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

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"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)

In his introduction to a facsimile edition of Perek Shira,[1]Facsimile van Oriental Ms. 12.983 v.d. British Library. Genummerd exemplaar 253 van de 550 Dr. Malachi Beit-Arie writes 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.

Hebrew (source) English (translation)

הקדמה
Introductory Text

אָמַר רַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר, כָּל הָעוֹסֵק בְּפֶּרֶק שִׁירָה בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶה זוֹכֶה וְאוֹמְרָה לְעוֹלָם הַבָּא שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר ״אָז יָשִׁיר מֹשֶׁה״ – ״שָׁר״ לֹא נֶאֱמַר אֶלָּא ״יָשִׁיר״ לָעוֹלָם 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 הָעוֹסֵק בְּפֶּרֶק שִׁירָה בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶה מַעִיד אֲנִי עָלָיו שֶׁהוּא בֶּן עוֹלָם הַבָּא וְנִצוֹל מִיֵצֶר הָרָע וּמִדִּין קָשֶׁה וּמִשָּׂטָן הַמַשְׁחִית וּמִכָּל מִינֵי מַזִיקִין וּמֵחֶבְלוֹ שֶׁל מָשִׁיחַ וּמִדִּינָה שֶׁל גֵּיהִנֹם וְזוֹכֶה לִלְמוֹד וּלְלַמֵד לִשְׁמוֹר וְלַעֲשׂוֹת וּלְקַיֵים וְתַלְמוּדוֹ מְקַיֵים בְּיָדוֹ וּמַאַרִיךְ יָמִים וְזוֹכֶה לְחַיֵי עוֹלָם 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 שמעוני, סוף תהלים) אָמְרוּ רַבּוֹתֵינוּ ז״ל עַל דָּוִד הַמֶלֶךְ ע״ה בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁסִּיֵים סֵפֶר תְּהִלִים זָחָה דַעַתּוֹ עָלָיו. אָמַר לִפְנֵי הַקָדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא ״יֵשׁ בְּרִיאָה שֶׁבָּרָאתָ בְּעוֹלמְךָ שֶׁאוֹמֶרֶת שִׁירוֹת וְתִשְׁבָּחוֹת יוֹתֵר מִמֶנִי?״ בְּאוֹתָהּ שָׁעָה נִזְרַמְנָה לוֹ צְפַרְדֵּעַ אַחַת וְאָמְרָה לוֹ, דָּוִד! אַל תָּזּוּחַ דַּעְתְּךָ עָלֶיךָ, שֶׁאֲנִי אוֹמֶרֶת שִׁירוֹת וְתִשְׁבָּחוֹת יוֹתֵר מִמֶּךָּ. וְלֹא עוֹר אֶלָּא כָּל שִׁירָה שֶׁאֲנִי אוֹמֶרֶת מְמַשֶּׁלֶת עָלֶיהָ שְׁלֹשֶׁת אֲלָפִים מָשָׁל שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (מלכים א ה:יב) ״וַיְדַבֵּר שְׁלֹשֶׁת אֲלָפִים מָשָׁל וַיְהִי שִׁירוֹ חֲמִשָׁה וָאָלֶף.״ וְלֹא עוֹד אֶלָּא שֶׁאֲנִי עוֹסֶקֶת בְּמִצְוָה גְדוֹלָה, וְזוּ הִיא הַמִּצְוָה שֶׁאַנִי עוֹסֶקֶת בָּהּ – יֵשׁ בִּשְׂפַת הַיָם מִין אֶחָד שֶׁאֵין פַּרְנָסָתוֹ כִּי אִם מִן הַמַיִם וּבְשָעָה שֶׁהוּא רָעֵב נוֹטְלֵנִי וְאוֹכְלֵנִי לְקַיֵים מַה שֶׁנֶאֶמַר (משלי כה:כא-כב) ״אִם רָעֵב שֹׂנַֽאַךָ הַאֲכִילֵהוּ לֶחֶם וְאִם צָמֵא הַשְׁקֵהוּ מָיִם כִּי גֶחָלִים אַתָּה חֹתֶה עַל רֹאשׁוֹ 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 blessed Holy One, “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.'[2]1 Kings 5:12 And furthermore, I am busy with a great mitsvah, and this is the mitsvah 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 YHVH shall reward you'[3]Proverbs 25:21-22; do not read ‘shall reward you’ but instead ‘shall make him complete you.’”

פרק ראשון
CHAPTER ONE

שָׁמַיִם אוֹמְרִים.
הַשָּׁמַ֗יִם מְֽסַפְּרִ֥ים כְּבֽוֹד־אֵ֑ל
וּֽמַעֲשֵׂ֥ה יָ֝דָ֗יו מַגִּ֥יד הָרָקִֽיעַ׃
(תהלים יט:ב)
The Heavens are saying:
“The heavens speak of El’s kavod,
and the skies tell of his handiwork.”[4]Psalms 19:2

אֶרֶץ אוֹמֶרֶת.
לַֽ֭יהוָה הָאָ֣רֶץ וּמְלוֹאָ֑הּ
תֵּ֝בֵ֗ל וְיֹ֣שְׁבֵי בָֽהּ׃
(תהלים כד:א חלק)

ואומר.
מִכְּנַ֨ף הָאָ֜רֶץ זְמִרֹ֤ת שָׁמַ֙עְנוּ֙ צְבִ֣י לַצַּדִּ֔יק… (ישעיהו כד:טז חלק)

The Earth is saying:
“The earth and every thing in it are YHVH’s;
the inhabited area and all that dwell within it.”[5]Psalms 24:1 partial

And it is saying:
“From the wings of the land we have heard song, glory to the righteous.”[6]Isaiah 24:16 partial


גַּן עֵדֶן אוֹמֵר.
ע֤וּרִי צָפוֹן֙ וּב֣וֹאִי תֵימָ֔ן
הָפִ֥יחִי גַנִּ֖י יִזְּל֣וּ בְשָׂמָ֑יו
יָבֹ֤א דוֹדִי֙ לְגַנּ֔וֹ וְיֹאכַ֖ל פְּרִ֥י מְגָדָֽיו׃
(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.”[7]Song of Songs 4:16

גֵּיהִנֹּם אוֹמֵר.
כִּי־הִ֭שְׂבִּיעַ נֶ֣פֶשׁ שֹׁקֵקָ֑ה
וְנֶ֥פֶשׁ רְ֝עֵבָה מִלֵּא־טֽוֹב׃
(תהלים קז:ט)
Gehinnom is saying:
“For he has satisfied the longing soul,
and has filled the hungry soul with good.”[8]Psalms 107:9

מִדְבַּר אוֹמֵר.
יְשֻׂשׂ֥וּם מִדְבָּ֖ר וְצִיָּ֑ה
וְתָגֵ֧ל עֲרָבָ֛ה וְתִפְרַ֖ח כַּחֲבַצָּֽלֶת׃
(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.”[9]Isaiah 35:1

שָׂדוֹת אוֹמְרִים.
יְֽהוָ֗ה בְּחָכְמָ֥ה יָֽסַד־אָ֑רֶץ
כּוֹנֵ֥ן שָׁ֝מַ֗יִם בִּתְבוּנָֽה׃
(משלי ג:יט)
The Fields are saying:
“YHVH founded the land with wisdom;
He established the heavens with understanding.”[10]Proverbs 3:19

מַיִם אוֹמְרִים.
לְק֨וֹל תִּתּ֜וֹ הֲמ֥וֹן מַ֙יִם֙ בַּשָּׁמַ֔יִם
וַיַּ֥עַל נְשִׂאִ֖ים מִקְצֵה־אָ֑רֶץ
בְּרָקִ֤ים לַמָּטָר֙ עָשָׂ֔ה
וַיֹּ֥צֵא ר֖וּחַ מֵאֹצְרֹתָֽיו׃
(ירמיה נא:טז)
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.”[11]Jeremiah 51:16

