This course studies the Psalms of Pesukei DeZimra of Shabbat – Psalms 19, 34, 90, 91, 135, 136, 33, 92 and 93. The concluding section focuses on the origins of Psalms as evidenced in Biblical and Rabbinic texts.
The goal of the course is to develop skills for the study of Tehillim in Hebrew, to develop familiarity with Biblical poetry in general and with Psalms specifically. The course is designed to provide tools for Psalms and Tanach study in Hebrew, as well as expand students understanding of Psalms that are part of the Shabbat tefillot (prayers). Students can learn the Psalms in translation but the emphasis of the study materials is on building skills for learning and understanding Psalms in the original Hebrew.
Psalm 19 – Nature and Torah 1. Activity Find all the words you can in the Psalm that relate to the sun or light. 2. Structure How many distinct sections do you find in this Psalm? How do the parts relate to one another? 3. Difficult words/phrases Verse 4 Try to come […]
Psalm 34 Activities- Read Psalm 34 in Hebrew or English. Are any phrases familiar to you? Where in liturgy do verse 4 and verses 10-11 appear? Examine acrostic structure of the Psalm. Are all the letters of the alphabet used? Does the alphabetical structure enhance the Psalms meaning? Examine the Psalm for synonyms for righteous […]
Psalm 90 1. Reading exercise Read through the Psalm in English. Do you find this Psalm soothing? Disturbing? What emotions does it raise in you? 2. Activity Review the Hebrew text of the Psalm. Are there recurring words? How do they help determine a theme for the Psalm? Choose one theme of the […]
Psalm 91 Favorite Psalm of Reba McIntyre 1. Reading exercise Read the Psalm in Hebrew and note Hebrew words that are not familiar to you. See the list below (question 6) for some definitions. 2. Activity List the images of protection found in this Psalm. Which is your favorite? 3. Setting Some […]
Psalm 135 Standing Prayer 1. Reading exercise Read the Psalm in Hebrew and note any familiar phrases, expressions or words. 2. Activity This Psalm has several different ways of describing G-d and G-ds activity in the world. How would you describe the theological themes of the Psalm? 3. Setting Please answer one […]
Psalm 136 Ki L’Olam Hasdo 1. Reading exercise Read through the Psalm. How does the repeated refrain influence your response to the Psalm? Do you think the Psalm tells a story? 2. Activity Review the Psalm for parallels with Psalm 135. How do you see the relationship between these two Psalms? Together, do […]
Psalm 33 Hoping for G-d 1. Reading exercise Read through the Psalm in Hebrew and look for familiar words and expressions. How much of the Psalm can you understand and how much is unclear to you? 2. Activity Identify the verbs in the Psalm and look up some of the verbs you do […]
Psalm 92 Psalm for Shabbat 1. Reading exercise Read Psalm 92 in Hebrew and English. How do you see this Psalm connecting with Shabbat? 2. Activity Review the Hebrew text of the Psalm. Which words are synonyms? Which words are repeated? 3. Setting What locations are mentioned in the Psalm? How do […]
Psalm 93 – Water 1. Reading exercise Read Psalm 93 in Hebrew and English. Do you experience a rhythm to the Psalm? 2. Activity Review the Hebrew text of the Psalm. Which words in the Psalm refer to water? 3. Setting Are there any references to location in this Psalm? Where do you […]