(א) לְדָוִד בָּרֲכִי נַפְשִׁי אֶת ה’ וְכָל קְרָבַי אֶת שֵׁם קָדְשׁוֹ:
(1) Bless Hashem O my soul. Hashem, my G-d, You are uniquely great. You are clothed with glory and majesty.
NOTE: For a PDF of this mizmor, please click here for pages 1-5, then here for pages 6-10, and then here for the last five pages. This will enable you to print out the entire text of the article. [Rev. 1]
Key Concepts of Mizmor 104 (See the Light)
This mizmor is a song of deep appreciation for the wonderful world Hashem created. The song gives us a poetic tour of the things we take granted in everyday life. It encourages to stop and marvel at how each aspect of our world is in itself a miracle for which we need to be grateful.
David begins his song with the wonderful phenomenon of light, which came into being by the word of Hashem on the first day of Creation.
This mizmor is featured in our monthly tefilos on the day of Rosh Chodesh because it draws our attention to the moon, the heavenly body that sends us a monthly gift of brilliantly clear white light.
Exploring the Mizmor
PART 1. THE FOUNDATIONS OF THE WORLD. David introduces us to the creation of light, its first role being to illuminate the heavens. The broad canvas of the heavens then becomes the scenic framework for the creation of clouds and wind to deliver the water that is to become an essential blessing for life on earth. The flaming fire of lightning appears in the sky as a dramatic accompaniment to the wind and the clouds. It is at this point in the narrative of Creation that David introduces the earth, the stable platform upon which man will live.
We first become aware of the existence of the newly created earth in its initial state, as a platform upon which the oceans have been spread on the Third Day of Creation. Their waters are to prove essential to our terrestrial home that is soon to take shape.
The process of making water available to life on earth begins by restricting the oceans so that land may appear above the surface. It is only then that our gaze turns to the flow of waters as they stream down from the mountains and through the valleys. From there the flowing water joins the rivers emptying out into the oceans to complete the majestic cycle of life-giving water. But now the oceans have been placed under Divine restraint so that their salty water may not flow back into the shores from which they are being fed.
That grand cycle of water depends on the clouds drawing up the pure vapor from the oceans and bringing it down to the mountains and fertile valleys in the form of rain. It is the blessed rain which will ultimately provide fresh water to the thirsty creatures that are to live upon the land.
(א) בָּרֲכִי נַפְשִׁי אֶת־ה’ ה’ אֱלֹקַי גָּדַלְתָּ מְּאֹד הוֹד וְהָדָר לָבָשְׁתָּ: (ב) עֹטֶה־אוֹר כַּשַּׂלְמָה נוֹטֶה שָׁמַיִם כַּיְרִיעָה:(ג) הַמְקָרֶה בַמַּיִם עֲלִיּוֹתָיו הַשָּׂם־עָבִים רְכוּבוֹ הַמְהַלֵּךְ עַל־כַּנְפֵי־רוּחַ: (ד) עֹשֶׂה מַלְאָכָיו רוּחוֹת מְשָׁרְתָיו אֵשׁ לֹהֵט: (ה) יָסַד־אֶרֶץ עַל־מְכוֹנֶיהָ בַּל־תִּמּוֹט עוֹלָם וָעֶד: (ו) תְּהוֹם כַּלְּבוּשׁ כִּסִּיתוֹ עַל־הָרִים יַעַמְדוּ־מָיִם: (ז) מִן־גַּעֲרָתְךָ יְנוּסוּן מִן־קוֹל רַעַמְךָ יֵחָפֵזוּן: (ח) יַעֲלוּ הָרִים יֵרְדוּ בְקָעוֹת אֶל־מְקוֹם זֶה יָסַדְתָּ לָהֶם: (ט) גְּבוּל־שַׂמְתָּ בַּל־יַעֲבֹרוּן בַּל־יְשׁוּבוּן לְכַסּוֹת הָאָרֶץ:
(1) Bless Hashem O my soul. Hashem, my G-d, You are uniquely great. You are clothed with glory and majesty. (2) He wraps the world with light as with a garment. He spreads out the heavens like a tapestry. (3) He forms the rafters of His upper chambers from water. He sets the clouds as His chariot, which flies on wings of wind. (4) He makes the winds His messengers, the flames of fire His ministers. (5) He established the earth on its firm foundations, never to be moved. (6) You covered it with the deep oceans as with a garment. (7) [The waters] fled from [before] Your raging [winds]. They hurried away at [the sound of] Your thunder. (8) [The waters] rose [over the] mountains and flowed down into the valleys to the place You established for them. (9) You set the boundary they may not cross [so that] they will not return to inundate the earth.