יָמִים אוֹמְרִים.
מִקֹּל֨וֹת ׀ מַ֤יִם רַבִּ֗ים אַדִּירִ֣ים מִשְׁבְּרֵי־יָ֑ם
אַדִּ֖יר בַּמָּר֣וֹם יְהוָֽה׃
(תהלים צג:ד)
The Seas are saying:
“More than the voices of many waters, than the mighty waves of the sea,
YHVH on high is mighty.”[12]Psalms 93:4

נַהֲרוֹת אוֹמְרִים.
ְהָר֥וֹת יִמְחֲאוּ־כָ֑ף
יַ֝֗חַד הָרִ֥ים יְרַנֵּֽנוּ׃
(תהלים צח:ח)
The Rivers are saying:
“Let the rivers clap their hands,
let the mountains sing for joy together!”[13]Psalms 98:8

מַעְיָנוֹת אוֹמְרִים.
וְשָׁרִ֥ים כְּחֹלְלִ֑ים
כָּֽל־מַעְיָנַ֥י בָּֽךְ׃
(תהלים פז:ז)
The Wellsprings are saying:
“And as singers who are like dancers
are all those who study you.”[14]Psalms 87:7

פרק שני
CHAPTER TWO

יוֹם אוֹמֵר.
י֣וֹם לְ֭יוֹם יַבִּ֣יעַֽ אֹ֑מֶר
וְלַ֥יְלָה לְּ֝לַ֗יְלָה יְחַוֶּה־דָּֽעַת׃
(תהלים יט:ג)
The Day is saying:
“Day to day utters speech,
and night to night relates knowledge.”[15]Psalms 19:3

לַיְלָה אוֹמֵר.
לְהַגִּ֣יד בַּבֹּ֣קֶר חַסְֽדֶּ֑ךָ
וֶ֝אֱמֽוּנָתְךָ֗ בַּלֵּילֽוֹת׃
(תהלים צב:ג)
The Night is saying:
“To speak of his kindness in the morning,
and of his faithfulness by nights.”[16]Psalms 92:3

שֶׁמֶשׁ אוֹמֵר.
שֶׁ֥מֶשׁ יָרֵ֖חַ עָ֣מַד זְבֻ֑לָה
לְא֤וֹר חִצֶּ֙יךָ֙ יְהַלֵּ֔כוּ
לְנֹ֖גַהּ בְּרַ֥ק חֲנִיתֶֽךָ׃
(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.”[17]Ḥabakuk 3:11

יָרֵחַ אוֹמֶרֶת.
עָשָׂ֣ה יָ֭רֵחַ לְמוֹעֲדִ֑ים
שֶׁ֝֗מֶשׁ יָדַ֥ע מְבוֹאֽוֹ׃
(תהלים קד:יט)
The Moon is saying:
“He made the Moon for the festivals;
the Sun knows the time of its coming.”[18]Psalms 104:19

כּוֹכָבִים אוֹמְרִים.
אַתָּה־ה֣וּא יְהוָה֮ לְבַדֶּךָ֒
את [אַתָּ֣ה] עָשִׂ֡יתָ אֶֽת־הַשָּׁמַיִם֩ שְׁמֵ֨י הַשָּׁמַ֜יִם וְכׇל־צְבָאָ֗ם
הָאָ֜רֶץ וְכׇל־אֲשֶׁ֤ר עָלֶ֙יהָ֙
הַיַּמִּים֙ וְכׇל־אֲשֶׁ֣ר בָּהֶ֔ם
וְאַתָּ֖ה מְחַיֶּ֣ה אֶת־כֻּלָּ֑ם
וּצְבָ֥א הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם לְךָ֥ מִשְׁתַּחֲוִֽים׃
(נחמיה ט:ו)
The Stars are saying,
“You, only you, are YHVH;
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.”[19]Nehemiah 9:6

עָבִים אוֹמְרִים.
יָ֤שֶׁת חֹ֨שֶׁךְ ׀ סִתְר֗וֹ סְבִֽיבוֹתָ֥יו סֻכָּת֑וֹ
חֶשְׁכַת־מַ֝֗יִם עָבֵ֥י שְׁחָקִֽים׃
(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.”[20]Psalms 18:12

עַנְנֵי כָּבוֹד אוֹמְרִים.
אַף־בְּ֭רִי יַטְרִ֣יחַ עָ֑ב יָ֝פִ֗יץ עֲנַ֣ן אוֹרֽוֹ׃ (איוב לז:יא)
The Light Clouds are saying,
“Also he burdens the thick cloud with an overflow;
the cloud scatters its light.”[21]Job 37:11

רוּחַ אוֹמֵר.
אֹמַ֤ר לַצָּפוֹן֙ תֵּ֔נִי וּלְתֵימָ֖ן אַל־תִּכְלָ֑אִי
הָבִ֤יאִי בָנַי֙ מֵרָח֔וֹק וּבְנוֹתַ֖י מִקְצֵ֥ה הָאָֽרֶץ׃
(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.’”[22]Isaiah 43:6

בְּרָקִים אוֹמְרִים.
… בְּרָקִ֣ים לַמָּטָ֣ר עָשָׂ֑ה
מֽוֹצֵא־ר֝וּחַ מֵאֽוֹצְרוֹתָֽיוֹ׃
(תהלים קלה:ז חלק)
The Lightning Bolts are saying,
“…He makes lightning for the rain;
He brings forth the wind from his storehouses.”[23]Psalms 135:7 partial

טַל אוֹמֵר.
אֶהְיֶ֤ה כַטַּל֙ לְיִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל יִפְרַ֖ח כַּשּֽׁוֹשַׁנָּ֑ה
וְיַ֥ךְ שָׁרָשָׁ֖יו כַּלְּבָנֽוֹן׃
(הושע יד:ו)

(נוסח אחר) ע֤וּרִי צָפוֹן֙
וּב֣וֹאִי תֵימָ֔ן הָפִ֥יחִי גַנִּ֖י יִזְּל֣וּ בְשָׂמָ֑יו
יָבֹ֤א דוֹדִי֙ לְגַנּ֔וֹ וְיֹאכַ֖ל פְּרִ֥י מְגָדָֽיו׃ (שיר השירים ד:טז)

The Dew is saying:
“I shall be as the dew to Yisra’el, he shall blossom as a rose,
he shall spread forth his roots as the Lebanon.”[24]Hoshea 14:6

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.”[25]Song of Songs 4:16


גְּשָׁמִים אוֹמְרִים.
גֶּ֣שֶׁם נְ֭דָבוֹת תָּנִ֣יף אֱלֹהִ֑ים
נַחֲלָתְךָ֥ וְ֝נִלְאָ֗ה אַתָּ֥ה כֽוֹנַנְתָּֽהָּ׃
(תהלים סח:י)
The Rains are saying,
“You, Elohim, poured a generous rain,
to strengthen your heritage when it languished.”[26]Psalms 68:10

פרק שלישי
CHAPTER THREE

אִילָנוֹת שֶׁבְּשָׂדֶה אוֹמְרִים.
אָ֥ז יְרַנְּנ֖וּ עֲצֵ֣י הַיָּ֑עַר
מִלִּפְנֵ֣י יְהוָ֔ה כִּי־בָ֖א לִשְׁפּ֥וֹט אֶת־הָאָֽרֶץ׃
(דברי הימים א טז:לג)
The Wild Trees are saying,
“Then shall the trees of the forest sing out at the presence of YHVH,
because he comes to judge the earth.”[27]1 Chronicles 16:33

גֶּפֶן אוֹמֶרֶת.
כֹּ֣ה ׀ אָמַ֣ר יְהוָ֗ה כַּאֲשֶׁ֨ר יִמָּצֵ֤א הַתִּירוֹשׁ֙ בָּֽאֶשְׁכּ֔וֹל וְאָמַר֙
אַל־תַּשְׁחִיתֵ֔הוּ כִּ֥י בְרָכָ֖ה בּ֑וֹ כֵּ֤ן אֶֽעֱשֶׂה֙ לְמַ֣עַן עֲבָדַ֔י לְבִלְתִּ֖י הַֽשְׁחִ֥ית הַכֹּֽל׃
(ישעיה סה:ח)
The Vine is saying,
“So says YHVH: 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 everything.”[28]Isaiah 65:8

