Why doesn’t she drink?

כְּאַיָּל, תַּעֲרֹג עַל-אֲפִיקֵי-מָיִם
כֵּן נַפְשִׁי תַעֲרֹג אֵלֶיךָ אֱלֹהִים.
2 The way a deer longs for streams of water,
my soul has longed for you, God of Strength.
— Psalm 42:2 (whole psalm here)

R. Shefa Gold (C-DEEP, Kol Zimra) offers a teaching on this verse:

The deer…is standing at the riverbank. Her longing is for that water that is right there, right in front of her.
— chant and full teaching, “Longing: Kayn Nafshi Ta’arog”

David Blumenstein (Kol Zimra, Fabrangen West) adds another layer:

Why doesn’t she drink?
Deer, vulnerable when they drop their heads, are cautious about drinking.

A few notes about Psalms 42 and 84 (discussed in previous post):
Ps. 42:2 is used in the Kabbalat Shabbat piyut “Yedid Nefesh
Ps. 42:5 opens the Yom Kippur piyut “Eleh Ezkerah
Ps. 42:3 & 84:3 form the refrain of “Tzam’ah Nafshi” by Ibn Ezra (1089-1167) Ps. 84:6 is used in a Yehuda Halevi (1075?-1141) Selichot poem
Ps. 84:5 opens Ashrei, which means that afternoon services begin with celebration of “the house” and/or praise for showing up
Psalm 84:6-8 appear in Christian and Rastafarian songs, celebrating “going to Zion”

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Virginia hosts "Conversations Toward Repair" on We Act Radio, manages WeLuvBooks.org, blogs on general stuff a vspatz.net and more Jewish topics at songeveryday.org and Rereading4Liberation.com

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