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אחות קטנה במאה ה -21 | A 21st century “Aḥot Ḳetanah” (Little Sister), by Rabbi Dr. Raysh Weiss

Source (Hebrew) Translation (English)

למיטל הדרה, נ״י
 
”חכמה כ״ח המ״ה המורה על הרחמים“ (פרדס רמונים ח:ח)
For Meital Hadara, may her light shine!
  
“Ḥokhmah means the potential of what is, which teaches about mercy” (Pardes Rimonim 8:8)

הָאָחוֹת נְתָאֵר כִּקְטַנָּה
לִפְנֵי שֶׁנָּבִין אֶת־עִקַּר מָהוּתָהּ
חֲלוֹמוֹתֶיהָ וּתְפִלּוֹתֶיהָ
עֲטֶרֶת שְׁאִיפוֹתֶיהָ
אָךְ אֵיךְ נָבִין אֶת־קִלְלוֹתֶֽיהָ
The sister was described as little,
Before the main thrust of her essence was understood,
Her dreams, and her prayers,
crown of her aspirations,
and how shall we understand her curses

רוֹאָה אֲנִי אֶת־מַאֲבָקֶֽיהָ
אֵיךְ תִּתְמוֹדֵד עִם חֹֽסֶר הִגָּיוֹן וְשׂוֹנְאֶיהָ
אוֹהֲבֶֽיהָ נְטָשֽׁוּהָ וְהִיא גַלְמוּדָה בְּהִשָּׁבֵר לִבָּהּ
כַּמָּה שָׁנִים הִיא כְּבָר נִשְׁכָּֽחָה
Her pains I see
how will she cope with the misogyny and those who despise her
her lovers have abandoned her, and she is forlorn with the breaking of her heart
how many years is she already forgotten

בְּלֵב נִשְׁבָּר הִיא מִתְנַפֶּלֶת בִּתְפִלּוֹתֶֽיהָ
מָרוֹת וְרַבּוֹת הַבָּעוֹתֶֽיהָ
אָךְ תִּקְוָה תַצְמִֽיחַ וְתִפְרַח כְּנַחֲלוֹתֶֽיהָ
וְהִיא תְשׁוּשָׁה מִכְּמִיהָה
With shattered heart, she sets upon her prayers,
Bitter and many are her expressions.
Ah, may hope cause a budding and flowering as her legacy,
But she is weary from her yearning.

רַבּוֹת בָּנוֹת עָֽשוּ חַֽיִל
כָּךְ אָמַר הַגֶּֽבֶר
שֶׁשָּׁכַח אוֹתָךְ לְרֶֽגַע
נִפְרַד מִמֵּךְ לְפֶֽתַע
וְאַת מְלֵאַת רֵֽתַע
אַיֵּה הַזְּמָן הַנֶּעְלַם
“Many women have done well!”
So says the man,
Who forgot you in an instant,
departed from you suddenly.
and you are filled with recoiling
Where is that hidden time?

חֶמְלָה יֵשׁ לִי לָאָחוֹת הַקְּטַנָּה
מַכְאוֹבָהּ וְסִפּוּרֶֽיהָ הֲרֵינִי מַאֲמִינָה
קֹֽשִׁי מַצָּבָהּ
מֻכָּרִים לִי הֵיטֵב
וְאֶת־מְקוֹרוֹת חַיֶּֽיהָ
מַכִּירָה אֲנִי אֶת־קִלְלוֹתֶיהָ
I have compassion for the little sister,
her sorrows and stories I hereby believe
the weight of her situation
is well-known to me
as are the origins of her life
I know her curses

לָֽמָּה תִסְבְּלִי, אָחוֹתִי הַקְּטַנָּה
לָֽמָה גוֹרָלֵךְ מְעֻנֶּה
עָתִידֵךְ לְבֶהָלָה
מְלֹא סַכָּנָה
הַלְוַאי נִשְׁכַּח אֶת־כׇּל־הַקְּלָלָה
Why should you suffer, my little sister
why should your lot be one of torment?
your future one of alarm
full of danger
If only we could forget all of the curse 

חַכִּי, אָמְרוּ לָךְ,
עַד שֶׁתְּגַדְּלִי
אָז תִּהְיֶה לָךְ
בְּחִירָה חׇפְשִׁית
וּשְׁמַעְתִּים בֶּאֱמוּנָה וּבִתְמִיהָה
כִּי כְּבָר הִכַּרְתְּ אֶת־אׇפְיָם הַפׇּגְעָנִי
מַחֲווֹת קִלְלוֹתֶֽיהָ
“Wait,” they tell you,
“until you grow up!
Then you will have
what your heart desires!”
and you heeded them with incredulous belief
because already versed were you in their abusive ways
which comprised your curses

נִתְמוֹדֵד עִם הַקֹּֽשִׁי
הֲרֵי
אַתְּ וַאֲנִי  
בְּהִתְנַגְּדוּת אַמִּיצָה קוֹלָנִית
נַפְסִיק מִלְּבַקֵּשׁ מְחִילָה
סוֹף סוֹף נִדְרֹשׁ כׇּל־בְּרָכָה
תִכְלֶה שָׁנָה וְקִלְלוֹתֶֽיהָ
We will contend with the hardship
behold
You and me
with opposition fierce and vocal
we will stop seeking forgiveness
and demand every blessing
May the year and its curses end

הִנָּךְ עַזָּה רַעְיָתִי
אֲחוֹתִי הַקְּטַנָּה
זֹאת הַקְּטַנָּה לִגְדוֹלָה תִהְיֶה
תָחֵל שָׁנָה וּבִרְכוֹתֶֽיהָ
Behold you are strong my beloved
my little sister
This little one is fated for greatness
May the year and its blessings begin

Inspired by the original “Aḥot Ḳetannah” by R. Abraham Hazan Girundi, Spain, 13th century (see below for a source). With great thanks to Rabbi Jonah Rank for assistance with the formatting and niqqud. The author’s name, haRav Raḥel Ḥanah, can be found in the acrostic. English translation, a collaboration of Raysh Weiss and Seth Fishman.

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