Perek Shira - Prayer of the Dove

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Transcript of Perek Shira - Prayer of the Dove

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    General Information

    Perek Shirah, literally "A Chapter Of Song," is an ancient text that is at least a thousandyears old; some ancient commentaries even attribute its authorship to ing !avid #ttakes the form of a list of eighty$four elements of the natural %orld, including elementsof the sky and of the earth, plants, birds, animals, and insects, attaching a verse from the&ible to each' (he concept behind Perek Shirah is that everything in the natural %orldteaches us a lesson in philosophy or ethics, and the verse gives a clue as to %hat thatlesson is' (he result is the "song" of the natural %orld, the tapestry of lessons for lifethat the natural %orld is telling us'Perek Shirah, a %ork of tremendous historic value, isitself extremely mysterious and cryptic' )o%ever, various commentaries have been%ritten on it over the last five hundred years, %hich give an insight into %hat the verse

    is telling us to learn from the creature'

    (hus, for example,Perek Shirahstates that "(he lion is saying, *+od shall go out as amighty man, he shall arouse eal, he shall cry, even roar; he shall prevail over hisenemies -#saiah ./0123'" (he lion teaches us of the importance of might and po%er' (hisdoes not mean physical strength; true po%er is po%er over oneself' All big cats areaggressive predators and therefore cannot get along even %ith each other; it is only thelion that is able to someho% control its aggression and live in groups' (he lion teachesus of the greatest po%er, that of self$control'

    Nature's Song is the first 4nglish explanation ofPerek Shirah ' #t makes use of rare

    ancient commentaries onPerek Shirah, as %ell as contemporary insights from the fieldsof meteorology, oology and so on' (he result is a &iblical encyclopedia of the natural%orld, synthesiing the ancient %ith the modern, that enables one to perceive ne%depths of insight into the natural %orld that surrounds us'

    )ardcover5 .6/ pages5 7etail Price 8/9'965 Published /::1 by (argum Press5!istributed by oo (orah

    The Circle of Life

    Perek Shirah, literally "A Chapter Of Song," is an ancient text that is at least t%othousand years old; some commentaries even attribute its authorship to ing !avid #ttakes the form of a list of eighty$four elements of the natural %orld, including elementsof the sky and of the earth, plants, birds, animals, and insects, attaching a verse from the(orah to each' (he concept behind Perek Shirah is that everything in the natural %orldteaches us a lesson in philosophy or ethics, and the verse gives a clue as to %hat thatlesson is' (he result is the "song" of the natural %orld, the tapestry of spiritual lessonsfor life that the natural %orld is telling us' Perek Shirah, a %ork of tremendous historic

    value, is itself extremely mysterious and cryptic' )o%ever, various commentaries have

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    been %ritten on it over the last five hundred years, %hich give an insight into %hat theverse is telling us to learn from the creature'

    (hus, for example, as %ell as individual animals being listed, there is also a mention ofthe %ild animals in general' #n this case, their song is not a verse, but rather a a3

    Iife has dignity, and +od ensures that this dignity is not lost in death' (his sameconsideration extends to %ild animals as %ell as to the victims of &etar' +od has created

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    a system to ensure that the bodies of %ild animals do not suffer the disgrace ofremaining on the ground'

    (he song of the %ild animals is the same as that sung over the victims of &etar' #t is anackno%ledgment of +od*s kindness in ensuring that the dignity of life is not lost in

    death; "&lessed is the One =ho is good and besto%s good'"

    7evie% by Pennee IaudersA beautiful book dealing %ith all the aspects of the natural %orld in the (orah

    perspective of ")o% great are Four %orks, )ashem," accompanied %ith poignant black$and$%hite illustrations, Jature*s Song is authoritative, factual, poetic, comprehensive, a

    brilliant %ork of art$and$science' A book to have and to give, to read repeatedly and tocherish'

    A fitting revie% for our Shavuos edition, for this momentous day in history %henCreation itself %as ultimately vindicated through the giving of the (orah to the E4%ishnation' "Fom )aShishi $ say Chaal $ "the Sixth !ay of Sivan" %hen the (Orha %asgiven, amidst lightning and thunder'

    @any years ago, # %as lent a tape about Perek Shirah' (he lecturer expounded at lengthon the fascinating, mystical significance of the text, but # never had an opportunity tolook into Perek Shirah itself' =here %as it? =hat %as it? (his %as, of course, partiallydue to my busy schedule, raising five bouncy boys' Jo% that three of them are busy

    bouncing else%here, #*m capable of perusing such formidable tomes as 7* JossonSlifkin*s handsome, informative, %ell$%ritten and thoroughly researched Jature*s Song'!elighted, # found Perek Shirah in )ebre% %ith 4nglish translation to be featured as thefirst textual entry' #t*s not that one can*t plo% laboriously through the )ebre% and comeup %ith a reasonable understanding by oneself' )o%ever, a busy baalebusta must becareful to budget her time %isely' (he translation together %ith the )ebre% makes iteasier to move for%ard and get into the ideas' (he really serious learners can tackleoriginal sources, as the ambitious author of this lovely volume has so courageouslydone' (hat he deigns to share his hard$earned kno%ledge and his personal insights %iththe (argum$eldheim readership is a chessed of immense proportions'

    One message of Perek Shirah, according to the author and those %hom he

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    Could 7* Fochonon have kno%n that at the end of days, there %ould be such a cryingdearth of the %isdom of the (orah*s mussar? (hat through teachers like 7* Slifkin %etinokos shenishbu %ould come to extract the (ruth even from the behavior of animals?#n fact, this book proves that %e are so far from nature that %e don*t even have a%orking relationship %ith many of the animals mentioned in Perek Shirah' )o% then

    can %e hope to obtain mussar at all if %e haven*t yet ac

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    as his perspective is imbibed and incorporated into the daily conduct of his upliftedreaders'

    Updates and Corrections

    $ =hile nesheris tentatively translated in the book as the griffon vulture, its true identityis described as unclear' urther research, ho%ever, has provided strong arguments that itis indeed the griffon vulture; clickherefor full details' # gave a shiur about themethodology of identifying the animals of the (orah at the recent OL conference onkashrus; you can do%nload it as an audio file at %%%'ootorah'com, in the "IectureSeries" section'

    $ Clarification0 (he identification of the retzifi/onchias the bat %as a total stab in thedark' =eak support %as claimed fromPi Eliyahu%ho identifies it as the tinshames, butthis is in fact no support at all, because he understands tinshamesto be the o%l' (he bat%as only chosen because, in light of there being no evidence %hatsoever as to %hat theretzifireally is, the bat at least matches the explanation given for the verse' #t mighthave been more appropriate to simply transliterate the name'

    $ (he rechamah %as identified as the bee$eater, but there is evidence that it may refer toa bird called the roller' urther information %ill hopefully be forthcoming'

    $ A variety of possibilities %ere suggested regarding the identity of the tanin' #t no%

    appears that %hile the term can include several creatures, the primary references are tocrocodiles and perhaps %hales' (he rishonim that %ho describe it as a "snakelike fish"are actually talking about a crocodile, and not an eel, as suggested in the book' (he%ord "dag" is used to refer to any a

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    The Lightning Bolts

    are saying, "He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; He makes lightning for

    the rain; He brings forth the wind from His storehouses."

    (Psalms 1!#$

    from Perek Shira

    Electric Shock

    %ightning comes about due to an imbalance in the electric charges between the ground andthe thunderhead. &he lightning bold instantly strikes and redresses the imbalance. 'ts asudden and striking way of doing so, but highly effective.

    ) similar imbalance of forces sometimes e*ists between