Hatred of Haters and Turbulent Branching of Thoughts

Put an end to the hatred of haters
those who have made me their foe

Search me out with shovel and torchlight, God
know my heart by means of compassion.

Understand the turbulent branching of my thoughts.

See the road that brings me sadness,
and lead me instead on the path of eternal life.
— Ps. 139:22-24
translation is by Pamela Greenberg,
The Complete Psalms: The Book of Prayer Songs in a New Translation. NY: Bloomsbury, 2010

Psalm 139 is one that Jews use at times of trouble to ask for guidance. Eight years ago, just about this time, Pamela Greenberg gave permission for a DC-based group to use her translation for a program in solidarity with Women of the Wall. Many of the sentiments expressed at that time of trouble are just as applicable to this Elul. And her translation of the psalms has provided much solace and challenge in the intervening eight years. Several verses are illustrated here with a particular prayer intention for my hometown of 30 years at this time of unrest and a prayer for all who are experiencing “turbulent branching of thoughts” and seeking an “end to the hatred of haters.”

The new month begins on August 11-12.

new moon shofar

Description of graphic: a sliver of a bright new moon in a dark sky in the background, with the central image a shofar with a single twist near its mouthpiece at the bottom left and its horn upward near the top right. Below the shofar are the words in English, “Put an end to the hatred of haters,” and the Hebrew from Ps. 139:22 — תַּכְלִית שִׂנְאָה שְׂנֵאתִים

Scrolling across the shofar are the words, also from Greenberg’s translation of Psalm 139: Understand the turbulent branching of my thoughts [lettering here includes “branches” that reach up to entwine]. See the road that brings me sadness and lead me instead on the path of eternal life.

Under the shofar is a simple new month prayer for Elul: Help us Renew our lives at the new moon and for the new year to come.

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