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זֶה יוֹם רִאשׁוֹן [ב׳]‏ | Zeh Yom Rishon [b], a song for Yom T’ruah by Ḥakham Zeraḥ ben Nathan of Troki (early 17th c.)

Source (Hebrew) Translation (English)

שיר נוסף ליום תרועה מאת החכם זרח בן נתן ע”ה מקה”ק טרוקי:
An additional song for Yom Teru‘ah from Ḥakham Zeraḥ ben Nathan, peace be upon him, from Troki.

זֶה יוֹם רִאשׁוֹן אֶל הַתְּשׁוּבָה
אֶל אִישׁ, יַעְזֹב אֶת הַמְּשׁוּבָה.
יָשִׁיב אֵלָיו וְנָשֽׁוּבָה.
זֶה יוֹם רִאשׁוֹן אֶל הַתְּשׁוּבָה.
 
יָשִׁיב אֵלָיו וְנָשֽׁוּבָה.
זֶה יוֹם רִאשׁוֹן אֶל הַתְּשׁוּבָה.
Today is the first day towards repentance,
For [each] person to abandon misdeed.
One should consider [repentance] – and let us repent!
Today is the first day towards repentance.
 
One should consider [repentance] – and let us repent!
Today is the first day towards repentance.

רֹאשׁ הַחֹֽדֶשׁ הוּא הַשְּׁבִיעִי,
רֶֽמֶז נֶֽפֶשׁ הוּא מַשְׁפִּיעִי,
עַל הַשֵּֽׂכֶל הוּא מַבִּיעִי,
סוֹד הַתּוֹרָה הוּא מַגִּיעִי,
אֶל גַּן עֵֽדֶן, עוֹלָם הַבָּא.
זֶה יוֹם רִאשׁוֹן אֶל הַתְּשׁוּבָה.
 
יָשִׁיב אֵלָיו וְנָשֽׁוּבָה
זֶה יוֹם רִאשׁוֹן אֶל הַתְּשׁוּבָה
It is the New Moon – the seventh,
It influences me with an allusion to the soul,
It inundates me with [an allusion to] understanding,
It brings me the secret of the Torah –
[To reach] the Garden of Eden, the World to Come.
Today is the first day towards repentance.
 
One should consider [repentance] – and let us repent!
Today is the first day towards repentance.

חַסְדּוֹ הָרָם גַּם הַנִּפְלָא
מִצַּד נִסְתַּר, מִצַּד נִגְלָה
אֶל עוֹבְדָיו. עִלַּת עִלָּה
עִם לֵב תָּמִים, אַף בְּמִלָּה
בִּדְרֹשׁ סוֹדוֹ, עִם רֹב אַהֲבָה
זֶה יוֹם רִאשׁוֹן אֶל הַתְּשׁוּבָה
 
יָשִׁיב אֵלָיו וְנָשֽׁוּבָה
זֶה יוֹם רִאשׁוֹן אֶל הַתְּשׁוּבָה
His lofty and wonderous mercy
Is hidden from one side, [but] revealed from another side,[1]That is, sometimes we see God’s mercy; but, even though it is always present, sometimes we do not see it. 
To his servants. [God], the cause of all causes,
Is with [a person with] a blameless heart, [who], even with a [single] word,
Delves into His secret[2]This seems to mean that the study of the secrets of the torah can even focus on just one word. – with great love.
Today is the first day towards repentance.
 
One should consider [repentance] – and let us repent!
Today is the first day towards repentance.

בִּקְצָת סוֹדוֹ אַטִּיף מִזְעָר
עֶֽבֶד הָאֵל בִּמְאֹד נִזְהָר
מִסְפַּר שֶֽׁבַע הוּא הַנִּבְחָר
סוֹדוֹ יָקָר מִכָּל מִסְחָר
עִיּוּן נֶֽפֶשׁ אָז נַשִּׂיג בָּהּ
זֶה יוֹם רִאשׁוֹן אֶל הַתְּשׁוּבָה
 
יָשִׁיב אֵלָיו וְנָשֽׁוּבָה
זֶה יוֹם רִאשׁוֹן אֶל הַתְּשׁוּבָה
I shall preach a bit of His secret, a small amount,
[Being that I am] a servant of God, very careful [not to reveal too much].
The number seven is the most chosen,
Its secret is more precious than all merchandise.
Through it [the seventh month],[3] The word it is feminine, thus not according with ḥodesh (month) or mispar (number); this is probably for the sake of the rhyme. If indeed it is meant to refer to a feminine noun, the only relevant noun is nefesh (soul), so the line would mean something like: “May we attain examination of our soul in [or: through] our soul.” may we attain examination of [our] soul,
Today is the first day towards repentance.
 
One should consider [repentance] – and let us repent!
Today is the first day towards repentance.