תְּאֵנָה אוֹמֶרֶת.
נֹצֵ֣ר תְּ֭אֵנָה יֹאכַ֣ל פִּרְיָ֑הּ … (משלי כז:יח חלק)
The Fig is saying:
“The one who guards the fig shall eat of her fruits….”[29]Proverbs 27:18 partial

רִמּוֹן אוֹמֵר.
… כְּפֶ֤לַח הָֽרִמּוֹן֙ רַקָּתֵ֔ךְ
מִבַּ֖עַד לְצַמָּתֵֽךְ׃
(שיר השירים ד:ג חלק)
The Pomegranate is saying,
“…Your brow is like a piece of a pomegranate
behind your braids.”[30]Song of Songs 4:3 partial

תָּמָר אוֹמֵר.
צַ֭דִּיק כַּתָּמָ֣ר יִפְרָ֑ח
כְּאֶ֖רֶז בַּלְּבָנ֣וֹן יִשְׂגֶּֽה׃
(תהלים צב:יג)
The Palm is saying,
“The righteous flourish like the palm tree;
they grow like a cedar in Lebanon.”[31]Psalms 92:13

תַּפּוּחַ אוֹמֵר.
כְּתַפּ֙וּחַ֙ בַּעֲצֵ֣י הַיַּ֔עַר
כֵּ֥ן דּוֹדִ֖י בֵּ֣ין הַבָּנִ֑ים
בְּצִלּוֹ֙ חִמַּ֣דְתִּי וְיָשַׁ֔בְתִּי
וּפִרְי֖וֹ מָת֥וֹק לְחִכִּֽי׃
(שיר השירים ב:ג)
The Apricot is saying,
“Like the apricot 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.”[32]Song of Songs 2:3

שִׁבֹּלֶת חִטִּים
שִׁ֥יר הַֽמַּעֲל֑וֹת
מִמַּעֲמַקִּ֖ים קְרָאתִ֣יךָ יְהוָֽה׃
(תהלים קכ:א)
The Sheaves of Wheat are saying,
“A song of ascents:
Out of the depths have I cried to you, YHVH.”[33]Psalms 130:1

שִׁבֹּלֶת שְׂעוֹרִים
תְּ֭פִלָּה לְעָנִ֣י כִֽי־יַעֲטֹ֑ף
וְלִפְנֵ֥י יְ֝הוָ֗ה יִשְׁפֹּ֥ךְ שִׂיחֽוֹ׃
(תהלים קב:א)
The Sheaves of Barley are saying,
“A prayer of the pauper, when he swoons,
and pours out his speech before YHVH.”[34]Psalms 102:1

שְׁאַר הַשִׁבֲּלִים אוֹמְרִים.
לָבְשׁ֬וּ כָרִ֨ים ׀ הַצֹּ֗אן וַעֲמָקִ֥ים יַֽעַטְפוּ־בָ֑ר
יִ֝תְרוֹעֲע֗וּ אַף־יָשִֽׁירוּ׃
(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.”[35]Psalms 65:14

יְרָקוֹת שֶׁבַּשָּׂדֶה אוֹמְרִים.
תְּלָמֶ֣יהָ רַ֭וֵּה נַחֵ֣ת גְּדוּדֶ֑יהָ
בִּרְבִיבִ֥ים תְּ֝מֹגְגֶ֗נָּה
צִמְחָ֥הּ תְּבָרֵֽךְ׃
(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.”[36]Psalms 65:11

דְּשָׁאִים אוֹמְרִים.
יְהִ֤י כְב֣וֹד יְהוָ֣ה לְעוֹלָ֑ם
יִשְׂמַ֖ח יְהוָ֣ה בְּמַעֲשָֽׂיו׃
(תהלים קד:לא)
The Grasses are saying,
“May the kavod of YHVH endure forever;
may YHVH rejoice in his works.”[37]Psalms 104:31

פרק רביעי
CHAPTER FOUR

תַּרְנְגוֹל אוֹמֵר.
בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁבָּא הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא אֵצֶל הַצַּדִּיקִים בְּגַן עֵדֶן, זוֹלְפִים כֹּל אִילָנֵי גַּן עֵדֶן בַּשָּׁמַיִם, וּמְרַנְּנִים וּמְשַׁבְּחִים, וְאָז גַּם הוּא מִתְעוֹרֵר וּמְשַׁבֵּחַ׃ (מצוטט בזוהר ב קצה:ב, ויקהל)
The Rooster is saying,
“When the blessed Holy One 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.”[38]quoted in Zohar 2, 195b (Vayakhel)

בְּקוֹל רִאשׁוֹן אוֹמֵר.
זֶ֭ה דּ֣וֹר דרשו [דֹּרְשָׁ֑יו] מְבַקְשֵׁ֨י פָנֶ֖יךָ יַעֲקֹ֣ב סֶֽלָה׃
שְׂא֤וּ שְׁעָרִ֨ים ׀ רָֽאשֵׁיכֶ֗ם וְֽ֭הִנָּשְׂאוּ פִּתְחֵ֣י עוֹלָ֑ם וְ֝יָב֗וֹא מֶ֣לֶךְ הַכָּבֽוֹד׃ מִ֥י זֶה֮ מֶ֤לֶךְ הַכָּ֫ב֥וֹד יְ֭הוָה עִזּ֣וּז וְגִבּ֑וֹר יְ֝הוָ֗ה גִּבּ֥וֹר מִלְחָמָֽה׃
(תהלים כד:ו-ח)
In its first call it says,
“Such is the generation of them that seek after thon, that seek your face, even Ya’akov. Selah! Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O everlasting doors! And the King of kavod shall come in. Who is this King of kavod? YHVH strong and mighty, YHVH mighty in battle!”[39]Psalms 24:6-8

בְּקוֹל שֵׁנִי אוֹמֵר.
שְׂא֤וּ שְׁעָרִ֨ים ׀ רָֽאשֵׁיכֶ֗ם וּ֭שְׂאוּ פִּתְחֵ֣י עוֹלָ֑ם וְ֝יָבֹא מֶ֣לֶךְ הַכָּבֽוֹד׃ מִ֤י ה֣וּא זֶה֮ מֶ֤לֶךְ הַכָּ֫ב֥וֹד יְהוָ֥ה צְבָא֑וֹת ה֤וּא מֶ֖לֶךְ הַכָּב֣וֹד סֶֽלָה׃ (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 kavod shall come in. Who is He, this King of kavod? YHVH Tseva’ot, he is the King of kavod, Selah!”[40]Psalms 24:9-10

בְּקוֹל שְׁלִישִׁי אוֹמֵר.
עִמְדוּ צַדִּיקִים וְעִסְקוֹ בַּתּוֹרָה,
כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּהְיֶה שְׂכַרְכֶם כָּפוּל לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא׃
(השוו רמב’’ן, שער הגמול ל״ג)

In its third call it says,
“Stand, O righteous ones, and busy yourselves with Torah,
so that your reward shall be double in Olam Haba.”