PART 2. SUSTENANCE AND SHELTER. The story of feeding and sheltering the creatures of the earth begins with water springing up out of the earth. Water is the basis of life because it enables the growth of vegetation that supports all life. Also, all creatures depend on water to quench their thirst. The flowing waters invite the birds of the sky which find shelter in the trees that grow along the river banks.
At this point David introduces us to the blessed rain which waters the land to enable the growth of vegetation. The vegetation sustains the creatures of the earth, which feed on the plant life in its natural state. In addition, the vegetation is processed by mankind to provide specialized foods including wine from grapes, oil from olives, and bread from grain.
David now introduces us to the trees that don’t bear edible fruit. Even so they provide a sheltering habitat for the birds of the air to build their nests. Men use the wood of these trees to build their homes and to burn as fuel. David also mentions other creatures that depend on their environment, examples of which are found in the high mountains and their rocky crags that shelter mountain goats.
(י) הַמְשַׁלֵּחַ מַעְיָנִים בַּנְּחָלִים בֵּין הָרִים יְהַלֵּכוּן: (יא) יַשְׁקוּ כָּל־חַיְתוֹ שָׂדָי יִשְׁבְּרוּ פְרָאִים צְמָאָם: (יב) עֲלֵיהֶם עוֹף־הַשָּׁמַיִם יִשְׁכּוֹן מִבֵּין עֳפָאיִם יִתְּנוּ־קוֹל: (יג) מַשְׁקֶה הָרִים מֵעֲלִיּוֹתָיו מִפְּרִי מַעֲשֶׂיךָ תִּשְׂבַּע הָאָרֶץ: (יד) מַצְמִיחַ חָצִיר לַבְּהֵמָה וְעֵשֶׂב לַעֲבֹדַת הָאָדָם לְהוֹצִיא לֶחֶם מִן־הָאָרֶץ: (טו) וְיַיִן יְשַׂמַּח לְבַב־אֱנוֹשׁ לְהַצְהִיל פָּנִים מִשָּׁמֶן וְלֶחֶם לְבַב־אֱנוֹשׁ יִסְעָד: (טז) יִשְׂבְּעוּ עֲצֵי ה’ אַרְזֵי לְבָנוֹן אֲשֶׁר נָטָע: (יז) אֲשֶׁר־שָׁם צִפֳּרִים יְקַנֵּנוּ חֲסִידָה בְּרוֹשִׁים בֵּיתָהּ: (יח) הָרִים הַגְּבֹהִים לַיְּעֵלִים סְלָעִים מַחְסֶה לַשְׁפַנִּים:
(10) You make the springs [gush forth] in streams making their way between the mountains. (11) They deliver drinking water to every beast of the field. They even slake the thirst of the wild asses. (12) The birds of the air make their nest nearby. From among the branches they give voice to song. (13) He waters the mountains from His lofty chambers. The needs of the earth are satisfied with the blessed rain which is the special fruit of His works. (14) He causes vegetation to grow for the cattle and cereal grasses to grow with man’s labor and bring forth bread from the earth. (15) Also, wine to cheer the heart of man, oil to make his face glow, and bread to strengthen man’s heart. (16) The trees of Hashem have their fill [of fresh water], the cedars of Lebanon that He planted … (17) there where the birds make their nests. And for the stork, cypresses are its home. (18) High mountains are for the wild goats. rocky crags provide refuge for the badgers.
PART 3. THE WISDOM OF DAY AND NIGHT. In His wisdom Hashem arranged the conditions that would prevent conflict between the two kinds of powerful creatures that inhabit the earth: man and beast. To achieve this purpose He allocated each 24-hour cycle between periods of light and periods of darkness. The period of darkness in wilderness regions was given over to the wild beasts who roam the forests. The period of light was given over to mankind who works in the fields when the wild animals retreat to their lairs. The darkness of night and the light of day, are regulated by the sun and the moon, the two major heavenly bodies, both created on Day Four of Creation.
The moon, which rules the night, is also associated with the seasons of the year and the festivals, based on a monthly calendar. Because of this special role, the entire Mizmor 104 is publicly recited once a month on the Shabbos preceding the New Moon (Rosh Chodesh).
