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אַקְדָמוּת מִילִין | Aḳdamut Milin, a preface to the Targum for the Shavuot Torah Reading, attributed to Meir ben Isaac Nehorai of Orléans (ca. 11th c.)

Source (Hebrew) Translation (English)

אַקְדָמוּת מִילִין, וְשָׁרָיוּת שׁוּתָא׃
אַוְלָא שָׁקִילְנָא, הַרְמָן וּרְשׁוּתָא׃
As a preface to the Sayings, the opening of the Word,  
I ask, initially, consent and permission.

בְּבָבֵי תְּרֵי וּתְלַת, דְאֶפְתַּח בְּנַקְשׁוּתָא׃
בְּבָרֵי דְבָרֵי וְטָרֵי, עֲדֵי לְקַשִׁשׁוּתָא׃
In two or three sections, which I begin, trembling,  
About the purity of the Creator, Who bears eternity.

גְבוּרָן עָלְמִין לֵיה, וְלָא סִפֵּק פְּרִישׁוּתָא׃
גְוִיל אִלּוּ רְקִיעֵי, קְנֵי כָּל חוּרְשָׁתָא׃
Everlasting might is God’s, which one could not express  
Even were the entire sky a parchment and all the forest quills,

דְיוֹ אִלּוּ יַמֵּי, וְכָל מֵי כְּנִישׁוּתָא׃
דַיְירֵי אַרְעָא סַפְרֵי, וְרַשְׁמֵי רַשְׁוָתָא׃
Were all the seas and pools ink,  
And all dwellers on earth scribes and poets,

הֲדַר מָרֵי שְׁמַיָא, וְשַׁלִיט בְּיַבֶּשְׁתָּא׃
הָקֵם עָלְמָא יְחִידָאֵי, וְכַבְּשֵׁיהּ בְּכַבְּשׁוּתָא׃
[One could not express] the glory of the Master of heaven and Ruler of earth,  
Who alone established the world and obscured it in mystery.[1]This reference to all the seas being ink and all the reeds pens is paralleled to verses in the Quran: “Were the sea ink for the words of my Lord, the sea would surely fail before the words of my Lord fail” (Sura 18, verse 109), and “Were the trees that are in the earth pens, were the sea ink with seven more seas to swell its tide, the words of God would not be spent” (Sura 31, verse 27).

וּבְלָא לֵאוּ שַׁכְלְלֵיה, וּבְלָא תְשָׁשׁוּתָא׃
וּבְאָתָא קַלִילָא, דְלֵית בָּהּ מְשָׁשׁוּתָא׃
Without weariness God completed it, and without weakening,  
With just a breath, not even a syllable.

זַמִין כָּל עֲבִידְתֵּיהּ, בְּהַךְ יוֹמֵי שִׁתָּא׃
זֵהוֹר יְקָרֵיה עֲלִי, עֲלֵי כּוּרְסֵיהּ דֶּאֱשָׁתָא׃
God ordered all God’s work in these six days;  
The splendor of God’s glory [then] ascended to God’s fiery throne.

חֲיָל אֶלֶף אַלְפִין וְרִבּוֹא, לְשַׁמְשׁוּתָא׃
חַדְתִּין נְבוֹט לְצַפְרִין, סַגִיאָה טְרָשׁוּתָא׃
A force of thousands on thousands, a myriad, to serve God,  
They sprout anew each morning — great is God’s steadfastness.

טְפֵי יְקִידִין שְׂרָפִין, כְּלוּל גַפֵּי שִׁתָּא׃
טְעֵם עַד יִתְיְהֵב לְהוֹן, שְׁתִּיקִין בְּאַדִשְׁתָּא׃
The six-winged Seraphim burn intensely;  
They are quiet, silent until leave is given.

יְקַבְּלוּן דֵין מִן דֵין שָׁוֵי, דְלָא בְּשַׁשְׁתָּא׃
יְקַר מְלֵי כָל אַרְעָא, לִתְלוֹתֵי קְדוּשְׁתָּא׃
Then they all accept, one from another, together, without hesitation:  
“Glory fills the whole world,” through the threefold ḳ’dushah.

