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Prayers for the Morning of Sigd: ወጾሩ፡ታቦቶሙ | Wäṣoru Tabotomu (They Carried Out Their Ark), 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 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.

Wäṣoru Tabotomu (They Carried Out Their Ark) is the first prayer in this order of prayers for the morning of Sigd. It is a prayer said upon the removal of the Orit from the synagogue ark.

  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) Transliteration (Ge’ez)

וָיַּשִּׂיאוּ אֶת־תֵּבָתָם
מִיכָאֵל הוֹלִיכָם
And they carried their Ark;
Michael led them.

ወጾሩ፡ታቦቶሙ፤
ሚካኤል፡ምርሖሙ።
Wäṣoru tabotomu;
Mikaʾelə mərəḥomu.

אַרְבָּעִים שָׁנָה בַּמִּדְבָּר
מִיכָאֵל הוֹלִיכָם
Forty years in the desert;
Michael led them.

አርብዓ፡ዓመቱ፡በገዳም፤
ሚካኤል፡ምርሖሙ።
ʾÄrəbəʿa ʿamätu bägädamə;
Mikaʾelə mərəḥomu.

יוֹמָם בֶּעָנָן
מִיכָאֵל הוֹלִיכָם
The days, by cloud;
Michael led them.

መዓልተ፡በደመና፤
ሚካኤል፡ምርሖሙ።
Mäʽalətä bädämäna;
Mikaʾelə mərəḥomu.

וָלַיְלָה בְּעַמּוּד אֵשׁ
מִיכָאֵל הוֹלִיכָם
And the night; by pillar of fire;
Michael led them.

ወሌሊተኒ፡በዐምደ፡እሳት፤
ሚካኤል፡ምርሖሙ።
Wälelitäni bäʿämədä ʾəsatə;
Mikaʾelə mərəḥomu.

אַרְבָּעָה מְקוֹמוֹת שְׁעָרֶיהָ לְצִיּוֹן
Four places are the gates of Zion.

አርባዕቱ፡መቃን፡እምኣፍኣ፡ለጽዮን።
ʾÄrəbaʿətu mäḳanə ʾəməʾafəʾa läṢəyonə.

עוּרִי צִיּוֹן
לִבְשִׁי עֹז זָרְעֵךְ
Arise, Zion;
Wear the strength of your right hand.

ተንሥኢ፡ጽዮን፤
ልበሲ፡ኅይለ፡መዝራዕተኪ።
Tänəśəʾi Ṣəyonə;
Ləbäsi ḫəyəlä mäzəraʿətäki.

עוּרִי צִיּוֹן
אִסְפִי זַרְעֵי עַמֵּךְ
Arise, Zion;
Gather the seeds of your people.

ተንሥኢ፡ጽዮን፤
አስተጋብኢ፡ዝሩዕ፡ሕዝብኪ።
Tänəśəʾi Ṣəyonə;
ʾÄsətägabəʾi zəruʿə ḥəzəbəki.

Recordings

This recording from the National Sound Archives of Israel was published in (הליטורגיה של ביתא ישראל (נעימות התפילה של יהודי אתיופיה — The Liturgy of Beta Israel (Music of the Ethiopian Jewish Prayer), a 2018 album by the Jewish Music Research Centre of Hebrew University.

 


 

Notes

1 Jewish Virtual Library, “Ethiopian Jewry: Sigd Holiday

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