Psalm 27: Interpreting the Psalms
At a Kabbalat Shabbat OneShul.org in 2011, I lead a brief exploration of Psalm 27 before the service. It’s traditional to read the psalm each day during the month of Elul, which we are currently in as I write this. Over at PunkTorah.org I wrote about ways to use Psalm 27 as a daily practice, whether or not you currently have a daily prayer practice. You’ll also find more of my personal exploration of this practice on the NPR “On Being” blog.
One thing I didn’t mention in my post on PunkTorah, is this can be a great practice for interfaith couples (Jewish/Christian). In this case, grab interpretations and translations by both Christian and Jewish authors and compare what they have to say. This is easiest if you are in a Jewish/Christian relationship, but if you are in another form of interfaith relationship — try using sacred poetry that draws on similar themes and exploring that. Also, if you are in an inter-denominational Jewish relationship — this can also be very useful. In this case, each of you can choose authors or commentaries that represent your denomination.
Now let’s explore some of the many amazing interpretations of Psalm 27 that are available to us today.
Free Online Resources:
- Mechon-Mamre: JPS 1917 Edition in Hebrew and English
- Velveteen Rabbi: Rachel Barenblatt, aka The Velveteen Rabbi, has a couple of great posts on Psalm 27.
- Rabbinic Assembly: A lovely and thoughtful commentary on Psalm27
- Schechter Institute: Nice explanation of the genesis of this tradition, and commentary about the psalm
- Psalm 27 Chant: Created in 2012 by Ketzirah.
Books & Music
- Featured in OneShul.org discussion:
- Rejoice, Beloved Woman!: The Psalms Revisionedby Barbara Monda. The psalms reinterpreted through the lens of a Divine Feminine. The whole book is well worth it, each psalm is a treasure and the introduction is lovely.
- Opening to You: Zen-Inspired Translations of the Psalmsby Norman Fischer. The psalms as seen through the eyes of a Jewish man turned Buddhist. One of my all time favorite books on the psalms, and I’m really not into Buddhism.
- The Book of Psalms: A Translation with Commentary by David Alter. Both the translation and the commentary on the psalms is well worth it. David Alter is an eminent scholar of Jewish sacred texts.
- More Psalm 27 Options: