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אֵל אָדוֹן (ספרד) | El Adōn, a piyyut attributed to the Yordei Merkavah (translation by Sara-Kinneret Lapidot)

https://opensiddur.org/?p=37708 אֵל אָדוֹן (ספרד) | El Adōn, a piyyut attributed to the Yordei Merkavah (translation by Sara-Kinneret Lapidot) 2021-06-19 11:48:07 The piyyut, El Adon, in Hebrew with an English translation. Text the Open Siddur Project Sara Lapidot (translation) Sara Lapidot (translation) Unknown Author(s) https://opensiddur.org/copyright-policy/ Sara Lapidot (translation) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/ Shaḥarit l'Shabbat ul'Yom Tov acrostic פיוטים piyyutim heikhalot literature Alphabetic Acrostic Geonic prayers ההיכלות ויורדי המרכבה haHeikhalot v'Yordei haMerkavah יוצר אור yotser ohr אל אדון el adon
Source (Hebrew) Translation (English)
אֵל אָדוֹן עַל כָּל־הַמַּעֲשִׂים
בָּרוּךְ וּמְבֹרָךְ בְּפִי כָל הַנְּשָׁמָה
גָּדְלוֹ וְטוּבוֹ מָלֵא עוֹלָם
דַּעַת וּתְבוּנָה סוֹבְבִים הוֹדוֹ
God master of all creations  
blessed and praised by every soul  
His greatness and goodness fill the universe  
knowledge and wisdom surround Him  
הַמִּתְגָּאֶה עַל חַיּוֹת הַקֹּדֶשׁ
וְנֶהְדָּר בְּכָבוֹד עַל הַמֶּרְכָּבָה
זְכוּת וּמִישׁוֹר לִפְנֵי כִסְאוֹ
חֶסֶד וְרַחֲמִים מָלֵא כְבוֹדוֹ
He is exalted above the celestial beings  
and adorned in honor above the chariot  
Virtue and honesty stand before His throne  
grace and mercy are abundant in Him  
the worlds reflect.
טוֹבִים מְאוֹרוֹת שֶׁבָּרָא אֱלֹהֵינוּ
יְצָרָם בְּדַעַת בְּבִינָה וּבְהַשְׂכֵּל
כֹּחַ וּגְבוּרָה נָתַן בָּהֶם
לִהְיוֹת מוֹשְׁלִים בְּקֶרֶב תֵּבֵל
Good are the luminaries created by our God  
crafted with knowledge, wisdom and insight  
Strength and might He placed in them  
to reign over the universe  
מְלֵאִים זִיו וּמְפִיקִים נוֹגַהּ
נָאֶה זִיוָם בְּכָל־הָעוֹלָם
שְׂמֵחִים בְּצֵאתָם שָׂשִׂים בְּבוֹאָם
עוֹשִׂים בְּאֵימָה רְצוֹן קוֹנָם
Full of brilliance they radiate brightness  
beautiful is their brilliance throughout the world  
They rejoice in their rising and delight in their setting  
performing with reverence the will of their Creator  
פְּאֵר וְכָבוֹד נוֹתְנִים לִשְׁמוֹ
צָהֳלָה וְרִנָּה לְזֵכֶר מַלְכוּתוֹ
קָרָא לַשֶּׁמֶשׁ וַיִּזְרַח אוֹר
רָאָה וְהִתְקִין צוּרַת הַלְּבָנָה
Glory and honor do they give to His name  
revelry and song for His Majesty  
He called forth the sun and it shone light  
He saw fit to regulate the form of the moon  
שֶׁבַח נוֹתְנִים לוֹ כָּל־צְבָא מָרוֹם
תִּפְאֶרֶת וּגְדֻלָּה שְׂרָפִים וְחַיּוֹת וְאוֹפַנֵּי הַקֹּדֶשׁ
All the hosts of heaven give Him praise  
Serafim, Ophanim and Celestial Beings attribute magnificence and greatness  


The piyyut “El Adon” by an unknown author is one of the oldest piyyutim known, from late Antiquity. Note that in El Adon, the acrostic line for the letter samekh uses the sin in its place, the two being phonetically equivalent. There are some minor variations between the text as provided in the Sefaradi and Ashkenazi liturgical customs. Macy Nulman writes in his entry on “Ayl Adon” in Encyclopedia of Jewish Prayer (1993, pp. 61-62):

A Piyyut arranged in alphabetical acrostic form recited in the Yotzayr benediction on Shabbat and, according to the Ashkenazic rite, on a festival day when it coincides with Shabbat. If the festival day is a weekday, it is omitted. Sephardim recite Ayl Adon (“God, the Master of all works”) on Shabbat and even on festivals that occur on weekdays. The poem is alluded to in the Talmud[1] Hagigah 3b.  and appears in the Zohar,[2] Terumah 132a, Vayakhayl 205b.  and it is generally attributed to the Yorday Merkavah (Descenders/Riders of the Chariot), mystics of the mid-first millennium. The chariot referred to in the Piyyut (“and is splendrous in glory above the chariot”) is derived from the vision of Ezekiel in his Ma’asayh Merkavah prophesy (Ezekiel chaps. 1 and 10).

The poem, introduced into the Sabbath liturgy by the Ge’onim, has no uniformity in meter. Its alphabetical arrangement is to illustrate that God created the world for the sake of the Torah, which is written in twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet.[3] Abudraham. ) The first verses (Ayl and Barukh) each contain five words, adding up to ten and alluding to the “ten words” by which God created the world.[4] Avot 5.1.  The two final verses (Shevah and Tiferet) have six words each, a total of twelve, to correspond to the twelve zodiacal signs.[5] Berakhot 32b.  The intermediate eighteen verses (from Godlo to Ra’ah) contain four words, the total adding up to seventy-two, which corresponds to the Divine Name of seventy-two letters.[6] Cf. Kol Bo; see also Zohar, Parshat Terumah. 

The poem is an homage to God for the creation of the heavenly hosts–the sun, the moon, and stars. After having mentioned the sun and moon, whose functions are well known, the author also alludes to the five planets, Shabtai (Saturn), Nogah (Venus), Kokhav (Mercury), Tsedek (Jupiter), and Ma’adim (Mars) by means of the initial words of the next to the final verse, Shevah Notnim Kol Tseva Marom.[7] Iy Tef, vol. 1, p.682; cf. also Shabbat 156a.  Although there are several textual variations between Ashkenazim and Sephardim , both have the same number of words in the poem, based on the dictum that one not alter the number of words in Ayl Adon.[8] Magen Avraham to OH, chapter 281. 

The English translation was made by Sara-Kinneret Lapidot as published in Invitation to Piyut North America: 18 Piyutim & Mizmorim (2010), p.29. –Aharon Varady

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Notes

Notes
1 Hagigah 3b.
2 Terumah 132a, Vayakhayl 205b.
3 Abudraham.
4 Avot 5.1.
5 Berakhot 32b.
6 Cf. Kol Bo; see also Zohar, Parshat Terumah.
7 Iy Tef, vol. 1, p.682; cf. also Shabbat 156a.
8 Magen Avraham to OH, chapter 281.

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