Thursday, 3 November 2016
Psalm 124 - God has not made us prey to our enemies
Psalm 124:5-6 "'Then the swollen waters would have gone over our soul.' Blessed be the Lord, who has not given us as prey to their teeth." NKJV
Clearly, these two verses are still on the theme of what would happen to us if God were to stop protecting us, even for a short time. In verse 5 the Hebrew translated as "swollen waters" is HaMayim HaZaydonim. Mayim is water, but what is Zadon? It means "raging" or boiling (as in boiling water).
It can also mean a wave or proud. In the Hebrew mindset, a wave of water is puffed up water that is higher than the rest of the water. Another translation of verse 5 would be that (without the protection of God) our souls would be drowned by prideful waters. Waters in Scripture is consistently a reference to the sea of humanity (many peoples).
Verse 6 begins Baruch Adonai meaning "Bless the Lord". In the second part of the verse, we find the Hebrew word Teref meaning "prey". This word is where we get the Yiddish word Trayf meaning unclean or non-kosher. Remember, in order to be kosher an animal must be killed in a kosher manner. If an animal is found killed or as prey for another animal, it cannot be considered kosher.
So in the verse, we are thanking God that He has not made us unclean in the teeth of our adversaries. Many of those walking the steps of ascension were carrying an animal to be sacrificed. There was always identification of the offeror with the offering (through the laying on of hands). As these words are sung to the penitent offeror during his ascent to the Temple, we can feel how a tide of thanksgiving wash over their (and our own) souls.
Rabbi Michael Weiner,