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אֲשֶׁר בִּגְלַל אָבוֹת בָּנִים גִּדֵּל | Asher Biglal Avot Banim Gidel — an archaic piyyut on Mosheh’s Death for Simḥat Torah

https://opensiddur.org/?p=53057 אֲשֶׁר בִּגְלַל אָבוֹת בָּנִים גִּדֵּל | Asher Biglal Avot Banim Gidel — an archaic piyyut on Mosheh's Death for Simḥat Torah 2023-10-12 19:10:58 This piyyut of unknown authorship is certainly ancient, showing the lack of a rhyme scheme characteristic of the REALLY old piyyutim (see also Aleinu or El Adon). It is still found in some Ashkenazi and Teman maḥzorim, with many different mostly minor variants (which have been combined together somewhat eclectically into one text here). It is presented here along with an English translation attempting to preserve the Hebrew acrostic. Originally it was recited before the Ashrei leading into musaf, but perhaps for those who follow Ashkenazi customs a more appropriate location would be as an introduction to the Yizkor service on Shmini 'Atzeret — which for those who don't keep second-day yontef is the same day. It could also be adapted as part of the liturgy for the seventh of Adar, although the final verse (the old Western rite berakha for finishing a full Torah cycle) would have to be elided. Text the Open Siddur Project Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (transcription & naqdanut) Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (transcription & naqdanut) Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) Unknown Author(s) https://opensiddur.org/copyright-policy/ Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (transcription & naqdanut) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/ Shemini Atseret (and Simḥat Torah) Acrostic translation mourning פיוטים piyyutim Mosheh Rabbenu Alphabetic Acrostic mid-first millennium CE
There are a LOT more sad piyyuṭim than you would expect for the day of Simḥat Torah, many of which are about the death of Moshe Rabbeinu. While many of these piyyuṭim are close to lost — at best printed in the very back of a Sukkot maḥzor, and at worst unsaid entirely — considering the traumatic events of Simḥat Torah 5784, perhaps it’s time to bring this custom of communal mourning for Moshe Rabbeinu back around. This piyyut of unknown authorship is certainly ancient, showing the lack of a rhyme scheme characteristic of the REALLY old piyyutim (see also Aleinu or El Adon). It is still found in some Ashkenazi and Teman maḥzorim, with many different mostly minor variants (which have been combined together somewhat eclectically into one text here). It is presented here along with an English translation attempting to preserve the Hebrew acrostic. Originally it was recited before the Ashrei leading into musaf, but perhaps for those who follow Ashkenazi customs a more appropriate location would be as an introduction to the Yizkor service on Shmini ‘Atzeret — which for those who don’t keep second-day yontef is the same day. It could also be adapted as part of the liturgy for the seventh of Adar, although the final verse (the old Western rite berakha for finishing a full Torah cycle) would have to be elided.

