(א) לִבְנֵי קֹרַח מִזְמוֹר שִׁיר יְסוּדָתוֹ בְּהַרְרֵי קֹדֶשׁ:
(1) A mizmor by the sons of Korach. It is a song, whose foundation is in the holy mountains [of Yerushayim].
NOTE: For a PDF of this mizmor, please click here. This will enable you to print out the entire text of the article. [Rev. 0]
Key Concepts of Mizmor 087 (Tzion and Its People)
This mizmor is a song of praise for Yerushalayim and its people. The city has earned the name Tzion which designates it as the source of Divine law for all mankind. In the first of its two parts, the mizmor identifies Yerushalayim by its holy mountains and by the special love that Hashem has expressed for this city. Because of that love He chose it as the dwelling place on earth for the Shechinah (the Divine spirit).
In the second part, the mizmor calls attention to the relationship of the city to its people. In effect every Jew in the world can be thought of as having been born there, because the spirit of the Torah which emanates from Yerushalayim is the driving force in the life of every Jew.
Exploring the Mizmor
PART 1. IN PRAISE OF TZION.
(א) לִבְנֵי קֹרַח מִזְמוֹר שִׁיר יְסוּדָתוֹ בְּהַרְרֵי קֹדֶשׁ: (ב) אֹהֵב ה’ שַׁעֲרֵי צִיּוֹן מִכֹּל מִשְׁכְּנוֹת יַעֲקֹב: (ג) נִכְבָּדוֹת מְדֻבָּר בָּךְ עִיר הָאֱלֹקִים סֶלָה:
(1) A mizmor by the sons of Korach. It is a song, whose foundation is in the holy mountains [of Yerushayim]. (2) Hashem loves the gates of Tzion [more] than all the dwellings of Yaakov. (3) Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of G-d, Selah.
PART 2. THE JEWS OF TZION.
(ד) אַזְכִּיר רַהַב וּבָבֶל לְיֹדְעָי הִנֵּה פְלֶשֶׁת וְצוֹר עִם כּוּשׁ זֶה יֻלַּד שָׁם: (ה) וּלֲצִיּוֹן יֵאָמַר אִישׁ וְאִישׁ יֻלַּד בָּהּ וְהוּא יְכוֹנְנֶהָ עֶלְיוֹן: (ו) ה’ יִסְפֹּר בִּכְתוֹב עַמִּים זֶה יֻלַּד שָׁם סֶלָה: (ז) וְשָׁרִים כְּחֹלְלִים כָּל מַעְיָנַי בָּךְ:
(4) I mention Rahav (Egypt) and Bavel to my friends. [They respond] “There is Pleshes and Tzur, with Cush. This one was born there.” (5) But of Tzion it can be said, “Every man was born there, and He, the Most High, maintains her thus.” (6) Hashem will count when He records nations, “This one was born there,” Selah. (7) And singers and dancers alike will respond, “All My wellsprings of the spirit are in You.”
Learning the Mizmor
PART 1. IN PRAISE OF TZION.
(א) לִבְנֵי קֹרַח מִזְמוֹר
שִׁיר יְסוּדָתוֹ בְּהַרְרֵי קֹדֶשׁ:
This is a mizmor composed by the sons of Korach — לִבְנֵי קֹרַח מִזְמוֹר . It is a song, whose foundation is in the holy mountains — שִׁיר יְסוּדָתוֹ בְּהַרְרֵי קֹדֶשׁ of Tzion. These are the mountains of Yerushalayim. They identify this city as the source of Divine law for all mankind and the permanent abode of the Divine presence on earth.
(ב) אֹהֵב ה‘ שַׁעֲרֵי צִיּוֹן
מִכֹּל מִשְׁכְּנוֹת יַעֲקֹב:
Hashem loves the gates of Tzion — אֹהֵב ה’ שַׁעֲרֵי צִיּוֹן more than all the other dwellings of Yaakov — מִכֹּל מִשְׁכְּנוֹת יַעֲקֹב . The gates of Tzion are the entryway through which all the members of the nation enter the place of spiritual unity. Without the spirit that is derived from Tzion, “Yisrael” is only “Ya’akov.”
(ג) נִכְבָּדוֹת מְדֻבָּר בָּךְ
עִיר הָאֱלֹהִים סֶלָה:
All over the world glorious things are spoken of you — נִכְבָּדוֹת מְדֻבָּר בָּךְ , O city of G-d, Selah — עִיר הָאֱלֹהִים סֶלָה . The praise of Tzion includes admiration for the middos (character traits) of its residents as well as that it is the city of G-d. Even after the destruction of the temple, the Divine presence never departed from Tzion completely. Furthermore it is the center of the inhabited earth and its most beneficial location.
PART 2. THE JEWS OF TZION.
(ד) אַזְכִּיר רַהַב וּבָבֶל לְיֹדְעָי
הִנֵּה פְלֶשֶׁת וְצוֹר עִם כּוּשׁ
זֶה יֻלַּד שָׁם:
People like to compare the strengths of great civilizations around the world. When I mention the good qualities of Jews living in Rahav (Egypt) and Bavel to my friends — אַזְכִּיר רַהַב וּבָבֶל לְיֹדְעָי , they confront me with praise of Jews from others places, saying: “There is Pleshes (Philistia) and Tzur (Phoenicia), with Cush (Africa) — הִנֵּה פְלֶשֶׁת וְצוֹר עִם כּוּשׁ .” Every one can name at least one worthy man who was born in one of these places, and on whose account his native city or country is praised, saying: “This one was born there — זֶה יֻלַּד שָׁם .”
(ה) וּלֲצִיּוֹן יֵאָמַר אִישׁ וְאִישׁ יֻלַּד בָּהּ
וְהוּא יְכוֹנְנֶהָ עֶלְיוֹן:
But of Tzion it can be said — וּלֲצִיּוֹן יֵאָמַר , “Every man of note was born there” — אִישׁ וְאִישׁ יֻלַּד בָּהּ . Tzion is the spiritual cradle of every great spirit that has ever lived. And the message of the Torah goes out from Tziyon to the world because He, the Most High, maintains her thus — וְהוּא יְכוֹנְנֶהָ עֶלְיוֹן .
(ו) ה’ יִסְפֹּר בִּכְתוֹב עַמִּים
זֶה יֻלַּד שָׁם סֶלָה: –
Hashem will count — ה’ יִסְפֹּר every worthy Jew, when He records the history of Jews among the nations — בִּכְתוֹב עַמִּים , and He will identify his place of birth as being in Tzion: “This one was born there,” Selah — זֶה יֻלַּד שָׁם סֶלָה .
(ז) וְשָׁרִים כְּחֹלְלִים כָּל מַעְיָנַי בָּךְ:
And Jews in every walk of life and every land, singers snd dancers alike — וְשָׁרִים כְּחֹלְלִים , will respond by saying, “All My wellsprings of the spirit are in You — כָּל מַעְיָנַי בָּךְ .
The primary sources used in the interpretation of the verses in this mizmor are listed below.
א -רש”י, רשר”ה
ב – רד”ק, רשר”ה
ג – רש”י, רד”ק, המאירי
ד- רש”י, רשר”ה
ה – רד”ק, רשר”ה
ו – רשר”ה,
ז – רשר”ה