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Chapter 87

Translation and Transliteration of 

1Of the Korahites. A psalm. A song. His foundation is on the holy mountains.

li-v'-NAY ko-RACH miz-MOR shir, ye-su-DA-to b'-har-rei-ko-DAYSH

אלִבְנֵי־קֹ֭רַח מִזְמ֣וֹר שִׁ֑יר יְ֝סוּדָת֗וֹ בְּהַרְרֵי־קֹֽדֶשׁ׃

2Hashem loves the gates of Tzion, more than all the dwellings of Yaakov.

o-HAYV a-do-NAI sha-a-RAY tzi-YON mi-KOL mish-k'-NOT ya-a-KOV

באֹהֵ֣ב יְ֭הֹוָה שַׁעֲרֵ֣י צִיּ֑וֹן מִ֝כֹּ֗ל מִשְׁכְּנ֥וֹת יַעֲקֹֽב׃

 87:2   The gates of Tzion

Zion Gate

This short psalm praises Hashem’s connection to Tzion. In order to express God’s love for Yerushalayim, the psalmist writes: “Hashem loves the gates of Tzion, more than all the dwellings of Yaakov.” The wall currently surrounding Jerusalem’s Old City, built in 1538 by the Ottoman sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, has several gates around its perimeter, each of which is known by a different name. The gate at the southwestern corner of the wall is called “Zion Gate,” or Shaar Tzion (שער ציון) in Hebrew, based on this verse. Thus, it has the oldest biblical name of any of the gates. However, the Arabic name for this gate is David’s Gate, referring to the traditional location of David’s tomb. The Zion Gate is also quite significant in modern Israeli history; it was through this gate that the Palmach Brigade of the Israeli army broke into the Old City during the 1948 War of Independence, releasing the Jewish quarter from its isolation. The Jordanians, however, re-conquered the Old City shortly afterwards, and Jews were forced to leave the walls of Jerusalem for the next nineteen years. Only after it was recaptured during the 1967 Six Day War were Jews again able to enter the Old City of Yerushalayim.

3Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of Hashem. Selah.

niKH-ba-DOT m'-du-BAR bakh, ir ha-e-lo-HIM, se-LAH.

גנִ֭כְבָּדוֹת מְדֻבָּ֣ר בָּ֑ךְ עִ֖יר הָאֱלֹהִ֣ים סֶֽלָה׃

4I mention Rahab and Babylon among those who acknowledge Me; Philistia, and Tyre, and Cush—each was born there.

az-KIR RA-hav u-va-VEL l'-yo-d'-AY hi-NEH fe-LE-shet v'-TZOR im-KUSH zeh yu-LAD-sham

דאַזְכִּ֤יר ׀ רַ֥הַב וּבָבֶ֗ל לְֽיֹ֫דְעָ֥י הִנֵּ֤ה פְלֶ֣שֶׁת וְצֹ֣ר עִם־כּ֑וּשׁ זֶ֝֗ה יֻלַּד־שָֽׁם׃

5Indeed, it shall be said of Tzion, “Every man was born there.” He, the Most High, will preserve it.

ul-tzi-YON yay-a-MAR EESH v'-EESH yu-lad BAH v'-HU y'-kho-n'-NE-ha el-YON

הוּ֥לְצִיּ֨וֹן ׀ יֵאָמַ֗ר אִ֣ישׁ וְ֭אִישׁ יֻלַּד־בָּ֑הּ וְה֖וּא יְכוֹנְנֶ֣הָ עֶלְיֽוֹן׃

 Psalms 87:5 Indeed it shall be said of Tzion, “Every man was born there.”

S.Y. Agnon (1888-1970)

What does this verse mean when it says that “every man” will be considered to have been born in Tzion? Rabbi Meisha, quoted in the Talmud (Ketubot 75a), explains that it is not only those who are physically born in the Land of Israel who are considered her children. Rather, those who yearn for the Land of Israel and long to see it are also considered b’nei Tzion, ‘Children of Zion.’ This idea is reflected in the words of the famous Israeli writer and Nobel Prize laureate S.Y. Agnon, who said in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, “Through a historical catastrophe — the destruction of Jerusalem by the emperor of Rome — I was born in one of the cities in the diaspora. But I always deemed myself a child of Jerusalem, one who is in reality a native of Jerusalem.”

6Hashem will inscribe in the register of peoples that each was born there. Selah.

a-do-NAI yis-POHR b'-k'-TOV a-MEEM, zeh yu-LAD-sham SE-lah

ויְֽהֹוָ֗ה יִ֭סְפֹּר בִּכְת֣וֹב עַמִּ֑ים זֶ֖ה יֻלַּד־שָׁ֣ם סֶֽלָה׃

7Singers and dancers alike [will say]: “All my roots are in You.”

v'-sha-RIM k'-kho-l'-LEEM kol ma-a-YA-nai BAKH. (P)

זוְשָׁרִ֥ים כְּחֹלְלִ֑ים כׇּֽל־מַעְיָנַ֥י בָּֽךְ׃