“Kol B’ru-ei” is a piyyut by the 11th century poet and philosopher, Shlomo ibn Gabirol. Like many Hebrew liturgical poems, it is written as an acrostic. The first letters of the second through the fifth stanzas spell out the poet’s name, Shlomo. The reference to the thirty two paths of wisdom first appear in one of the oldest Jewish mystical texts, Séfer Yətsirah. There, these pathways are made up of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet and the first ten digits, and undergird the architecture of creation.
|Source (Hebrew)||Translation (English)|
כָּל־בְּרוּאֵי מַעְלָה וּמַטָּה
יְעִידוּן יַגִּידוּן כֻּלָּם כְּאֶחָד
ה׳ אֶחָד וּשְׁמוֹ אֶחָד
All creatures, above and below
Testify and proclaim as one;
“YHVH is one and their Name is one.”
שְׁלוֹשִׁים וּשְׁתַּיִם נְתִיבוֹת שְׁבִילָךְ
לְכָל־מֵבִין סוֹדָם יְסַפְּרוּ גָדְלָךְ
מֵהֶם יַכִּירוּן כִּי הַכֹּל שֶׁלָּךְ
וְאַתָּה הָאֵל הַמֶּלֶךְ הַֽמְּיֻחָד
Your way is made of thirty-two paths;
All who understand their mystery, proclaim your greatness;
From them, they know that all is yours,
You are El, majestic one.
לְבָבוֹת בְּחָשְׁבָם עוֹלָם בָּנוּי
יִמְצְאוּ כָל־יֵשׁ בִּלְתְּךָ שָׁנוּי
בְּמִסְפָּר בְּמִשְׁקָל הַכֹּל מָנוּי
כֻּלָּם נִתְּנוּ מֵרוֹעֶה אֶחָד
Minds in contemplation find a world created;
Everything is created, in pairs but you.
By number and measure, all is counted,
But through only one Shepherd, all was given.
מֵרֹאשׁ וְעַד סוֹף יֵשׁ לְךָ סִמָּן
צָפוֹן וָיָם וְקֶֽדֶם וְתֵימָן
שַֽׁחַק וְתֵֽבֵל לְךָ עֵד נֶֽאֱמָן
מִזֶּה אֶחָד וּמִזֶּה אֶחָד
Your signs are everywhere, Beginning and End,
North, South, East and West.
Heaven and Earth are faithful witnesses;
Together they are, “One.”
הַכֹּל מִמְּךָ נִזְבַּד זָבוֹד
אַתָּה תַֽעֲמֹד וְהֵם יֹאבְדוּ אָבוֹד
לָכֵן כָּל־יְצוּר לְךָ יִתֵּן כָּבוֹד
כִּי מֵרֹאשׁ וְעַד־סוֹף הֲלֹא אָב אֶחָד׃
Everything is yours, a gift to cherish
You exist eternally, while humans perish.
Therefore all creatures to you give respect
From end to beginning, is there not one Principle?
This translation of Kol Berué, by Rabbi Adam Zagoria-Moffet, was first published in his Siddur Masorti (Izzun Books 2019). I have made subtle changes in the translation. While Adam has “parent” for ‘av’ as a gender-neutral choice, I prefer “principle” following the meaning of ‘avot’ in the Sefer Yetsirah. Instead of “You are a singular sovereign ruler,” I prefer “You are El, majestic one.” All other differences in punctuation or capitalization are comparably minor. –Aharon Varady
“כָּל־בְּרוּאֵי | Kol B’ru-ei, a piyyut by Shlomo ibn Gabirol (ca. 11th c.)” is shared by the living contributor(s) with a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International copyleft license.
Works of related interest:
כָּל־בְּרוּאֵי | Kol B’ru-ei, a piyyut by Shlomo ibn Gabirol (trans. Rabbi David Aaron de Sola, 1857)
לְמַעַנְךָ וְלֹא לָנוּ | l’Maankha v’lo lanu (For your sake, not for ours), a piyyut by an unknown paytan (trans. Rabbi David Aaron de Sola, 1857)
יְדִיד נֶפֶשׁ | Yedid Nefesh, a piyyut transmitted by Elazar ben Moshe Azikri (ca. 16th c.) translation by Rabbi Levi Weiman-Kelman & Shaul Vardi
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