַגִּֽידוּ׃
הֲ֭דַר כְּב֣וֹד הוֹדֶ֑ךָ
וְדִבְרֵ֖י נִפְלְאוֹתֶ֣יךָ אָשִֽׂיחָה׃
וֶעֱז֣וּז נוֹרְאֹתֶ֣יךָ יֹאמֵ֑רוּ
וגדולתיך [וּגְדוּלָּתְךָ֥] אֲסַפְּרֶֽנָּה׃
זֵ֣כֶר רַב־טוּבְךָ֣ יַבִּ֑יעוּ
וְצִדְקָתְךָ֥ יְרַנֵּֽנוּ׃
 One generation to another shall praise your poësis
and recount your powerful acts.
 I shall relate the beauty of your resplendent majesty
and epics of your wonders.
 They shall declare the strength of your awesome deeds,
and I shall tell of your greatness.
 The memory of your abundant goodness shall they express,
and of your righteousness shall they sing.

חַנּ֣וּן וְרַח֣וּם יְהוָ֑ה
אֶ֥רֶךְ אַ֝פַּ֗יִם וּגְדָל־חָֽסֶד׃
טוֹב־יְהוָ֥ה לַכֹּ֑ל
וְ֝רַחֲמָ֗יו עַל־כׇּל־מַעֲשָֽׂיו׃
יוֹד֣וּךָ יְ֭הוָה כׇּל־מַעֲשֶׂ֑יךָ
וַ֝חֲסִידֶ֗יךָ יְבָרֲכֽוּכָה׃
 Gracious and compassionate is YHVH,
withholding wrath and exceeding in lovingkindness.
 YHVH is benevolent to all
and Hashem’s compassion is upon all of THEIR creations.
 All of your works, YHVH, shall praise you
and your lovingkindnesses shall bless you.

כְּב֣וֹד מַלְכוּתְךָ֣ יֹאמֵ֑רוּ
וּגְבוּרָתְךָ֥ יְדַבֵּֽרוּ׃
לְהוֹדִ֤יעַ ׀ לִבְנֵ֣י הָ֭אָדָם גְּבוּרֹתָ֑יו
וּ֝כְב֗וֹד הֲדַ֣ר מַלְכוּתֽוֹ׃
מַֽלְכוּתְךָ֗ מַלְכ֥וּת כׇּל־עֹֽלָמִ֑ים
וּ֝מֶֽמְשֶׁלְתְּךָ֗ בְּכׇל־דּ֥וֹר וָדֽוֹר׃
׆ָפְל֣וּ כׇּל־אוֹיְבֶ֣יךָ יְהוָ֑ה
וְ֝כׇּל־גְּבוּרָתָ֗ם בָּלֶֽעוּ׃
סוֹמֵ֣ךְ יְ֭הוָה לְכׇל־הַנֹּפְלִ֑ים
וְ֝זוֹקֵ֗ף לְכׇל־הַכְּפוּפִֽים׃
עֵֽינֵי־כֹ֭ל אֵלֶ֣יךָ יְשַׂבֵּ֑רוּ
וְאַתָּ֤ה נֽוֹתֵן־לָהֶ֖ם אֶת־אָכְלָ֣ם בְּעִתּֽוֹ׃
פּוֹתֵ֥חַ אֶת־יׇדֶ֑ךָ
וּמַשְׂבִּ֖יעַ לְכׇל־חַ֣י רָצֽוֹן׃
 The resplendence of your kingdom shall they proclaim
and your strength shall they declare,
 in order to make known to humanity the power
and the radiant spirit of Hashem’s beautiful kingdom.
 Your kingdom is a kingdom over the Cosmos
and your reign across all the generations.[12]The reference to “all the generations” necessarily includes the dor hamabul — the depraved generation whose transgressions brought about the Deluge. The following verses may be read, I believe, as an allusion to the descent of the angels in those days and the corruption they and their giant progeny brought upon that generation of humanity, an etiology for the origin of predation in Nature. Cf. The Midrash of Shemḥazai and Azael found in Yalkut Shemoni (end of Parashat Noaḥ) and in Midrash Abkir (see Otsar Midrashim for the text). The import of the Midrash of Shemḥazai and Azael, its etiology of predation, and its echo in our own generation marked by such unquenchable appetites that are causing mass extinctions and global climate change — call to me to emphasize this particular reading. The traditional rabbinic explanation for the absence of a following nun verse in the alphabetic acrostic is provided in the discussion found in Berachot 4b, which references the despairing verse in Amos 5:2, נָפְלָה לֹא־תוֹסִיף קוּם בְּתוּלַת יִשְׂרָאֵל נִטְּשָׁה עַל־אַדְמָתָהּ אֵין מְקִימָהּ׃ (“The virgin of Israel has fallen and she will rise no more; abandoned in her land, none will raise her up”). I find it suggestive however that this discussion is immediately followed by what appears on the surface to be a non sequitur angelological discourse on the relative powers of the archangels Michael and Gavriel, as well as the angelified Eliyahu haNavi and the Angel of Death. 
 [All your enemies fell down, YHVH,
and all their might was swallowed up.][13]The aleph-bet acrostic is broken at this point in the Masoretic text by the absence of a verse for the nun. The text for the nun here is brought from the Chronicle of Gad the Seer (ch. 10), a work preserved by the Jews of Cochin, India. Reuven Kimelman in “Psalm 145: Theme, Structure, and Impact”(JBL 113/1 (1994) 37-58) gives a solid argument why this is an interpolation rather than a recovered original verse: “the verbs are in the perfect, unlike any other in the psalm” and not all biblical psalms are perfect acrostics. 
 YHVH supports all the fallen
and straightens all the bent.[14]A reference to the Nephilim and their giant progeny. See penultimate comment. 
 The eyes of all aspire to you,
and you provide their sustenance in its time.[15]Besides its explicit meaning, this is also a reference to the manna rained down upon the Giants in order to quench their appetites of the Giants. For sources, find “The Mythic Arc of Predatory Desire in Jewish Legend: primary sources on the origin and end of predation” (Aharon Varady 2016). You open your hand[16]Or, as indicated by the enlarged yud — “you open up your yud” — the yud of the Tetragrammaton, from which the shefa of ayn sof flows into creation. 
and satisfy the desire of every living being.