(יט) עָשָׂה יָרֵחַ לְמוֹעֲדִים שֶׁמֶשׁ יָדַע מְבוֹאוֹ: (כ) תָּשֶׁת־חֹשֶׁךְ וִיהִי לָיְלָה בּוֹ־תִרְמֹשׂ כָּל־חַיְתוֹ־יָעַר: (כא) הַכְּפִירִים שֹׁאֲגִים לַטָּרֶף וּלְבַקֵּשׁ מֵאֵל אָכְלָם: (כב) תִּזְרַח הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ יֵאָסֵפוּן וְאֶל־מְעוֹנֹתָם יִרְבָּצוּן: (כג) יֵצֵא אָדָם לְפָעֳלוֹ וְלַעֲבֹדָתוֹ עֲדֵי־עָרֶב:
(19) He made the moon for the festivals, the sun knows when to set. (20) You bring on darkness, and it is night; that is when all the beasts of the forest creep forth. (21) Then the young lions roar after their prey to seek their food from G-d. (22) The sun rises, they steal away and lie down in their dens to rest. (23) Man goes forth to his work and to his labor until the evening.
PART 4. CREATURES OF THE WORLD. Having touched upon creatures of the land and air, David now turns to the teeming life of the sea. On the fifth and sixth days of Creation, Hashem created vast numbers creatures on sea and land. Men skim over the surface of the sea in ships, hardly aware of the swarms below. Wherever they are, all creatures depend upon Hashem for their sustenance, but only man has an understanding of the One Who provides it to them. Ultimately, all living beings must die, but only man has a soul that exists beyond the grave into a new life.
(כד) מָה־רַבּוּ מַעֲשֶׂיךָ ה’ כֻּלָּם בְּחָכְמָה עָשִׂיתָ מָלְאָה הָאָרֶץ קִנְיָנֶךָ: (כה) זֶה הַיָּם גָּדוֹל וּרְחַב יָדָיִם שָׁם־רֶמֶשׂ וְאֵין מִסְפָּר חַיּוֹת קְטַנּוֹת עִם־גְּדֹלוֹת: (כו) שָׁם אֳנִיּוֹת יְהַלֵּכוּן לִוְיָתָן זֶה־יָצַרְתָּ לְשַׂחֶק־בּוֹ: (כז) כֻּלָּם אֵלֶיךָ יְשַׂבֵּרוּן לָתֵת אָכְלָם בְּעִתּוֹ: (כח) תִּתֵּן לָהֶם יִלְקֹטוּן תִּפְתַּח יָדְךָ יִשְׂבְּעוּן טוֹב: (כט) תַּסְתִּיר פָּנֶיךָ יִבָּהֵלוּן תֹּסֵף רוּחָם יִגְוָעוּן וְאֶל־עֲפָרָם יְשׁוּבוּן: (ל) תְּשַׁלַּח רוּחֲךָ יִבָּרֵאוּן וּתְחַדֵּשׁ פְּנֵי אֲדָמָה:
(24) How abundant are your works, Hashem. You made them all with wisdom. The world is full of your creations. (25) The sea, great and wide, countless swarming creatures are there, and also living beings large and small. (26) Men sail there in ships. Also, the Leviathan whale that You created for men to test their strength against. (27) They all look to You expectantly, to provide their food in in its proper time. (28) You give it to them, they gather it in, they are granted satisfaction with good. (29) When You hide Your face they are in panic. When You take away their life force, they perish and return to their dust. (30) When You send forth Your spirit, men are created anew and You give new life to the people of the earth.
PART 5. THE GLORY OF HASHEM. David concludes the mizmor with praise and recognition for the wonders of Creation that only man has been granted the wisdom to appreciate. Within the vast scope of the created world, only man has been given the possibility of sensing the glory of its Creator. Only man has been blessed with the ability to understand the blessings of life and to communicate directly with its Creator.
