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The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary
   

Tehillim - Psalms - Chapter 80

Tehillim - Psalms - Chapter 80

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Rashi's Commentary:

Chapter 80

1. For the conductor, to the roses, a testimony, of Asaph a song.   א. לַמְנַצֵּחַ אֶל שׁוֹשַׁנִּים עֵדוּת לְאָסָף מִזְמוֹר:
to the roses: To Israel.  
a testimony, of Asaph, a song: A song of testimony in which he alluded to the three exiles and prayed about them. For it is mentioned in this psalm three times: “Return us, cause Your countenance to shine, and we shall be saved,” and in it, he alluded to the troubles that were destined to befall them in the days of the house of Jehu, from the kings of Aram. For it is stated (II Kings 13:7): “for the king of Aram had destroyed them and made them like dust to trample.”  
2. O Shepherd of Israel, hearken, He Who leads Joseph like flocks, He Who dwells between the cherubim, appear.   ב. רֹעֵה יִשְׂרָאֵל | הַאֲזִינָה נֹהֵג כַּצֹּאן יוֹסֵף יֹשֵׁב הַכְּרוּבִים הוֹפִיעָה:
O Shepherd of Israel: Their leader and supporter.  
Joseph: All Israel are called by the name Joseph because he sustained and supported them in time of famine.  
He Who dwells between the cherubim: As it is said (Exod. 25: 22): “There I shall meet with you at appointed times, etc.”  
appear: Demonstrate Your might.  
3. Before Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh arouse Your might, and it is for You to save us.   ג. לִפְנֵי אֶפְרַיִם | וּבִנְיָמִן וּמְנַשֶּׁה עוֹרְרָה אֶת גְּבוּרָתֶךָ וּלְכָה לִישֻׁעָתָה לָּנוּ:
Before Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh: when they need Your salvation. Although they are wicked and undeserving, arouse Your might for them. But why? Because it is for You to save us. It is fitting for You and it is incumbent upon You to save, whether guilty or innocent, as it was said to Moses in Egypt (Exod. 3:7): “I have seen the affliction of My people.” Why is the word for seeing repeated? I see that they are destined to provoke Me. Nevertheless, I have seen their affliction, because of the oath that I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  
Ephraim: in the war with Aram, when he besieged Samaria and sent emissaries to Ahab (I Kings 20:3): “Your silver and gold are mine; your beautiful wives and children are mine.”  
Manasseh: in the days of Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz, as it is said (II Kings 13:4, 7): “for He saw Israel’s oppression, etc., for the king of Aram had destroyed them and made them like dust to trample.” And he beat him in war three times, as it is said (II Kings 13:25): “Joash overcame him three times and recovered the cities of Israel.”  
Benjamin: in the time of Ahasuerus, when Mordechai and Esther were in danger, and all Israel depended on them.  
and it is for You to save us: Heb. ולכה. This is not an expression of going, but is like לְ, and so it is in the Masorah of (Gen. 27:37): “and for you (ולכה) then,” of Jacob; (II Sam. 18:22) “since for you (ולכה) there is no [reward] given for news” ; (Isa. 3:6), “You have (לכה) a garment; be an officer to us, etc.”  
4. O God, return us; cause Your countenance to shine and we shall be saved.   ד. אֱלֹהִים הֲשִׁיבֵנוּ וְהָאֵר פָּנֶיךָ וְנִוָּשֵׁעָה:
return us: from the Babylonian exile, where Mordechai was.  
5. O Lord God of Hosts, how long have You been wroth at Your people's prayer?   ה. יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהִים צְבָאוֹת עַד מָתַי עָשַׁנְתָּ בִּתְפִלַּת עַמֶּךָ:
