We are midway through Elul (check out the full moon at our BBQ tomorrow August 30). Below is a third translation of Psalm 27, traditionally recited each morning of Elul in preparation for the Yamim Noraim/Days of Awe. You can find the first two translations I posted here and here. (Next week I’ll post a fourth.) In her inaugural leading of Kabbalat Shabbat services last night as our visiting rabbi, Rabbi Alana mentioned the psalms/tehillim that are part of the Friday night service, which started me off thinking about how much of our liturgy is drawn from the Psalms. According to this source, “seventy-four of the hundred and fifty Psalms are incorporated bodily in the Siddur.” The Reconstructionist siddur uses many interpretive translations of the Psalms. The interpretation (can it be called a translation?) of Psalm 27 below, by Rabbi Patti Haskel, is the most colloquial I’ve found. I love it that she can translate the ponderous beseeching of the psalm into these light, easily relatable words. You can find this poem on Ritualwell.org (a wonderful resource for many things) here.
Psalm 27/Poem by Rabbi Patti Haskel
Good morning, God, happy Elul.
This day, one thing do I ask of you, God,
One thing do I seek:
To dwell in your house
All the days of my life.
… and while I dwell with you
Perhaps a few more things I might request:
Good health is at the top of my list—
For me, my family, my loved ones,
While we’re at it how about everyone, everywhere.
And perhaps food:
A healthy nosh for all who are hungry.
Quench all hunger and thirst with your love.
We do hunger for more than food and drink, so
Please quench other needs as well.
Okay, how ‘bout safety.
Safety from earthquakes, hurricanes,
Safety from one another.
Safety from all that frightens us
Safety to rest in your care.
Please give us much fun, silliness
to giggle at, many many smiles.
Smiles as we watch children investigate their worlds,
Smiles as we explore the lives of our elders.
God, let me behold your graciousness
Today… each day of Elul… each day
Of this year, and next, and then the next,
While I visit your temple
And immerse in your love.