(לא) יְהִי כְבוֹד ה’ לְעוֹלָם יִשְׂמַח ה’ בְּמַעֲשָׂיו: (לב) הַמַּבִּיט לָאָרֶץ וַתִּרְעָד יִגַּע בֶּהָרִים וְיֶעֱשָׁנוּ: (לג) אָשִׁירָה לַה’ בְּחַיָּי אֲזַמְּרָה לֵאלֹקַי בְּעוֹדִי: (לד) יֶעֱרַב עָלָיו שִׂיחִי אָנֹכִי אֶשְׂמַח בַּה’: (לה) יִתַּמּוּ חַטָּאִים מִן־הָאָרֶץ וּרְשָׁעִים עוֹד אֵינָם בָּרֲכִי נַפְשִׁי אֶת־ה’ הַלְלוּ־קָהּ:
(31) The glory of Hashem will endure for ever. May Hashem take delight in His wsorks. (32) He looks toward the earth and it quakes; He touches the mountains and they smoke. (33) I will sing in gratitude to Hashem for my life; I will sing praises to my G-d while I endure. (34) May my tefillah be sweet to Him. I will rejoice in Hashem. (35) Sinners will cease from the earth and the wicked will be no more. Bless Hashem, O my soul, Halleluyah.
Learning the Mizmor
PART 1. THE FOUNDATIONS OF THE WORLD.
(א) בָּרֲכִי נַפְשִׁי אֶת ה’
A mizmor composed by David. O my soul, I call upon you to bless Hashem — בָּרֲכִי נַפְשִׁי אֶת־ה’ with gratitude for everything He does for the benefit of His creatures. Among all the creatures it is only the human soul that has the knowledge and ability to appreciate and bless the Creator.
ה’ אֱלֹקַי גָּדַלְתָּ מְּאֹד
Hashem, my G-d — ה’ אֱלֹקַי , You are uniquely great — גָּדַלְתָּ מְּאֹד with a greatness that is evident from Your works and that You reveal by Your care and goodness.
הוֹד וְהָדָר לָבָשְׁתָּ:
You are clothed with all the wonders of Creation, demonstrating the powerful glory of Your being and the visible impression conveyed by the majesty of Your might — הוֹד וְהָדָר לָבָשְׁתָּ . But just as human clothing prevents the actual person from being seen, so are Your actual glory and majesty far greater than anything that can be seen.
(ב) עֹטֶה אוֹר כַּשַּׂלְמָה
נוֹטֶה שָׁמַיִם כַּיְרִיעָה:
He wraps the world with light — עֹטֶה אוֹר as with a garment — כַּשַּׂלְמָה . The light that came into being on the First Day of Creation is like a garment that shields His invisibility. He spreads out the heavens — נוֹטֶה שָׁמַיִם like a rich multi-colored tapestry — כַּיְרִיעָה that came into being on the Second Day of Creation for mankind to see.
(ג) הַמְקָרֶה בַמַּיִם עֲלִיּוֹתָיו
הַשָּׂם עָבִים רְכוּבוֹ הַמְהַלֵּךְ עַל כַּנְפֵי רוּחַ:
He forms the clouds, which are like the rafters of His upper chambers, from the water of clouds — הַמְקָרֶה בַמַּיִם עֲלִיּוֹתָיו . He sets the clouds as His chariot — הַשָּׂם עָבִים רְכוּבוֹ which flies where He sends it to bring rain to the world on wings of wind — הַמְהַלֵּךְ עַל כַּנְפֵי רוּחַ .
(ד) עֹשֶׂה מַלְאָכָיו רוּחוֹת
מְשָׁרְתָיו אֵשׁ לֹהֵט:
He makes the winds His messengers — עֹשֶׂה מַלְאָכָיו רוּחוֹת , for nothing happens in the world without a reason or purpose.Likewise, He makes the lightning with its flames of fire His ministers — מְשָׁרְתָיו אֵשׁ לֹהֵט . All the natural forces of wind, air, fire, and water are at His beck and call to carry out His will.
(ה) יָסַד אֶרֶץ עַל מְכוֹנֶיהָ
בַּל תִּמּוֹט עוֹלָם וָעֶד:
He established the earth on its firm foundations within the gravitational structure of space — יָסַד אֶרֶץ עַל מְכוֹנֶיהָ , never to be moved — בַּל תִּמּוֹט עוֹלָם וָעֶד from its orbital path. The downward direction in man’s habitat is defined by the pull of gravity.
(ו) תְּהוֹם כַּלְּבוּשׁ כִּסִּיתוֹ
עַל הָרִים יַעַמְדוּ מָיִם:
You covered it with the deep oceans as with a garment — תְּהוֹם כַּלְּבוּשׁ כִּסִּיתוֹ ; the waters stood above the mountains — עַל הָרִים יַעַמְדוּ מָיִם before You gave the command for the waters to retreat and the dry land to appear.
