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Psalms 122

1A song of ascents. Of David. I rejoiced when they said to me, “We are going to the House of Hashem.”

אשִׁיר הַמַּעֲלוֹת לְדָוִד שָׂמַחְתִּי בְּאֹמְרִים לִי בֵּית יְהֹוָה נֵלֵךְ׃

2Our feet stood inside your gates, O Yerushalayim,

בעֹמְדוֹת הָיוּ רַגְלֵינוּ בִּשְׁעָרַיִךְ יְרוּשָׁלָ ִם׃

3Yerushalayim built up, a city knit together,

גיְרוּשָׁלַ ִם הַבְּנוּיָה כְּעִיר שֶׁחֻבְּרָה־לָּהּ יַחְדָּו׃

4to which tribes would make pilgrimage, the tribes of Hashem, —as was enjoined upon Yisrael— to praise the name of Hashem.

דשֶׁשָּׁם עָלוּ שְׁבָטִים שִׁבְטֵי־יָהּ עֵדוּת לְיִשְׂרָאֵל לְהֹדוֹת לְשֵׁם יְהֹוָה׃

5There the thrones of judgment stood, thrones of the house of David.

הכִּי שָׁמָּה יָשְׁבוּ כִסְאוֹת לְמִשְׁפָּט כִּסְאוֹת לְבֵית דָּוִיד׃

6Pray for the well-being of Yerushalayim; “May those who love you be at peace.

sha-a-LU sh'-LOM y'-ru-sha-LA-im yish-LA-yu o-ha-VA-yikh

ושַׁאֲלוּ שְׁלוֹם יְרוּשָׁלָ ִם יִשְׁלָיוּ אֹהֲבָיִךְ׃

The majestic walls of the Old City of Yerushalayim.

 122:6   Pray for the well-being of Yerushalayim

This psalm starts with the words sha’alu sh’lom Yerushalayim, ‘Pray for the well-being of Yerushalayim.’ Shalom (שלום), translated here as ‘well-being,’ is the first Hebrew word many people learn. It actually has three meanings: ‘hello,’ ‘goodbye’ and ‘peace.’ It is the word with which friends greet one another, but shalom is more than a greeting; it is also a blessing. Peace is the most important gift we can ask from Hashem, on an individual level, as families, and between nations. It is therefore of utmost significance that the world’s holiest city, Yerushalayim (ירושלים), has the word shalom at its core, because it is meant to be the source of all peace on earth. King David exhorts “Pray for the well-being of Yerushalayim,” for when Yerushalayim is confronted with conflict, the whole world suffers. Conversely, though, when Yerushalayim is at peace, the entire world enjoys serenity.

7May there be well-being within your ramparts, peace in your citadels.”

זיְהִי־שָׁלוֹם בְּחֵילֵךְ שַׁלְוָה בְּאַרְמְנוֹתָיִךְ׃

8For the sake of my kin and friends, I pray for your well-being;

חלְמַעַן אַחַי וְרֵעָי אֲדַבְּרָה־נָּא שָׁלוֹם בָּךְ׃

9for the sake of the house of Hashem our God, I seek your good.

טלְמַעַן בֵּית־יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ אֲבַקְשָׁה טוֹב לָךְ׃