בְּקוֹל רְבִיעִי אוֹמֵר.
לִֽישׁוּעָתְךָ֖ קִוִּ֥יתִי יְהוָֽה׃ (בראשית מט:יח)
In its fourth call it says,
“I have hoped for your salvation, YHVH.”[41]Genesis 49:18

בְּקוֹל חֲמִישִׁי אוֹמֵר.
עַד־מָתַ֖י עָצֵ֥ל ׀ תִּשְׁכָּ֑ב
מָ֝תַ֗י תָּק֥וּם מִשְּׁנָתֶֽךָ׃
(משלי ו:ט)
In its fifth call, it is saying,
“How long will you sleep, O sluggard?
When will you arise from your sleep?”[42]Proverbs 6:9

בְּקוֹל שִׂישִׂי אוֹמֵר.
אַל־תֶּֽאֱהַ֣ב שֵׁ֭נָה פֶּן־תִּוָּרֵ֑שׁ
פְּקַ֖ח עֵינֶ֣יךָ שְֽׂבַֽע־לָֽחֶם׃
(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.”[43]Proverbs 20:13

בְּקוֹל שְׁבִיעִי אוֹמֵר.
עֵ֭ת לַעֲשׂ֣וֹת לַיהוָ֑ה
הֵ֝פֵ֗רוּ תּוֹרָתֶֽךָ׃
(תהלים קיט:קכו)
In its seventh call, it is saying,
“It is time to act for YHVH;
for they have made void your Torah.”[44]Psalms 119:126

תַּרְנְגֹלֶת אוֹמֶרֶת.
נֹתֵ֣ן לֶ֭חֶם לְכׇל־בָּשָׂ֑ר
כִּ֖י לְעוֹלָ֣ם חַסְדּֽוֹ׃
(תהלים קלו:כה)
The Hen is saying,
“He gives bread to all flesh,
for his lovingkindness endures in the cosmos.”[45]Psalms 136:25

יוֹנָה אוֹמֶרֶת.
כְּס֤וּס עָגוּר֙ כֵּ֣ן אֲצַפְצֵ֔ף אֶהְגֶּ֖ה כַּיּוֹנָ֑ה
דַּלּ֤וּ עֵינַי֙ לַמָּר֔וֹם
אֲדֹנָ֖י עָֽשְׁקָה־לִּ֥י עָרְבֵֽנִי׃
(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)

The Dove is saying,
“Like a swift or crane, so do I chatter; I moan like a dove;
my eyes fail with looking upward;
my Master, I am oppressed by my senility.”[46]Isaiah 38:14

The dove says before the blessed Holy One:
“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.”[47]Talmud, Eruvin 18b 44-45


נֶשֶׁר אוֹמֵר.
וְאַתָּ֤ה יְהוָֽה־אֱלֹהִ֥ים ׀ צְבָא֡וֹת אֱלֹ֘הֵ֤י יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל
הָקִ֗יצָה לִפְקֹ֥ד כָּֽל־הַגּוֹיִ֑ם
אַל־תָּחֹ֨ן כׇּל־בֹּ֖גְדֵי אָ֣וֶן סֶֽלָה׃
(תהלים נט:ו)
The Vulture is saying,
“And you, YHVH Elohim Tseva’ot, elo’ah of Yisra’el,
awake to punish all the nations;
do not be gracious to any wicked traitors, Selah![48]Psalms 59:6

עָגוּר אוֹמֵר.
הוֹד֣וּ לַיהוָ֣ה בְּכִנּ֑וֹר
בְּנֵ֥בֶל עָ֝שׂ֗וֹר זַמְּרוּ־לֽוֹ׃
(תהלים לג:ב)
The Crane is saying,
“Give thanks to YHVH with the lyre,
make music for him with the ten-stringed harp.”[49]Psalms 33:2

צִפּוֹר אוֹמֵר.
גַּם־צִפּ֨וֹר ׀ מָ֪צְאָה בַ֡יִת
וּדְר֤וֹר ׀ קֵ֥ן לָהּ֮ אֲשֶׁר־שָׁ֪תָה אֶפְרֹ֫חֶ֥יהָ
אֶֽת־מִ֭זְבְּחוֹתֶיךָ יְהוָ֣ה צְבָא֑וֹת מַ֝לְכִּ֗י וֵאלֹהָֽי׃
(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, YHVH Tseva’ot, my King and my elo’ah.”[50]Psalms 84:4

סְנוּנִית אוֹמֶרֶת.
לְמַ֤עַן ׀ יְזַמֶּרְךָ֣ כָ֭בוֹד וְלֹ֣א יִדֹּ֑ם
יְהוָ֥ה אֱ֝לֹהַ֗י לְעוֹלָ֥ם אוֹדֶֽךָּ׃
(תהלים ל:יג)
The Swallow is saying,
“So that my soul shall praise you, and shall not be silent,
YHVH my elo’ah, I shall give thanks to you forever.”[51]Psalms 30:13

טַסִּית אוֹמֶרֶת.
עֶ֭זְרִי מֵעִ֣ם יְהוָ֑ה
עֹ֝שֵׂ֗ה שָׁמַ֥יִם וָאָֽרֶץ׃
(תהלים קכא:ב)
The Swift is saying:
“My help is from YHVH,
Maker of Heaven and earth.”[52]Psalms 121:2

צִיָּה אוֹמֶרֶת.
א֭וֹר זָרֻ֣עַ לַצַּדִּ֑יק
וּֽלְיִשְׁרֵי־לֵ֥ב שִׂמְחָֽה׃
(תהלים צז:יא)
The Stormy Petrel is saying:
“Light is sown for the righteous,
and joy for the straight-hearted.”[53]Psalms 97:11

רְצִפִי אוֹמֵר.
נַחֲמ֥וּ נַחֲמ֖וּ עַמִּ֑י יֹאמַ֖ר אֱלֹהֵיכֶֽם׃ (ישעיה מ:א)
The Laughing Dove is saying:
“Comfort My people, comfort them, says your elo’ah.”[54]Isaiah 1:40

חֲסִידָה אוֹמֶרֶת.
דַּבְּר֞וּ עַל־לֵ֤ב יְרֽוּשָׁלִַ֙ם֙ וְקִרְא֣וּ אֵלֶ֔יהָ כִּ֤י מָֽלְאָה֙ צְבָאָ֔הּ כִּ֥י נִרְצָ֖ה עֲוֺנָ֑הּ כִּ֤י לָקְחָה֙ מִיַּ֣ד יְהוָ֔ה כִּפְלַ֖יִם בְּכׇל־חַטֹּאתֶֽיהָ׃ (ישעיה מ:ב)
The Stork is saying:
“Speak to the heart of Yerushalayim, and call to her, for her time has arrived, for her sins have been pardoned, for she has taken double from YHVH’s hand for all her sins.”[55]Isaiah 40:2

עוֹרֵב אוֹמֵר.
מִ֤י יָכִ֥ין לָעֹרֵ֗ב
צֵ֫יד֥וֹ כִּֽי־ילדו [יְ֭לָדָיו] אֶל־אֵ֣ל יְשַׁוֵּ֑עוּ …
(איוב לח:מא חלק)
The Raven is saying,
“Who prepares food for the raven,
when his young ones cry out to El?”[56]Job 38:41 partial

זַרְזִיר אוֹמֵר.
וְנוֹדַ֤ע בַּגּוֹיִם֙ זַרְעָ֔ם וְצֶאֱצָאֵיהֶ֖ם בְּת֣וֹךְ הָעַמִּ֑ים כׇּל־רֹֽאֵיהֶם֙ יַכִּיר֔וּם כִּ֛י הֵ֥ם זֶ֖רַע בֵּרַ֥ךְ יְהוָֽה׃ (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 YHVH has blessed.”[57]Isaiah 61:9

אֲוַז שֶׁבַּבַּיִת אוֹמֶרֶת.
הוֹד֣וּ לַ֭יהוָה קִרְא֣וּ בִּשְׁמ֑וֹ הוֹדִ֥יעוּ בָ֝עַמִּ֗ים עֲלִילוֹתָֽיו׃ שִֽׁירוּ־ל֭וֹ זַמְּרוּ־ל֑וֹ שִׂ֝֗יחוּ בְּכׇל־נִפְלְאוֹתָֽיו׃ שִׁירוּ לוֹ זַמְּרוּ לוֹ שִׂיחוּ בְּכָל נִפְלְאוֹתָיו׃
(תהלים קה:א-ב)
The Domestic Goose is saying,
“Give thanks to YHVH, call upon his Name, make his works known amongst the peoples, sing to Him, make music for Him, speak of all his wonders.”[58]Psalms 105:1-2

אֲוַז הַבָּר הַמְּשׁוֹטֶטֶת בַּמִּדְבָּר כְּשֶׁרוֹאֵה אֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל עוֹסְקִים בַּתּוֹרָה אוֹמֶרֶת.
ק֣וֹל קוֹרֵ֔א
בַּמִּדְבָּ֕ר פַּנּ֖וּ דֶּ֣רֶךְ יְהוָ֑ה
יַשְּׁרוּ֙ בָּעֲרָבָ֔ה מְסִלָּ֖ה לֵאלֹהֵֽינוּ׃
(ישעיה מ:ג)

וְעַל מְצִיאוּת מְזוֹנוֹתֶיהָ בַּמִּדְבָּר אוֹמֶרֶת.
אָר֤וּר הַגֶּ֙בֶר֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר יִבְטַ֣ח בָּֽאָדָ֔ם…
בָּר֣וּךְ הַגֶּ֔בֶר אֲשֶׁ֥ר יִבְטַ֖ח בַּֽיהוָ֑ה
וְהָיָ֥ה יְהוָ֖ה מִבְטַחֽוֹ׃
(ירמיה יז:ה חלק, יז:ז)

The Wild Goose flying in the wilderness, when it sees Yisra’el busy with Torah, is saying,
“A voice cries,
Prepare in the wilderness the way of YHVH,
make straight in the desert a path for our elo’ah.”[59]Isaiah 40:3.

