Song of Ascents - Psalm 120:1

January 31, 2019

 

Song of Ascents

In my distress I called to Hashem and He answered me.
Psalms 120:1 (The Israel Bible™)

שִׁיר הַמַּעֲלוֹת אֶל־יְהֹוָה בַּצָּרָתָה לִּי קָרָאתִי וַיַּעֲנֵנִי

Shir hama’a lot el Adonai: betzaratah li karati vaya’aneyni

Ascending to the greatest heights

 

What is the meaning the Hebrew word maalot (מעלות), translated here as ‘ascents,’ which appears in the opening phrases of the next fifteen psalms? According to Rashi, it is a reference to the fifteen steps in the Beit Hamikdash upon which the Leviim stood while reciting these fifteen psalms. Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch explains the ascent in a spiritual way.

He understands it to mean that from our low spiritual depths, we call, pray, and sing to Hashem to lift us up, or to give us the ability to ascend to the greatest heights.

According to this interpretation, one can see a clear reflection of this in the beginning of Psalm 130: “Out of the depths I call You, Hashem.” Other commentators suggest that these Tehillim were sung by those who returned to Eretz Yisrael from the Babylonian exile in the times of Ezra, upon their ascent to the Holy Land, as reflected in Psalm 126:1 “A Song of Ascents. when Hashem restores the fortunes of Tzion…” Travelling to the Land of Israel is always considered an ascent, as the verse in Ezra 7:9 says: “On the first day of the first month, the journey up from Babylon was started.” Even today, moving to Israel is referred to as making aliyah, i.e, ‘ascending’ to live in the Land of Israel.

And, of course, when you worship HaShem, you do so by making Aliyah – by ascending – and this is only possible by the Ru’ach – the Spirit of God!

Please reload

Address

Hycastle

58 Loop Street,

cnr Loop & Castle

Cape Town

 

Google Places

Contact Us

+27 (0)82 339 9944

beitariel@beitariel.co.za

  • Facebook Black Round
  • Twitter Black Round
  • YouTube Black Round
  • SoundCloud Black Round

Make a Donation

ABSA, Sea Point Branch
Acc no. 4049515399