(ז) מִן גַּעֲרָתְךָ יְנוּסוּן
מִן קוֹל רַעַמְךָ יֵחָפֵזוּן:
The waters fled from before Your raging storm winds — מִן גַּעֲרָתְךָ יְנוּסוּן like a servant frantically fleeing before his master’s anger. They hurried away at the sound of Your thunder — מִן קוֹל רַעַמְךָ יֵחָפֵזוּן .
(ח) יַעֲלוּ הָרִים יֵרְדוּ בְקָעוֹת
אֶל מְקוֹם זֶה יָסַדְתָּ לָהֶם:
In their desperation to obey they rose over the mountains — יַעֲלוּ הָרִים , and then they flowed back down into the valleys — יֵרְדוּ בְקָעוֹת of the land areas, ultimately returning to the sea, which is the place You established for them — אֶל מְקוֹם זֶה יָסַדְתָּ לָהֶם .
(ט) גְּבוּל שַׂמְתָּ בַּל יַעֲבֹרוּן
בַּל יְשׁוּבוּן לְכַסּוֹת הָאָרֶץ:
You set the sea shore as a boundary they may not cross — גְּבוּל שַׂמְתָּ בַּל יַעֲבֹרוּן , so that they would not return to inundate the earth — בַּל יְשׁוּבוּן לְכַסּוֹת הָאָרֶץ . However, you draw vapor from the seas and let the winds carry it across the land in the clouds. You then release it as rain, which soaks the earth so that fresh water springs can appear to the delight of all living things.
PART 2. SUSTENANCE AND SHELTER.
(י) הַמְשַׁלֵּחַ מַעְיָנִים בַּנְּחָלִים
בֵּין הָרִים יְהַלֵּכוּן:
You make the springs gush forth in streams — הַמְשַׁלֵּחַ מַעְיָנִים בַּנְּחָלִים , which make their way between the mountains — בֵּין הָרִים יְהַלֵּכוּן . This provides a continuous flow of water that is always available to quench the thirst of the creatures of the earth. Water is the basis of life because it enables the growth of vegetation that feeds all creatures.
(יא) יַשְׁקוּ כָּל חַיְתוֹ שָׂדָי
יִשְׁבְּרוּ פְרָאִים צְמָאָם:
The streams deliver drinking water to every beast of the field — יַשְׁקוּ כָּל חַיְתוֹ שָׂדָי , each according to its needs and its habitat. They even slake the thirst of the wild asses — יִשְׁבְּרוּ פְרָאִים צְמָאָם that inhabit desert regions and need water in large amounts.
(יב) עֲלֵיהֶם עוֹף הַשָּׁמַיִם יִשְׁכּוֹן
מִבֵּין עֳפָאיִם יִתְּנוּ קוֹל:
In the nearby trees the birds of the air make their nest — עֲלֵיהֶם עוֹף הַשָּׁמַיִם יִשְׁכּוֹן . They live off the small fish and vegetation found in the waters. From among the leafy branches they give voice to their song — מִבֵּין עֳפָאיִם יִתְּנוּ קוֹל .
(יג) מַשְׁקֶה הָרִים מֵעֲלִיּוֹתָיו
מִפְּרִי מַעֲשֶׂיךָ תִּשְׂבַּע הָאָרֶץ:
He waters the mountains from His clouds in lofty chambers — מַשְׁקֶה הָרִים מֵעֲלִיּוֹתָיו . The needs of the earth are filled with the blessed rain which is the special fruit of His works — מִפְּרִי מַעֲשֶׂיךָ תִּשְׂבַּע הָאָרֶץ , including the heat of the sun which draws the vapor from the seas to form the clouds that release the rain..
