Prayers for the Morning of Sigd: Ne’u Nesēgēdē (Come, Let Us Bow), in Ge’ez 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 Marḥheshvan. 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.

Ne’u Nesēgēdē (Come, Let Us Bow) is the fifth prayer in this order of prayers for the morning of Sigd.

  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)

בּוֹאוּ נִשְׁתַּחֲוֶה
וְנוֹדֶה לוֹ לְבָדוֹ
קָדוֹשׁ
בּוֹאוּ נִשְׁתַּחֲוֶה
נִתְפַּלֵּל נְזַמֵּר
וּנְבָרֵךְ וּנְקַדֵּשׁ
אָבִי בּוֹרֵא
שָׁמַיִם וָאָרֶץ
בּוֹאוּ נִשְׁתַּחֲוֶה
נִתְפַּלֵּל נְזַמֵּר
נְבָרֵךְ וּנְקַדֵּשׁ
וְנָשִׂים לֵב נִצָּמֵד
לְאָבִי בּוֹרֵא
שָׁמַיִם וָאָרֶץ
Come, let us bow
And give thanks to the Only,
Holy One.
Come, let us bow,
let us pray, let us sing,
and let us bless, let us sanctify
my Parent, creator of
heaven and earth.
Come, let us bow,
let us pray, let us sing,
let us bless, and let us sanctify,
and let us take heart and cling
to my Parent, creator of
heaven and earth.
Ne’u nesēgēdē
wenegēni lebäḥtitu,
Qedus.
Ne’u nesēgēdē
Neṣēli nezēmer
Wenebēreke weneqēdes
Äbi lefēṭäre
sämäy wemedrä.
Ne’u nesēgēdē
neṣēli nezēmer
nebēreke neqēdes
wenelēbē neṣēmēd
Äbi lefēṭärē
sämäy wemedrä.

(נוּסַח תִּיגְרַי)
וְנִשְׁתַּחֲוֶה בְּתוֹךְ הֵיכָלוֹ
מְקוֹם הֲדֹם רַגְלָיו
אֲשֶׁר לַיהוה
וְנִשְׁתַּחֲוֶה בְּתוֹךְ
הֵיכָל מִקְדָּשֶׁךָ
הִשְׁתַּחֲווּ לַיהוה
בְּתוֹךְ הֵיכָל מִקְדָּשׁוֹ
(Tigray custom)
And we bow in God’s Palace
The place of the footstool
of YHVH
And we will bow in
Your Holy Palace
Bow before YHVH
in God’s Holy Sanctum.
(Tigray custom)
Wenesēgēd westē ṣeraḥ,
meqān häbē qomä
egrē Egzi’äbḥer,
Wenesēged westē
meqān ṣeraḥ meqdäseke.
Segedu le’Egzi’äbḥer
be’äʿṣēdē beyte.

(נוּסַח גּוֹנְדָר)
רֵאשִׁית כֹּל סְגֹד לְשִׁבְתּוֹ
הָעֶלִיוֹן אַתָּה
אֶשְׁתַּחֲוֶה לְךָ
בְּבֵיתְּךָ
בִּירוּשָׁלַיִם הַקְּדוֹשָׁה
(Gondar custom)
First of all, bow to God’s Seat
Highest are You.
I will bow before You
in Your house
In Holy Jerusalem
(Gondar custom)
Täqädim sēgide lēsebeḥäte
leʿul ante
Esēged leke
beytike
be’ierusalem qedest

וְנִשְׁתַּחֲוֶה בְּתוֹךְ הֵיכָלוֹ
(גּוֹנְדָר: בְּתוֹךְ דְּבִירוֹ)
מְקוֹם הֲדֹם רַגְלָיו
אֲשֶׁר לַיהוה
וְנִשְׁתַּחֲוֶה בְּתוֹךְ
הֵיכָל מִקְדָּשֶׁךָ
(גּוֹנְדָר: דְּבִיר מִקְדָשֶׁךָ)
הִשְׁתַּחֲווּ לַיהוה
בְּתוֹךְ הֵיכָל מִקְדָּשׁוֹ
כָּךְ נִשְׁתַּחֲוֶה בְּלִבֵּנוּ
כָּל בְּרוּאֵי הָאָרֶץ
יִשְׁתַּחֲווּ וְיוֹדוּ לְךָ
אָמֵן אָמֵן
And we bow in God’s Palace
(Gondar: in God’s Temple)
The place of the footstool
of YHVH
And we will bow in
Your Holy Palace
(Gondar: Holy Temple)
Bow before YHVH
in God’s Holy Sanctum.
Thus we bow in our hearts.
All earthly beings
will bow and thank You
Amen, amen.
Wenesēgēd westē ṣeraḥ
(Gondar: westē dēbērē),
meqān häbē qomä
egrē Egzi’äbḥer,
Wenesēged westē
meqān ṣeraḥ meqdäseke.
(Gondar: dēbērē meqdäseke),
Segedu le’Egzi’äbḥer
be’äʿṣēdē beyte.
Wäyē’ēzēni nesēged lebenē.
Kulu feṭrät meder
tesēged wäyetgēni lēke
Ämän, ämän.

