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תהלים ט״ז | Psalms 16, a mikhtam by David translated by Rabbi Zalman Schachter Shalomi


Source (Hebrew)Translation (English)
מִכְתָּ֥ם לְדָוִ֑ד
David’s imprinted song
שׇֽׁמְרֵ֥נִי אֵ֝֗ל
כִּֽי־חָסִ֥יתִי בָֽךְ׃
God! Keep me safe,
for I have taken cover in You.
אָמַ֣רְתְּ לַֽ֭יהֹוָה
אֲדֹנָ֣י אָ֑תָּה
I have said to YaH,
“You are my Lord;
although I am of little worth,
You are good to me—and kind.”
לִ֭קְדוֹשִׁים אֲשֶׁר־בָּאָ֣רֶץ הֵ֑מָּה
יִרְבּ֥וּ עַצְּבוֹתָם֮ אַחֵ֢ר מָ֫הָ֥רוּ
בַּל־אַסִּ֣יךְ נִסְכֵּיהֶ֣ם מִדָּ֑ם
וּֽבַל־אֶשָּׂ֥א אֶת־שְׁ֝מוֹתָ֗ם עַל־שְׂפָתָֽי׃
Some who are earthbound
think of the idols
as sacred and mighty,
falsely supposing that their desires
will be fulfilled by them.
Rushing after idols; their sorrows will increase.
I will not make libations of blood to them;
I will not put their names on my lips.
יְֽהֹוָ֗ה מְנָת־חֶלְקִ֥י וְכוֹסִ֑י
אַ֝תָּ֗ה תּוֹמִ֥יךְ גּוֹרָלִֽי׃
חֲבָלִ֣ים נָֽפְלוּ־לִ֭י בַּנְּעִמִ֑ים
אַף־נַ֝חֲלָ֗ת שָֽׁפְרָ֥ה עָלָֽי׃
אֲבָרֵ֗ךְ אֶת־יְ֭הֹוָה אֲשֶׁ֣ר יְעָצָ֑נִי
אַף־לֵ֝יל֗וֹת יִסְּר֥וּנִי כִלְיוֹתָֽי׃
שִׁוִּ֬יתִי יְהֹוָ֣ה לְנֶגְדִּ֣י תָמִ֑יד
כִּ֥י מִֽ֝ימִינִ֗י בַּל־אֶמּֽוֹט׃
YaH! You are my chosen portion and my cup;
You keep me in Your care.
Your Providence is pleasing to me;
What a good heritage is now mine.
I will bless You, YaH, for Your counsels to me,
how in dreams You give me wise guidance.
I place myself constantly in Your Presence;
I will not falter because You are at my side
לָכֵ֤ן ׀ שָׂמַ֣ח לִ֭בִּי
וַיָּ֣גֶל כְּבוֹדִ֑י
אַף־בְּ֝שָׂרִ֗י יִשְׁכֹּ֥ן לָבֶֽטַח׃
כִּ֤י ׀ לֹא־תַעֲזֹ֣ב נַפְשִׁ֣י לִשְׁא֑וֹל
לֹֽא־תִתֵּ֥ן חֲ֝סִידְךָ֗ לִרְא֥וֹת שָֽׁחַת׃
Therefore my heart is joyous,
my guts feel delight.
My body is serene,
for You will not forsake my soul to torment,
neither will You let down Your devotee.
תּֽוֹדִיעֵנִי֮ אֹ֤רַח חַ֫יִּ֥ים
שֹׂ֣בַע שְׂ֭מָחוֹת אֶת־פָּנֶ֑יךָ
נְעִמ֖וֹת בִּימִינְךָ֣ נֶֽצַח׃
Please! Make me know the path of life.
My complete happiness is in Your presence;
may I forever feel the pleasures of Your kindness.

Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi’s translation and reworking of Psalms 16 was first published in Psalms in a Translation for Praying (Alliance for Jewish Renewal, Philadelphia: 2014), p. 19.

Reb Zalman was, in 2009, an early advocate of the Open Siddur Project and generously shared his liturgical and prayer work with the project following his vision of a common “Database Davvenen.” I have set his translation opposite the Masoretic Hebrew text of the psalm according to the phrasing he provided. –Aharon Varady




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