כְּקָל מִן קֳדָם שַׁדַי, כְּקָל מֵי נְפִישׁוּתָא׃
כְּרוּבִין קֳבֵל גַלְגַלִין, מְרוֹמְמִין בְּאַוְשָׁתָא׃
Like the sound before Shaddai, like the sound of mighty waters,  
The Keruvim, facing the Ofanim, lift up a roar.

לְמֶחֱזֵי בְּאַנְפָּא עֵין, כְּוַת גִירֵי קַשְׁתָּא׃
לְכָל אֲתַר דְמִשְׁתַּלְחִין, זְרִיזִין בְּאַשְׁוָתָא׃
Gazing in front of themselves. Like arrows from a bow,  
Anywhere they are sent, they hasten, trembling.

מְבָרְכִין בְּרִיךְ יְקָרֵהּ, בְּכָל לְשָׁן לְחִישׁוּתָא׃
מֵאֲתַר בֵּית שְׁכִינְתֵּהּ, דְלָא צָרִיךְ בְּחִישׁוּתָא׃
Blessing “Blessed be the glory” in all languages, silently,  
“From the place of the house of God’s presence” for which there’s no need to search.

נְהִים כָּל חֵיל מְרוֹמָא, מְקַלְסִין בַּחֲשַׁשְׁתָּא׃
נְהִירָא מַלְכוּתֵהּ, לְדָר וְדָר לְאַפְרַשְׁתָּא׃
The multitudes of the host on high extol, quaking,  
To declare the light of God’s kingdom throughout the generations.

סְדִירָא בְּהוֹן קְדוּשְׁתָּא, וְכַד חַלְפָא שַׁעְתָּא׃
סִיוּמָא דִלְעָלַם, וְאוֹף לָא לִשְׁבוּעָתָא׃
The k’dushah is set out for them, and when their time is over,  
It is done forever, even for the seven millennia.

עֲדַב יְקַר אַחֲסַנְתֵּהּ, חֲבִיבִין דְבִקְבַעְתָּא׃
עֲבִידִין לֵיהּ חֲטִיבָא, בִּדְנַח וּשְׁקַעְתָּא׃
But the lot of God’s portion is better — regularly  
Does God’s treasure worship God, morning and evening.

פְּרִישָׁן לְמָנָתֵהּ, לְמֶעְבַּד לֵיהּ רְעוּתָא׃
פְּרִישׁוּתֵהּ שְׁבָחֵהּ, יְחַווּן בְּשָׁעוּתָא׃
They are set aside as God’s portion, to do God’s will;  
They tell God’s wonders and God’s praises at every moment.

צְבִי וְחָמִיד וְרָגִיג, דְיִלְאוֹן בְּלָעוּתָא׃
צְלוֹתְהוֹן בְּכֵן מְקַבֵּל, וְהַנְיָא בָּעוּתָא׃
God wants, seeks, and desires that they exert themselves in God’s labor,  
So that God will accept their prayers and desire their petitions.

קְטִירָא לְחֵי עָלְמָא, בְּתָגָא בִּשְׁבוּעָתָא׃
קֳבֵל יְקַר טוֹטֶפְתָּא, יְתִיבָא בִקְבִיעוּתָא׃
And they will be tied to the Life of worlds as a crown, through an oath  
Facing God’s glorious t’fillin, which is firmly in place.

רְשִׁימָא הִיא גוּפָא, בְּחָכְמְתָא וּבְדַעְתָּא׃
רְבוּתְהוֹן דְיִשְׂרָאֵל, קְרָאֵי בִשְׁמַעְתָּא׃
In it is inscribed, with wisdom and knowledge,  
The greatness of Israel, who recite Sh’ma.

שְׁבַח ריבון עַלְמָא, אֲמִירָא דַכְוָתָא׃
שְׁפַר עֲלֵיהּ לְחַווּיֵהּ, בְּאַפֵּי מַלְכְּוָתָא׃
The praise of the Master of the universe — a pure speech —  
Is pleasant for me to express in front of kings.

תָּאִין וּמִתְכַּנְשִׁין, כְּחֵיזוּ אַדְוָתָא׃
תְּמֵהִין וְשַׁיְילִין לֵיהּ, בְּעֵסֶק אַתְוָתָא׃
[The nations] come, they enter, like the waves of the sea;  
They ask, astonished, about God’s miracles.