הַמַּלְאָכִים הַנִּפְלָאִים
יִשְׁתַּחֲווּ בְּמִצְווֹת
קוֹל יהוה שֶׁהָיָה
קָדוֹשׁ קָדוֹשׁ
יִשְׁתַּחֲווּ מֵרָחוֹק
The wondrous angels
Will bow by command of
The voice of YHVH that is.
Holy, holy,
they bow from afar.
Grumän melä’kt
yesēgedu betē’ezäze
Qälu Egzi’äbḥer zēhälo.
Qedus qedus,
yesēgdu emreḥuqa.

הַמַּלְאָכִים הַנִּפְלָאִים
יִשְׁתַּחֲווּ בְּמִצְווֹת
קוֹל יהוה
כָּל הָאָרֶץ
תִּשְׁתַּחֲוֶה וְתּוֹדֶה
לְךָ לִשְׁמֶךָ׃
The wondrous angels
Will bow by command of
The voice of YHVH.
All the earth
will bow and thank
You, Your name.
Grumän melä’kt
yesēgedu betē’ezäze
qälu Egzi’äbḥer.
Kulä merdä
tesēged wetegēni
lēke lesemēke.

יָבִיאוּ רוֹב עֶדְרֵי צֹאן וּבָקָר
וְיִשְׁתַּחֲווּ בִּירוּשָׁלַיִם
וְיָבִיאוּ זָהָב וָכֶסֶף
וְיִשְׁתַּחֲווּ בִּירוּשָׁלַיִם
They bring flocks of sheep and cattle
and bow in Jerusalem.
And they will bring gold and silver
and bow in Jerusalem.
Weyämēṣ’u bezuḥ äleḥemt
yesēgedu Iyrusälem.
Weyämēṣ’u wērq wäbrur
yesēgedu Iyrusälem.

וְיָבִיאוּ בִּגְדֵי זָהָב
וְיִשְׁתַּחֲווּ בִּירוּשָׁלַיִם
וְיָבִיאוּ לְבוּשׁ נָאֶה
וְיִשְׁתַּחֲווּ בִּירוּשָׁלַיִם
And they will bring golden clothes
and bow in Jerusalem.
And they will bring beautiful clothes
and bow in Jerusalem.
Weyämēṣ’u älewest qäṣēnēt
yesēgedu Iyrusälem.
Weyämēṣ’u älbäs dēmut
yesēgedu Iyrusälem.

וְיָבוֹאוּ כֹּהַנִים‎ וּנְבִיאִים
וְיִשְׁתַּחֲווּ בִּירוּשָׁלַיִם
וְיָבוֹאוּ מְלָכִים וּנְסִיכִים
וְיִשְׁתַּחֲווּ בִּירוּשָׁלַיִם
וְיָבוֹאוּ גְּדוֹלִים וְשׁוֹפְטִים
וְיִשְׁתַּחֲווּ בִּירוּשָׁלַיִם
And priests and prophets will come
and bow in Jerusalem.
And kings and princes will come
and bow in Jerusalem.
And greats and judges will come
and bow in Jerusalem.
Wäymäṣu kähenät wenebiy’ät
yesēgedu Iyrusälem.
Wäymäṣu negestät wemekänēnt
yesēgedu Iyrusälem.
Wäymäṣu ʿäbēyät wemesäfent
yesēgedu Iyrusälem.