(יד) מַצְמִיחַ חָצִיר לַבְּהֵמָה
וְעֵשֶׂב לַעֲבֹדַת הָאָדָם
לְהוֹצִיא לֶחֶם מִן הָאָרֶץ:
He causes vegetation to grow freely for the cattle — מַצְמִיחַ חָצִיר לַבְּהֵמָה to feed themselves and He causes cereal grasses to grow with man’s labor — וְעֵשֶׂב לַעֲבֹדַת הָאָדָם to bring forth bread from the earth — לְהוֹצִיא לֶחֶם מִן הָאָרֶץ for his sustenance and for man’s industrial use, such as the production of dyes;
(טו) וְיַיִן יְשַׂמַּח לְבַב אֱנוֹשׁ
לְהַצְהִיל פָּנִים מִשָּׁמֶן
וְלֶחֶם לְבַב אֱנוֹשׁ יִסְעָד:
He brings forth wine from grapes to cheer the heart of man — וְיַיִן יְשַׂמַּח לְבַב אֱנוֹשׁ even in times of sadness or difficulty. He brings forth oil from olives to make man’s face glow with health — לְהַצְהִיל פָּנִים מִשָּׁמֶן through consuming the oil and rubbing it on his skin. And He brings forth bread from grain to nourish and strengthen man’s heart — וְלֶחֶם לְבַב אֱנוֹשׁ יִסְעָד .
(טז) יִשְׂבְּעוּ עֲצֵי ה’
אַרְזֵי לְבָנוֹן אֲשֶׁר נָטָע:
Through the blessing of rain the tall forest trees of Hashem are granted their fill of fresh water — יִשְׂבְּעוּ עֲצֵי ה’ . These are the cedars of Lebanon that He planted — אַרְזֵי לְבָנוֹן אֲשֶׁר נָטָע to inspire men.
(יז) אֲשֶׁר שָׁם צִפֳּרִים יְקַנֵּנוּ
חֲסִידָה בְּרוֹשִׁים בֵּיתָהּ:
Also, it is there in the branches of the cedars of Lebanon where the birds make their nests — אֲשֶׁר שָׁם צִפֳּרִים יְקַנֵּנוּ . As for the stork, cypresses with their wide protective leaves are its home — חֲסִידָה בְּרוֹשִׁים בֵּיתָהּ . Although these trees are not fruit-bearing, while they are growing they provide shelter for birds and after they have been cut down they to provide wood for construction of houses and ships, and as fuel for heating.
(יח) הָרִים הַגְּבֹהִים לַיְּעֵלִים
סְלָעִים מַחְסֶה לַשְׁפַנִּים:
As the trees shelter the birds, so the high mountains offer a habitat for the wild goats — הָרִים הַגְּבֹהִים לַיְּעֵלִים . Their rocky crags provide refuge for the badgers — סְלָעִים מַחְסֶה לַשְׁפַנִּים .
PART 3. THE WISDOM OF DAY AND NIGHT.
(יט) עָשָׂה יָרֵחַ לְמוֹעֲדִים
שֶׁמֶשׁ יָדַע מְבוֹאוֹ:
On the evening of Day Four of Creation He made the moon to mark the seasons and define the festivals — עָשָׂה יָרֵחַ לְמוֹעֲדִים . In the following morning He made the sun and so it shone all day. However, at the end of that day and every subsequent day, the sun knows that it is time for its setting — שֶׁמֶשׁ יָדַע מְבוֹאוֹ to make room for the dominion of the moon.
(כ) תָּשֶׁת חֹשֶׁךְ וִיהִי לָיְלָה,
בּוֹ תִרְמֹשׂ כָּל חַיְתוֹ יָעַר:
Hashem, even Your creation of the dark of night serves a purpose. It is a blessing for the creatures of the forest who depend on the security it gives them. When the day is done, You bring on darkness, and it is night — תָּשֶׁת חֹשֶׁךְ וִיהִי לָיְלָה . That is when all the beasts of the forest creep forth – בּוֹ תִרְמֹשׂ כָּל חַיְתוֹ יָעַר to forage for their food. They hide during the day because that is when man is in control.
(כא) הַכְּפִירִים שֹׁאֲגִים לַטָּרֶף
וּלְבַקֵּשׁ מֵאֵל אָכְלָם:
Then during the night the young lions roar after their prey — הַכְּפִירִים שֹׁאֲגִים לַטָּרֶף , and when they have no prey they prowl through the night to seek their food from G-d — וּלְבַקֵּשׁ מֵאֵל אָכְלָם .
(כב) תִּזְרַח הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ יֵאָסֵפוּן
וְאֶל מְעוֹנֹתָם יִרְבָּצוּן:
When the sun rises — תִּזְרַח הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ , the young lions steal away — יֵאָסֵפוּן in fear of men, who are out and about. It is then that the young lions lie down to sleep in their hidden dens — וְאֶל מְעוֹנֹתָם יִרְבָּצוּן .
