15 Shir HaMaalot -15 Songs of Accent


A group of fifteen short psalms (Tehillim 120 - 134 (kuf-chaf to kuf-lamed-dalet) known as the pilgrim psalms, each of which begins with the introductory phrase Shir Ha-Ma'alot (A Song of Ascents). These psalms were sung by the pilgrims as they ascended to Yerushalayim for the festival celebrations at the Temple. They were also sung by the Leviim in the Temple on the festival of Sukkot, during the ceremony of Simchat Beit HaShoavah (Rejoicing at the Place of the Water Drawing).


Jewish Encyclopedia: There is a Talmudic tradition that "whoever has not witnessed the joy of the Festival of Water-Drawing has seen no joy in his life." On those occasions, on the night of the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles, huge assemblies of people gathered in the women's court of the Temple, bearing lamps of gold and vessels for water, while every house in Jerusalem was brightly illuminated. "Pious men and men of affairs," adds the tradition, "danced with torches in their hands, singing songs of joy and of praise, and the Levites made music with lyre and harp and cymbals and trumpets and countless other instruments" (Suk. 51a; Maimonides, "Yad," Lulav, viii 12, 13). Two galleries were built for the spectators, one for men and one for women. The celebration lasted all night and ended at dawn, announced by blasts of trumpets, with the pouring of water upon the altar.


The Jewish Fesivals, History and Obsrvance by Hayyim Schauss: At last, it is the morning of the first day of Sukkot. Every day, after the burning of the daily sacrifice, a libation of wine is poured on the altar. But during Sukkot there is also a libation of water (nisuch hamayim), with special ceremonies that all wish to see. A merry thong gathers for the procession from the Mount of the Temple down to the spring of Shiloah. Leading the procession is a priest bearing a large golden ewer, in which he draws the water to be poured on the altar. He returns to the Temple and comes to the Water Gate which leads to the inner court. A great crowd awaits him there and greets him with joy. Priests carrying silver trumpets blow the ceremonial calls, t'kiah, t'ruah, t'kiah, and other priests chant the words of the Prophet, "With joy shall you draw water out of the wells of salvation" (Yeshayahu 12:3)..


When the Temple was destroyed these psalms were no longer sung by the pilgrims or Leviim. Therefore it was especially appropriate to institute the reading of these psalms on the first Shabbat after Sukkot, the festival when these psalms used to be sung by the multitudes of pilgrims and by the Leviim at the ceremony of the Drawing of the Water.


The reading of Tehillim 120-134 is thus both a memorial of the Temple rituals and an expression of hope that Eretz Yisrael will be restored to the people of Yisrael and that these psalms will again be sung by pilgrims and Leviim.


The 15 Song of Ascents are read every Shabbat afternoon till the spring festival of Pesach (Passover), after which the days begin to lengthen and time becomes available for the resumption of the study of the tractate Avot.


These psalms are in the plural, A Song of Accents, because when the Benei Yisrael are worthy to ascend, they do not climb one step at a time, rather, they mount many rungs at once..."...you shall be in constant ascent" (Devarim 28:13).



Prayer before reciting Tehillim


Tehillim 95:1 Lechu neranna laHASHEM naria letzur yishenu
O come, let us sing to Hashem; let us shout for joy to the Rock of our salvation.


2 Nekadma fanav betoda bizmirot naria lo
Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, let us shout for joy to Him with psalms.


3 Ki Kel gadol HASHEM umelech gadol al-kol-Elokim
For HaShem is a great G-d, and a great King above all gods.



15 Shir HaMaalot

 With Interlinear Hebrew Transliteration and English Translation


Tehillim 120:1 Shir HaMa'alot: el-HASHEM batzarata li karati vaya'aneni
A Song of Accents: To HASHEM in my distress I cried, and He answered me.


2 HASHEM hatzilah nafshi misfat sheker milashon remiyah
 HASHEM rescue my soul from lying lips, from a deceitful tongue.


3 Mah yiten lecha umah yosif lach lashon remiyah
What can He give you and what can He add to you O deceitful tongue?


4 Chitzei gibor shenunim im gachalei retamim
You are like the arrows of the mighty that are sharp with coals of rotem-wood.


