Psalm 126: Shir Hama'alot

שיר המעלות

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Shir Hama'alot,
B'shuv Adonai et shivat tziyon
hayinu k'chol'mim.
Az Y'male s'chok peenu ulshoneinu rina.
Az yom'ru vagoyim
higdil Adonai la'asot im eleh; higdil Adonai la'asot imanu hayinu s'meicheim.
Shuva Adonai et shiviteinu ka'afikim banegev.
Hazor'im b'dimah b'rinah yiktzoru.
Haloch Yelech uvacho,
noseh meshech hazarah,
bo yavo v'rinah noseh alumotav.
שִׁיר הַמַּעֲלות
בְּשׁוּב ה' אֶת שִׁיבַת צִיּון
הָיִינוּ כְּחלְמִים:
אָז יִמָלֵא שחוק פִּינוּ
וּלְשׁונֵנוּ רִנָּה
אָז יאמְרוּ בַגּויִם
הִגְדִּיל ה' לַעֲשות עִם אֵלֶּה:
הִגְדִּיל ה' לַעֲשות עִמָּנוּ
הָיִינוּ שמֵחִים:
שׁוּבָה ה' אֶת שְׁבִיתֵנוּ
כַּאֲפִיקִים בַּנֶּגֶב:
הַזּרְעִים בְּדִמְעָה בְּרִנָּה יִקְצרוּ:
הָלוךְ יֵלֵךְ וּבָכה נשא מֶשֶׁךְ
הַזָּרַע בּא יָבא בְרִנָּה נשא אֲלֻמּתָיו:


When the Lord returned the captives of Zion, we were like people in a dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter,​ and our tongue with exultatio​n: then said they among the nations, The Lord has done great things for them. The Lord has done great things for us; so we rejoiced!​ Bring back our captives,​ O Lord, as the streams in the south. They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. Though he goes on his way weeping, bearing the store of seed, he shall come back with joy, bearing his sheaves.

Psalm​​​​​ 126

Trans​​lation based on The Standard Prayer book by Simeon Singer (1915) (public domain).

Somet​imes appended to Shir Hamaalot before Birkat Hamazon:

My mouth shall speak the praise of the LORD; and let all flesh bless His holy name for ever and ever.
Psalm​​​​​s 145:21

But we will bless the LORD from this time forth and for ever, Halleluja​h.
Psalm​​​​​s 115:18

O give thanks unto the LORD, for He is good, for His mercy endureth for ever.
Psalm​​​​​s 118:1

Who can express the mighty acts of the LORD, or make all His praise to be heard?
Psalm​​​​​s 106:2

Trans​​lation source: Jewish Publicati​on Society Bible (1917) (public domain)


Psalms 126 and other verses from psalms in brackets added by some. Shir Hama'alot is sung in Ashkenazi traditions before Birkat Hamazon on Shabbat, Festivals and other joyous occasions.

List of Songs that 'go into' (i.e. can be sung immediately before, and then with the same tune as Shir Hamaalot):
Tov L'hodot
Im Eshkachech (2 Tunes)
Yedid Nefesh
Essa Einai

Before Hatikvah was chosen for the purpose, Shir Hama'alot was a serious contender as Israel's national anthem. "When the Lord brought us out of captivity, we were like people in a dream!"

The first tune in the list below, recorded by Joel Nothman, was composed by Cantor Pinkhas Minkowski (1859-1924) and was made famous by Cantor Yossele Rosenblatt (1882-1933). As far as can be determined, the tune is in the public domain.

The tune recorded by Emily Barton is by Debbie Friedman. The Zemirot Database has obtained licenses for this use from the Harry Fox agency and the Deborah Lynn Friedman Trust.


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