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Chapter 126

Translation and Transliteration of 

1A song of ascents. When Hashem restores the fortunes of Tzion —we see it as in a dream—

SHEER ha-ma-a-LOT b'-SHUV a-do-NAI et shee-VAT tzi-YON ha-YEE-nu k'-kho-l'-MEEM

אשִׁ֗יר הַֽמַּ֫עֲל֥וֹת בְּשׁ֣וּב יְ֭הֹוָה אֶת־שִׁיבַ֣ת צִיּ֑וֹן הָ֝יִ֗ינוּ כְּחֹלְמִֽים׃

 126:1   When Hashem restores the fortunes of Tzion

Psalm 126 refers to Tzion (ציון), one of the Bible’s names for Yerushalayim, which is also used in a more general sense for the entire Land of Israel. This name is closely related to the word for ‘special’ and ‘distinctive,’ m’tzuyan (מצוין). This teaches that God’s holy city is more than a location. According to former British Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, “Tzion is not just a place. It is a way of life. Jews are called to moral excellence, to be different…” God created a special place on earth which would be the ideal incubator for spiritual growth. The word Tzion, therefore, describes not only where we live, but how we must live. Psalm 126 is recited by Jews upon completing a festive meal, connecting it with the eternal longing for physical redemption and spiritual greatness in Zion. When Hashem finally returns His people to Israel, they will be “as in a dream,” as the actual redemption and height­ened spirituality will be even greater than imagined, beyond our wildest dreams.

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks (b. 1948)

Fireworks go off over the Old City of Jerusalem on Israel’s birthday.

2our mouths shall be filled with laughter, our tongues, with songs of joy. Then shall they say among the nations, “Hashem has done great things for them!”

az yi-ma-LE se-KHOK pee-NU u-l'-sho-NE-nu ri-NAH az yo-M'-RU va-go-YIM hi-g'-DEEL a-do-NAI la-a-SOT im e-LEH

באָ֤ז יִמָּלֵ֪א שְׂח֡וֹק פִּינוּ֮ וּלְשׁוֹנֵ֢נוּ רִ֫נָּ֥ה אָ֭ז יֹאמְר֣וּ בַגּוֹיִ֑ם הִגְדִּ֥יל יְ֝הֹוָ֗ה לַעֲשׂ֥וֹת עִם־אֵֽלֶּה׃

3Hashem will do great things for us and we shall rejoice.

hi-G'-DIL a-do-NAI la-a-SOT i-MA-nu ha-YI-nu se-ME-khim

גהִגְדִּ֣יל יְ֭הֹוָה לַעֲשׂ֥וֹת עִמָּ֗נוּ הָיִ֥ינוּ שְׂמֵחִֽים׃

4Restore our fortunes, Hashem, like watercourses in the Negev.

SHU-vah a-do-NAI et SHE-vee-TE-nu ka-a-fee-KEEM ba-NE-gev

דשׁוּבָ֣ה יְ֭הֹוָה אֶת־[שְׁבִיתֵ֑נוּ] (שבותנו) כַּאֲפִיקִ֥ים בַּנֶּֽגֶב׃

5They who sow in tears shall reap with songs of joy.

ha-ZO-re-im b'-dim-AH b'-ri-NAH yik-TZO-ru

ההַזֹּרְעִ֥ים בְּדִמְעָ֗ה בְּרִנָּ֥ה יִקְצֹֽרוּ׃

6Though he goes along weeping, carrying the seed-bag, he shall come back with songs of joy, carrying his sheaves.

ha-LOKH ye-LEKH u-va-KHO no-SE me-SHEKH ha-ZA-ra bo-ya-VO be-ri-NA no-SE a-lu-MO-tav.

והָ֘ל֤וֹךְ יֵלֵ֨ךְ ׀ וּבָכֹה֮ נֹשֵׂ֢א מֶשֶׁךְ־הַ֫זָּ֥רַע בֹּא־יָבֹ֥א בְרִנָּ֑ה נֹ֝שֵׂ֗א אֲלֻמֹּתָֽיו׃