Ma Tovu: Hebrew Chant for Yom Kippur

Rabbi Jack Zimmerman of Jewish Voice explains more about the Ma Tovu, which is a Hebrew word that means “O How Good” or “How Goodly.” It is chanted or sung on the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur (“Day of Atonement”). After the brief explanation, Rabbi Jack sings the Ma Tovu in Hebrew.

Traditional Hebrew Prayer: How Goodly [are your Tents]

Hebrew text

מה טבו אהליך יעקב, משכנותיך ישראל (Numbers 24:5)
ואני ברב חסדך אבוא ביתך אשתחוה אל היכל קדשך ביראתך (Psalm 5:7)
ה׳ אהבתי מעון ביתך, ומקום משכן כבודך (Psalm 26:8)
ואני אשתחוה ואכרעה, אברכה לפני ה׳ עשי (Psalm 95:6, adapted)
ואני, תפלתי לך ה׳, עת רצון, אלהים ברב חסדך, ענני באמת ישעך (Psalm 69:14)


Ma tovu ohalekha Ya’akov, mishk’notekha Yisra’el.
Va’ani b’rov hasd’kha, avo veytekha,
Eshtahaveh el heikhal kodsh’kha b’yir’atekha.
Adonai ahavti m’on beitekha, um-kom mishkan k’vodekha.
Va’ani eshtahave v’ekhra’a.
Evr’kha lifnei Adonai osi.
Va’ani t’filati l’kha Adonai et ratzon.
Elohim b’rov hasdekha aneini b’emet yish’ekha.

English translation

How goodly are your tents, O Jacob, your dwelling places, O Israel!
And I, with Your great loving-kindness, shall enter Your House; I shall prostrate myself toward Your Holy Temple in the fear of You.
O Lord, I love the dwelling of Your house and the place of the residence of Your glory.
Come, let us prostrate ourselves and bow; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker.
But, as for me, may my prayer to You, O Lord, be in an acceptable time. O God, with Your abundant kindness, answer me with the truth of Your salvation.

Book Rabbi Jack to speak about Jewish holidays, feasts, festivals, traditions, etc. at your church or congregation. Visit our Church Relations page.

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  1. Martha

     /  September 18, 2010

    Thank you!

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