Prayers for the Morning of Sigd: Menabērtē Bēytē Dawid (Thrones of David’s House), in Ge’ez/Agaw with vocalized Hebrew and English translation

Sigd is an Amharic word meaning “prostration” or “worship” and is the commonly used name for a holiday celebrated by the Ethiopian Jewish Beta Israel community on the 29th of the Hebrew month of Marḥeshvan. This date is exactly 50 days after Yom Kippur, usually falling out in late October or November, and according to Ethiopian Jewish tradition is also the date that God first revealed himself to Moses.[1]Jewish Virtual Library, “Ethiopian Jewry: Sigd Holiday

Sigd is a unique holiday. Originally only celebrated by the Ethiopian Jewish Beta Esrael community, it has gotten more traction recently. One could describe the key concept of Sigd as being the acceptance of the Torah — not the giving, but the receiving of it. Sigd is a holiday of the continuation of the covenant. No matter the persecution that the Beta Esrael suffered (and hoo boy, did they suffer), Sigd announced that they would preserve their Judaism through it all.

In the morning of Sigd, the community goes out to a mountain with the sacred Orit (the Pentateuch, Joshua, Judges, and Ruth) and recites prayers and readings. The six prayers included here, largely compiled by Shoshana ben-Dor (former director of the North American Conference on Ethiopian Jewry) and translated into English by Isaac Mayer, are the key pieces of morning liturgy for the holiday of Sigd. These are followed by readings from the Torah and the writings.

Menabērtē Bēytē Dawid (Thrones of David’s House) is the sixth prayer in this order of prayers for the morning of Sigd. It is an ancient text inspired by and quoting Psalm 122, partially in Geʿez and partially in Agaw.

  1. Wäṣoru Tabotomu (They Carried Out Their Ark)
  2. Wäy’ärgu Debre (And They Climbed the Mount)
  3. Yitbärēk Egzi’äbḥer (Blessed be YHVH)
  4. Hälē Hälē yebärkewo (Praise, Praise, Bless the One)
  5. Ne’u Nesēgēdē (Come, Let Us Bow)
  6. Menabērtē Bēytē Dawid (Thrones of David’s House)

This is part one of a series of Sigd readings in English, Hebrew, and Ge’ez transliteration that the editor will be posting here.

Translation (Hebrew) Translation (English) Source (Ge’ez and Agaw)

כִּסְאוֹת
לִבֵּית דָּוִד
בַּקְשׁוּ בְּטוּב
יִרוּשָׁלָיִם
Thrones of
David’s House,
Seek good
for Jerusalem.
Menäbērtē
bēytē Däwid,
tezēye’enu dehänehä
Iyrusälem.[2]these lines in Ge’ez

יְרוּשָׁלִַ֥ם הַבְּנוּיָ֑ה
כְּ֝עִ֗יר שֶׁחֻבְּרָה־לָּ֥הּ יַחְדָּֽו׃ (תהלים קכב:ג)
Jerusalem, built up,
As a city knit together.[3]Psalm 122:3
Iyrusälem henēst
kämehäger ēlē kämä
wewehēwor mēsēlē

בָּשָׂר בָּשָׂר
עַל יְרוּשָׁלָיִם
בָּשָׂר לָנוּ
בָּשָׂר בָּשָׂר
עַל בֵּית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ
בָּשָׂר לָנוּ
Flesh, flesh
[longs] for Jerusalem,
our very flesh!
Flesh, flesh [longs] 
for the Holy Temple,
our very flesh!
Djingä, djingä,
Iyrusälem,
Djingä, djingä wäši.
Djingä, djingä,
Bēytä Mäqdäs,
Djingä, djingä wäši.[4]these lines in Agaw

בַּעֲבוּר בֵּית דָוִד
בַּקְשׁוּ בְּטוּב
יִרוּשָׁלָיִם
בַּעֲבוּר בֵּית
יהוה אֱלֹהֵינוּ
שַׁאֲלוּ שְׁלוֹמֵךְ‎
For the sake of David’s House,
Seek good
for Jerusalem.
For the sake of the House of
the Lord our God,
pray for your peace.
Webe’ente bēytē Däwid,
tezēye’enu dehänehä
Iyrusälem.
Webe’ente bēytē
Egzi’äbḥer ämläkiye
häsäsku senäytēki.[5]these lines in Ge’ez