מְנָן וּמָאן הוּא רְחִימָךְ, שַׁפִּירָא בְּרֵיוָתָא׃
אֲרוּם בְּגִינֵהּ סָפִית, מִדוּר אַרְיְוָתָא׃
Who and where is the One Who loves you, beautiful one?
It was for God’s sake that you chose to live among lions.

יְקָרָא וְיָאָה אַתְּ אִין, תַּעַרְבִי לְמַרְוָתָא׃
רְעוּתֵךְ נַעֲבֵיד לִיךְ, בְּכָל אַתְרְוָתָא׃
“You can be precious and beautiful, if you merge with us under our dominion;
We will do your will in every place.”

בְּחָכְמְתָא מְתִיבָתָא לְהוֹן, קְצַת לְהוֹדָעוּתָא׃
יְדַעְתּוּן חַכְּמִין לֵיהּ, בְּאִשְׁתְּמוֹדָעוּתָא׃
Wisely and succinctly you respond to them:
“Were you wise, you would recognize —

רְבוּתְכוֹן מָה חֲשִׁיבָא, קֳבֵל הַהִיא שְׁבַחְתָּא׃
רְבוּתָא דְיַעֲבֵיד לִי, כַּד מַטְיָא שַׁעְתָּא׃
What are your merits in comparison with the glorious One?
The great things God will do for me when salvation comes;

בְּמֵיתֵי לִי נְהוֹרָא, וְתַחֲפֵי לְכוֹן בַּהֲתָא׃
יְקָרֵיהּ כַּד אִתְגְלֵי, בְּתוּקְפָא וּבִגְבוּרְתָּא׃
When God brings me light, and covers you in shame.”
God’s glory, when God is revealed with power and majesty.

יְשַׁלֵם גְמֻלַיָא, לְסַנְאֵי וְנַגְוָתָא׃
עמ’קָתָא לְעַם חָבִיב, וְסַגְיָא זַכְוָתָא׃
God will bring retribution on God’s enemies, to the distant islands,
Vindication to God’s dear people, full of merits.

חֲדוּ שְׁלֵמָא בְּמֵיתֵי, וּמָנָא דַכְוָתָא׃
קִרְיְתָא דִירוּשְׁלֵם, כַּד יְכַנֵשׁ גַלְוָתָא׃
Utter joy, when God restores the pure vessels.
The city of Jerusalem, when God gathers the exiles.

יְקָרֵיהּ מָטֵיל עֲלֵיהּ, בְּיוֹמֵי וְלֵילָותָא׃
גְנוּנֵיהּ לְמֶעְבַּד בָּהּ, בְּתוּשְׁבְּחָן כְּלִילָתָא׃
God spread God’s glory over it, day and night,
God’s bridal chamber formed from praises like a crown.

דְזֵיהוֹר עֲנָנַיָּא, לְמִשְׁפַּר כִּילָתָא׃
לְפוּמֵיהּ דַּעֲבִידְתָּא, עֲבִידָן מְטַלַּלְתָּא׃
The splendor of the clouds to beautify God’s canopy;
According to one’s deeds, they make a shelter for one.

בְּתַכְתַּקֵי דְהַב פִּיזָא, וּשְׁבַע מַעֲלָתָא׃
תְּחִימִין צדיקי, קָדָם רַב פָּעֳלָתָא׃
Chairs of fine gold and seven elevations;
The righteous are arrayed before the Creator of all.

וְרֵיוֵיהוֹן דָמֵי, לְשָׂבְעָ אחֶדְוָתָא׃
רְקִיעָא בְּזֵיהוֹרֵיהּ, וְכוֹכְבֵי זִיוָתָא׃
Their appearance resembles abundant joy;
The sky in its splendor, the stars in their glory.

הֲדָרָא דְלָא אֶפְשַׁר, לְמִפְרַט בִּשִׂפְוָתָא׃
וְלָא אִשְׁתְּמַע וְחָמֵי, נְבִיאָן חֶזְוָתָא׃
The unutterable beauty
Neither heard nor seen by the prophets in their visions.

