|A song of ascents. In my distress I called to Hashem and
He answered mePsalms 120:1 (The Israel Bible™)
שִׁיר הַמַּעֲלוֹת אֶל־יְהֹוָה בַּצָּרָתָה לִּי קָרָאתִי וַיַּעֲנֵנִי
Hear the verse in Hebrew
SHEER ha-ma-a-LOT el a-do-NAI ba-tza-RA-tah LEE ka-RA-tee va-ya-a-NAY-nee
Call to Hashem
What is the meaning of the Hebrew word maalot, translated here as ‘ascents,’ which appears in the opening phrases of the next fifteen psalms? According to tradition, it is a reference to the fifteen steps in the Beit Hamikdash (Holy Temple) upon which the Leviim(levites) stood while reciting these fifteen psalms. From our low spiritual depths, we call, pray, and sing to Hashem (God) to lift us up. One can see a clear reflection of this in the beginning of Psalm 130: “Out of the depths I call You, Hashem.” Other commentators suggest that these Tehillim (Psalms) were sung by those who returned to the Land of Israel from the Babylonian exile in the times of Ezra, upon their ascent to the Holy Land.