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In Adon Olam some translate the words מְנָת כּוֹסִי in the antepenultimate stanza as “the portion of my cup”. (Wikipedia translates as “Filling my cup” but I do not see that meaning in מְנָת.)

For reference, the stanza is:

וְהוּא נִסִּי וּמָנוֹס לִי
מְנָת כּוֹסִי בְּיוֹם אֶקְרָא

This is probably a parable for something other than the literal translation.

What is the meaning of the words simply and in the meaning of the parable?

  • 2
    Why is there anything wrong with seeing menat from m-n-h meaning amount or "counting"? The kos is that which we like to have overflowing (tehillim 23). When we call upon god, he fills up our cup with the measure that we need. – rosends May 30 '13 at 17:28
  • @Danno So the word מְנָת will be used there as a verb? The poem seems to say that Hashem is the מְנָת of my cup. BTW, Artscroll translates מְנָת as "portion" too. – Avrohom Yitzchok May 31 '13 at 9:26
  • menat would be a noun (the amount of my kos). The process (the filling/verb) ends up with the final status -- that Hashem IS the portion/amount which I will have in my cup. – rosends May 31 '13 at 10:47
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This is a paraphrase of Psalms 16:5:

יְהוָה מְנָת-חֶלְקִי וְכוֹסִי , אַתָּה תּוֹמִיךְ גּוֹרָלִי

It means that God is my "portion". Just as every man has his "portion" in life, the same way that a person is given a portion of wine in his cup at a meal, the true servant of God has God as his portion in his life. It is what his focus in life is. (God is also called the "חלק" of Jacob in Jer. 10:16: "לֹא-כְאֵלֶּה חֵלֶק יַעֲקֹב", as well as Ps. 119:57: "חֶלְקִי יְהוָה אָמַרְתִּי".)

The phrase "מנת כוסי" is used here in the sense of "my portion" and as interchangeable with "חלקי" (and also in Ps. 11:6: "וְרוּחַ זִלְעָפוֹת--מְנָת כּוֹסָם"). ‎ "מנת" is the possessive form of "מנה", which means "portion" just like "חלק" in this context. According to Radak, "כוסי" also means "portion" here and these words are put together as if one is possessive of the other even though they are separate nouns, just like "אדמת עפר" (Daniel 12:2). According to others, though, "מנת כוסי" just means "מנה הנופל בכוסי", i.e. the portion that is in my cup - my share - in this life.

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The Siddur Shay LaMora quotes the Olas Tamid according to Rashi's first explination to Tehillim 16:5 that it means all good that I have comes from Him.

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Along the lines of what Danno said, this is a perfectly fine translation and turn of phrase. מנת כוסי is symbolic imagery of God fulfilling all of our needs, and even making our cups 'runneth over!'

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