Psalm 27: the prayer of Elul

Traditional Jews say this psalm twice daily during the month of Elul.

Psalm 27 (in Amy Scheinerman’s translation & commentary )

(1) Adonai is my light and my life. Whom shall I fear?
Adonai is the foundation of my life. Whom shall I dread?
(2) When evil-doers assail me to devour my flesh,
It is they — my adversaries and enemies — who stumble and fall.
(3) Should an army besiege me, my heart would not fear.
Should war beset me
Even then would I be confident.
(4) One thing I ask of Adonai,
Only this do I seek: to live in the house of Adonai all the days of my life,
to behold the beauty of Adonai, to frequent his Temple.
(5) For Adonai will conceal me in his sukkah on an evil day,
and hide me in the covert of his tent,
raise me up high on a rock.
(6) And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies all around me
And I will offer sacrifices in [Adonai’s] tent
with the sound of trumpets.
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to Adonai.
(7) Hear my voice, Adonai, when I cry out
have mercy on me and answer me.
(8) “For yourself,” says my heart.
“Seek My face.”
Adonai, I seek Your face.
(9) Do not hide Your face from me.
Do not push aside Your servant in anger.
You have always been my help.
Do not forsake me, do not abandon me, O Lord my deliverer.
(10) For my father and my mother abandon me, but Adonai gathers me up.
(11) Show me Your way, Adonai,
and lead me on a level path
because of my ever-watchful foes.
(12) Deliver me not over unto the will of my adversaries
For false witnesses have risen up against me
and those who breathe violence.
(13) If I had not believed to look upon the goodness of God,
[I would no longer be] in the land of the living.
(14) Look to Adonai.
Be strong and of good courage.
Look to Adonai !

Here Paul Schoenfield’s Achat Sha’alti (the Psalm’s opening words  in Hebrew:

Why is this psalm an important part of the spiritual preparation for the High Holidays? Rabbi Benjamin J. Segal

Elul is the month of preparation and shofar blowing. The name of the month has been understood to be an acronym for the Hebrew verse “I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine.” During Elul we read Psalm 27, “To David – the Lord is my light,” twice daily. This practice is relatively new, evidently some 200 years old. But it is a wise practice, even essential. More here on beliefnet…


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