5 Oyah li ki garti meshech shachanti im aholei Kedar

Woe unto me, for my sojourn is drawn out; I dwelled with [those who inhabit] the tents of Kedar.


6 Rabat shachnah la nafshi im so'one shalom

Long has my soul dwelt with those who hate peace.


7 Ani shalom vechi adaber hemah lamilchamah

I am peace but when I speak they are for war.



Tehillim 121:1 Shir LaMaalot: Esa einai el heharim me'ayin yavo ezri

A Song to the Accents: I raise my eyes to the mountains, from where will come my help?


2 Ezri me'im HASHEM oseh shamayim va'aretz

My help is from HASHEM, Maker of heaven and earth.


3 Al yiten lamot raglecha al yanum shomrecha

He will not allow the faltering of your foot; your Guardian will not slumber.


4 Hineh lo yanum velo yiyoshan Shomer Yisra'el

Behold, [He] neither slumbers nor sleeps, the Guardian of Yisra'el


5 HASHEM shomrecha HASHEM tzilecha al yad yeminecha

HASHEM is your Guardian, Hashem is your protecive Shade at your right hand.


6 Yomam hashemesh lo yakeka veyare'ach balailah

By day the sun will not harm you nor the moon by night.


7 HASHEM yishmarcha mikol ra yishmor et nafshecha

HASHEM will protect you from every evil, He will guard your soul.


8 HASHEM yishmar tzetcha uvo'echa me'atah ve'ad olam

HASHEM will gaurd your departure and your arrival from this time until eternity.



Tehillim 122:1 Shir HaMa'alot LeDavid: Samachti be'omrim li beit HASHEM nelech

A Song of Accents by David: I rejoiced when they said to me, to the House of HASHEM let us go.


2 Omdot hayu ragleinu bisharayich Yerushalayim

Stand firm did our feet within your gates O Yerushalayim.


3 Yerushalyim habenuyah ke'ir shechubrah lah yachdav

Yerushalyim, the built up, is like a city that is united together.


4 Shesham alu shevatim shivtei edut leYisra'el lehodot leshem HASHEM

For there ascended the tribes, the tribes of G-d, a testimony for Yisrael to give thanks to the Name of HASHEM.


5 Ki shamah yashvu chisot lemishpat kisot leveit David

For there sat thrones for judgment thrones for the House of David.


6 Sha'alu shalom Yerushalayim yishlayu ohavayich

Pray for the peace of Yerushalayim; serene will be those who love you.


7 Yehi shalom becheilech shalva be'armenotayich

May there be peace within your wall, serenity within your palaces.


8 Lema'an achai vere'ai adabra na shalom bach

For the sake of my brethren and my comrades, I shall speak [of] peace in your midst.


9 Lema'an beit HASHEM Elokeinu avaksha tov lach

For the sake of the House of HASHEM, our G-d, I will request good for you.



Tehillim 123:1 Shir HaMa'alot: Eleicha nasati et einai hayshvi bashamayim

A Song of Accents: To You I raised my eyes, O You Who dwell in the heavens.


2 Hineh che'einei avadim el yad adoneihem ke'einei shifcha el yad gevirtah ken eineinu el HASHEM Elokeinu ad sheichanenu

Behold! Like the eyes of servants unto the hand of the master, like the eyes of a maid unto the hand of her mistress, are our eyes unto HASHEM, our G-d until He will favor us.


3 Chanenu HASHEM chanenu ki rav savanu vuz

Favor us, HASHEM, favor us, for we are fully sated with contempt.


4 Rabat savah lah nafshenu hala'ag hasha'ananim habuz lige yonim

Fully sated is our soul with the mockery of the complacent ones, with the contempt of the arrogant.



Tehillim 124:1 Shir HaMa'alot LeDavid: Lulei HASHEM Shehayah lanu yomar na Yisra'el

A Song of Accents by David: Had not HASHEM been with us - declare it now Yisrael!


2 Lulei HASHEM Shehayah lanu bekum aleinu adam

Had not HASHEM been with when men rose up against us.


3 Azai chayim bela'unu bacharot apam banu

Then alive they would have swallowed us, when their anger flared up against us.


4 Azai hamayim shetefunu nachlah avar al nafshenu

Then the waters would have inundated us; the current would have surged across our soul.