וְיָבוֹאוּ מִמִּזְרָח וּמִמַּעֲרָב
וְיִשְׁתַּחֲווּ בִּירוּשָׁלַיִם
וְיָבוֹאוּ מִצָּפוֹן וּמִדָּרוֹם
וְיִשְׁתַּחֲווּ בִּירוּשָׁלַיִם
וְיָבוֹאוּ מֵאַרְבָּעָה כִּוּוּנים
וְיִשְׁתַּחֲווּ בִּירוּשָׁלַיִם
And they will come from east and west
and bow in Jerusalem.
And they will come from north and south
and bow in Jerusalem.
And they will come from all four directions
and bow in Jerusalem.
Wäymäṣu mesräq wemēʿrab
yesēgedu Iyrusälem.
Wäymäṣu sēmēn wedēbub
yesēgedu Iyrusälem.
Wäymäṣu bä’ärbäʿtu mäʿäzen
yesēgedu Iyrusälem.

סְגֹד לַיהוה
בְּחָצֵר‏ בֵּית מִקְדָּשׁוֹ׃
Worship YHVH in the
courtyard of the Holy House.
Seged le’Egzi’äbḥer
be’äʿṣēdē bēyet mäqdēso.

קוֹל יהוה
קוֹלְךָ טָהוֹר
קוֹל יהוה
כְּמוֹ כֶּסֶף טָהוֹר
וּמָהֵר מִן הָאֲדָמָה
קוֹל יהוה
בַּכֹּחַ
קוֹל יהוה
חֹצֵב לַהֲבוֹת אֵשׁ
קוֹל יהוה
יָחִיל מִדְבָּר
קוֹל יהוה
יְחַזֵּק בַּעֲלֵי כֹּחַ
קוֹל יהוה
יְחַזֵּק שָׁמַיִם
The voice of YHVH,
Your voice is pure.
The voice of YHVH
is as pure silver
right from the earth.
The voice of YHVH
is in strength.
The voice of YHVH
hews fiery flames.
The voice of YHVH
shakes the desert.
The voice of YHVH
holds up the mighty.
The voice of YHVH
holds up the heavens.
Qäl Egzi’äbḥer,
qälekē neṣuḥ äntē.
Qäl Egzi’äbḥer
qemē brur neṣuḥ
wefēṭune emedrzä.
Qäl Egzi’äbḥer
ere’sun we’etu.
Qäl Egzi’äbḥer
yemäter nēdē esät.
Qäl Egzi’äbḥer
yädlēqeleq legēdäm.
Qäl Egzi’äbḥer
yäṣēne’omu leḥäyēlät.
Qäl Egzi’äbḥer
ṣēnä semäyät.

יהוה יָכִין
כִּסְאוֹ
יהוה יָכִין
כִּסְאוֹ לְשִׁלְטוֹנוֹ
בִּרְקִיעַ הַכְּרוּבִים
כִּסְּאֲךָ‏
מֵעַל הָרָקִיעַ
כִּסְּאֲךָ‏ יהוה
בִּרְקִיעַ הַכְּרוּבִים
כִּסֵּאךָ
אֲתָּה אֱלֹהִים לַכֹּל לְבָדֶּךָ
יִהְיֶה יהוה
וְיִמְלֹךְ לְעֹלָם וּלְעֹלָם
תָּמִיד חָדָשׁ
יהוה יְבָרֵךְ
אֶת עַמּוֹ בַשָּׁלוֹם
YHVH will establish
God’s throne.
YHVH will establish
God’s throne for God’s reign
in the cherubim’s firmaments.
Your throne
is above the firmaments,
Your throne, YHVH.
In the firmaments of the cherubim,
Your throne.
You are the only God to all.
May YHVH continue
to reign forever and ever,
constantly renewed.
YHVH will bless
God’s people with peace.
Egzi’äbḥer ästēdälēwo
mēnbēro.
Egzi’äbḥer ästēdälē’o
mēnbēru lekonēnu
bedibē kerubēl.
Mēnbērkē
lemeʿelte äryäm
mähäderkē Ēgzi’o.
Bedibē kerubēl,
mēnbērkē.
Int ämläk lekulu beḥätiteke.
Yenēber Egzi’äbḥer
weyenēges leʿälēm ʿälēm
wätre ḥädis.
Egzi’äbḥer yebärkomu
leḥezbo besälem.

Notes   [ + ]

  1. Jewish Virtual Library, “Ethiopian Jewry: Sigd Holiday

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