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Chapter 123

Translation and Transliteration of 

1A song of ascents. To You, enthroned in heaven, I turn my eyes.

SHIR ha-ma-a-LOT, E-le-KHA na-SA-tee et-EY-nai, ha-YO-she-VEE ba-sha-MA-yim.

אשִׁ֗יר הַֽמַּ֫עֲל֥וֹת אֵ֭לֶיךָ נָשָׂ֣אתִי אֶת־עֵינַ֑י הַ֝יֹּשְׁבִ֗י בַּשָּׁמָֽיִם׃

2As the eyes of slaves follow their master's hand, as the eyes of a slave-girl follow the hand of her mistress, so our eyes are toward Hashem our God, awaiting His favor.

hi-NEH k'-ay-NAY a-va-DEEM el yad a-do-NAY-hem k'-ay-NAY shif-KHAH el yad g'-vir-TAH k'-AYN ay-NAY-nu el a-do-NAI e-lo-HAY-nu ad she-y'-kha-NE-nu

בהִנֵּ֨ה כְעֵינֵ֪י עֲבָדִ֡ים אֶל־יַ֤ד אֲֽדוֹנֵיהֶ֗ם כְּעֵינֵ֣י שִׁפְחָה֮ אֶל־יַ֢ד גְּבִ֫רְתָּ֥הּ כֵּ֣ן עֵ֭ינֵינוּ אֶל־יְהֹוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֵ֑ינוּ עַ֝֗ד שֶׁיְּחׇנֵּֽנוּ׃

3Show us favor, Hashem, show us favor! We have had more than enough of contempt.

kha-NAY-nu a-do-NAI kha-NAY-nu kee RAV sa-VA-nu VUZ

גחׇנֵּ֣נוּ יְהֹוָ֣ה חׇנֵּ֑נוּ כִּי־רַ֝֗ב שָׂבַ֥עְנוּ בֽוּז׃

 123:3   We have had more than enough of contempt

Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik (1903-1993)

Rabbi Yosef Albo, a fifteenth century Spanish Jewish scholar, understands this psalm as a call to Hashem for mercy from the long, and difficult exile. The psalmist speaks of the shame he undergoes living in the protracted exile. In one of his most famous writings about the Land of Israel, called “Six Knocks,” Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, leader of American Modern Orthodoxy in the twentieth century, speaks of the miraculous nature of the re-birth of the Jewish people in our times, with the State of Israel as the modern Jewish homeland. Rabbi Soloveitchik notes that finally, after thousands of years of exile, Jewish blood is no longer cheap, as a Jew can always find “a secure refuge in the land of his ancestors.” The shame of being defenseless and landless is too much for the psalmist to handle, so he cries out to God for salvation. In modern times, we have begun to experience that salvation.

4Long enough have we endured the scorn of the complacent, the contempt of th haughty.

ra-BAT sa-VE-a-LAH NA-f'-SHE-nu ha-LA-ag ha-sha-a-NA-nim ha-BOOZ (li-g'-AY-yo-NEEM) [lig-EY yo-NEEM]

דרַבַּת֮ שָֽׂבְעָה־לָּ֢הּ נַ֫פְשֵׁ֥נוּ הַלַּ֥עַג הַשַּֽׁאֲנַנִּ֑ים הַ֝בּ֗וּז (לגאיונים) [לִגְאֵ֥י יוֹנִֽים]׃