(כג) יֵצֵא אָדָם לְפָעֳלוֹ
וְלַעֲבֹדָתוֹ עֲדֵי עָרֶב:
In the safety of daytime man goes forth to his work — יֵצֵא אָדָם לְפָעֳלוֹ and to his labor— וְלַעֲבֹדָתוֹ until the evening — עֲדֵי עָרֶב .
PART 4. CREATURES OF THE WORLD.
(כד) מָה רַבּוּ מַעֲשֶׂיךָ ה’
כֻּלָּם בְּחָכְמָה עָשִׂיתָ
מָלְאָה הָאָרֶץ קִנְיָנֶךָ:
How abundant and how magnificent are your works, Hashem — מָה רַבּוּ מַעֲשֶׂיךָ ה’ . You made them all with wisdom — כֻּלָּם בְּחָכְמָה עָשִׂיתָ , so that they are able to coexist in harmony. The world is full of Your creations — מָלְאָה הָאָרֶץ קִנְיָנֶךָ ; there is in the world other than what You have brought into being and everything is there that needs to be there.
(כה) זֶה הַיָּם גָּדוֹל וּרְחַב יָדָיִם
שָׁם רֶמֶשׂ וְאֵין מִסְפָּר
חַיּוֹת קְטַנּוֹת עִם גְּדֹלוֹת:
There is the sea — זֶה הַיָּם , great and wide — גָּדוֹל וּרְחַב יָדָיִם ; countless swarming creatures are there — שָׁם רֶמֶשׂ וְאֵין מִסְפָּר , all created on the Fifth Day with the birds of the air. They are far more numerous than the land animals created on the Sixth Day. Just as on land there are sea animals small and large — חַיּוֹת קְטַנּוֹת עִם גְּדֹלוֹת: . Large creatures are continually swallowing the smaller ones, but the numbers that are procreated every day are so huge that there is no way to count them.
(כו) שָׁם אֳנִיּוֹת יְהַלֵּכוּן
לִוְיָתָן זֶה יָצַרְתָּ לְשַׂחֶק בּוֹ:
Men sail there in ships — שָׁם אֳנִיּוֹת יְהַלֵּכוּן , skimming along on the surface, little suspecting what a teeming variety of animal life there is below them. Also there is the Leviathan whale that You created for men to test their strength against, or as an object of delighted contemplation of the secret wisdom to be granted to the righteous in the world to come — לִוְיָתָן זֶה יָצַרְתָּ לְשַׂחֶק בּוֹ .
(כז) כֻּלָּם אֵלֶיךָ יְשַׂבֵּרוּן
לָתֵת אָכְלָם בְּעִתּוֹ:
Although they have no understanding of their Creator, all creatures depend on the sustenance that You provide and so they all look to You expectantly — כֻּלָּם אֵלֶיךָ יְשַׂבֵּרוּן , to provide their food in in its proper time — לָתֵת אָכְלָם בְּעִתּוֹ . As for the men sailing the seas, many direct their prayers to You.
(כח) תִּתֵּן לָהֶם יִלְקֹטוּן
In times of plenty You give food to them with an open hand — תִּתֵּן לָהֶם . In times of famine they must put in extra effort to gather it in — יִלְקֹטוּן . When You open Your hand — תִּפְתַּח יָדְךָ , they are granted satisfaction with Your bountiful good — יִשְׂבְּעוּן טוֹב . At other times they must learn to wait and that is when men realize the need to turn to You in tefillah.
(כט) תַּסְתִּיר פָּנֶיךָ יִבָּהֵלוּן
תֹּסֵף רוּחָם יִגְוָעוּן
וְאֶל עֲפָרָם יְשׁוּבוּן:
When You hide Your face — תַּסְתִּיר פָּנֶיךָ and deny them their sustenance, they are in panic — יִבָּהֵלוּן for there is no one to help them beside You. when You take back their life force — תֹּסֵף רוּחָם , they perish — יִגְוָעוּן and return to their dust — וְאֶל עֲפָרָם יְשׁוּבוּן .
(ל) תְּשַׁלַּח רוּחֲךָ יִבָּרֵאוּן
וּתְחַדֵּשׁ פְּנֵי אֲדָמָה:
When You send forth Your spirit to mankind — תְּשַׁלַּח רוּחֲךָ at the time of Techias Hameisim (Resurrection), nen are created anew — יִבָּרֵאוּן , and You give new life to the people of the earth — וּתְחַדֵּשׁ פְּנֵי אֲדָמָה .
