Ascending to the greatest heights ✡ “A Song of Ascents”

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A song of ascents. In my distress I called to Hashem and He answered me.
Psalms 120:1 (The Israel Bible™)

שִׁיר הַמַּעֲלוֹת אֶל־יְהֹוָה בַּצָּרָתָה לִּי קָרָאתִי וַיַּעֲנֵנִי

Ascending to the greatest heights

What is the meaning the Hebrew word maalot (מעלות), translated here as ‘ascents,’ which appears in the opening phrases of the next fifteen psalms? According to Rashi, it is a reference to the fifteen steps in the Beit Hamikdash upon which the Leviim stood while reciting these fifteen psalms. Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch explains the ascent in a spiritual way. He understands it to mean that from our low spiritual depths, we call, pray, and sing to Hashem to lift us up, or to give us the ability to ascend to the greatest heights.

According to this interpretation, 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 were sung by those who returned to Eretz Yisrael from the Babylonian exile in the times of Ezra, upon their ascent to the Holy Land, as reflected in Psalm 126:1 “A Song of Ascents. when Hashem restores the fortunes of Tzion…” Travelling to the Land of Israel is always considered an ascent, as the verse in Ezra 7:9 says: “On the first day of the first month, the journey up from Babylon was started.” Even today, moving to Israel is referred to as making aliyah, i.e, ‘ascending’ to live in the Land of Israel. (source, Breaking Israel News)

Opinion: Isaiah 40:31 also uses the Hebrew word alah from where we get Aliyah, for soar: to ascend to Jerusalem.

Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles.  They will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

From Isaiah we can get an additional meaning to the Jews’ ascent to Jerusalem. On the final day of the church age both Jew and Gentile who hope in the pardon that the cross of Jesus Christ provides, will soar at the sound of the final trumpet:

1 Cor. 15:51-52 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed”.

Once free of our sin nature our souls soar to our Creator:

1 Thess. 4:16-18 “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord”.

“Therefore comfort one another with these words”.