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אֶבֶן הָרֹאשָׁה | Even haRoshah (“The corner stone”), a seliḥah for the Fast of Tevet attributed to Avraham bar Menaḥem (13th c.)


Source (Hebrew)Translation (English)
אֱלֹהֵינוּ וֵאֹלהֵי אָבוֹתֵינוּ
Our God, and the God of our fathers.
אֶבֶן הָרֹאשָׁה.
לְעִיִּים וְלַהֲרִישָׁה.
וְנוֹהֲלֵי מוֹרָשָׁה.
מְנֽוֹד־רֹ֗֝אשׁ בַּלְאֻמִּֽים׃ (תהלים מד:טו חלק)
The corner stone[1] Zechariah 4:7. i.e., the Temple 
has been turned into heaps, and into a ploughed field,
and the inheritors of the Torah
have become a shaking of the head among the people.[2] Psalm 44:15 b. 
בְּקִרְבִּי לֵב נִכְאַב.
וְנִדְוֶה וְנִדְאַב.
וְנִשְׁאַרְנוּ כְּאֵין אָב.
וְהָיִינוּ כִּיתוֹמִים׃
My heart is sorrowful within me,
I am grieved
that we are left as fatherless,
and are as orphans.
רַכָּה וַעֲנֻּגָה.
בַּשׁוֹשַׁנִּים סוּגָה.
עַתָּה הִא נוּגָה.
מְסוּרָה בְּיַד קָמִים׃
The tender and delicate one,[3] The daughter of Zion, i.e., the people of Israel. 
once set about with lilies,
how is she afflicted now,
delivered up into the hand of her enemies.
הָיְתָ֖ה כְּאַלְמָנָ֑ה. (איכה א:א חלק)
קִרְיָ֖ה נֶאֱמָנָ֑ה. (ישעיה א:כא חלק)
וְזֶרַע מִי־מָנָה
נִמְכְּרוּ בְּלֹא־דָמִים׃
The faithful city[4] Lamentations 1:1. 
has become as a widow,[5] Isaiah 1:21. 
and her numberless children
have been sold for nought.
מְעֻנָּגָה וְרַכָּה.
צָלְחָה לִמְלוּכָה.
וּמֵעֲנִיתָהּ אָרְכָה.
זֶה כַּמָּה יָמִים׃
Other nations
have attained dominion,
and prospered
these many years;
בֵּית יַעֲקֹב לְבִזָּה.
לְלַעַג וּלְעִזָּה.
וְהָעִיר הָעַלִיזָה.
לְמַטְּעֵי כְרָמִים׃
but the house of Yaaḳov
has become a prey, and a derision,
and the rejoicing city
as plantings of vineyards.
רְווּיָה תַרְעֵלָה.
בְּיַד בְּנֵי־עַוְלָה.
הָרְצוּיָה כְעוֹלָה.
וְכִקְטוֹרֶת סַמִּים׃
Full of the cup of trembling,
she who was once as acceptable
as a burnt-offering and as sweet incense,
is now in the hands of the sons of wickedness.
מָאֲסָה לִזְנוֹחַ.
תּוֹרַת אֲבִי זָנוֹחַ.
וְלֹא מָצְאָה מָנוֹחַ.
לֵילוֹת וְיָמִים׃
She has disdainfully forsaken
the Torah of Mosheh,[6] Abi Sonoach is one of the names of Mosheh. (See Megillah 13.1.) 
hence she finds no rest
either by night or day.
נוֹרָא אֵל עֶלְיוֹן.
מִמְּךָ יְהִי צִבְיוֹן.
לְהָשִׁיב לְרִיב צִיּוֹן.
שְׁנַת שִׁלּוּמִים׃
Awesome El Elyon!
may it be thy pleasure
to bring about the year of requital
for injured Tsiyon.
חַדֵּשׁ יָמֵינוּ כְּקֶדֶם.
מְעוֹנָה אֱלֹהֵי קֶדֶם.
וְלַבֵּן כַּצֶּמֶר אוֹדֶם.
וְכַשֶּׁלֶג כְּתָמִים׃
Renew our days as of old,
be our refuge, our elo’ah of old,
and whiten as wool our red sin,
and our stains as snow.
חַזְּקֵנו בְּיִרְאָתֶךָ.
וּבְקִיוּם תּוֹרָתֶךָ.
וּפָקְדֵנוּ. בִּישׁוּעָתֶךָ.
אֵל מָלֵא רַחֲמִים׃
Strengthen us in the fear of thee,
and in the fulfilment of thy Torah,
and visit us with thy salvation,
El, full of compassion.

“Even haRoshah” (the corner stone) is a seliḥah recited on the Fast of Tevet in the Ashkenazi nusaḥ minhag Polin. The author is identified via his acrostic signature followed by “Ḥazaq!” Isaac Gantewerk Mayer transcribed the Hebrew and added citations. The English translation (transcribed here by Aharon Varady) was made by David Asher for his 1912 collection of seliḥot. I have replaced “the Lord” with YHVH and “th” suffixes from several verbs. –Aharon Varady




1Zechariah 4:7. i.e., the Temple
2Psalm 44:15 b.
3The daughter of Zion, i.e., the people of Israel.
4Lamentations 1:1.
5Isaiah 1:21.
6Abi Sonoach is one of the names of Mosheh. (See Megillah 13.1.)



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