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הַמַּבְדִּיל בֵּין קֹדֶשׁ לְחֹל | Hamavdil Ben Ḳodesh l’Ḥol, a piyyut by Yitsḥaq ben Yehudah ibn Ghayyat (rhymed translation by Alice Lucas, 1898)

Source (Hebrew) Translation (English)

הַמַּבְדִּיל בֵּין קֹֽדֶשׁ לְחוֹל
חַטֹּאתֵֽינוּ יִמְחוֹל
זַרְעֵֽנוּ וְכַסְפֵּֽנוּ יַרְבֶּה כַּחוֹל
וְכַכּוֹכָבִים בַּלָּֽיְלָה.
May He who sets the holy and profane
Apart, blot out our sins before His sight,
And make our numbers as the sand again,
And as the stars of night.

יוֹם פָּנָה כְּצֵל תֹּֽמֶר
אֶקְרָא לָאֵל עָלַי גּוֹמֵר
יוֹם אֲשֶׁר אָמַר שׁוֹמֵר
אָתָה בֹֽקֶר וְגַם־לָֽיְלָה.
The day declineth like the palm-tree’s shade,
I call on God, who leadeth me aright,
The morning cometh thus the watchman said-
Although it now be night.

צִדְקָתְךָ כְּהַר תָּבוֹר
עֲל חֲטָאַי עָבוֹר תַּעֲבוֹר
כְּיוֹם אֶתְמוֹל כִּי יַעֲבֹר
וְאַשְׁמוּרָה בַּלָּֽיְלָה.
Thy righteousness is like Mount Tabor vast;
O let my sins be wholly put to flight,
Be they as yesterday, for ever past,
And as a watch at night

חָלְפָה עוֹנַת מִנְחָתִי
מִי יִתֵּן מְנוּחָתִי
יָגַֽעְתִּי בְאַנְחָתִי
אַשְׂחֶה בְּכָל לָֽיְלָה.
The peaceful season of my prayers is o’er,
Would that again had rest my soul contrite,
Weary am I of groaning evermore,
I melt in tears each night.

קוֹלִי שִׁמְעָה בַּל יָנְטַל
פְּתַח לִי שַֽׁעַר הַמְנֻטָּל
שֶׁרֹּאשִׁי נִמְלָא טָל
קְוֻצּוֹתַי רְסִֽיסֵי לָֽיְלָה.
Hear Thou my voice: be it not vainly sped,
Open to me the gates of lofty height;
For with the evening dew is filled my head,
My locks with drops of night.

הֵעָתֵר נוֹרָא וְאָיוֹם
אֲשַׁוֵּֽעַ תְּנָה פִדְיוֹם
בְּנֶֽשֶׁף בְּעֶֽרֶב יוֹם
בְּאִישׁוֹן לָֽיְלָה.
O grant me Thy redemption, while I pray,
Be Thou entreated, Lord of power and might,
In twilight, in the evening of the day,
Yea, in the gloom of night.

קְרָאתִֽיךָ יָהּ הוֹשִׁיעֵֽנִי
אֹרַח חַיִּים תּוֹדִיעֵֽנִי
מִדַּלָּה תְּבַצְּעֵֽנִי
מִיּוֹם וְעַד לָֽיְלָה.
Save me, O Lord, my God, I call on Thee!
Make me to know the path of life aright,
From sore and wasting sickness snatch Thou me,
Lead me from day to night.

טַהֵר טִנּוּף מַעֲשַׂי
פֶּן יֹאמְרוּ מַכְעִיסַי
אַיֵּה אֱלֽוֹהַּ עֹשִׂי
נֹּתֵן זְמִירוֹת בַּלָּֽיְלָה.

נַֽחְנוּ בְיָדְךָ כַּחֹמֶר
סְלַח נָא עַל קַל וָחֹֽמֶר
יוֹם לְיוֹם יַבִּֽיעַ אֹֽמֶר
וְלַֽיְלָה לְלָֽיְלָה.
We are like clay within Thy hand, O Lord,
Forgive us all our sins both grave and light,
And day shall unto day pour forth the word,
And night declare to night.

הַמַּבְדִּיל בֵּין קֹֽדֶשׁ לְחוֹל
חַטֹּאתֵֽינוּ יִמְחוֹל
זַרְעֵֽנוּ וְכַסְפֵּֽנוּ יַרְבֶּה כַּחוֹל
וְכַכּוֹכָבִים בַּלָּֽיְלָה.
May He who sets the holy and profane
Apart, blot out our sins before His sight,
And make our numbers as the sand again,
And as the stars of night.

Alice Lucas’s rhymed paraliturgical translation of the piyyut “Hamavdil Ben Ḳodesh l’Ḥol” (the separation between the Holy and Mundane) by Yitsḥaq ben Yehudah ibn Ghayyat, was first published in her The Jewish Year (1898), page 169, under the title “Hymn for the Conclusion of the Sabbath.” The piyyut was originally composed for the Yom Kippur neilah service.

Thanks to Nir Krakauer for identifying the piyyut from Lucas’s English verse. For the Hebrew source, I chose the text from Rabbi Simeon Singer’s Authorised Daily Prayer Book (1890), as it seems very close to the girsah Lucas translated from, albeit with a stanza she left untranslated. –Aharon Varady

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