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Chapter 1

Translation and Transliteration of 

1Happy is the man who has not followed the counsel of the wicked, or taken the path of sinners, or joined the company of the insolent;

ash-ray ha-EESH a-SHER LO ha-LAKH ba-a-TZAT r'-sha-EEM uv-DE-rekh KHA-ta-eem LO a-MAD uv-mo-SHAV lay-TZEEM LO ya-SHAV

אאַ֥שְֽׁרֵי הָאִ֗ישׁ אֲשֶׁ֤ר ׀ לֹ֥א הָלַךְ֮ בַּעֲצַ֢ת רְשָׁ֫עִ֥ים וּבְדֶ֣רֶךְ חַ֭טָּאִים לֹ֥א עָמָ֑ד וּבְמוֹשַׁ֥ב לֵ֝צִ֗ים לֹ֣א יָשָֽׁב׃

 1:1   Happy is the man who has not followed the counsel of the wicked

King David begins Sefer Tehillim, a collection of songs of praise for the Lord, by focusing on man. His first action is to walk, in Hebrew halakh (הלך), and immediately upon setting out on his journey he is forced to decide which path he should take: righteous or wicked, fruitful or barren. This ‘walking’ reminds us of God’s first words to Avraham directing him to travel to the Land of Israel, lech lecha (לך לך), ‘Go forth’ (Genesis 12:1), and more significantly, kum hithalekh ba’aretz (קום התהלך בארץ), ‘Arise, walk about the land’ (Genesis 13:17). David may have been reminding us that while praising God transcends time and place, Sefer Tehillim was written in the Land of Israel, the ancient walking grounds of our forefathers.

2rather, the teaching of Hashem is his delight, and he studies that teaching day and night.

KEE im b’-to-RAT a-do-NAI khef-TZO uv-to-ra-TO yeh-GEH yo-MAM va-LAI-lah

בכִּ֤י אִ֥ם בְּתוֹרַ֥ת יְהֹוָ֗ה חֶ֫פְצ֥וֹ וּֽבְתוֹרָת֥וֹ יֶהְגֶּ֗ה יוֹמָ֥ם וָלָֽיְלָה׃

3He is like a tree planted beside streams of water, which yields its fruit in season, whose foliage never fades, and whatever it produces thrives.

v’-ha-YAH k’-AYTZ sha-TUL al pal-GAY MA-yim a-SHER pir-YO yi-TAYN b’-i-TO v’-a-LAY-hu lo yi-BOL v’-KHOL a-sher ya-a-SEH yatz-LEE-akh

גוְֽהָיָ֗ה כְּעֵץ֮ שָׁת֢וּל עַֽל־פַּלְגֵ֫י־מָ֥יִם אֲשֶׁ֤ר פִּרְי֨וֹ ׀ יִתֵּ֬ן בְּעִתּ֗וֹ וְעָלֵ֥הוּ לֹֽא־יִבּ֑וֹל וְכֹ֖ל אֲשֶׁר־יַעֲשֶׂ֣ה יַצְלִֽיחַ׃

4Not so the wicked; rather, they are like chaff that wind blows away.

lo KHAYN ha-r’-sha-EEM KEE im ka-MOTZ a-sher ti-d’-FE-nu RU-akh

דלֹא־כֵ֥ן הָרְשָׁעִ֑ים כִּ֥י אִם־כַּ֝מֹּ֗ץ אֲֽשֶׁר־תִּדְּפֶ֥נּוּ רֽוּחַ׃

5Therefore the wicked will not survive judgment, nor will sinners, in the assembly of the righteous.

al KAYN lo ya-KU-mu r’-sha-EEM ba-mish-PAT v’-kha-ta-EEM ba-a-DAT tza-dee-KEEM

העַל־כֵּ֤ן ׀ לֹא־יָקֻ֣מוּ רְ֭שָׁעִים בַּמִּשְׁפָּ֑ט וְ֝חַטָּאִ֗ים בַּעֲדַ֥ת צַדִּיקִֽים׃

6For Hashem cherishes the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked is doomed.

kee yo-DAY-a a-do-NAI DE-rekh tza-dee-KEEM v’-DE-rekh r’-sha-EEM to-VAYD

וכִּֽי־יוֹדֵ֣עַ יְ֭הֹוָה דֶּ֣רֶךְ צַדִּיקִ֑ים וְדֶ֖רֶךְ רְשָׁעִ֣ים תֹּאבֵֽד׃