בְּלָא שָׁלְטָא בֵיהּ עֵין, בְּגוֹ עֵדֶן גִנְתָא׃
מְטַיְילֵי בֵיהּ חִנְגָּא, לְבַהֲדֵי דִשְׁכִינְתָּא׃
No eye has captured the garden of Eden,
There they dance around with the Divine Presence.

עֲלֵיהּ רַמְזֵי דֵין הוּא, בְּרַם בְּאֶמְתָנוּתָא׃
שַׂבַּרְנָא לֵיהּ בְּשִׁבְיָן, תְּקוֹף הֵמָנוּתָא׃
Toward it they gesture “This is God” in awe;
“We have awaited God in exile with great faith.

יַדְבֵּר לָן עָלְמִין, עֲלֵמִין מְדַמוּתָא׃
מְנָת דִילָן דְּמִלְּקַדְמִין, פָּרֵשׁ בַּאֲרָמוּתָא׃
God will lead us forever, like brisk youths.
Our portion from of old God has set aside through a heave-offering.”

טְלוּלָא דְלִוְיָתָן, וְתוֹר טוּר רָמוּתָא׃
וְחַד בְּחַד כִּי סָבִיךְ, וְעָבִיד קְרָבוּתָא׃
The Leviathan of the hide and the Ox of the high mountain
One with the other, locked in combat.

בְּקַרְנוֹהִי מְנַגַּח בְּהֵמוֹת, בְּרַבְרְבוּתָא׃
יְקַרְטַע נוּן לְקִבְלֵהּ, בְּצִיצוֹי בִּגְבוּרְתָּא׃
With his horns, the Behemoth gores, mightily;
The fish leaps to meet him, with his fins, powerfully.

מְקָרֵב לֵיה בָּרְיֵהּ, בְּחַרְבֵּהּ בְּרַבְרְבוּתָא׃
אֲרִיסְטוֹן לְצַדִיקֵי יְתַקֵן, וְשֵׁרוּתָא׃
His Maker approaches with God’s sword, triumphantly,
God will prepare a feast for the righteous, a meal.

מְסַחֲרִין עֲלֵי תַכֵּי, דְכַדְכּוֹד וְגוּמַרְתָּא׃
נְגִידִין קָמֵיהוֹן, אֲפַרְסְמוֹן נַהֲרָתָא׃
They are seated around tables of rubies and precious stones,
Rivers of balsam oil flow before them.

וּמִתְפַּנְקִין וְרָוֵי, בְּכַסֵי רְוָיָתָא׃
חומר מְרַת דְמִבְּרֵאשִׁית, נְטִיר בֵּי נַעֲוָתָא׃
They enjoy and are sated with overflowing cups;
Sweet wine from creation, stored in the wine press.

זַכָּאִין כַּד שְׁמַעְתּוּן, שְׁבַחדָא שִׁירָתָא׃
קְבִיעִין כֵּן תֶּהֱווּן, בְּהַנְהוּ חֲבוּרָתָא׃
Righteous ones, as you hear the praise in this poem,
You will remain fixed in this company.

וְתִזְכּוּן דִי תֵיתְבוּן, בְּעֵילָא דָרָתָא׃
אֲרֵי תְצִיתוּן לְמִילָי, דְנָפְקִין בְּהַדְרָתָא׃
And you merit to sit on the highest level,
Because you listen to the words emerging in beauty.

מְרוֹמָם הוּא אֱלָהִין, בְּקַדְמָא וּבַתְרַיְתָא׃
צְבִי וְאִתְרְעִי בָן, וּמְסַר לָן אוֹרַיְתָא׃
Exalted is God, at the beginning and the end,
God desired and was pleased with us, and gave us theTorah.

This translation of the Akdamut was prepared by the Siddur Ohr Kodesh committee of Ohr Kodesh Congregation, Chevy Chase, Maryland.

Source(s)

 

Recording

A GLOBAL Akdamut for our physically-distanced time, cantors representing 17 American states and 5 countries, from the Cantors Assembly and beyond.

 

Notes[ + ]

1.  This reference to all the seas being ink and all the reeds pens is paralleled to verses in the Quran: “Were the sea ink for the words of my Lord, the sea would surely fail before the words of my Lord fail” (Sura 18, verse 109), and “Were the trees that are in the earth pens, were the sea ink with seven more seas to swell its tide, the words of God would not be spent” (Sura 31, verse 27).

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