Sunday, October 23, 2011

Hiney Ma Tov

The first words of Psalm 133 are a great song and I introduced it to the two younger classes today. It is rhythmic and repetitive and they caught on quickly.  The class could work up a dance as well.  Even one in the youngest class recognized the Roman Numerals in my Hebrew Bible - a curiosity, CXXXIII, equivalent to the Hebrew numbering symbols קלג qof-lamedh-gimel.

שִׁיר הַמַּעֲלוֹת
מַה טּוֹב
וּמַה נָּעִים
שֶׁבֶת אַחִים
גַּם יָחַד
1A song of the ascents
of David
How fine
and how pleasant
it is for kin to sit
as one

The words of the first verse relate to both verses we have looked at recently - Genesis 1 and Psalm 136 about the good, and also the Shema, where the word one occurs.

The word I translated as hey! is the traditional behold! - It can mean - look at me! The very thing that youngsters sometimes sing.  I told them the story of the 15 rising steps of the temple and the Songs of Ascent of which this is one (Psalms 120-134).

An example of the sound of the music and a full translation for the psalm is here.  (I did not have full orchestra available.)

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