5 Azai avar al nafshenu hamayim hazeidonim

Then they would have surged across our soul, the treacherous waters.


6 Baruch HASHEM shelo netananu teref leshineihem

Blessed is HASHEM, Who did not present us as prey for their teeth.

7 Nafshenu ketzipor nimletah mipach yokshim hapach nishbar va'anachnu nimlatnu

Our soul is like a bird escaped from the snare of the hunters; the snare broke and we escaped.


8 Ezrenu beshem HASHEM oseh shamayim va'aretz

Our help is through the Name of HASHEM, Maker of heaven and earth.



Tehillim 125:1 Shir HaMa'alot: Habotchim baHASHEM kehar tziyon lo yimot le'olam yeshev

A Song of Accents: Those who trust in HASHEM are like Mount Tziyon that does not topple, but forever abides.


2 Yerushalayim harim saviv lah vaHASHEM saviv le'amo me'atah ve'ad olam

Yerushalayim, mountains surround it, and HASHEM surrounds His people, from this time until eternity.


3 Ki lo yanuach shevet haresha al goral hatzadikim lema'an lo yishlechu hatzadikim be'avlatah yedeihem

For rest shall not the rod of wickedness upon the lot of the righteous, so that the righteous shall not extend into iniquity their hands.


4 Heitivah HASHEM latovim velisharim belibotam

Do good, HASHEM, to good people, and to the upright in their hearts.


5 Vehamatim akalkalotem yolichem HASHEM et po'alei ha'aven shalom al Yisrael

But those who turn to their perverseness, HASHEM will lead them with the doers of evil; peace upon Yisrael!



Tehillim 126:1 Shir HaMa'alot: Beshuv HASHEM et shivat tziyon hayinu kecholmim

A Song of Accents: When return will HASHEM the captivity of Tziyon we will be like dreamers.


2 Az yimale sechok pinu uleshonenu rinah az yomru vagoyim: higdil HASHEM la'asot im eleh

Then filled will be with laughter our mouth and our tongue, with glad song. Then will they declare among the nations: Greatly has HaShem done with these.


3 Higdil HASHEM la'asot imanu hayinu semechim

Greatly has HASHEM done with us, we were gladdened.


4 Shuvah HASHEM et shevitenu ka'afikim banegev

Return, O HASHEM, our captivity like springs in the desert.


5 Hazorim bedimah berinah yiktzoru

Those who sow tearfully will reap in glad song.


6 haloch yelech uvacho nose meshech hazara bo yavo verinah nose alumotav

Walk on, he walks weeping, he who carries the measure of seeds, but he will return in exultation, a bearer of his sheaves.



Tehillim 127:1 Shir HaMa'alot LiShlomo: Im HASHEM lo yivneh vayit shav amelu vonav bo im HASHEM lo yishmar ir shav shakad shomer

A Song of Accents for Shlomo: If HASHEM will not build the house, in vain, labor do its builders on it; if HASHEM will not guard the city, in vain, vigilant is the watchman.


2 Shav lachem mashekimei kum me'acharei shevet ochleichem ha'atzavim ken yiten lidido shena

It is vain for you who early rise, who late stay up, who eat the bread of sorrows; for indeed, He gives His beloved ones restful sleep.


3 Hineh nachalat HASHEM banim sachar peri habaten

Behold! The heritage of HASHEM is children; a reward is the fruit of the womb.


4 Kechitzim beyad gibor ken benei haneurim

Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of youth.


5 Ashrei hagever asher mile et ashpato mehem lo yevoshu ki yedabru et oivim basha'ar

Priaseworthy is the man who fills his quiver with them; they shall not be shamed, when they speak with enemies in the gate.



Tehillim 128:1 Shir HaMa'alot: Ashrei kol yere HASHEM haholech bidrachav

A Song of Accents: Priaseworthy is each person who fears HASHEM, who walks in His ways.


2 Yegia kapeicha ki tochel ashrecha vetov lach

The labor of your hands when you eat, you are praiseworthy, and it is well with you.


3 Eshtecha kegefen poriyah beyarketei veitecha baneicha kishtilei zeitim saviv leshulchanecha

Your wife will be like a vine, fruitful, in the inner chambers of your home; your children will be like shoots of olive trees surrounding your table.


4 Hineh chi chen yevorach gaver yere HASHEM

Behold, for so is blessed the man who fears HASHEM.