צַדִּ֣יק יְ֭הוָה בְּכׇל־דְּרָכָ֑יו
וְ֝חָסִ֗יד בְּכׇל־מַעֲשָֽׂיו׃
קָר֣וֹב יְ֭הוָה לְכׇל־קֹרְאָ֑יו
לְכֹ֤ל אֲשֶׁ֖ר יִקְרָאֻ֣הוּ בֶאֱמֶֽת׃
רְצוֹן־יְרֵאָ֥יו יַעֲשֶׂ֑ה
וְֽאֶת־שַׁוְעָתָ֥ם יִ֝שְׁמַ֗ע וְיוֹשִׁיעֵֽם׃
שׁוֹמֵ֣ר יְ֭הוָה אֶת־כׇּל־אֹהֲבָ֑יו
וְאֵ֖ת כׇּל־הָרְשָׁעִ֣ים יַשְׁמִֽיד׃
תְּהִלַּ֥ת יְהוָ֗ה יְֽדַבֶּ֫ר־פִּ֥י
וִיבָרֵ֣ךְ כׇּל־בָּ֭שָׂר שֵׁ֥ם קׇדְשׁ֗וֹ לְעוֹלָ֥ם וָעֶֽד׃
 Righteous is YHVH in all their ways
and kind in all their poësis.
 Near is YHVH to all who reach out to Hashem,
to all who call upon THEM with integrity.
 Hashem will do the will of those who revere THEM;
Hashem will hear their outcry and save them.
 YHVH guards all of THEIR beloved ones;
all of the wicked will Hashem destroy.
 My mouth will speak the praise of YHVH,
and all creatures will bless THEIR holy Name in the cosmos forever.[17]End of Psalms 145.

וַאֲנַ֤חְנוּ ׀ נְבָ֘רֵ֤ךְ יָ֗הּ
מֵֽעַתָּ֥ה וְעַד־עוֹלָ֗ם
הַֽלְלוּ־יָֽהּ׃ (תהלים קטו:קיח)
And we will bless You, Yah,
from now until the end of the cosmos!
Hallelu Yah![18]Psalms 115:118.

Ashrei (Psalms 145 with its opening and closing verses) was adapted by Aharon Varady from the 1917 JPS and other translations.

This extended list of introductory verses beginning with the word Ashrei is based on the nusaḥ of the Jews of England for Yom Kippur as found in the Ets Ḥayyim of Jacob ben Jehudah Ḥazzan of London (1287). Cf. The Etz Hayyim edited with notes by Israel Brodie (Mossad haRav Kook 1962), p. 76. I have omitted Psalms 137:8-9 from the list of verses presented in that nusaḥ because, aside from their containing the word “ashrei,” they are terrifying words to utter in almost any context, let alone prayer.

