Yih’yu L’ratzon – May the words of my mouth

Music and audio © 21 May 2023 Alexander Massey – All Rights Reserved

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“May the words of my mouth, and the song in my heart, be pleasing to you, my God, my Rock and my Redeemer.” (Ps 19:14)

These words are used at the end of the daily prayer (T’filah / Amidah). I love these words—for their simplicity and beauty. They are a deep challenge to me to make my prayer authentic. And they are a call to action—I cannot say these words with integrity, unless I follow through with actions that support what I have said in my prayers. That is a daunting prospect. As Abraham Joshua Heschel (‘Man’s Quest for God’, 1954) wrote: “[In] prayer, words are commitments, not the subject matter for aesthetic reflection, … prayer is meaningless unless we stand for what we utter, unless we feel what we accept. A word of prayer is a word of honour given to God.” Hegyon is normally translated as ‘meditation’. I have used the word ‘song’ to simplify the language, and because Strong’s Concordance suggests that hegyon can also mean a ‘resounding music’. I understand hegyon as being an experience beyond words that lifts the spirit – hence the word ‘song’.