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Psalms 95

1Come, let us sing joyously to Hashem, raise a shout for our rock and deliverer;

אלְכוּ נְרַנְּנָה לַיהֹוָה נָרִיעָה לְצוּר יִשְׁעֵנוּ׃

2let us come into His presence with praise; let us raise a shout for Him in song!

n'-ka-d'-MA fa-NAV b'-to-DAH biz-mi-ROT na-REE-a LO

בנְקַדְּמָה פָנָיו בְּתוֹדָה בִּזְמִרוֹת נָרִיעַ לוֹ׃

 95:2   Let us raise a shout for Him in song

The Hebrew word for ‘song’ in the verse is zemirot, the plural form of zemer (זמר). While song is the most common definition of this word, the root ז-מ-ר has another meaning as well: to ‘prune’ a plant by removing extraneous branches. The connection between these meanings is not initially obvious, but since Hebrew words get to an object’s essence, a closer look reveals the correlation between them. A tree thrives when its heavy branches and extraneous foliage are clipped, so that it can channel its nutritional resources to its most important elements. Similarly, music is not the collection of randomly collected notes. To create a beautiful song, one must ‘prune’ extraneous sounds. This same principle can be applied to our own lives as well. In order to properly transform our entire lives into a holy song, we must remove the burdensome elements of our character.

3For Hashem is a great Hashem, the great king of all divine beings.

גכִּי אֵל גָּדוֹל יְהֹוָה וּמֶלֶךְ גָּדוֹל עַל־כָּל־אֱלֹהִים׃

4In His hand are the depths of the earth; the peaks of the mountains are His.

דאֲשֶׁר בְּיָדוֹ מֶחְקְרֵי־אָרֶץ וְתוֹעֲפוֹת הָרִים לוֹ׃

5His is the sea, He made it; and the land, which His hands fashioned.

האֲשֶׁר־לוֹ הַיָּם וְהוּא עָשָׂהוּ וְיַבֶּשֶׁת יָדָיו יָצָרוּ׃

6Come, let us bow down and kneel, bend the knee before Hashem our maker,

ובֹּאוּ נִשְׁתַּחֲוֶה וְנִכְרָעָה נִבְרְכָה לִפְנֵי־יְהֹוָה עֹשֵׂנוּ׃

7for He is our God, and we are the people He tends, the flock in His care. O, if you would but heed His charge this day:

זכִּי הוּא אֱלֹהֵינוּ וַאֲנַחְנוּ עַם מַרְעִיתוֹ וְצֹאן יָדוֹ הַיּוֹם אִם־בְּקֹלוֹ תִשְׁמָעוּ׃

8Do not be stubborn as at Meribah, as on the day of Massah, in the wilderness,

חאַל־תַּקְשׁוּ לְבַבְכֶם כִּמְרִיבָה כְּיוֹם מַסָּה בַּמִּדְבָּר׃

9when your fathers put Me to the test, tried Me, though they had seen My deeds.

טאֲשֶׁר נִסּוּנִי אֲבוֹתֵיכֶם בְּחָנוּנִי גַּם־רָאוּ פָעֳלִי׃

10Forty years I was provoked by that generation; I thought, “They are a senseless people; they would not know My ways.”

יאַרְבָּעִים שָׁנָה אָקוּט בְּדוֹר וָאֹמַר עַם תֹּעֵי לֵבָב הֵם וְהֵם לֹא־יָדְעוּ דְרָכָי׃

11Concerning them I swore in anger, “They shall never come to My resting-place!”

יאאֲשֶׁר־נִשְׁבַּעְתִּי בְאַפִּי אִם־יְבֹאוּן אֶל־מְנוּחָתִי׃