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כִּי אֶשְׁמְרָה שַׁבָּת | Ki Eshmera Shabbat, a piyyut by Avraham ibn Ezra (rhyming translation by Israel Abrahams, 1914) כִּי אֶשְׁמְרָה שַׁבָּת | Ki Eshmera Shabbat, a piyyut by Avraham ibn Ezra (rhyming translation by Israel Abrahams, 1914) 2021-09-18 17:57:25 The piyyut and popular shabbat table song, Ki Eshmera Shabbat, in Hebrew with a rhyming translation. Text the Open Siddur Project Aharon N. Varady (transcription) Aharon N. Varady (transcription) Israel Abrahams Avraham ibn Ezra Aharon N. Varady (transcription) Se'udat Yom Shabbat זמירות zemirot פיוטים piyyutim 12th century C.E. rhyming translation 50th century A.M. כי אשמרה שבת Ki Eshmera Shabbat
Source (Hebrew) Translation (English)
כִּי אֶשְׁמְרָה שַׁבָּת
אֵל יִשְׁמְרֵֽנִי,
אוֹת הִיא לְעֽוֹלְמֵי עַד
בֵּינוֹ וּבֵינִי׃
If we the Sabbath keep with faithful heart,
El will Israel keep with love divine;
Of his good grace and our true loyalty
O let this day for ever prove the sign!
אָסוּר מְצֹא חֵֽפֶץ מֵֽעֲשׂוֹת דְּרָכִים,
גַּם מִלְּדַבֶּר בּוֹ דִּבְרֵי צְרָכִים,
דִּבְרֵי סְחוֹרָה אַף דִּבְרֵי מְלָכִים,
אֶהְגֶּה בְּתֽוֹרַת אֵל וּתְחַכְּמֵֽנִי׃
כִּי אֶשְׁמְרָה שַׁבָּת וכו׳
The daily round its restless turmoil ends,
Our ears are closed to wordly battle-cries;
From toil set free, the hour we dedicate
To ponder on Torah that maketh wise.
If we the Sabbath keep etc.
בּוֹ אֶמְצָא תָמִיד נֹֽפֶשׁ לְנַפְשִׁי,
הִנֵּה לְדוֹר רִאשׁוֹן נָתַן קְדוֹשִׁי
מוֹפֵת בְּתֵת לֶֽחֶם מִשְׁנֶה בַּשִּׁשִּׁי,
כָּֽכָה בְּכָל שִׁשִּׁי יַכְפִּיל מְזוֹנִי׃
כִּי אֶשְׁמְרָה שַׁבָּת וכו׳
Then wondrous memories refresh our soul,
Of manna, on our sires conferred of yore;
For us, as for our fathers, Heaven provides
A double portion for the Sabbath store.
If we the Sabbath keep etc.
רָשַׁם בְּדַת הָאֵל חֹק אֶל־סְגָנָיו
בּוֹ לַעֲרֹךְ לֶֽחֶם פָּנִים בְּפָנָיו,
גַּם בּוֹ לְהִתְעַנּוֹת בּוֹ עַל פִּי נְבוֹנָיו
אָסוּר לְבַד מִיּוֹם כִּפּוּר עֲוֹנִי׃
כִּי אֶשְׁמְרָה שַׁבָּת וכו׳
The shew-bread every week the Priests arrayed
Anew upon the Table, ’twas El’s word;
So we nor grieve nor fast on Sabbath days
But feast around the Table of El.
If we the Sabbath keep etc.
הוּא יוֹם מְכֻבָּד הוּא יוֹם תַּעֲנוּגִים,
לֶֽחֶם וְיַֽיִן טוֹב בָּשָׂר וְדָגִים
מִתְאַבְּלִים בּוֹ אָחוֹר נְסוּגִים,
כִּי יוֹם שְׂמָחוֹת הוּא וַיְשַׂמְּחֵֽנִי׃
כִּי אֶשְׁמְרָה שַׁבָּת וכו׳
O honoured day, that sets our heart aglow!
O day of joy, ordained to make us glad!
With bread and wine we greet thee and good cheer,
A traitor he, whose Sabbath heart is sad!
If we the Sabbath keep etc.
מֵחֵל מְלָאכָה בּוֹ סוֹפוֹ לְהַכְרִית,
עַל כֵּן אֲכַבֶּס בּוֹ לִבִּי כְּבֹרִית,
אֶתְפַּלְּלָה אֶל־אֵל עַרְבִית וְשַׁחֲרִית,
מוּסַף וְגַם מִנְחָה הוּא יַעֲנֵֽנִי׃
כִּי אֶשְׁמְרָה שַׁבָּת וכו׳
At eve and morn and noon our prayers ascend,
A loving answer El on us bestows;
Our heart with Sabbath balsam let us lave,
And find a solace for all earthly woes!
If we the Sabbath keep etc.

Abraham Ibn Ezra was the author of the poem “If we the Sabbath keep with faithful hearts.” Ibn Ezra (twelfth century), a writer in several branches of literature, enriched the liturgy with many hymns. The author’s name is given in acrostic simply as Abraham, but all authorities agree in assigning it to Ibn Ezra (cf. Vitry, p. 178). The Sabbath as a sign between God and Israel is taken from Exodus 31:13-17. For some of the ideas in the hymn see T.B. Sabbath 113b, 150b, Shulḥan Aruch, O. Ḥayyim §307. For the allusion to the manna see Exod. 26:5. –Israel Abrahams

I have re-Hebraized divine names and mentions of the Torah in Abrahams’s translation. –Aharon Varady





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