And upon finding its food in the wilderness, it says,
“Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings…”[60]Jeremiah 17:5 partial 
Blessed is the man who trusts in YHVH,
and YHVH shall be his assurance.”[61]Jeremiah 17:7 partial


פְרוֹגִיוֹת אוֹמְרִים.
בִּטְח֥וּ בַֽיהוָ֖ה עֲדֵי־עַ֑ד
כִּ֚י בְּיָ֣הּ יְהוָ֔ה צ֖וּר עוֹלָמִֽים׃
(ישעיה כו:ד)
The Ducks are saying,
“Trust in YHVH forever and ever, for YHVH Yah,
is the strength of worlds.”[62]Isaiah 26:4

רַחֲמָהּ אוֹמֶרֶת.
אֶשְׁרְקָ֥ה לָהֶ֛ם וַאֲקַבְּצֵ֖ם כִּ֣י פְדִיתִ֑ים
וְרָב֖וּ כְּמ֥וֹ רָבֽוּ׃
(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.”[63]Zechariah 10:8

צִפֹּרֶת כְּרָמִים אוֹמֶרֶת.
… אֶשָּׂ֣א עֵ֭ינַי אֶל־הֶהָרִ֑ים
מֵ֝אַ֗יִן יָבֹ֥א עֶזְרִֽי׃
(תהלים קכא:א)
The Grasshopper is saying:
“I lift my eyes up to the mountains,
wherefrom shall my help come?”[64]Psalms 121:1

חָסִיל אוֹמֵר.
יְהוָ֤ה אֱלֹהַי֙ אַתָּ֔ה אֲרֽוֹמִמְךָ֙ אוֹדֶ֣ה שִׁמְךָ֔
כִּ֥י עָשִׂ֖יתָ פֶּ֑לֶא
עֵצ֥וֹת מֵֽרָח֖וֹק אֱמ֥וּנָה אֹֽמֶן׃
(ישעיה כה:א)
The Locust is saying,
“YHVH, you are my elo’ah; I will exalt you, I will praise your Name;
for you have done wondrous things;
Your counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.”[65]Isaiah 25:1

שְׂמָמִית אוֹמֶרֶת.
הַֽלְל֥וּהוּ בְצִלְצְלֵי־שָׁ֑מַע
הַֽ֝לְל֗וּהוּ בְּֽצִלְצְלֵ֥י תְרוּעָֽה׃
(תהלים קנ:ה)
The Spider is saying,
“Praise him with sounding cymbals!
Praise him with loud clashing cymbals!”[66]Psalms 150:5

זְבוּב אוֹמֵר.
בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁאֵין יִשְׂרָאֵל עוֹסְקִים בַּתּוֹרָה, ק֚וֹל אֹמֵ֣ר קְרָ֔א וְאָמַ֖ר מָ֣ה אֶקְרָ֑א
כׇּל־הַבָּשָׂ֣ר חָצִ֔יר וְכׇל־חַסְדּ֖וֹ כְּצִ֥יץ הַשָּׂדֶֽה׃ יָבֵ֤שׁ חָצִיר֙ נָ֣בֵֽל צִ֔יץ כִּ֛י ר֥וּחַ יְהוָ֖ה נָ֣שְׁבָה בּ֑וֹ אָכֵ֥ן חָצִ֖יר הָעָֽם׃ יָבֵ֥שׁ חָצִ֖יר נָ֣בֵֽל צִ֑יץ וּדְבַר־אֱלֹהֵ֖ינוּ יָק֥וּם לְעוֹלָֽם׃
(ישעיה מ:ו-ח)
בּוֹרֵ֖א נוב [נִ֣יב] שְׂפָתָ֑יִם
שָׁל֨וֹם ׀ שָׁל֜וֹם לָרָח֧וֹק וְלַקָּר֛וֹב
אָמַ֥ר יְהוָ֖ה וּרְפָאתִֽיו׃
(ישעיה נז:יט)
The Fly, when Yisra’el 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.’[67]Isaiah 40:6 
‘…The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our elo’ah shall endure forever.’”[68]Isaiah 40:8 
‘“I will create a new expression of the lips; Peace, peace for him who is far off and for him who is near, says YHVH; and I will heal him.’”[69]Isaiah 57:19

תַּנִּינִים אוֹמְרִים.
הַֽלְל֣וּ אֶת־יְ֭הוָה מִן־הָאָ֑רֶץ
תַּ֝נִּינִ֗ים וְכׇל־תְּהֹמֽוֹת׃
(תהלים קמח:ז)
The Sea Monsters are saying:
“Praise YHVH from the land,
the sea monsters and all the depths.”[70]Psalms 148:7

לִוְיָתַן אוֹמֵר.
הוֹד֣וּ לַיהוָ֣ה כִּי־ט֑וֹב
כִּ֖י לְעוֹלָ֣ם חַסְדּֽוֹ׃
(תהלים קלו:א)
The Leviathan is saying,
“Give thanks to YHVH for he is good,
for his lovingkindness endures in the cosmos.”[71]Psalms 136:1

דָּגִים אוֹמְרִים.
ק֥וֹל יְהוָ֗ה עַל־הַ֫מָּ֥יִם אֵֽל־הַכָּב֥וֹד הִרְעִ֑ים
יְ֝הוָ֗ה עַל־מַ֥יִם רַבִּֽים׃
(תהלים כט:ג)
The Fishes are saying,
“The voice of YHVH is upon the waters,
the El of kavod thunders, YHVH is upon many waters.”[72]Psalms 29:3

צְפַרְדֵּעַ אוֹמֶרֶת.
בָּרוּךְ שֵׁם כְּבוֹד מַלְכוּתוֹ לְעוֹלַם וָעֶד׃ (משנה יומא ג:ח, פסחים נו א ועוד)
The Frog is saying,
“Blessed is the Name of his resplendent Majesty in the Cosmos forever.”[73]Mishna Yoma 3:8, Pesachim 56a, Bereishit Rabba 98:3, Midrash Tanḥuma 3:7, et al

פרק חמישי
CHAPTER FIVE

בְּהֵמָה דַּקָּה טְהוֹרָה אוֹמֶרֶת.
מִֽי־כָמֹ֤כָה בָּֽאֵלִם֙ יְהוָ֔ה
מִ֥י כָּמֹ֖כָה נֶאְדָּ֣ר בַּקֹּ֑דֶשׁ נוֹרָ֥א תְהִלֹּ֖ת עֹ֥שֵׂה פֶֽלֶא: (שמות טו:יא)
The Sheep is saying:
“Who is like you among the mighty ones, YHVH?
Who is like you, mighty in holiness,
awesome in praise, worker of wonders.”[74]Exodus 15:11

בְּהֵמָה גַּסָּה טְהוֹרָה אוֹמֶרֶת.
הַ֭רְנִינוּ לֵאלֹהִ֣ים עוּזֵּ֑נוּ
הָ֝רִ֗יעוּ לֵאלֹהֵ֥י יַעֲקֹֽב׃
(תהלים פא:ב)
The Cow is saying:
“Rejoice to Elohim over our strength,
trumpet to the elo’ah of Yaakov!”[75]Psalms 81 :2

