SHIR HA-MA'ALOT (Heb. שִׁיר המַּצֲלוֹת; "Song of Ascent"), superscription of Psalms 120–134 (see *Psalms). (The superscription of Psalm 121, however, is Shir la-Ma'-alot.) These psalms are now generally understood to have been sung by the pilgrims as they went up to Jerusalem to celebrate the three *Pilgrim Festivals. Those carrying the firstfruits chanted Psalm 122 as they approached Jerusalem (TJ Bik. 3:2, 65c). In the Ashkenazi rite, these psalms are recited together with Psalm 104 on Sabbath afternoons during the winter season and also on *Tu bi-Shevat. Psalm 126 is sung in the home before *Grace after Meals on Sabbaths and festivals.
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.