5 Yevarechcha HASHEM miTziyon ure'eh betuv Yerushalayim kol yemei chayeicha

May HASHEM bless you from Tziyon, and may you gaze upon the goodness of Yerushalayim all the days of your life.


6 Ure'eh vanim levaneicha shalom al Yisrael

And may you see children [born] to your children, peace upon Yisrael.



Tehillim 129:1 Shir HaMa'alot: Rabat tzeraruni minurai yomar na Yisrael

A Song of Accents: Much have they distressed me since my youth, declare it now Yisrael!


2 Rabat tzeraruni minurai gam lo yachlu li

Much have they distressed me since my youth, but they never conquered me.


3 Al gabi charshu chorshim he'erichu lema'anitam

On my back plowed the plowers, they lenghtened their furrow.


4 HASHEM tzadik kitzetz avot reshaim

HASHEM is righteous, He cut the ropes of the wicked.


5 Yevoshu veyisogu achor kol shonei Tziyon

Let them be ashamed and turned back, all who hate Tziyon


6 Yihyu kachatzir gagot shekadmat shalaf yavesh

Let them be like the grass on rooftops, which even before it is plucked, withers;


7 Shelo mile chapo kotzer vechitzno me'amer

with which the reaper cannot fill his hand [nor fill] the binder of sheaves his arm;


8 Velo amru ha'ovrim: birkat HASHEM aleichem berachnu etchem beshem HASHEM

and [of which] the passerby have never said: The blessing of HASHEM to you; we bless you in the Name of HASHEM.



Tehillim 130:1 Shir HaMa'alot: Mima'amakim keraticha HASHEM

A Song of Accents: From the depths I called You, HASHEM.


2 Adonai shima' vekoli tihyeina azneicha kashuvot lekol tachanunai

O my Master, hear my voice; may Your ears be attentive to the sound of my pleas.


3 Im avonot tishmar Y-H Adonai mi ya'amod

If iniquities You preserve, O Y-H, my Master, who could survive?


4 Ki imcha haselicha lema'an tivare

 For with You is forgiveness, so that You may be feared.


5 Kiviti HASHEM kivtah nafshi velidvaro hochalti

I placed my hope in HASHEM, placed hope did my soul, and for His word I yearned.


6 Nafshi leAdonai mishomrim laboker shomrim laboker

My soul [yearns] for my Master among those longing for the dawn, those longing for the dawn.


7 Yachel Yisra'el el HASHEM ki im HASHEM hachesed veharbeh imo fedut

Yisrael shall yearn for HASHEM, for with HASHEM is kindness, and abundant with Him is redemption.


8 Vehu yifdeh et Yisra'el mikol avonotav

And He shall redeem Yisrael from all its iniquities.



Tehillim 131:1 Shir HaMa'alot LeDavid: HASHEM lo gavah libi velo ramu einai velo hilachti bigdolot uvenifla'ot mimeni

A Song of Accents by David: HASHEM not proud was my heart, and not haughty were my eyes, nor did I pursue too great [matters] and too wondrous for me.


2 Im lo shiviti vedomamti nafshi kegamul alei imo kagamul alai nafshi

I swear that I stilled and silenced my soul, like a suckling child at the side of his mother, like the suckling child is to me my soul.


3 Yachel Yisra'el el HASHEM me'atah ve'ad olam

Yisra'el shall yearn for HASHEM, from this time until eternity.



Tehillim 132:1 Shir HaMa'alot: Zechor HASHEM leDavid et kol unoto

A Song of Accents: Remember, O HASHEM, unto David all his suffering.


2 Asher nishba laHASHEM nadar la'avir Ya'akov

How he swore to HASHEM, and vowed to the Strong One of Ya'akov.


3 Im avo beohel beiti im e'eleh al eres yetzuai

If I enter the tent of my home; if I go up upon the bed that is spread for me;


4 Im eten shenat le'einai le'afapai tenumah

if I allow sleep to my eyes, to my eyelids slumber;


5 Ad emtza makom laHASHEM mishkanot la'avir Ya'akov

Before I find a place for HASHEM, resting places for the Strong One of Ya'akov.


6 Hineh Shema'anuha ve'efratah metzanuha bisdei ya'ar

Behold! We heard of it in Efrat, we found it in the fields of forest.


