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Prayers for the Morning of Sigd: ወዐርጉ ፡ ደብር | Wäʿärəgu Däbərə (And They Climbed the Mount), 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.

Wäʿärəgu Däbərə (And They Climbed the Mount) is the second prayer in this order of prayers for the morning of Sigd. It is the first prayer said upon arriving on the mountain, based on the ritual described in Neḥemyah 9.

  1. Wäṣoru Tabotomu (They Carried Out Their Ark)
  2. Wäʿärəgu Däbərə (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)

וְעָלוּ‎ הָהָרָה בְּכׇל־שָׁנָה,
וְעָלוּ‎ הָהָרָה בְּכׇל־שָׁנִים׃
And they went up the mountain for each year;
And they went up the mountain for all years.

ወዐርጉ ፡ ደብር ፡ ለለዓመት፤
ወዐርጉ ፡ ደብር ፡ ለለዓመቱ ።
Wäʿärəgu däbərə läläʿamätə;
wäʿärəgu däbərə läläʿamätu.

וְעָלוּ‎ הָהָרָה בְּכׇל־שָׁנִים,
לְמַעַן יִסְגְּדוּ לַיהוה׃
And they went up the mountain for all years;
So as to worship the Lord.

ወዐርጉ ፡ ደብር ፡ ለለዓመቱ፤
ከመ ፡ ይሰግዱ ፡ ለእግዚአብሔር ።
wäʿärəgu däbərə läläʿamätu;
kämä yəsägədu läʾəgəziʾäbəḥerə.

וְעָלוּ‎ הָהָרָה בְּכׇל־שָׁנִים,
וְקָרְאוּ‎ לִפְנֵי יהוה אֱלֹהֵיהֶם׃
And they went up the mountain for all years;
and read out before the Lord their God.

ወዐርጉ ፡ ደብር ፡ ለለዓመቱ፤
ወጸርሑ ፡ ኀበ ፡ እግዚአብሔር ፡ አምላኮሙ ።
wäʿärəgu däbərə läläʿamätu;
wäṣärəḥu ḫäbä ʾəgəziʾäbəḥerə ʾäməlakomu.

לְוִיִּים‎ בִּמְקוֹמוֹתֵיהֶם,
לְוִיִּים‎ בְּמַעַמְדֵיהֶם׃
Levites in their places;
Levites in their positions.

ሌዋዊያን ፡ በበ ፡ ምቅዋሞሙ፤
ሌዋዊያን ፡ በበ ፡ መዐርጎሙ ።
lewawiyanə bäbä məḳəwamomu;
lewawiyanə bäbä mäʿärəgomu.

קַדְמִיאֵל סַטְרִיאֵל אַרְאָיָה,
וְקָרְאוּ‎ לִפְנֵי יהוה אֱלֹהֵיהֶם׃
Ḳadmiel, Satriel, Arayah;
and read out before the Lord their God.

ቀዳምያል ፡ ሰጣርኤል ፡ አርአያሃ፤
ወጸርሑ ፡ ኀበ ፡ እግዚአብሔር ፡ አምላኮሙ ።
ḳädaməyalə säṭarəʾelə ʾärəʾäyaha:
wäṣärəḥu ḫäbä ʾəgəziʾäbəḥerə ʾäməlakomu.


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.




1 Jewish Virtual Library, “Ethiopian Jewry: Sigd Holiday

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