10 But none says, “Where is my God, my Maker, Who gives strength in the night;
v’-LO a-MAR a-YAY e-LO-ah o-SAI no-TAYN z’-mee-ROT ba-LAI-lah
י וְלֹא־אָמַר אַיֵּה אֱלוֹהַּ עֹשָׂי נֹתֵן זְמִרוֹת בַּלָּיְלָה׃
35:10 Who gives strength in the night
The Hebrew word for ‘strength’ in this verse is zemirot (זמירות). This word generally means ‘songs’, but its root (ז-מ-ר) also has another meaning: To prune a tree and remove its extraneous branches. The connection between these words is not initially obvious, but as the “mother of all languages,” Hebrew words often get to the very essence of the object they are describing. A tree thrives when its heavy branches and extraneous foliage are clipped, so that it can most effectively apply its nutritional resources. Though it may seem that cutting a tree weakens it, this process actually strengthens it. Similarly, music is not merely a collection of randomly collected notes. To be left with a beautiful song, one must “prune” extraneous sounds. This same principle can be applied to our lives; in order to properly strengthen ourselves and transform our entire existence into holy song, we must remove the burdensome elements of our character.