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אָשִׁיר לָאֵל אֲשֶׁר שָׁבַת | Ashir la-El Asher Shavat, a piyyut by Rabbi Mosheh ha-Levi (ca. 19th c.)

Source (Hebrew) Translation (English)

אָשִׁיר לָאֵל אֲשֶׁר שָׁבַת
מִמְּלַאכְתּוֹ בְּיוֹם שַׁבָּת
נְתָנוֹ לְעַם כְּבָבַת
עַיִן תָּמִיד
יִנְצְרֶנְהוּ
I will sing to El who rested
from all work on the day of Shabbat
And gave it to a nation who
Will always be guarded
like the pupil of the eye

מְכֻבָּד הוּא מִכָּל יָמִים
כִּי בוֹ שָׁבַת צוּר עוֹלָמִים
יָנוּחַ בּוֹ לֵב עֲגוּמִים
שַׂמֵּחַ יְשַׂמְּחֶנְהוּ
More honored than any other day
Because on it the Rock of Ages rested
The heart of the morose will rest on it
And will surely be gladdened

שַׁבַּת קֹדֶשׁ יוֹם מְנוּחָה
בּוֹ נָסוּ יָגוֹן וַאֲנָחָה
עַם אֵל בְּהַשְׁקֵט
וּבְבִטְחָה
שַׁבָּת עֹנֶג יִקְרָאוּהוּ
The holy Shabbat is a day of rest
On it suffering and sighing will flee
The nation of El in relaxation
and security
Will call Shabbat “enjoyment”

הָאֵל אֲשֶׁר בָּחַר בָּנוּ
שַׁבַּת קָדְשׁוֹ הִנְחִילָנוּ
מִן הָעַמִּים הִבְדִּילָנוּ
לִהְיוֹת לָנוּ לֵאלֹהִים הוּא
El who has chosen us
Granted us His holy Shabbat
And separated us from the nations
To be our God

הַלְוִיִּם רִנָּה יִפְצְחוּ
לִכְבוֹד שַׁבָּת כִּי בוֹ נָחוּ
כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל בּוֹ יִשְׂמָחוּ
שִׂמְחַת עוֹלָם
עַל רֹאשָׁם הוּא
The Levites sing with joy
In honor of Shabbat because they rest on it
All of Yisra’el will be happy on it
An everlasting happiness
it crowns their heads

חָזָק יִשְׁלַח מְשִׁיחֵנוּ
וְיָשִׁיב אֶת שְׁבִיתֵנוּ
וְאָז נִשְׁבּוֹת שַׁבָּתֵּנוּ
עוֹלָם שֶׁכֻּלּוֹ שַׁבָּת הוּא
The Strong One will send our Mashiaḥ
And will bring back our captives
Then we will celebrate every Shabbat
In a world that is always Shabbat

“Ashir la-El Asher Shavat” was composed by Moshe haLevi (c.1827-1910), chief rabbi of the Ottoman Empire in the late 19th and early 20th century. The English translation here by Honi Sanders was published in the birkon for his wedding, Siman l’Vanim (Dimus Parrhesia Press 2019). –Aharon Varady

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