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Source (Hebrew)Translation (English)
אֲשֶׁר בִּגְלַל אָבוֹת בָּנִים גִּדֵּל
וּבַעֲבוּרָם תּוֹרָה נָתַן.
בְּגַלְגַּלֵּי רֽוּחַ יהוה נִגְלֶה
בְּמַלְאֲכֵי צָבָא בְּאַלְפֵי שִׁנְאָן.
As for the parents’ merit They raised the children,
and for their sake gave Torah,
By wheels of spirit the Cause was revealed,
in multitudinous angels, in thousands of hosts.
גִּבּוֹר גֵּאִים אֱלֽוֹהַּ אַדִּיר
קָרָא לְמֹשֶׁה לְקַבֵּל לוּחוֹת.
דִּבְרֵי אֵל־חַי שָׁמְעָה הָאָֽרֶץ
וְ֝עַמּוּדֶ֗יהָ יִתְפַּלָּצֽוּן׃
Great, glorious, the awesome One-God,
called to Moses to receive the tablets.
Decrees of the Living Deity the earth heard,
and its pillars quake.[1] Job 9:6 
הִטָּה שָׁמַֽיִם וַיֵּֽרֶד בִּכְרוּב
וַ֝יֵּ֗דֶא עַל־כַּנְפֵי־רֽוּחַ׃
וַיֵּצְאוּ דְּבָרִים מִתּוֹךְ הָאֵשׁ
וַיִּתְחוֹקְקוּ עַל־לוּחוֹת הָאֶֽבֶן.
Holding up heaven, descending on a Steed,
darting on the wind’s wings.[2] Psalm 18:11 
While They let out words from the fire,
they were engraved on the stone tablets.
זְמִירוֹת נָתְנוּ כׇּל־בְּנֵי אֱלֹהִים
שׁוֹפָר תָּקַע מִשְּׁמֵי מָרוֹם.
חֲרֵדָה לָבְשׁוּ כׇּל־בְּנֵי עֵשָׂו
כִּי מִשֵּׂעִיר יהוה זָרָח.
Zephyrous hymns the divine ones gave out,
a horn blasted from heaven on high/
Hysterical shaking Esau’s children donned,
for from Seir the Cause shone.
טָפְחוּ כֻּלָּם בְּנֵי יִשְׁמָעֵאל
כִּי מִפָּרַן יהוה הוֹפִֽיעַ.
יְמִין יהוה טְפָחַֽיִם בַּלּוּחוֹת
וִימִין מֹשֶׁה טְפָחַֽיִם בְּלוּחוֹת.
Trembling the children of Ishmael in all,
for from Paran the Cause showed Themself.
Jutting two palms the Cause‘s hand on the tablets,
jutting two palms Moses’s hand on the tablets.
כִּי אֹֽרֶךְ הַלּוּחוֹת שִׁשָּׁה טְפָחִים
וּטְפָחַֽיִם מֻפְרָשׁ בֵּין־יָד לְיָד.
לֵךְ מֹשֶׁה שְׂמַח בִּגְדֻלָּתֶֽךָ
כִּי אֵין־כָּמֽוֹךָ בְּכׇל־הַנְּבִיאִים.
Cooridnates of the tablets were six palms wide
with two palms separating hand from hand.
Let’s go, Moses, rejoice in your greatness,
for none are like you among all prophets!”
מִי עָלָה לְתוֹךְ הֶעָנָן
וּמִי רָאָה תְּמוּנַת אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ?
מֹשֶׁה עָלָה לְתוֹךְ הֶעָנָן
וְגַם־הוּא רָאָה תְּמוּנַת אֱלֹהֵיֽנוּ.
My, who went up to the cloud’s innards,
and who saw the form of our God?
Moses went up to the cloud’s innards,
and saw the form of our God!
נְשִׂיא נְשִׂיאִים הָיָה מֹשֶׁה רַבֵּֽנוּ
אָב לַחֲכָמִים וְרֹאשׁ לַנְּבִיאִים.
סָגַר הַיָּם בִּתְפִלָּתוֹ
וְעַל־יַד שְׁלוּחוֹ חֲרוֹן אַף הֵשִׁיב.
Noblest of nobles was Moses our master,
father of the wise and chief of the prophets.
Sea was shut tight through his prayer,
by Their messsenger’s hand raging wrath abated.
עָנָה יהוה וְאָמַר לְעַמּוֹ׃
אָֽנֹכִ֖י֙ יְהֹוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֑֔יךָ
אֲשֶׁ֧ר הוֹצֵאתִ֛יךָ מֵאֶ֥רֶץ מִצְרַ֖יִם
מִבֵּ֣֥ית עֲבָדִ֑͏ֽים׃
On that, the Cause answered and told Their people:
“I am the Cause your God
who brought you from the land of Egypt,
from the slave house!”[3] Exodus 20:2 
פָּתְחוּ כֻּלָּם פִּיהֶם וְאָמְרוּ׃
יהוה מֶֽלֶךְ
יהוה מָלָךְ
יְהֹוָ֥ה ׀ יִמְלֹ֖ךְ לְעֹלָ֥ם וָעֶֽד׃
Parting their lips, everyone said,
“The Cause is sovereign,
the Cause has reigned,
the Cause will reign forever and ever!”[4] Exodus 15:18 
צָעַק מֹשֶׁה צְעָקָה גְּדוֹלָה וּמָרָה
בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁאָמַר לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא קוּם עֲלֵה וּמוֹת בָּהָר.
קָרַע בְּגָדָיו וְהֵרִים קוֹלוֹ
יְהוֹשֻֽׁעַ בִּן־נוּן שְׁמוֹר־נא צֹאנִי!
Choleric and bitter, Moses cried greatly,
when the blessed Holy One told him to go up and die on the mountain.
Quavering he called as he tore his clothes,
“Joshua, son of Nun, please protect my flock!”
רָאָה מֹשֶׁה מֵרֹאשׁ הַפִּסְגָּה
סְגֻלַּת שְׁבָטִים עוֹמְדִים לְפָנָיו.
שָׁם מֵת מֹשֶׁה עֶֽבֶד יהוה
מוּל בֵּית־פְּעוֹר אָסְפוֹ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ.
Range’s peak, Moses saw
the treasure of the tribes standing before him.
Sure enough, Moses the Cause’s servant died
by Beit-Pe’or our God gathered him.
תְּפִלָּתוֹ לְעוֹלָם לֹא יָשׁוּב רֵיקָם
כִּי רוֹעֶה נֶאֱמָן הָיָה מֹשֶׁה רַבֵּֽנוּ לְיִשְׂרָאֵל.
תָּנֽוּחַ בְּרָכָה עַל־אֲסִיפָתוֹ
כִּי עַל־פִּי יהוה מֵת מֹשֶׁה רַבֵּֽנוּ.
Through his prayer none will return empty,
for a faithful shephard was Moses our master to Israel.
That blessing may rest on his gathering!
For by the Cause’s mouth Moses our master died.
מֹשֶׁה מֵת! מִי לֹא יָמוּת?
עַל־פִּי יהוה מֵת מֹשֶׁה רַבֵּֽנוּ.
יְהוֹשֻֽׁעַ בִּן־נוּן קָם אַחֲרֵי מֹשֶׁה
וְגַם־הוּא לִמֵּד תּוֹרָה לַשְּׁבָטִים.
Moses died! Who could not die?
By the Cause’s mouth Moses our master died.
תְּפִלַּת מֹשֶׁה קָרַע רָקִֽיעַ
בָּעֵת כִּי־נֶאֱסַף אִישׁ הָאֱלֹהִים.
The prayer of Moses tore the firmament
at the time the man of God was gathered.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יהוה
הַבּוֹחֵר בַּצַּדִּיקִים
וְנוֹתֵן תּוֹרָה לְעַמּוֹ יִשְׂרָאֵל
עַל־יְדֵי מֹשֶׁה רַבֵּֽנוּ:
Blessed are You, o Cause,
who chooses the righteous,
and gives Torah to Their people Israel,
by Moses our master’s hand.

 

Notes

Notes
1Job 9:6
2Psalm 18:11
3Exodus 20:2
4Exodus 15:18

 

 

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