how long have You been wroth: [This refers to] the troubles brought about by the Greek kings, who harmed Israel considerably.  
6. You have fed them bread of tears, and You have given them to drink tears in large measure.   ו. הֶאֱכַלְתָּם לֶחֶם דִּמְעָה וַתַּשְׁקֵמוֹ בִּדְמָעוֹת שָׁלִישׁ:
You have fed them bread of tears: in Egypt.  
and You have given them to drink tears in large measure: Heb. שליש. In Babylon, where they were for seventy years, a third (שליש) of the two hundred and ten of Egypt. I learned this from the work of Rabbi Moshe Hadarshan. It may also be interpreted as regards the kingdom of Greece, which represents the third trouble. If you ask, is that [not] the fourth, because Persia and Media came before, all the seventy years of the Babylonian exile are only one exile. Menachem (p. 175) interprets שליש as the name of a drinking vessel. So he explained (Isa. 40:12): “and He measured with a ‘shalish’ the dust of the earth.” Our Sages explained it (Mid. Ps. 80:4) as referring to the three tears that Esau shed, concerning whom it is said (Gen. 27:34): “and he cried a cry.” That is one. “A great one.” That is two. “And a bitter one.” That is three. Because of them, he merited to live by his sword, as it is said (Gen. 27: 40): “and it will come to pass when you complain, etc.”  
7. You have made us the target of strife to our neighbors, and our enemies mock themselves.   ז. תְּשִׂימֵנוּ מָדוֹן לִשְׁכֵנֵינוּ וְאֹיְבֵינוּ יִלְעֲגוּ לָמוֹ:
You have made us the target of strife: You have made us the target of strife to all our neighbors, for the Greeks have quarreled with us.  
8. O God of Hosts, return us; cause Your countenance to shine and we shall be saved.   ח. אֱלֹהִים צְבָאוֹת הֲשִׁיבֵנוּ וְהָאֵר פָּנֶיךָ וְנִוָּשֵׁעָה:
return us, etc., and we shall be saved: from the Greeks.  
9. You uprooted a vine from Egypt; You drove out nations and planted it.   ט. גֶּפֶן מִמִּצְרַיִם תַּסִּיעַ תְּגָרֵשׁ גּוֹיִם וַתִּטָּעֶהָ:
You uprooted a vine from Egypt: He went back and alluded to the exile of the Romans. The vine of Israel, which You uprooted from Egypt. You uprooted them from there, as (Job 19:10): “He has uprooted (ויסע) my hope like a tree.” Afterwards, You drove out the seven nations and planted Israel in their land.  
10. You cleared [a place] before it; it took root and filled the land.   י. פִּנִּיתָ לְפָנֶיהָ וַתַּשְׁרֵשׁ שָׁרָשֶׁיהָ וַתְּמַלֵּא אָרֶץ:
You cleared before it: those dwelling there.  
11. Mountains were covered [by] its shade, and its branches were great cedars.   יא. כָּסּוּ הָרִים צִלָּהּ וַעֲנָפֶיהָ אַרְזֵי אֵל:
and its branches were great cedars: Heb. ארזי אל, like strong cedars, i.e., mighty kings.  
12. It sent forth its branches until the sea, and to the river its tender shoots.   יב. תְּשַׁלַּח קְצִירֶהָ עַד יָם וְאֶל נָהָר יוֹנְקוֹתֶיהָ:
It sent forth its branches: Heb. קצירה. It sent forth its branches, as (Job 14:9): “and it will produce a branch (קציר).”  
until the sea: Its boundary was until the Mediterranean Sea.  
and to the river its tender shoots: The width of Eretz Israel is from the desert to the Euphrates River.  
13. Why have You breached its fences, so that all wayfarers have plucked its fruit?   יג. לָמָּה פָּרַצְתָּ גְדֵרֶיהָ וְאָרוּהָ כָּל עֹבְרֵי דָרֶךְ:
Why: now?  
have You breached its fences: of that vineyard?  
so that all wayfarers have plucked its fruit: וארוה. All who came plucked it, as (Song 5:1): “I gathered (אריתי) my myrrh with my spices.” Similarly, in the language of the Mishnah (Shevi’ith 1:2): “as much space as is required by a picker (אורה) and his basket.”  