בְּהֵמָה דַּקָּה טְמֵאָה אוֹמֶרֶת.
הֵיטִ֣יבָה יְ֭הוָה לַטּוֹבִ֑ים
וְ֝לִֽישָׁרִ֗ים בְּלִבּוֹתָֽם׃
(תהלים קכה:ד)
The Pig is saying:
“YHVH is good to the good,
and to those committed at heart.”[76]Psalms 125:4

בְּהֵמָה גַּסָּה טְמֵאָה אוֹמֶרֶת.
יְגִ֣יעַ כַּ֭פֶּיךָ כִּ֣י תֹאכֵ֑ל
אַ֝שְׁרֶ֗יךָ וְט֣וֹב לָֽךְ׃
(תהלים קכח:ב)
The Working Animal is saying:
“When you eat the fruit of your labors,
happy are you and good is your lot.”[77]Psalms 128:2

גַּמַּל אוֹמֵר.
…יְהוָ֞ה מִמָּר֤וֹם יִשְׁאָג֙ וּמִמְּע֤וֹן קׇדְשׁוֹ֙ יִתֵּ֣ן קוֹל֔וֹ שָׁאֹ֤ג יִשְׁאַג֙ עַל־נָוֵ֔הוּ … (ירמיה כה:ל חלק)
The Camel is saying:
“…YHVH shall roar from upon high and cause his voice to sound forth from his holy place, his shout echoes profoundly over his dwelling place….”[78]Jeremiah 25:30 partial

סוּס אוֹמֵר.
הִנֵּ֨ה כְעֵינֵ֪י עֲבָדִ֡ים אֶל־יַ֤ד אֲ‍ֽדוֹנֵיהֶ֗ם כְּעֵינֵ֣י שִׁפְחָה֮ אֶל־יַ֪ד גְּבִ֫רְתָּ֥הּ כֵּ֣ן עֵ֭ינֵינוּ אֶל־יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֵ֑ינוּ עַ֝֗ד שֶׁיְּחָנֵּֽנוּ׃ (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 YHVH our elo’ah until he will favor us.”[79]Psalms 123:2

פֶּרֶד אוֹמֵר.
יוֹד֣וּךָ יְ֭הוָה כׇּל־מַלְכֵי־אָ֑רֶץ
כִּ֥י שָׁ֝מְע֗וּ אִמְרֵי־פִֽיךָ׃
(תהלים קלח:ד)
The Mule is saying,
“All the kings of the earth shall acknowledge you, YHVH,
for they have heard the sayings of your mouth.”[80]Psalms 138:4

חֲמוֹר אוֹמֵר.
לְךָ֣ יְ֠הוָה הַגְּדֻלָּ֨ה וְהַגְּבוּרָ֤ה וְהַתִּפְאֶ֙רֶת֙ וְהַנֵּ֣צַח וְהַה֔וֹד
כִּי־כֹ֖ל בַּשָּׁמַ֣יִם וּבָאָ֑רֶץ
לְךָ֤ יְהוָה֙ הַמַּמְלָכָ֔ה וְהַמִּתְנַשֵּׂ֖א לְכֹ֥ל ׀ לְרֹֽאשׁ׃
(דברי הימים א, כט:יא)
The Donkey is saying:
“Yours, YHVH, 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, YHVH, is the kingship, and the exaltation over all.”[81]1 Chronicles 29:11

שׁוֹר אוֹמֵר.
אָ֣ז יָשִֽׁיר־מֹשֶׁה֩ וּבְנֵ֨י יִשְׂרָאֵ֜ל אֶת־הַשִּׁירָ֤ה הַזֹּאת֙ לַֽיהוָ֔ה
וַיֹּאמְר֖וּ לֵאמֹ֑ר אָשִׁ֤ירָה לַֽיהוָה֙ כִּֽי־גָאֹ֣ה גָּאָ֔ה
ס֥וּס וְרֹכְב֖וֹ רָמָ֥ה בַיָּֽם׃
(שמות טו:א)
The Ox is saying,
“Then Moshe and the Children of Yisra’el sang this song to YHVH,
and they said, ‘I shall sing to YHVH, for he has triumphed;
He has thrown the horse and its rider into the sea.’”[82]Exodus 15:1

חַיּוֹת הַשָּׂדֶה אוֹמְרִים.
בָּרוּךְ הַטּוֹב
וְהַמֵּטִיב׃ (ברכות מח ב)
The Wild Animals are saying,
“Blessed is the One Who is good
and bestows good.”[83]Talmud, Berachos 48b

צְבִי אוֹמֵר.
וַאֲנִ֤י ׀ אָשִׁ֣יר עֻזֶּךָ֮
וַאֲרַנֵּ֥ן לַבֹּ֗קֶר חַ֫סְדֶּ֥ךָ
כִּֽי־הָיִ֣יתָ מִשְׂגָּ֣ב לִ֑י
וּ֝מָנ֗וֹס בְּי֣וֹם צַר־לִֽי׃
(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.”[84]Psalms 59:17

פִּיל אוֹמֵר.
מַה־גָּדְל֣וּ מַעֲשֶׂ֣יךָ יְהוָ֑ה
מְ֝אֹ֗ד עָמְק֥וּ מַחְשְׁבֹתֶֽיךָ׃
(תהלים צב:ו)
The Elephant is saying:
“How great are your works, YHVH;
Your thoughts are tremendously deep.”[85]Psalms 92:6

אַרְיֵה אוֹמֵר.
יְהוָה֙ כַּגִּבּ֣וֹר יֵצֵ֔א כְּאִ֥ישׁ מִלְחָמ֖וֹת יָעִ֣יר קִנְאָ֑ה
יָרִ֙יעַ֙ אַף־יַצְרִ֔יחַ עַל־אֹיְבָ֖יו יִתְגַּבָּֽר׃
(ישעיה מב:יג)
The Lion is saying:
“YHVH shall go out as a mighty man, he shall arouse zeal;
He shall say, even roar, he shall prevail over his enemies.”[86]Isaiah 42:13

דֹּב אוֹמֵר.
יִשְׂא֤וּ מִדְבָּר֙ וְעָרָ֔יו חֲצֵרִ֖ים
תֵּשֵׁ֣ב קֵדָ֑ר
יָרֹ֙נּוּ֙ יֹ֣שְׁבֵי סֶ֔לַע
מֵרֹ֥אשׁ הָרִ֖ים יִצְוָֽחוּ׃
יָשִׂ֥ימוּ לַֽיהוָ֖ה כָּב֑וֹד
וּתְהִלָּת֖וֹ בָּאִיִּ֥ים יַגִּֽידוּ׃
(ישעיה מב:יא-יב)
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 kavod to YHVH,
and tell of his praise in the islands.”[87]Isaiah 42:11-12

זְאֵב אוֹמֵר.
עַֽל־כׇּל־דְּבַר־פֶּ֡שַׁע עַל־שׁ֡וֹר עַל־חֲ֠מוֹר עַל־שֶׂ֨ה עַל־שַׂלְמָ֜ה עַל־כׇּל־אֲבֵדָ֗ה אֲשֶׁ֤ר יֹאמַר֙ כִּי־ה֣וּא זֶ֔ה עַ֚ד הָֽאֱלֹהִ֔ים יָבֹ֖א דְּבַר־שְׁנֵיהֶ֑ם אֲשֶׁ֤ר יַרְשִׁיעֻן֙ אֱלֹהִ֔ים יְשַׁלֵּ֥ם שְׁנַ֖יִם לְרֵעֵֽהוּ׃ (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.”[88]Exodus 22:8

שׁוּעַל אוֹמֵר.
ה֣וֹי בֹּנֶ֤ה בֵיתוֹ֙ בְּֽלֹא־צֶ֔דֶק וַעֲלִיּוֹתָ֖יו בְּלֹ֣א מִשְׁפָּ֑ט
בְּרֵעֵ֙הוּ֙ יַעֲבֹ֣ד חִנָּ֔ם וּפֹעֲל֖וֹ לֹ֥א יִתֶּן־לֽוֹ׃
(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.”[89]Jeremiah 22:13