Poësis (from the Greek, ποίησις — a production or composition, such as a poem) seems to me a very helpful translation for the Hebrew מַעֲשֶׂה (a deed or act, such as a tale).

The text for the nun here is brought from the Chronicle of Gad the Seer (ch. 10), a work preserved by the Jews of Cochin, India. See the note brought there on that verse. The trōp for this verse was added by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer. (Thank you!)

The up and down arrows for the lines beginning with ayin and peh indicate that before a certain date, an ancient letter sequence for the Hebrew ABGAD had established that the letter peh preceded the ayin. For more on this, read Mitchell First’s article “Pe before Ayin in Biblical Pre-Exilic Acrostics” (theotrah.com 2017). There, First writes, “acrostics in the fifth book of psalms, 111, 112, 119, 145…are all post-exilic and all naturally follow the ayin-peh order.” Thus the arrows here don’t indicate any historic reordering of the lines. Rather, they indicate how the lines might be reordered if the alternative ABGAD sequence were to be applied.

Source(s)

 

Notes[ + ]

1.  The translation here of “blessed” for אשרי is based upon the following insight shared by Raanan Eichler in his article, “The Priestly Asherah,” in which he writes: “One of the essential meanings of the root אשׁר clearly overlaps with that of ברך , “bless”, to a great degree. Thus Psalm 72:17, the finale of “the prayers of David son of Jesse” (v. 20), reads, “may people bless themselves by him; may all nations אשׁר him” (וְיִתְבָּרְכוּ בוֹ כָּל גּוֹיִם יְאַשְּׁרוּהוּ ). Deut 33:24, in the blessing of Moses, reads, “blessed among children is Asher” (בָּרוּךְ מִבָּנִים אָשֵׁר ).”
2.  Psalms 119:1-2.
3.  Psalms 84:6
4.  Psalms 89:16
5.  Psalms 75:5
6.  Psalms 32:2
7.  Psalms 32:1
8.  Psalms 1:1
9.  Psalms 106:3
10.  Psalms 84:5
11.  Psalms 144:15
12.  The reference to “all the generations” necessarily includes the dor hamabul — the depraved generation whose transgressions brought about the Deluge. The following verses may be read, I believe, as an allusion to the descent of the angels in those days and the corruption they and their giant progeny brought upon that generation of humanity, an etiology for the origin of predation in Nature. Cf. The Midrash of Shemḥazai and Azael found in Yalkut Shemoni (end of Parashat Noaḥ) and in Midrash Abkir (see Otsar Midrashim for the text). The import of the Midrash of Shemḥazai and Azael, its etiology of predation, and its echo in our own generation marked by such unquenchable appetites that are causing mass extinctions and global climate change — call to me to emphasize this particular reading. The traditional rabbinic explanation for the absence of a following nun verse in the alphabetic acrostic is provided in the discussion found in Berachot 4b, which references the despairing verse in Amos 5:2, נָפְלָה לֹא־תוֹסִיף קוּם בְּתוּלַת יִשְׂרָאֵל נִטְּשָׁה עַל־אַדְמָתָהּ אֵין מְקִימָהּ׃ (“The virgin of Israel has fallen and she will rise no more; abandoned in her land, none will raise her up”). I find it suggestive however that this discussion is immediately followed by what appears on the surface to be a non sequitur angelological discourse on the relative powers of the archangels Michael and Gavriel, as well as the angelified Eliyahu haNavi and the Angel of Death.
13.  The aleph-bet acrostic is broken at this point in the Masoretic text by the absence of a verse for the nun. The text for the nun here is brought from the Chronicle of Gad the Seer (ch. 10), a work preserved by the Jews of Cochin, India. Reuven Kimelman in “Psalm 145: Theme, Structure, and Impact”(JBL 113/1 (1994) 37-58) gives a solid argument why this is an interpolation rather than a recovered original verse: “the verbs are in the perfect, unlike any other in the psalm” and not all biblical psalms are perfect acrostics.
14.  A reference to the Nephilim and their giant progeny. See penultimate comment.
15.  Besides its explicit meaning, this is also a reference to the manna rained down upon the Giants in order to quench their appetites of the Giants. For sources, find “The Mythic Arc of Predatory Desire in Jewish Legend: primary sources on the origin and end of predation” (Aharon Varady 2016).
16.  Or, as indicated by the enlarged yud — “you open up your yud” — the yud of the Tetragrammaton, from which the shefa of ayn sof flows into creation.
17.  End of Psalms 145.
18.  Psalms 115:118.

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