> Ask The Rabbi > Hebrew > Hebrew Language

The Word "Selah"

August 18, 2011 | by

The word "selah" is used frequently in the Book of Psalms (for example, in Psalms 3:3). But I have yet to see a good, consistent translation. Do you know what it means?

The Aish Rabbi Replies

The Talmud (Eruvin 54a) says that selah means "forever." The Radak (12th century France) saw it as a musical notation for the singers to raise their voices. And Ibn Ezra (12th century Spain) understood it to mean "true and certain."

Finally, Rabbi S.R. Hirsch (19th century Germany) explains that typically "selah" remains untranslated because it has no intrinsic meaning. Rather, it is poetic and adds extra emphasis - like someone yelling out "Yahoo!" in joyous emotion.

Perhaps "Selah" would be a good name for a Jewish search engine...

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