7 Navo'ah lemishkenotav nishtachaveh lahadom raglav

We will arrive at His Tabernacles, we will prostrate ourselves at the stool for His feet.


8 Kumah HASHEM Limnuchatecha atah va'aron uzecha

Arise, HASHEM, to Your resting place, You and the Ark of Your strength.


9 Kohaneicha yilbeshu tzedek vachasideicha yeranenu

 Let Your priests be clothed in righteousness, and Your devout ones will sing joyously.


10 Ba'avur David avdecha al tashev penei meshichecha

For the sake of David, Your servant, turn not away the face of Your anointed.


11 Nishba HASHEM leDavid emet lo yashuv mimenah mipri vitnecha ashit lechise lach

HASHEM has sworn to David, a truth He will never retreat from it, From the fruit of your issue I will place upon the throne for you.


12 Im yishmeru vaneicha beriti ve'edoti zo alamdem gam beneihem adei ad yeshvu lechise lach

If your sons keep My covenant, and my testament that I shall teach them, then too, their sons, forever and ever, shall sit upon the throne for you.


13 Ki vachar HASHEM beTziyon ivah lemoshav lo

 For HASHEM has chosen Tziyon; He has desired it for a habitation for Him.


14 Zot menuchati adei ad po eshev ki ivitiha

This is My resting place forever, and ever here I will dwell, for I have desired it.


15 Tzeidah barech avarech evyoneiha asbi'a lachem

Her sustenance, I will bless abundantly; her needy I will satisfy with food.


16 Vechohaneiha albish yesha vachasideiha ranen yeranenu

Her priests I will clothe with salvation; her devout ones will always sing joyously.


17 Sham atzmiach keren leDavid arachti ner limshichi

There I shall cause to sprout pride for David; I have prepared a lamp for My anointed.


18 Oivav albish voshet ve'alav yatzitz nizro

His enemies I will clothe with shame, but upon him, will shine his crown.



Tehillim 133:1 Shir HaMa'alot LeDavid: Hineh mah tov umah na'im shevet achim gam yachad

A Song of Accents by David: Behold, how good and how pleasant is the dwelling of brothers, especially, in unity.


2 Kashemen hatov al harosh yored al hazakan zekan Aharon sheyored al pi midotav

Like the oil that is superior upon the head running down upon the beard, the bead of Aharon, running down over his garments.


3 Ketal Chermon sheyored al harerei Tziyon ki sham tzivah HASHEM et haberacha chayim ad haolam

So the dew of Chermon descends upon the mountains of Tziyon for there HASHEM has commanded the blessing. May there be life forever!



Tehillim 134:1 Shir HaMa'alot: Hineh barachu et HASHEM kol avdei HASHEM ha'omdim beveit HASHEM baleilot

A Song of Accents: Behold bless HASHEM, all you servants of HASHEM, who stand in the House of HASHEM in the nights.


2 Se'u yedechem kodesh uvarachu et HASHEM

Lift your hands in the sanctuary and bless HASHEM.


3 Yevarechcha HASHEM mitziyon ose shamayim va'aretz

May HASHEM bless you from Tziyon, Maker of heaven and earth.



Prayer after reciting Tehillim


Tehillim 53:7 Mi-yiten miTziyon yeshuot Yisrael beshuv Elokim shevut amo yagel Yaakov yismach Yisrael

Oh that the salvations of Yisrael would come out of Tziyon! When G-d returns the captivity of His people, Yaakov will rejoice, Yisrael will be glad


Tehillim 37:39 Uteshuat tzadikim meHASHEM mauzam be'et tzara

But the salvation of the righteous is of HASHEM; He is their stronghold in the time of trouble.


40 Vayazerem HASHEM vayefaltem yefaltem mershaim veyoshiem ki chasu vo

And HASHEM helps them, and delivers them; He delivers them from the wicked, and saves them, because they have taken refuge in Him.



Shir HaMaalot CD


"15 Shir HaMaalot b'Nigun Miyuchad"  is the fifteen psalms set to Sephardic meditative music and sung in prayer by Erez Yechiel. CD is available for purchase at the following website: Breslev

YouTube Video of Shir HaMaalot by Erez Yechiel



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