Psalms 120:1
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1  A song of ascents. In my distress I called to Hashem and He answered me.

SHEER ha-ma-a-LOT el a-do-NAI ba-tza-RA-tah LEE ka-RA-tee va-ya-a-NAY-nee

א  שִׁיר הַמַּעֲלוֹת אֶל־יְהֹוָה בַּצָּרָתָה לִּי קָרָאתִי וַיַּעֲנֵנִי׃

 120:1   A song of ascents

What is the meaning the Hebrew word maalot (מעלות), translated here as ‘ascents,’ which appears in the opening phrases of the next fifteen psalms? According to Rashi, it is a reference to the fifteen steps in the Beit Hamikdash upon which the Leviim stood while reciting these fifteen psalms. Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch explains the ascent in a spiritual way. He understands it to mean that from our low spiritual depths, we call, pray, and sing to Hashem to lift us up, or to give us the ability to ascend to the greatest heights. According to this interpretation, one can see a clear reflection of this in the beginning of Psalm 130: “Out of the depths I call You, Hashem.” Other commentators suggest that these Tehillim were sung by those who returned to Eretz Yisrael from the Babylonian exile in the times of Ezra, upon their ascent to the Holy Land, as reflected in Psalm 126:1 “A Song of Ascents. when Hashem restores the fortunes of Tzion…” Travelling to the Land of Israel is always considered an ascent, as the verse in Ezra 7:9 says: “On the first day of the first month, the journey up from Babylon was started.” Even today, moving to Israel is referred to as making aliyah, i.e, ‘ascending’ to live in the Land of Israel.

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Psalms 120
Psalms 121

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  • 120:1 A Song of Ascents

    In this psalm we are being told of 15 Temple steps upon which the Levites stood while reciting these 15 psalms.We are being taught that from our lower spiritual understandings, we call upon God through prayers which are our songs and praises to God. We are asking him to lift us us. reassure us. To give us the ability through prayer to raise us to better spiritual heights. Only through the Love of God.

    An example is given from psalm 130: “From the depths I call out to you O God” From the depths of my soul, Carl's soul I call to you my Lord thy God. I need you in every way to guide me, fill me, develop me into the child of yours you want and need me to be so that I can inherit from you as a child of God I so dearly want to be. I Carl call out to you my Lord thy God. This is so personal to me and I so understand this in the very core of me.

    We are also told that perhaps this was also the song song by those that returned from the Babylonian exile .Even today when those who were once in exile from Israel, from the Diaspora. Now to return to Israel after the great call to return home made by Israels Prime Minister. The song is being sung by those ascending to live in the Land of Israel for the first time. However in essence returning home for the second and finale time. Amen, Carl

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Psalms 120:1

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