PART 5. THE GLORY OF HASHEM.
(לא) יְהִי כְבוֹד ה’ לְעוֹלָם
יִשְׂמַח ה’ בְּמַעֲשָׂיו:
The works of Hashem are His glory. The glory of Hashem will endure for ever — יְהִי כְבוֹד ה’ לְעוֹלָם for He will contune to govern all of Creation. May men gain true understanding so that Hashem will have cause to take delight in his works — יִשְׂמַח ה’ בְּמַעֲשָׂיו .
(לב) הַמַּבִּיט לָאָרֶץ וַתִּרְעָד
יִגַּע בֶּהָרִים וְיֶעֱשָׁנוּ:
When He is angry at the wicked, He looks toward the earth — הַמַּבִּיט לָאָרֶץ (symbolically) and it quakes — וַתִּרְעָד ; He touches the mountains — יִגַּע בֶּהָרִים and they smoke — וְיֶעֱשָׁנוּ in volcanic eruptions.
(לג) אָשִׁירָה לַה’ בְּחַיָּי
אֲזַמְּרָה לֵאלֹקַי בְּעוֹדִי:
I will sing to Hashem for having granted me life — אָשִׁירָה לַה’ בְּחַיָּי , even in the midst of destruction. I will sing praises to my G-d while I endure — אֲזַמְּרָה לֵאלֹקַי בְּעוֹדִי as an individual in the midst of His great kingdom.
(לד) יֶעֱרַב עָלָיו שִׂיחִי
אָנֹכִי אֶשְׂמַח בַּה’:
May my tefillah be sweet to Him — יֶעֱרַב עָלָיו שִׂיחִי . And as long my speech and meditation are pleasing to Him I will rejoice in the privilege of talking to Hashem — אָנֹכִי אֶשְׂמַח בַּה’ and in gratification for the yeshuah that He grants to me.
(לה) יִתַּמּוּ חַטָּאִים מִן הָאָרֶץ
וּרְשָׁעִים עוֹד אֵינָם
בָּרֲכִי נַפְשִׁי אֶת ה’ הַלְלוּיָהּ:
May sinners cease from the earth — יִתַּמּוּ חַטָּאִים מִן הָאָרֶץ , and may the wicked be no more — וּרְשָׁעִים עוֹד אֵינָם ; Bless Hashem, O my soul — בָּרֲכִי נַפְשִׁי אֶת ה’ . Halleluyah — הַלְלוּ יָהּ !
The primary sources used in the interpretation of the verses in this mizmor are listed below.
א – אבן עזרא, רד”ק, אלשיך, רשר”ה
ב – רד”ק, מצודות, ספורנו, רשר”ה
ג – אבן עזרא, מצודות, רשר”ה, נר לרגלי
ד – רש”י, רד”ק, נר לרגלי
ה – רד”ק, המאירי
ו – רש”י, רד”ק
ז – אבן עזרא, רד”ק
ח – רד”ק, המאירי
ט – רש”י, רד”ק
י – אבן עזרא, מצודות, מלבים, רשר”ה
יא – רד”ק, המאירי, בן רמוך
יב – רש”י, רד”ק, מצודות, המאירי, אבן יחייא
יג – רד”ק, מצודות, בן רמוך, רשר”ה
יד – רד”ק, מצודות, מלבים
טו – מצודות, בן רמוך
טז – רד”ק, אבן יחייא
יז – רד”ק, מצודות, מלבים, המאירי
יח – רד”ק, המאירי
יט – רש”י, רד”ק, המאירי
כ – רד”ק, נר לרגלי
כא – מלבים,
כב – אבן יחייא
כג – רד”ק, מלבים
כד – מלבים, בן רמוך, מלבים, נר לרגלי
כה – רש”י, רד”ק, המאירי, נר לרגלי
כו – אבן עזרא, מלבים
כז – רד”ק , מלבים, בן רמוך
כח – רד”ק, מצודות
כט – רד”ק
ל – רש”י, מצודות, בן רמוך
לא – רד”ק, מצודות, רשר”ה
לב – רד”ק, נר לרגלי
לג – מלבים, בן רמוך, רשר”ה
לד – מצודות, אלשיך
לה – מצודות