Wednesday, October 08, 2008

HaBocher b'shirei zimrah

(This post is related to my previous one.)

I'm not even sure how to translate the words of prayer in my title.

(Praised [is the One])
  • who chooses musical poems
  • who chooses songs of, er, song (?)
What I do know is that this phrase is in the plural.

So, a while back, it occurred to me, in a rare moment of brilliance, that, since this brachah/blessing closes P'sukei D'Zimrah, maybe it would make sense to say at least two psalms therein, rather than just Ashrei, as a minimum.

A former rabbi of ours had recommended that, if I wanted to chose another psalm to say in P'sukei D'Zimrah in addition to Ashrei , I should choose Psalm 148, Halleluhu min ha-shamayim (praise Him from heaven). I checked out that psalm because he'd recommended it, and found that it was a very nice psalm indeed, so I learned it. But it didn't seem quite logical to say, as my only choice, a psalm that was smack in the middle of what was obviously a group of psalms intended for recitation together. So I chose the last psalm, Psalm 150, the last of the group as well as the final psalm of Sefer Tehillim/The Book of Psalms. I was pleasantly surprised when Rabbi Hammer confirmed that I'd made a good choice.

Bottom line, in my certainly-non-binding and not-particularly-educated opinion: It's not the end of the world if one says Ashrei as the only psalm in P'sukei D'Zimrah. For openers, I don't know that there's any halachic signficance to "b'shirei" being plural, and, for closers, one could make a case that, since Ashrei as currently recited actually includes not only Psalm 145, but also Psalm 84:5 and 144:15 before and Psalm 115:18 after, you've actually said at least bits of other psalms. But if you can, it might be a good idea to sneak in Psalm 150.


Blogger katrina said...

Shira--re: the def of "bocher." While it means "chooses" in modern Hebrew, I think that in context it means something more like "desires" or "delights in." I like your "musical poems" idea.

Fri Oct 10, 07:44:00 AM 2008  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

To the best of my knowledge (such as it is), "shir" means both song and poem--Hebrew doesn't seem to differentiate between them--and "zemer" means both song and music. Thanks for the information and the compliment.

Fri Oct 10, 12:47:00 PM 2008  

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