זַרְזִיר אוֹמֵר.
רַנְּנ֣וּ צַ֭דִּיקִים בַּֽיהוָ֑ה
לַ֝יְשָׁרִ֗ים נָאוָ֥ה תְהִלָּֽה׃
(תהלים לג:א)
The Hound is saying,
“Let the righteous rejoice in YHVH,
praise is befitting to the upright.”[90]Psalms 33:1

חָתוּל אוֹמֵר.
אִם־תַּגְבִּ֣יהַּ כַּנֶּ֔שֶׁר וְאִם־בֵּ֥ין כּֽוֹכָבִ֖ים שִׂ֣ים קִנֶּ֑ךָ
מִשָּׁ֥ם אוֹרִֽידְךָ֖ נְאֻם־יְהוָֽה׃
(עובדיה א:ד)
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 YHVH.”[91]Obadiah 1:4

עַכְבָּר אוֹמֵר.
אֲרוֹמִמְךָ֣ יְ֭הוָה כִּ֣י דִלִּיתָ֑נִי
וְלֹא־שִׂמַּ֖חְתָּ אֹיְבַ֣י לִֽי׃׃
(תהלים ל:ב)
And the Mouse says,
“I shall exalt you, YHVH, for you have impoverished me,
and you have not let my enemies rejoice over me.”[92]Psalms 30:2

וּכְּשֶׁמַגִיעוֹ אוֹמֵר הַחָתוּל.
אֶרְדּ֣וֹף א֭וֹיְבַי וְאַשִּׂיגֵ֑ם
וְלֹֽא־אָ֝שׁוּב עַד־כַּלּוֹתָֽם׃
(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.”[93]Psalms 18:38

וְהָעַכְבָּר אוֹמֵר.
וְאַתָּ֣ה צַדִּ֔יק עַ֖ל כׇּל־הַבָּ֣א עָלַי
כִּֽי־אֱמֶ֥ת עָשִׂ֖יתָ וַאֲנִי הִרְשָֽׁעְתִּי׃
(הסתגלות מנחמיה ט:לג)
And the Mouse concedes,
“You are just for all that comes upon me,
for you have acted truthfully, and I have been wicked.”[94]Adapted from Nehemiah 9:33

פרק ששי
CHAPTER SIX

שְׁרָצִים אוֹמְרִים.
יִשְׂמַ֣ח יִשְׂרָאֵ֣ל בְּעֹשָׂ֑יו בְּנֵֽי־צִ֝יּ֗וֹן יָגִ֥ילוּ בְמַלְכָּֽם׃ (תהלים קמט:ב)
(נוסח אחר) יְהִ֤י כְב֣וֹד יְהוָ֣ה לְעוֹלָ֑ם
יִשְׂמַ֖ח יְהוָ֣ה בְּמַעֲשָֽׂיו׃ (תהלים קד:לא)
The Creeping Creatures are saying,
“Let Yisra’el rejoice in he Who made him; let the children of Tsiyon be joyful in their King.”[95]Psalms 149:2.
another version: “May the kavod of YHVH endure forever;
may YHVH rejoice in his works.”[96]Psalms 104:31

אֵלִים שֶׁבַּשְּׁרָצִים אוֹמְרִים.
אֶשְׁתְּךָ֤ ׀ כְּגֶ֥פֶן פֹּרִיָּה֮ בְּיַרְכְּתֵ֪י בֵ֫יתֶ֥ךָ
בָּ֭נֶיךָ כִּשְׁתִלֵ֣י זֵיתִ֑ים
סָ֝בִ֗יב לְשֻׁלְחָנֶֽךָ׃
(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.”[97]Psalms 128:3

נָחָשׁ אוֹמֵר.
סוֹמֵ֣ךְ יְ֭הוָה לְכׇל־הַנֹּפְלִ֑ים
וְ֝זוֹקֵ֗ף לְכׇל־הַכְּפוּפִֽים׃
(תהלים קמה:יד)
The Snake is saying:
“YHVH supports all the fallen,
and straightens all the bent.”[98]Psalms 145:14

עַקְרַב אוֹמֵר.
טוֹב־יְהוָ֥ה לַכֹּ֑ל
וְ֝רַחֲמָ֗יו עַל־כׇּל־מַעֲשָֽׂיו׃
(תהלים קמה:ט)
The Scorpion is saying,
“Yah is good to all,
and his mercy is upon all of his handiwork.”[99]Psalms 145:9

שַׁבְּלוּל אוֹמֵר.
כְּמ֣וֹ שַׁ֭בְּלוּל תֶּ֣מֶס יַהֲלֹ֑ךְ
נֵ֥פֶל אֵ֝֗שֶׁת בַּל־חָ֥זוּ שָֽׁמֶשׁ׃
(תהלים נח:ט)
The Snail is saying,
“Like the snail that melts away,
the stillborn of a mole that does not see the sun.”[100]Psalms 58:9

נְמָלָה אוֹמֶרֶת.
לֵֽךְ־אֶל־נְמָלָ֥ה עָצֵ֑ל
רְאֵ֖ה דְרָכֶ֣יהָ וַחֲכָֽם׃
(ספר משלי ו:ו)
The Ant is saying,
“Go to the ant, you sluggard;
consider her ways, and be wise.”[101]Proverbs 6:6

חֻלְדָּה אוֹמֶרֶת.
כֹּ֣ל הַ֭נְּשָׁמָה תְּהַלֵּ֥ל יָ֗הּ הַֽלְלוּ־יָֽהּ׃ (תהלים קנ:ו)
The Rat is saying:
“Let every soul praise Yah, Hallelu-Yah!”[102]Psalms 150:6

כְּלָבִים אוֹמְרִים.
בֹּ֭אוּ נִשְׁתַּחֲוֶ֣ה וְנִכְרָ֑עָה
נִ֝בְרְכָ֗ה לִֽפְנֵי־יְהוָ֥ה עֹשֵֽׂנוּ׃
(תהלים צה:ו)
The Dogs are saying,
“Come, let us worship and bow down;
let us kneel before YHVH our Maker.”[103]Psalms 95:6

(ילקוט שמעוני פרשת בא רמז קפז) רַבִּי יְשַׁעְיָה תַּלְמִידוֹ שֶׁל רַבִּי חֲנִינָא בֶּן דּוֹסָא הִתְעַנָּה חָמֵשׁ וּשְׁמוֹנִים תַּעֲנִיּוֹת. אָמַר כְּלָבִים שֶׁכָּתוּב בָּהֶם (ישעיה נו:יא) וְהַכְּלָבִים עַזֵּי נֶפֶשׁ לֹא יָדְעוּ שָׂבְעָה, יִזְכּוּ לוֹמַר שִׁירָה. עָנָה לוֹ מַלְאָךְ מִן הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאָמַר לוֹ יְשַעְיָה עַד מָתַי אַתָּה מִתְעַנֶּה עַל זֶה הַדָּבָר שְׁבוּעָה הִיא מִלִּפְנֵי הַמָּקוֹם בָּרוּךְ הוּא מִיּוֹם שֶׁגִּילָּה סוֹדוֹ לַחֲבַקּוּק הַנָּבִיא לֹא גִלָּה דָבָר זֶה לְשׁוּם בְּרִיאָה בָּעוֹלָם. אֶלָּא בִּשְׁבִיל שֶׁתַּלְמִידוֹ שֶׁל אָדָם גָּדוֹל אַתָּה שְׁלָחוּנִי מִן הַשָּׁמַיִם לִזְדַקֵּק אֵלֶיךָ לְהַגִיד לְךָ בַּמֶה זָכוּ הַכְּלָבִים לוֹמַר שִׁירָה. לְפִי שֶׁכָּתוּב בָּהֶם (שמות יא:ז) וּלְכֹל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לֹא יֶחֱרַץ כֶּלֶב לְשׁוֹנוֹ. וְלֹא עוֹד אֶלָּא שֶׁזָכוּ לְעַבֵּד עוֹרוֹת מִצּוֹאָתָם שֶׁכּוֹתְבִים בָּהֶם תְּפִילִּין וּמְזוּזוֹת וְסִפְרֵי תּוֹרָה. עַל כֵּן זָכוּ לוֹמַר שׁירָה. וּלְעִנְיַן הַשְׁאֵלָה שֶּׁשָּׁאַלתָּ חֲזוֹר לַאֲחֹרֶיךָ וְאַל תּוֹסִיף בַּדָּבָר הַזֶּה עוֹד, כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב (משלי כא:כג) שׁוֹמֵר פִּיו וּלְשׁוֹנוֹ שׁוֹמֵר מִצָּרוֹת נַפְשׁוֹ.
[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'[104]Isaiah 56:11 — 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 blessed Holy One; 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 Yisra’el'[105]Exodus 11:7. Furthermore, they merited that hides are tanned with their excrement, on which Tefillin, Mezuzot, 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.’”[106]Proverbs 21:23

