1 A Song of Ascents. Unto Thee I lift up mine eyes, O Thou that art enthroned in the heavens.
א שִׁיר הַמַּעֲלוֹת אֵלֶיךָ נָשָׂאתִי אֶת עֵינַי הַיֹּשְׁבִי בַּשָּׁמָיִם.
2 Behold, as the eyes of servants unto the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes look unto Hashem our God, until He be gracious unto us.
ב הִנֵּה כְעֵינֵי עֲבָדִים אֶל יַד אֲדוֹנֵיהֶם כְּעֵינֵי שִׁפְחָה אֶל יַד גְּבִרְתָּהּ כֵּן עֵינֵינוּ אֶל יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ עַד שֶׁיְּחָנֵּנוּ.
3 Be gracious unto us, O Hashem, be gracious unto us; for we are full sated with contempt.
kha-NAY-nu a-do-NAI kha-NAY-nu kee rav sa-VA-nu vuz
ג חָנֵּנוּ יְהוָה חָנֵּנוּ כִּי רַב שָׂבַעְנוּ בוּז.
123:3 We are full sated with contempt
Rabbi Yosef Albo, a 15th century Spanish scholar, understands this psalm as a call to the Lord for mercy from the long, difficult exile. The psalmist speaks of the shame he undergoes living in the protracted exile. In one of his most famous writings on the Land of Israel, called ‘Six Knocks,’ Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik speaks of the miraculous nature of the re-birth of the modern State of Israel as the Jewish homeland. Rabbi Soloveitchik writes about how finally, after thousands of years of exile, Jewish blood is no longer cheap, and that a Jew can always find “a secure refuge in the land of his ancestors.” The shame of being defenseless, landless, and nation-less, is too much for the psalmist to handle and he cries out to God for salvation. In modern times, we have begun to experience that salvation.
4 Our soul is full sated with the scorning of those that are at ease, and with the contempt of the proud oppressors.
ד רַבַּת שָׂבְעָה לָּהּ נַפְשֵׁנוּ הַלַּעַג הַשַּׁאֲנַנִּים הַבּוּז לגאיונים (לִגְאֵי יוֹנִים).