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כִּי אֶשְׁמְרָה שַׁבָּת | Ki Eshmerah Shabbat, a piyyut by Avraham ibn Ezra (trans. Rabbi David Aaron de Sola, 1857)


Source (Hebrew)Translation (English)
כִּי אֶשְׁמְרָה שַׁבָּת
אֵל יִשְׁמְרֵֽנִי,
אוֹת הִיא לְעֽוֹלְמֵי עַד
בֵּינוֹ וּבֵינִי׃
When the Sabbath I duly keep,
God will also guard me;
For an eternal covenant and “sign
It is between Him and me.” (Exodus 31:13)
אָסוּר מְצֹא חֵֽפֶץ מֵֽעֲשׂוֹת דְּרָכִים,
גַּם מִלְּדַבֶּר בּוֹ דִּבְרֵי צְרָכִים,
דִּבְרֵי סְחוֹרָה אַף דִּבְרֵי מְלָכִים,
אֶהְגֶּה בְּתֽוֹרַת אֵל וּתְחַכְּמֵֽנִי׃
כִּי אֶשְׁמְרָה שַׁבָּת וכו׳
Thereon it is prohibited to transact business, to travel,
to discuss political, commercial, or private affairs.
But I must meditate in the divine law,
that its instructions may improve my knowledge.
בּוֹ אֶמְצָא תָמִיד נֹֽפֶשׁ לְנַפְשִׁי,
הִנֵּה לְדוֹר רִאשׁוֹן נָתַן קְדוֹשִׁי
מוֹפֵת בְּתֵת לֶֽחֶם מִשְׁנֶה בַּשִּׁשִּׁי,
כָּֽכָה בְּכָל שִׁשִּׁי יַכְפִּיל מְזוֹנִי׃
כִּי אֶשְׁמְרָה שַׁבָּת וכו׳
On that day I find rest for my soul.
Behold, to a former generation the Most Holy gave a wondrous sign,
by granting them a double portion on every sixth day. (Exodus 16:22)
May He also on that day ever double my portion.
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׳
It was commanded to His chiefs and priesthood to arrange thereon,
according to law, the shewbread before Him;
but to fast on that day has been prohibited by the sages,
except it be the Day of Atonement for our sins.
הוּא יוֹם מְכֻבָּד הוּא יוֹם תַּעֲנוּגִים,
לֶֽחֶם וְיַֽיִן טוֹב בָּשָׂר וְדָגִים
מִתְאַבְּלִים בּוֹ אָחוֹר נְסוּגִים,
כִּי יוֹם שְׂמָחוֹת הוּא וַיְשַׂמְּחֵֽנִי׃
כִּי אֶשְׁמְרָה שַׁבָּת וכו׳
This glorious day is one of delights,
which we also honour by the enjoyment of savory food and drink.
The afflicted must on that day abstain from mourning,
for it is a day of joy, on which God caused me to rejoice.
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׳
He who works on that day will assuredly be cut off.
Therefore will I purify my heart of every unseemly thought.
I will pray to the Almighty evening and morning,
address to Him the additional and afternoon prayers, that lie may answer me!

This translation of “Ki Eshmerah Shabbat” by Rabbi David Aaron de Sola of a piyyut by Avraham ibn Ezra was first published in his Ancient Melodies of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews (1857). –Aharon Varady






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