בָּרוּךְ יהוה לְעוֹלָם אָמֵן וְאָמֵן׃
בָּרוּךְ יהוה מְצִיוֹן שׁוֹכֵן יְרוּשָלָיִם הַלְלוּיָהּ׃
בָּרוּךְ יהוה אֱלֹהִים אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל עֹשֵׂה נִפְלָאוֹת לְבַדּוֹ׃
וּבָרוּךְ שֵׁם כְּבוֹדוֹ לְעוֹלָם וְיִמָּלֵא כְבוֹדוֹ 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, elo’ah of Yisra’el, worker of wonders alone.
And blessed is the Name of his kavod, and his kavod should fill the entire land, Amen and Amen.

This edition of Perek Shira follows the identification and 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). Rabbi Natan 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.

This edition of Perek Shira was published in Siddur Livnat HaSapir L’Kabbalat Shabbat (Aharon Varady, Dimus Parrhesia Press, 2017). For a critical text, please consult the edition prepared by Malachi Beit-Arie (1967).

Source

Notes   [ + ]

1. Facsimile van Oriental Ms. 12.983 v.d. British Library. Genummerd exemplaar 253 van de 550
2. 1 Kings 5:12
3. Proverbs 25:21-22
4. Psalms 19:2
5. Psalms 24:1 partial
6. Isaiah 24:16 partial
7, 25. Song of Songs 4:16
8. Psalms 107:9
9. Isaiah 35:1
10. Proverbs 3:19
11. Jeremiah 51:16
12. Psalms 93:4
13. Psalms 98:8
14. Psalms 87:7
15. Psalms 19:3
16. Psalms 92:3
17. Ḥabakuk 3:11
18. Psalms 104:19
19. Nehemiah 9:6
20. Psalms 18:12
21. Job 37:11
22. Isaiah 43:6
23. Psalms 135:7 partial
24. Hoshea 14:6
26. Psalms 68:10
27. 1 Chronicles 16:33
28. Isaiah 65:8
29. Proverbs 27:18 partial
30. Song of Songs 4:3 partial
31. Psalms 92:13
32. Song of Songs 2:3
33. Psalms 130:1
34. Psalms 102:1
35. Psalms 65:14
36. Psalms 65:11
37, 96. Psalms 104:31
38. quoted in Zohar 2, 195b (Vayakhel)
39. Psalms 24:6-8
40. Psalms 24:9-10
41. Genesis 49:18
42. Proverbs 6:9
43. Proverbs 20:13
44. Psalms 119:126
45. Psalms 136:25
46. Isaiah 38:14
47. Talmud, Eruvin 18b 44-45
48. Psalms 59:6
49. Psalms 33:2
50. Psalms 84:4
51. Psalms 30:13
52. Psalms 121:2
53. Psalms 97:11
54. Isaiah 1:40
55. Isaiah 40:2
56. Job 38:41 partial
57. Isaiah 61:9
58. Psalms 105:1-2
59. Isaiah 40:3
60. Jeremiah 17:5 partial
61. Jeremiah 17:7 partial
62. Isaiah 26:4
63. Zechariah 10:8
64. Psalms 121:1
65. Isaiah 25:1
66. Psalms 150:5
67. Isaiah 40:6
68. Isaiah 40:8
69. Isaiah 57:19
70. Psalms 148:7
71. Psalms 136:1
72. Psalms 29:3
73. Mishna Yoma 3:8, Pesachim 56a, Bereishit Rabba 98:3, Midrash Tanḥuma 3:7, et al
74. Exodus 15:11
75. Psalms 81 :2
76. Psalms 125:4
77. Psalms 128:2
78. Jeremiah 25:30 partial
79. Psalms 123:2
80. Psalms 138:4
81. 1 Chronicles 29:11
82. Exodus 15:1
83. Talmud, Berachos 48b
84. Psalms 59:17
85. Psalms 92:6
86. Isaiah 42:13
87. Isaiah 42:11-12
88. Exodus 22:8
89. Jeremiah 22:13
90. Psalms 33:1
91. Obadiah 1:4
92. Psalms 30:2
93. Psalms 18:38
94. Adapted from Nehemiah 9:33
95. Psalms 149:2
97. Psalms 128:3
98. Psalms 145:14
99. Psalms 145:9
100. Psalms 58:9
101. Proverbs 6:6
102. Psalms 150:6
103. Psalms 95:6
104. Isaiah 56:11
105. Exodus 11:7
106. Proverbs 21:23

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

  • That is SO awesome. Thank you for brightening our Vernal Equinox transition! — Rabbi Karpov (USA)

  • Great work!

    Found a typo:

    The Bee-Eater is saying: “I will whistle to them and gather them, for I have redeemed them, and they shall increase as they HARE before increased.”

  • chaya rifka peltz

    rabbi yeshiah was greatly puzzled as to why the dogs are honored to be included in perek shirah; the answer is indicated very clearly in chumash. the thing that is puzzling to me is why the snake is honored; the original cause of all our suffering? thank you in advance for your input.

    • Now there are snakes and there is the character in Bereishit, perek bet, referred to as the Naḥash. (Naḥash like beings also appear in the stories of other peoples — the most similar in my reading are the Nagas in ancient Persian and Indian mythology.) The question of what or who the Naḥash represents is a question of ancient interest and varied explanation. There is certainly cause to question what exactly was “that cause” of the first transgression. Was it the keen desire of human beings to know more than they were ready to know? Was it their naïvité and innocence that led them to yield to the urging of Naḥash despite the warning of Hashem? Was it their unfamiliarity with the experience of transgression itself? I am unconvinced that the transgression of consuming the fruit of knowledge was the “original cause of all of our suffering” even so. Certainly according to Bereishit there were multiple causes of suffering, and this was but the first. But I do think it is an error to heap upon it the cause of all of our suffering. There is so much suffering due to the predation invited into Nature itself by the Dor Hamabul (the generation of the Flood). The folklorist, Raphael Patai, notes that far from being conceived as creatures of harm, snakes are shown in other places in the Torah to be creatures worthy of reverence. The neḥushtan (a/k/a the copper serpent, Numbers 21:4-9) is only one example. Conceptions of the snake as being representatives of wickedness, etc., seem to be a current that is exclusive to strands of the Christological imagination, rather than the Jewish one.

  • Hi Aharon,

    We’ve added Perek Shirah translation to Sefaria:
    https://www.sefaria.org/Perek_Shirah
    Thanks for the wonderful resource!

    I hope it is properly attributed:

    Perek Shirah, translation and adaptation by Aharon N. Varady and Rabbi Natan Slifkin
    Unknown Author(s), Aharon N. Varady and Rabbi Natan Slifkin. Copied on 10-11-2018. ב׳ מרחשון ה׳תשע״ח.
    opensiddur.org•CC-BY-SA

    (the Hebrew preexisted on Sefaria, but I made slight changes in alignment, and added the concluding paragraph. Please note below the following typos in concluding paragraph:
    הִתְעַגָּה = הִתְעַנָּה
    בְּנֵי = בְּנִי )

  • […] about man and animal in the Kabbalah, in Hasidic lore, and a book (which both address) called the “Chapter of Song.”   Although there are many disputes over the origins of the Chapter of Song, there is agreement on […]

  • […] 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.”88 […]

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