נֶֽפֶשׁ מִכַּת הַמַּלְאָכִים
הֵם הַסּוֹבְבִים אֶת הַפְּלָכִים
הֵם מַשְׁפִּיעִים עַל הַמְּלָכִים.
נִפְלֵאת הִיא, לַחְקֹר נִמְלָכִים
לֹא בְמִסְפָּר רַק מַחְשָׁבָה
זֶה יוֹם רִאשׁוֹן אֶל הַתְּשׁוּבָה
 
יָשִׁיב אֵלָיו וְנָשֽׁוּבָה
זֶה יוֹם רִאשׁוֹן אֶל הַתְּשׁוּבָה
The [human] soul is a colleague of the angels,[4]Practically this exact expression appears in Levush Malkhuth, pp. 124 (Hebrew) 125 (English). 
They are the ones that orbit the regions [of earth],[5]The author seems to be identifying the angels with the spheres of Ptolemaic cosmology. 
They influence the kings.
It [the human soul] is wondrous, and [we] consider to examine it,
Not in [verbal] recounting,[6]Taking mispar as meaning “recounting” (as in the verb le-sapper), not as in “number”. The Hebrew is difficult. only in thought.
Today is the first day towards repentance.
 
One should consider [repentance] – and let us repent!
Today is the first day towards repentance.

נִשְׁמָתֵֽנוּ, תּוֹךְ גּוּפֵֽנוּ
אִם הִיא תָאִיר, אָז מוּמֵֽינוּ
נַכִּיר אוֹתוֹ. כָּל יָמֵֽינוּ
אָז נָשִׂים בָּהּ מַעֲיָנֵֽנוּ
הִתְבּוֹדֵד עַד גַּם הַצָּבָא
זֶה יוֹם רִאשׁוֹן אֶל הַתְּשׁוּבָה
 
יָשִׁיב אֵלָיו וְנָשֽׁוּבָה
זֶה יוֹם רִאשׁוֹן אֶל הַתְּשׁוּבָה
Our soul, inside our body,
If it shines [with understanding], then
We will recognize our blemish. For all our days,
Therefore, let us place our contemplation[7]Taking ma‘yan as related to the word ‘inyan (here, “thought”) and le-‘ayyen (“to examine”), rather than the usual meaning “a spring.” in it,
Being in solitude until even the [end of] life.[8]Taking tsava as meaning “our time on earth”, as in Job 7:1. The meaning of the “solitude” is unclear; perhaps it refers to contemplative solitude. 
Today is the first day towards repentance.
 
One should consider [repentance] – and let us repent!
Today is the first day towards repentance.

נָא יוֹם מִשְׁקַל מַעְבָּדֵֽנוּ
גַּם שִׂיחֵֽנוּ אַף סוֹדֵֽנוּ –
אָז יִוָּדַע עוֹד הוֹדֵֽינוּ,
שׁוּב בִּתְשׁוּבָה, בִּמְאֹדֵֽנוּ
יֵרֵד כַּף רֶֽשַׁע אוֹ יִגְבַּהּ
זֶה יוֹם רִאשׁוֹן אֶל הַתְּשׁוּבָה
 
יָשִׁיב אֵלָיו וְנָשֽׁוּבָה
זֶה יוֹם רִאשׁוֹן אֶל הַתְּשׁוּבָה
Please, on the day of weighing of our deeds,
[And] also of our speech, and even our secret [deeds and words] –
May our splendor be known once more,
To return in repentance, with our might.[9]Traditional English translation of the rare noun me’od, as it appears in the Shema‘. 
For the weight [on the scale] of evil will go down or up.[10]That is: if we imagine God’s judging of our good and evil deeds as a scale, the side containing evil will go down if it is heavier (if we have more or greater evil deeds), and it will go up if it is lighter. 
Today is the first day towards repentance.
 
One should consider [repentance] – and let us repent!
Today is the first day towards repentance.

חַזֵּק לִבֵּֽנוּ, עַל יוֹם זֶה
כִּי יֵשׁ לוֹ סוֹד, אַף גַּם רָזֶה
יֵחָשֶׁב לוֹ כְּשׁוֹק חָזֶה
עֵת הַקְרִיבוֹ קָרְבָּן מַזֶּה
עֵת שִׁיר הַלֵּל תּוֹדָה נָאוָה
זֶה יוֹם רִאשׁוֹן אֶל הַתְּשׁוּבָה
 
יָשִׁיב אֵלָיו וְנָשֽׁוּבָה
זֶה יוֹם רִאשׁוֹן אֶל הַתְּשׁוּבָה
Strengthen our hearts with regard to this day,
For it has a secret: indeed, also one that is thin,[11]This seems to be a reference to the practice of fasting during the period of repentance (perhaps even on Yom Teru‘ah, an attested practice, though this is discouraged in Nehemiah 8:10). Alternatively, razé is an unusual form of raz (“mystery, secret”), found occasionally in poetry, and used here for the sake of the rhyme. In this case, the line would mean: “For [the day] has a secret, even a mystery.” This fits better within the line, but it makes the connection to the subsequent lines difficult. 
Will have it considered like the leg and chest [of a sacrifice],
When one sacrifices it as a sacrifice, [and] sprinkles [the blood],
When songs of praise and thanksgiving are appropriate.
Today is the first day towards repentance.
 
