Hidden Meaning

Shir Hamaalot: Planting with Tears


Rabbi David Fohrman

Rabbi David Fohrman

Founder and Lead Scholar

Can mourning bring us closer to redemption? This series dives deep into Shir Hamaalot (Psalm 126) to uncover incredible insights into dealing with grief, and the pivotal role mourning may play in building a connection with God.


The following presentation was originally framed by Rabbi Fohrman as a course on Tisha b’Av. He argued that Shir Hamaalot, the psalm that we commonly use in benching on sabbath and holidays -  understanding that psalm will help us get in touch with the power of tears. With their ability to connect and transform. The vast majority of this video directly deals with Shir Hamaalot, but at the end, Rabbi Fohrman will discuss some Tisha b’Av themes. We’ve chosen to leave them in, because, as you will see, they are quite relevant.

Here’s Rabbi Forhman:

Shir HaMa'alot: Uncovering a Hidden Meaning in Psalm 126

I want to go back to the Book of Psalms and read with you a chapter, a Psalm, that envisions a turning point – a moment in time at which perpetual mourning yields to the giddy exuberance of redemption. That Psalm is known as Shir HaMa'alot. Fascinatingly, Israel, at its birth, considered using Shir HaMa'alot as its national anthem, in the place of Hatikvah.

What is this song about? By tradition, we sing it before Grace After Meals, every Shabbat and holiday. Many of us know the words by heart. But it is one thing to know the words, and it is another to really understand them.

I want to go and look at this Psalm with you and cast away whatever preconceived notions we might have had about it – and really see it with you as if for the very first time. I want to discover with you the breathtaking depths that I think are there to be mined.

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