הִתְגַּעְגַּעְתִּי כֵּן הִתְגַּעְגַּעְתִּי
הִתְגַּעְגַּעְתִּי כֵּן הִתְגַּעְגַּעְתִּי
I have longed, yes, longed
I have longed, yes, longed
Djeräbku ämnen, djeräbku
Kemēmesi äwnen djeräbku[6]these lines in Agaw

אֵלֶּה שֶׁיַּעַבְדוּנִי
בְּתוֹךְ בֵּיתִי
יִירְשׁוּ אֵת נַחֲלָתִי
אֵלֶּה שֶׁיִּרְצוּ לָבוֹא בְּתוֹךְ בֵּיתִי
יִירְשׁוּ אֵת נַחֲלָתִי
אֵלֶּה שֶׁיִּרְצוּ לָבוֹא בְּתוֹךְ בֵּיתִי
יִירְשׁוּ אֵת שְׂכָרָם
שִׂימוּ עָנִי וְאֶבְיוֹן
שׁוֹהִים בְּתוֹךְ בָּתֵּיכֶם
שִׂימוּ עָנִי וְגָר
שׁוֹהִים בְּתוֹךְ בָּתֵּיכֶם
Those who serve me
Inside My House
will possess My inheritance.
Those who come in My House
will possess My inheritance.
Those who come in My House
will possess their reward.
Bring the poor and needy
To stay in your houses.
Bring the poor and stranger
To stay in your houses.
Elē yitkenäyo
bwestē bēytiyē
weyewēresu mezägebteyē.
Elē yetēgehu bwestē bēytiyē
weyewēresu mezägebteyē.
Elē yetēgehu bwestē bēytiyē
we’etuki yense’ä äsbo.
Änbēru nedäy wemeskinē
Ähederu west bēytekemu.
Änbēru nedäy wegeyur
Ähederu west bēytekemu.[7]these lines in Ge’ez

(translation needed)
(translation needed)
Ängeni kinedēy geni
Kindësi kiligeliu geni[8]these lines in Agaw

גַּם צִפּוֹר מָצְאָה בַיִת לָהּ
קַדְּשׁוּ אֵת שְׁמִי
בֵּית יַעֲקֹב
קַדְּשׁוּ אֵת שְׁמִי
בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל
נְסִיכֵי בֵּית יַעֲקֹב
נְסִיכֵי בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל
כֹּה יֹאמְרוּ בֵּית יַעֲקֹב
שִׁמְעוּנִי בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל
פִּתְּחוּ שַׁעֲרֵי נְסִיכִים
כְּשֶׁהָיוּ פְּתוּחִים מִבְּרֵאשִׁית
Even a bird finds a home there
Sanctify my name,
House of Jacob!
Sanctify my name,
House of Israel!
Princes of the House of Jacob
Princes of the House of Israel
Thus says the House of Jacob
Hear me, House of Israel!
Open the noble gates
That were open from Creation.
Ofni rēkbēt läti bēyti
Yeqädesu semēyi
Bēyte Yäʿqob
Yeqädesu semēyi
Bēyte Esrä’ēl
Mekwänentu Bēyte Yäʿqob
Mekwänentu Bēyte Esrä’ēl
Wäyē’ezeni Bēyte Yäʿqob
Semäʿuni Bēyte Esrä’ēl!
Ärhewo hohäti mekwänentē
Wäyeterēhäwe elē emfeṭrēkē.[9]these lines in Ge’ez

Notes   [ + ]

  1. Jewish Virtual Library, “Ethiopian Jewry: Sigd Holiday
  2, 5, 7, 9. these lines in Ge’ez
  3. Psalm 122:3
  4, 6, 8. these lines in Agaw

Comments, Corrections, and Queries


בסיעתא דארעא