One should consider [repentance] – and let us repent!
Today is the first day towards repentance.

אַמֵּץ רוּחֵֽנוּ לִתְשׁוּבָה.
נַעֲזֹב דַּרְכֵּֽנוּ הַמְּשׁוּבָה,
נַחְמֹל נַפְשֵֽׁנוּ הַחֲשׁוּבָה,
אַף גּוּפָתֵֽנוּ הָעֲזוּבָה.
סוֹף דָּבָר הַכֹּל נִשְׁמָע בָּהּ.
זֶה יוֹם רִאשׁוֹן אֶל הַתְּשׁוּבָה.
 
יָשִׁיב אֵלָיו וְנָשֽׁוּבָה
זֶה יוֹם רִאשׁוֹן אֶל הַתְּשׁוּבָה
Give strength to our spirit to repent.
Let us abandon our path of misdeeds,
Let us have compassion for our important soul,
And even for our neglected body.[12]This seems to mean: if we continue to sin, ultimately it will lead us to be punished, and thus we are also neglecting our body. 
At the end of the matter, everything is heard in it,[13]This seems to mean that everything important is ultimately rooted in the soul. The language is based on the verse from Qoheleth cited after the poem. 
Today is the first day towards repentance.
 
One should consider [repentance] – and let us repent!
Today is the first day towards repentance.

ככתוב: ס֥וֹף דָּבָ֖ר הַכֹּ֣ל נִשְׁמָ֑ע
אֶת־הָאֱלֹהִ֤ים יְרָא֙ וְאֶת־מִצְוֺתָ֣יו שְׁמ֔וֹר
כִּי־זֶ֖ה כׇּל־הָאָדָֽם׃ (קהלת יב:יג)
As it is written: The end of the matter, all having been heard:
fear God, and keep His commandments;
for this is the whole man. (Qoheleth 12:13)

This English translation of “Zeh Yom Rishon [b]” was made by Dr. Gabriel Wasserman. Also find, another version of “Zeh Yom Rishon” by Ḥakham Zerah ben Natan of Troki.

 

Recordings

 

Notes[ + ]

1.  That is, sometimes we see God’s mercy; but, even though it is always present, sometimes we do not see it.
2.  This seems to mean that the study of the secrets of the torah can even focus on just one word.
3.  The word it is feminine, thus not according with ḥodesh (month) or mispar (number); this is probably for the sake of the rhyme. If indeed it is meant to refer to a feminine noun, the only relevant noun is nefesh (soul), so the line would mean something like: “May we attain examination of our soul in [or: through] our soul.”
4.  Practically this exact expression appears in Levush Malkhuth, pp. 124 (Hebrew) 125 (English).
5.  The author seems to be identifying the angels with the spheres of Ptolemaic cosmology.
6.  Taking mispar as meaning “recounting” (as in the verb le-sapper), not as in “number”. The Hebrew is difficult.
7.  Taking ma‘yan as related to the word ‘inyan (here, “thought”) and le-‘ayyen (“to examine”), rather than the usual meaning “a spring.”
8.  Taking tsava as meaning “our time on earth”, as in Job 7:1. The meaning of the “solitude” is unclear; perhaps it refers to contemplative solitude.
9.  Traditional English translation of the rare noun me’od, as it appears in the Shema‘.
10.  That is: if we imagine God’s judging of our good and evil deeds as a scale, the side containing evil will go down if it is heavier (if we have more or greater evil deeds), and it will go up if it is lighter.
11.  This seems to be a reference to the practice of fasting during the period of repentance (perhaps even on Yom Teru‘ah, an attested practice, though this is discouraged in Nehemiah 8:10). Alternatively, razé is an unusual form of raz (“mystery, secret”), found occasionally in poetry, and used here for the sake of the rhyme. In this case, the line would mean: “For [the day] has a secret, even a mystery.” This fits better within the line, but it makes the connection to the subsequent lines difficult.
12.  This seems to mean: if we continue to sin, ultimately it will lead us to be punished, and thus we are also neglecting our body.
13.  This seems to mean that everything important is ultimately rooted in the soul. The language is based on the verse from Qoheleth cited after the poem.

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