Ps. 139: Ana Elech

Roly Matalon is Senior Rabbi at Congregation B'nai Jeshurun in New York City and co-director of Piyut North America. Ismail Lumanovski is a professional clarinestist and one of the B’nai Jeshurun musicians.  


Ana Elech

Piyut (devotional poem) by 16th century poet Israel Najara

Traditional Iraqi Melody

Performed by Roly Matalon and Ismail Lumanovski


English Translation

Where from your spirit could I go?

Where flee from your face?


I’d only flee from You to You.

And thrive in the shade You cast.


Yah, your presence fills the world.

You are a God of wonders.


If I could scale the heavens’ heights,

I’d find your brightest splendor.


And yet the sky’s too small for You.

The earth’s too cramped a space.


No tongue can tell your greatness, though

Its voice boomed like the waves.


The highest heavens are your seat.

Your footstool is the earth.


Your name is great. You have no east,

No west, no south, no north.


When I soar, it’s to your light,

And in the depths, you’re there.


Across the sea, your long arm’s reach

Can pluck me from afar.


There is then no escape from You.

Your mercy leads me home.


I’ll take your law to be my shield,

And You’ll show me the road.


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The opinions contained in this piece are solely the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Interfaith Youth Core. Interfaith America encourages a wide range of views and strives to maintain a respectful tone with a goal of greater understanding and cooperation between people of different faiths, worldviews, and traditions.