Tehillim (Psalms) 124:2 says:

לולי ה' שהיה לנו יאמר נא ישראל

Israel will say (something) about the chicken coops that G-d gave them. What will eventually happen to them? Where will they go? Why will they disappear?

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Many of the chicken coops will get destroyed, and only a few will remain, as the verse (Yeshaya 1:9) tells us:

לולי יהוה צבאות, הותיר לנו שריד כמעט

Of the chicken coops of the Lord of Hosts, a small remnant will remain.

Originally, these chicken coops used to belong to our forefather Yaakov, as the verse (Bereishis 31:42) says:

לולי אלוהי אבי אלוהי אברהם ופחד יצחק, היה לי

The chicken coops of the G-d of my father Avraham ... used to be mine

The verse is referring to the time after techiyas hameisim, when Yaakov Avinu will be resurrected, and the chicken coops will be returned to their original owner.

At that time, we won't be able to find the chicken coops, just like we won't be able to find Yaakov, as we are told (Tehillim 24:6):

זה דור דרשו, מבקשי פניך יעקב

This generation is seeking, trying to find your face, Yaakov.


Eventually, at least in messianic Times, all Israeli chicken coops will be converted to condos or rentals.

  • What will happen to the chickens? – ezra Feb 23 '18 at 18:13
  • @ezra. Lately, people have been downvoted for reasons only obvious to the downvoter. If I elaborate on the issue of gentrification, I fear the Mi Yodeya community will place me in herem. – JJLL Feb 24 '18 at 23:59

No, it's not referring to a chicken coop, but rather to G-d's "crib". Perhaps David HaMelech was trying to impress the kids and therefore composed a rap song. I mean, take a look at the lyrics:

:שיר המעלות לדוד: לולי ה' שהיה לנו יאמר נא ישראל: לולי ה' שהיה לנו בקום עלינו אדם

A pick-me-up by David. G-d's crib that was there for us, now let Israel say: G-d's crib that was there for us, when men rose up against us...

I think David should keep his day-job and keep writing traditional music. His rapping kinda stinks.


They must be destroyed, as it says in Gemara Shabbos 102b (Sefaria translation):

They similarly disagreed with regard to one who makes... ...a chicken coop. Rav said: He is liable due to the prohibited labor of building.

We see that one is liable for building a chicken coop, so we can infer that chicken coops must be destroyed.


The pasuk is a reference to this story (source):

If we are honest with ourselves, we may find that we are similar to the wife of the farmer in the following parable. This farmer was a simple but G'd-fearing person, living on the plains of Russia. One day he came home to his wife and told her that the Rabbi had said that soon Mashiach would come and take them all to the land of Israel. "This is terrible", said his wife. "Don't we have enough problems already? Who is going to tend to our chickens and look after our geese? You better go straight back to the Rabbi and tell him that we can have no part in this. It will be a real disaster." When the husband returned to the Rabbi with his wife's message, he told the farmer to go home and tell his wife that any day the Cossacks could come and plunder their farm and steal all their fowl. Obviously, they would be much better off when Mashiach will come and take them to the land of Israel. After the farmer related the Rabbi's response to his wife, she contemplated what he had said and understood that he had a valid point. Suddenly, she exclaimed, "I have a perfect solution. Let Mashiach come and take the Cossacks to the land of Israel and everything will be fine." As we hear this parable, we smile knowingly. But if we are honest with ourselves we are probably not that different than this good woman. Are we totally comfortable and at ease with the thought that when Mashiach comes we will be expected to leave the comfort of our home, and give up the security of our business? Are we really ready to face a somewhat unknown future under Mashiach in the land of Israel?

As the nimshal says, we all have "chickens" or something equivalent. When Mashiach comes, we'll look back on ourselves the same way we look at the farmer's wife and her chicken coops. יאמר נא ישראל - we should realize now that our chicken coops

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