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יִגְדַּל (אשכנז)‏ | Yigdal, by Daniel ben Yehudah (trans. Israel Zangwill, 1904)


Source (Hebrew)Translation (English)
יִגְדַּל אֱלֹהִים חַי וְיִשְׁתַּבַּח
נִמְצָא וְאֵין עֵת אֶל מְצִיאוּתוֹ׃
1. The living God O magnify and bless,
Transcending Time and here eternally.
אֶחָד וְאֵין יָחִיד כְּיִחוּדוֹ
נֶעְלָם וְגַם אֵין סוֹף לְאַחְדּוּתוֹ׃
2. One Being, yet unique in unity;
A mystery of Oneness measureless.
אֵין לוֹ דְמוּת הַגּוּף וְאֵינוֹ גּוּף
לֹא נַעֲרֹךְ אֵלָיו קְדֻשָּׁתוֹ׃
3. Lo I form or body He has none, and man
No semblance of His holiness can frame.
קַדְמוֹן לְכָל דָּבָר אֲשֶׁר נִבְרָא
רִאשׁוֹן וְאֵין רֵאשִׁית לְרֵאשִׁיתוֹ׃
4. Before Creation’s dawn He was the same;
The first to be, though never He began.
הִנּוֹ אֲדוֹן עוֹלָם לְכָל נוֹצָר
יוֹרֶה גְּדֻלָּתוֹ וּמַלְכוּתוֹ׃
5. He is the world’s and every creature’s Lord;
His rule and majesty are manifest,
שֶׁפַע נְבוּאָתוֹ נְתָנוֹ
אֶל אַנְשֵׁי סְגֻלָּתוֹ וְתִפְאַרְתּוֹ׃
6. And through His chosen, glorious sons exprest
In prophecies that through their lips are poured.
לֹא קָם בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל כְּמֹשֶׁה עוֹד
נָבִיא וּמַבִּיט אֶת תְּמוּנָתוֹ׃
7. Yet never like to Moses rose a seer,
Permitted glimpse behind the veil divine.
תּוֹרַת אֱמֶת נָתַן לְעַמּוֹ אֵל
עַל יַד נְבִיאוֹ נֶאֱמַן בֵּיתוֹ׃
8. This faithful prince of God’s prophetic line
Received the Law of Truth for Israel’s ear.
לֹא יַחֲלִיף הָאֵל וְלֹא יָמִיר דָּתוֹ
לְעוֹלָמִים לְזוּלָתוֹ׃
9. The Law God gave He never will amend,
Nor ever by another Law replace.
צוֹפֶה וְיוֹדֵעַ סְתָרֵינוּ
מַבִּיט לְסוֹף דָּבָר בְּקַדְמָתוֹ׃
10. Our secret things are spread before His face;
In all beginnings He beholds the end.
גּוֹמֵל לְאִישׁ חָסִיד כְּמִפְעָלוֹ
נוֹתֵן לְרָשָׁע רָע כְּרִשְׁעָתוֹ׃
11. The saint’s reward He measures to his need,
The sinner reaps the harvest of his ways.
יִשְׁלַח לְקֵץ יָמִים מְשִׁיחֵנוּ
לִפְדּוֹת מְחַכֵּי קֵץ יְשׁוּעָתוֹ׃
12. Messiah He will send at end of days,
And all the faithful to salvation lead.
מֵתִים יְחַיֶּה אֵל בְּרֹב חַסְדּוֹ
בָּרוּךְ עֲדֵי עַד שֵׁם תְּהִלָּתוֹ׃
13. God will the dead again to life restore
In His abundance of almighty love.
Then blessed be His Name, all names above,
And let His praise resound for evermore.

This is the philosophical-creed-as-piyyut, Yigdal, by Daniel ben Judah Dayyan. Yigdal means “Magnify [O Living God]” and is based on the 13 Articles of Faith formulated by Maimonides (1135-1204). Daniel ben Judah spent eight years improving his piyyut, completing Yigdal in 1404. This was not the only metrical presentment of the 13 Articles of Faith; but it has outlived all others, whether in Hebrew or in the vernacular. The English translation here by Israel Zangwill was transcribed from Arthur Davis & Herbert Adler’s מַחֲזוֹר עֲבֹדַת אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד: עֲבֹדַת חַג הַכִּפּוּרִים Maḥzor Avodat Ohel Moed: Avodat Yom haKippurim Part II: Morning Service (1904), p. 2.






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