Words from Cush [Ethiopia], music from my beloved Yemen.
Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God!
From straights, seeking refuge,
chased, like lion’s prey,
terror tearing me apart, afraid
nothing can save me.
Ayin can save me.
Am so powerless? What’s my part?
Can my palms be guilt-free?
Why else would this right-hand extended,
to friend and foe, return empty? Ayin.
Why else would this angst-and-anger
chase me down, catch me,
pin my life to the ground,
leaving my dignity sleeping in the dust?
Boulders blown to bits of dust in a bin. Selah.
Why not let the anger arise, assert itself
on behalf of my desperation?
Stir it up! Make your ruling. Everyone will come around.
Or, I can step back and elevate, rather than escalate.
Let You, Y”H, a true judge, decide.
Justness and my innocence, are also on me.
Let the voices of angst and anger subside.
This voice of righteousness puts hearts and minds on trial.
Day after day, self-righteous judgment and indignation shield me. Mageini.
Save me from them with heartstrings that sing a joy straight from Eden’s Gan.
Re-sheath the sword of self-righteous judgment,
unbend the bow launching arrows tipped with blame.
Fill in the pit dug for adversaries that can’t be buried.
Such weapons recoil. The injuries are self-inflicted you head-strong numb skull.
Thank Yah, it’s not our job to judge.
We’re here to sing
unsigned songs elevating Your Name.
LaMarom shuvah – Elevate rather than escalate
Odeh Adonai c’tzidqo – Let’s be grateful that Justice is for God to determine, not me
Magini…moshiah yishrei leiv – shield me, save with a steady heart (that sings)
Odeh v’Azamerah – I’m here to give thanks and sing
This psalm begins with an elusive word, Shigai'yon. In this translation, I have taken the liberty of playing with letters at the heart of this word, Gai, a word for 'valley,' as in the famous "the valley of the shadows of death" from Psalm 23. The numerical value of the letters gimmel-yud (Gai/Valley) also equal 13. The thirteen words in bold above highlight thirteen divine attributes, or midot in this psalm.
Selah is another enigmatic Hebrew word. Sela' (with an Ayin) means rock or boulder. Sal means basket, or bin. Thus, "Boulder to dust bin" as a metaphoric exclamation to this stanza describing emotional devastation.
Gan is a Garden. I left it in the Hebrew to offer a word play with shield, maGeN, as in magen daveed, the shield [star] of David, in this psalm of David. So magen/shield, can also be vocalized to mean, "from the garden."
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