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בַּר־יוֹחַאי | Bar Yoḥai, a pizmon by Shimon ibn Lavi (ca. 16th c.)

Source (Hebrew) Translation (English)

בַּר־יוֹחַאי, נִמְשַׁחְתָּ – אַשְׁרֶיךָ!
שֶׁמֶן שָׂשׂוֹן מֵחֲבֵרֶיךָ.
Bar Yoḥai, you have been anointed with joyful oil,
fortunate one, more than your companions.

בַּר־יוֹחַאי, שֶׁמֶן מִשְׁחַת קֹדֶשׁ
נִמְשַׁחְתָּ מִמִּדַּת הַקֹּדֶשׁ,
נָשָׂאתָ צִיץ נֵזֶר הַקֹּדֶשׁ,
חָבוּשׁ עַל רֹאשְׁךָ פְּאֵרֶךָ.
Bar Yoḥai, you were anointed with the oil of holy anointing,
coming from the holy attribute
You wear the holy priestly crown,
your glory, on your head.

בַּר־יוֹחַאי, מוֹשַׁב טוֹב יָשַׁבְתָּ,
יוֹם נַסְתָּ, יוֹם אֲשֶׁר בָּרַחְתָּ,
בִּמְעָרַת צוּרִים שֶׁעָמַדְתָּ,
קָנִיתָ הוֹדְךָ וַהֲדָרֶךָ.
Bar Yoḥai, you lived in a good dwelling
on the day you escaped, the day you ran away,
in the cave of stone in which you stood,
there you acquired your majesty and your splendor.

בַּר־יוֹחַאי, עֲצֵי שִׁטִּים עוֹמְדִים,
לִמּוּדֵי יְיָ הֵם לוֹמְדִים,
אוֹר מֻפְלָא, אוֹר הַיְקוֹד הֵם יוֹקְדִים,
הֲלֹא הֵמָּה יוֹרוּךָ מוֹרֶךָ.
Bar Yoḥai, they stand like acacia wood,
the ones who learn of YHVH, they learn
With a wondrous light, a burning light, they burn,
are they not the ones shown to you by your teachers?

בַּר־יוֹחַאי, וְלִשְׂדֵה תַּפּוּחִים
עָלִיתָ לִלְקֹט בּוֹ מֶרְקָחִים,
סוֹד תּוֹרָה בְּצִיצִים וּפְרָחִים,
״נַעֲשֶׂה אָדָם״ נֶאֱמַר בַּעֲבוּרֶךָ.
Bar Yoḥai, and you went up to the field of apples
to gather fragrances,
The secret of the Torah, from blossoms and flowers,
“Let us make a Human” was said on your account.

בַּר־יוֹחַאי, נֶאֱזַרְתָּ בִּגְבוּרָה,
וּבְמִלְחֶמֶת אֵשׁ דָּת הַשַּׂעְרָה,
וְחֶרֶב הוֹצֵאתָ מִתַּעְרָהּ
שָׁלַפְתָּ נֶגֶד צוֹרְרֶיךָ.
Bar Yoḥai, you clothed yourself in strength
and went to the gate in the war of the law
And you took a sword and pulled it out
before those who oppressed you.

בַּר־יוֹחַאי, לִמְקוֹם אַבְנֵי שַׁיִשׁ
הִגַּעְתָּ וּפְנֵי אַרְיֵה לַיִשׁ,
גַּם גֻּלַּת כּוֹתֶרֶת עַל עַיִשׁ,
תָּשׁוּר וּמִי יְשׁוּרֶךָ.
Bar Yoḥai, at the place of marble stones,
you came in the face of the lion of Leo,
It is your crowning achievement that you beheld to Ursa,
but who will behold you?

בַּר־יוֹחַאי, בְּקֹדֶשׁ הַקֳּדָשִׁים.
קַו יָרֹק מְחַדֵּשׁ חֳדָשִׁים,
שֶׁבַע שַׁבָּתוֹת סוֹד חֲמִשִּׁים
קָשַׁרְתָּ קִשְׁרֵי שִׁי״ן קְשָׁרֶיךָ.
Bar Yoḥai, in the holy of holies
a green line renews the months
Seven weeks, the secret of fifty,
you bound the connections of your Shin (ש) knots.

בַּר־יוֹחַאי, יוּ״ד חָכְמָה קְדוּמָה
הִשְׁקַפְתָּ לִכְבוּדָה פְּנִימָה,
לֵ״ב נְתִיבוֹת רֵאשִׁית תְּרוּמָה
אֵת כְּרוּב מִמְשַׁח זִיו אוֹרֶֽךָ.
Bar Yoḥai, you perceived the inner glory
of the Yud (י) of original knowledge
The thirty-two paths, the first offering;
you, a cherub, were anointed with the radiance of your light.

בַּר־יוֹחַאי, אוֹר מֻפְלָא רֹם מַעְלָה
יָרֵאתָ מִלְּהַבִּיט כִּי רַב לָהּ,
תַּעֲלוּמָה וְאַיִן קֹרָא לָהּ,
נַמְתָּ: עַיִן לֹא תְשׁוּרֶךָ.
Bar Yoḥai, a burning light raised on high,
you were afraid to look, because it was so great,
You slept; it was a mystery,
and it is called nothingness because no eye may see you.

בַּר־יוֹחַאי, אַשְׁרֵי יוֹלַדְתֶּךָ,
אַשְׁרֵי הָעָם לוֹמְדֶיךָ,
וְאַשְׁרֵי הָעוֹמְדִים עַל סוֹדֶךָ,
לוֹבְשֵׁי חֹשֶׁן תֻּמֶּיךָ וְאוּרֶיךָ
Bar Yoḥai, how fortunate is your mother,
how fortunate is you people, they are your students.
And how fortunate are those who stand before your secrets,
those who wear the breastplate, your Urim and Tumim.

The pizmon, “Bar Yoḥai” was written by Rabbi Shimon ibn Lavi (1486–1585). A translation in Farsi is extant but we have not been able to locate a text yet. If you have one, please share it. 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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