“Thus they pass, the Psalms”

Yehuda Amichai’s poem, “One I Wrote Now and in Other Days: Thus Glory Passes, Thus Pass the Psalms,” includes — not surprisingly — much language that comes directly from or alludes to the Psalms. For the stanza which begins “Thus glory passes. Thus they pass, the psalms,” the following references might be helpful. (See Temple Micah’s webpage for Hebrew and English text citations and more information.)

Ashrei ha-ish — happy is the man — Psalm 1:1
[only such reference, I think: other references I found are to a happy “adam,” rather than an “ish“]

K’eitz shatul — like a tree — Psalm 1:3, “like a tree planted by the water…”

Ashrei yoshvei beitecha — happy the ones who dwell in Your house — Psalm 84:5, familiar as the opening lines of the “Ashrei” prayer, which consists mostly of Psalm 145.

Kol ha-adam kozeiv — all men are false — Psalm 116:11

Avdei Adonai — servants of God/YHVH — Psalms 113:1 and 135:1 use the phrase, “Avdei YHVH,” while Psalms 134:1 uses “kol avdei YHVH.”

Tzuri v’yishi — my rock and my deliverance — Psalms 62:3 and 62:7 read, “tzuri v’y’shuati.”

Livnei Korach — sons of Korach — appears in the first verse of Psalms 42, 44-49, 84, 85, 87 and 88 (see aslo, Korach: Something to Notice); David, mentioned in the same phrase in Amichai’s poem, and often cited in opening psalms verses, is considered the primary author of the Psalms.

n’ot desheh — green pastures — Psalms 23:2.

al-mei m’nuchot — waters of repose — 23:2.

tzil’lei mavet — shadows of death, or “deepest darkness,” according to JPS translation — Psalm 23:4 uses the single word, “tzalmavet,” which also appears in Psalms 44:20 and 107:10 and 14 (as well as elsewhere in the Tanach.)


Remaining references in this stanza appear to be to the Machzor (high holiday prayerbook). More later.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s