14. The boar from the forest gnaw at it, and the creeping things of the field graze on it?   יד. יְכַרְסְמֶנָּה חֲזִיר מִיָּעַר וְזִיז שָׂדַי יִרְעֶנָּה:
The boar from the forest gnaws at it: Heb. יכרסמנה, as (Peah 2:7): “A field that the ants have nibbled (קרסמוה),” an expression of plucking out.  
from the forest: Heb. מיער. The “ayin” is suspended (as though it were written with an “aleph”). If Israel is worthy, the enemies are like the beasts of the river, which have no strength to climb out upon the dry land; but when retribution is decreed upon them, he (sic) grows strong as the beast of the forest, which destroys and kills. The boar of the forest is Esau, as is written (Dan. 7:7): “It devoured and broke in pieces and the rest it trampled with its feet.” And it (the swine) has some signs of purity. Esau, too, has the merit of his fathers.  
and the creeping things of the field: Heb. זיז, all creeping things of the field. The expression זיז means anything that constantly moves from its place.  
graze upon it: Graze upon it and its branches and eat them.  
15. O God of Hosts, return now; look from heaven and see, and be mindful of this vine,   טו. אֱלֹהִים צְבָאוֹת שׁוּב נָא הַבֵּט מִשָּׁמַיִם וּרְאֵה וּפְקֹד גֶּפֶן זֹאת:
16. And of the foundation that Your right hand has planted and over the son You have strengthened for Yourself.   טז. וְכַנָּה אֲשֶׁר נָטְעָה יְמִינֶךָ וְעַל בֵּן אִמַּצְתָּה לָּךְ:
And of the foundation that Your right hand has planted: Which is founded and established, which Your right hand has planted, an expression of (Gen. 40:13): “and restore you to your office (כנך).”  
and over the son You have strengthened for Yourself: And over Esau, who was a beloved son to this father, who would call him, “my son.” You strengthened the vine of Jacob for Yourself, as it is said (Gen. 27:40): “and You will serve your brother.” Now it is…  
17. Burned with fire [and] cut off; from the rebuke of Your countenance they perish.   יז. שְׂרֻפָה בָאֵשׁ כְּסוּחָה מִגַּעֲרַת פָּנֶיךָ יֹאבֵדוּ:
Burned with fire [and] cut off: Heb. כסוחה, an expression of (Lev. 25:4): "You shall not prune (תזמר), which Onkelos renders: לא תכסח.  
they perish: constantly; they continually perish from the rebuke of Your face and Your anger.  
18. May Your hand be upon the man of Your right hand, upon the son of man whom You strengthened for Yourself.   יח. תְּהִי יָדְךָ עַל אִישׁ יְמִינֶךָ עַל בֶּן אָדָם אִמַּצְתָּ לָּךְ:
May Your hand be upon the man of Your right hand: Deliver Your blows upon the manviz. Esauwho is destined to receive retribution from Your right hand.  
upon the son of man: whom You strengthened for Yourself that his habitation should be the fat places of the earth.  
19. And let us not withdraw from You; grant us life, and we shall call out in Your name.   יט. וְלֹא נָסוֹג מִמֶּךָּ תְּחַיֵּינוּ וּבְשִׁמְךָ נִקְרָא:
And let us not withdraw from You: Do not cause us to withdraw from You.  
grant us life: from the exile, and we shall mention Your goodness and Your might, and then we shall call out in Your name.  
20. O Lord God of Hosts, return us; cause Your countenance to shine, and we shall be saved.   כ. יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהִים צְבָאוֹת הֲשִׁיבֵנוּ הָאֵר פָּנֶיךָ וְנִוָּשֵׁעָה:
O Lord God of Hosts: Here are mentioned three holy names, yet in the middle case two names and in the first case one name. All this is according to the intensity of the exile, the trouble, and the redemption (which shall surely come).  
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