I’ve fallen in love with Rabbi Menachem Creditor’s rendition of Mizmor l’David, so I thought I’d share it before Shabbat. The lyrics are in Hebrew and are the verses of Psalm 23, which in English says:
1 A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul; He guideth me in straight paths for His name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; Thou hast anointed my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
Before and after singing all six of those verses in order, Rabbi Creditor repeatedly sings the middle of verse 4 — “lo ira ra ki Atah imadi” — which is generally translated to something like: “I will fear no evil, for You are with me.”
Early this morning, as I began trying to get the text of Psalm 23 into this post, and as I was deciding whether to include the Hebrew text, I noticed something strange about the Hebrew in that repeated phrase. “You are with me” comes from two Hebrew words “Atah imadi.” Atah means You, and every translation i found online indicated “imadi” is “with me.” But “imad” is from the root for “omed” which means “stand.” So really, what the line means is that Hashem will “stand me”… that when we are so terrified that we think we may fall down, Hashem will keep us standing… and that’s a much more beautiful image than God simply being “with” us!!
Shabbat shalom!!! jen