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אֱמוּנִים עִרְכוּ שֶֽׁבַח | Emunim ʿIrkhu Shevaḥ — a Poetic Addition to Rabban Gamliel’s List

Emunim ʿIrkhu Shevaḥ is a brief piyyut recited in North African communities in Rabban Gamliel’s list, between Pesaḥ and Maror. It spells out Aharon Kohen (“Aaron the Priest”) as an acrostic, but it is uncertain whether this is an authorial signature or a mystical reference to the Biblical figure.

Note: “The CAUSE” is used to translate the Divine Name YHVH, based on the philosophical idea of God as the Prime Mover and on the interpretation of the Name as a causative form of the copula – “causes to be.”

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Source (Hebrew) Translation (English)

אֱ֯מוּנִים עִרְכוּ שֶֽׁבַח
לָאֵל וְטִבְחוּ טֶֽבַח
וַאֲמַרְתֶּ֡ם זֶֽבַח־פֶּ֨סַח
ה֜וּא לֽיהו֗ה׃ (שמות יב:כז)
And Arrange, O faithful, praise
to God and slaughter the slaughter,
and say: “the paschal offering
is this to the CAUSE.” (Exodus 12:27)

הָ֯רִֽימוּ קוֹל שִׁירִים
שִׂמְחוּ בְּלֵיל־שִׁמּוּרִים
עַל־מַצּ֥וֹת וּמְרֹרִ֖ים
אִכְלוּ וּשְׁתוּ יֵינָי׃
Raise your voice in songs
celebrating this guarded night
on matsot and bitter herbs[1] Numbers 9:11. 
eat and drink my wine.

רִ֯אשׁוֹן לְכׇל־רִאשׁוֹנִים
עַל־יַד צִיר אֱמוּנִים
מִיַּד כׇּל־מְעַנִּים
הִצִּיל כׇּל־הֲמוֹנָי׃
Of all firsts the first,
by the Faithful Messenger’s hand,
from all oppressors’ hand
saved all my throngs.

נִ֯סֵּי אֵל זָכַֽרְתִּי
וַחֲסָדָיו סִפַּֽרְתִּי
עַתָּ֣ה יָדַ֔עְתִּי
כִּֽי־גָד֥וֹל יהו֖ה׃ (שמות יח:יא)
Now God’s miracles I recall
and THEIR[2] This translation uses the pluralis majestatis to refer to the Divine. This is not meant to imply that God is more than one ḥas v’shalom but rather to reflect the vastness and majesty of God while also avoiding gendered language. See Ibn Ezra’s commentary on Genesis 1:1 for a discussion of the pluralis majestatis when referring to God.  mercies I tell,
now I know
that the CAUSE is great. (Exodus 18:11)

כְּ֯כוֹכְבֵי הַשָּׁמַיִם
מְנַשֶּׁה וְאֶפְרַיִם
יָצְאוּ מִמִּצְרַיִם
כׇּל־צִבְאוֹת יהוה׃
Like the stars of heaven,
Manasseh and Ephraim,
went out from Egypt
all the multitudes of the CAUSE.

הִ֯נְחִיל תּוֹרָתוֹ
לְעַמּוֹ וַעֲדָתוֹ
שׁוֹמְרֵי מִצְוָתוֹ
עַם נוֹשַׁע בַּיהוה׃
THEY apportioned THEIR Teaching
to THEIR people and gathering
keeping THEIR commandments,
a people saved by the CAUSE.

נִ֯פְלָאִים מַעֲשֶֽׂיךָ
וַעֲצוּמִים נִסֶּֽיךָ
יֹאמְרוּ כׇּל־חוֹסֶיךָ
ט֗וֹב לַחֲס֥וֹת בַּיהו֑ה׃ (תהלים קיח:ח-ט)
Wondrous are Your works,
and vast are Your miracles!
Let all who trust in You say,
“It is good to trust in the CAUSE!” (Psalms 118:8-9)

Recording(s)

Musical Notation

Emunim ʿIrkhu Shevaḥ — the Nusaḥ of the Jews of Djerba

 

Notes

Notes
1 Numbers 9:11.
2 This translation uses the pluralis majestatis to refer to the Divine. This is not meant to imply that God is more than one ḥas v’shalom but rather to reflect the vastness and majesty of God while also avoiding gendered language. See Ibn Ezra’s commentary on Genesis 1:1 for a discussion of the pluralis majestatis when referring to God.

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