Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation)

Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation)

From a family of musicians, Isaac Gantwerk Mayer believes that creative art is one of the most powerful ways to get in touch with the divine. He composes music and poetry in Hebrew and English. Isaac runs a Jewish music transcription service, which will transcribe and set any Jewish music in any language, recorded or written. Contact his service on Facebook or via his music blog.

http://isaacwritesaboutmusic.com

ሞተ ፡ ሙሴ | סֵפֶר פְּטִירָת מֹשֶׁה | Motä Musē (the Book of the Passing of Mosheh), in Ge’ez with Hebrew and English translation

Contributed on: כ״ח במרחשון ה׳תש״פ (2019-11-26) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | Jacques Faïtlovitch (translation) | Unknown Author(s) |

The text of the Betä ʾƎsəraʾel legend of the death of Moses, translated to Hebrew by Jacques Faïtlovitch, and vocalized, cantillated, and translated into English by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer. . . .


Whoa, Mary, don’t you weep no more! (Hebrew adaptation by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer)

Contributed on: ט׳ בסיון ה׳תשפ״א (2021-05-19) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | Unknown Author(s) |

The African-American Christian spiritual adapted for a Pesaḥ song in Hebrew and English. . . .


Haftarah reading for the Second Day of Shavuot (Ḥabaquq 2:20-3:19) with its Targum and the piyyut Yetsiv Pitgam by Rabbeinu Tam (ca. 12th c.)

Contributed on: ד׳ בסיון ה׳תשפ״א (2021-05-15) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (transcription & naqdanut) | Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | Yaaqov ben Meir | Yonatan ben Uziel | the Masoretic Text | Ḥabaquq haNavi |

The haftarah for the second day of Shavuot, Ḥabakkuk 2:20-3:19, interspersed with a cantillated text of the Targum Yonatan ben Uzziel. Since Targum Yonatan is a bit more drash-heavy than Targum Onkelos, it is translated separately as well. The haftarah reading includes the piyyut Yetsiv Pitgam, with an acrostic rhyming translation of the poem, with the second-to-last verse restored to its rightful place, as well as a concluding paragraph for the meturgeman to recite, as found in the Maḥzor Vitry. . . .


וּתְקוֹל | U-tqol of Djerba — a Midrashic Addition to the Haggadah relating the story of Avraham & Nimrod’s Furnace in Judeo-Tunisian Arabic

Contributed on: י׳ בניסן ה׳תשפ״א (2021-03-23) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (transcription & naqdanut) | Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) |

The ancient Jewish community of Djerba, an island off the coast of southern Tunisia, has many unique customs and practices. Among them is that during the Maggid, after the citation of Joshua 24:2-4 and before the paragraph beginning “Praise the One who keep faith with the people Israel,” an extensive work in Judeo-Tunisian Arabic is recited, telling the well-known story of Abraham’s realization of divine unity and his ordeal in the oven of fire. Here is a transcript of that text, vocalized according to the original manuscripts, transcribed, and translated into English and modern Hebrew. . . .


תהלים קל״ו | Psalms 136, translated by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Contributed on: ח׳ באייר ה׳תשע״ט (2019-05-13) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | the Masoretic Text |

Psalms 136, translated into English by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer. . . .


מִי כָמֽוֹךָ וְאֵין כָּמֽוֹךָ | Mi Khamokha v’Ein Kamokha, a retelling of Megillat Esther in a piyyut for Shabbat Zakhor by Yehudah ben Shmuel haLevi (ca. 11th c.)

Contributed on: ו׳ באדר ה׳תשפ״א (2021-02-17) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | Yehudah ben Shmuel haLevi |

The poem Mi Khamokha v-Ein Khamokha, an epic retelling of the book of Esther in verse, was written for Shabbat Zakhor, the Shabbat before Purim, by the great paytan Yehuda ben Shmuel haLevi. It was originally written as a “geulah,” meant to be inserted into the prayer after the Shema in place of the verse beginning with “A new song…” But later Sephardic poskim ruled that it was forbidden to insert piyyutim into the Shema blessings, so in the communities that recite it today it is generally either read after the Full Kaddish as an introduction to the Torah service, or (for instance, in most Spanish and Portuguese communities) within the verse “Kol atzmotai tomarna” in the Nishmat prayer. Wherever you include it in your service, it’s a beautiful and intricately rhymed piyyut, and surprisingly easy to understand at that. It is presented here in a gender-neutral translation with all the Biblical verses cited, alongside a new translation that preserves the fourfold acrostic, two alphabetical and two authorial. –Isaac Gantwerk Mayer . . .


אֵין כֵּאלֹהֵֽינוּ | A Polyglot Version of Ein kEloheinu

Contributed on: ב׳ באדר ה׳תשפ״א (2021-02-14) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) |

The mantra-like piyyut “Ēin k-Ēlohēinu,” a praise of God’s attributes and uniqueness featuring incremental repetition, is found in siddurim as far back as the siddur of Rav Amram, and may date back to the Hekhalot literature. Many versions of it have been compiled in different languages, most famously Flory Jagoda (zç”l)’s Judezmo variant “Non como muestro Dyo.” Here the editor has compiled traditional Yiddish and Ladino translations, as well as developed new Aramaic and Arabic translations for this piyyut. The post-piyyut verses used in both the Ashkenazi and Sephardic rites have been included. . . .


שיר חדש אשיר | Shir Ḥadash Ashir (“Song Anew”) — a traditional piyyuṭ before the Song of the Sea

Contributed on: ט״ז בשבט ה׳תשפ״א (2021-01-28) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | Shmuel haPaytan |

This piyyuṭ, bearing the acrostic signature “Samuel,” is traditionally recited in the communities of Babylonia and India as a petiḥa, or opening poem, before the Song of the Sea. It is also sung on Shabbat Shira, the Sabbath where we read the Song of the Sea in public. This translation is an attempt to preserve the original meaning as well as the rhyme scheme and poetic form. . . .


ט״וּ בִּשְׁבָט | Torah and Haftarah Readings for the New Year’s Day for Trees, selected by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Contributed on: י״ג בשבט ה׳תשפ״א (2021-01-26) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | the Masoretic Text | Yeḥezqel ben Būzi haKohen |

Torah and Haftarah readings for Tu biShvat selected by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer. . . .


מְגִילַּת הִיטְלֶיר | Megilat Hitler, a Purim Sheni scroll for French Armistice Day by Asher P. Ḥassine (Casablanca, 1944)

Contributed on: י״ב בתמוז ה׳תשפ״א (2021-06-21) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (transcription & naqdanut) | Asher Ḥassine |

A megillah attesting to the terrible events of World War II from the vantage of North African Jewry in Casablanca. . . .


מַא כְׄבַּר הַדִׄה | Ma Khəbar Hādhih, a Yemenite Judeo-Arabic Elaboration on the Four Questions

Contributed on: ד׳ בניסן ה׳תשפ״א (2021-03-16) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (transcription & naqdanut) | Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) |

In Yemenite practice, directly after the four questions are recited the youngest literate person at the table reads a brief Judeo-Arabic passage, here transcribed per the Yemenite transliteration system (wherein gimel dagesh = j and qof = g) and translated into Arabic and Hebrew. Instructional notes say this passage is “for the benefit of women and toddlers,” the two main classes of people who would have not had access to Hebrew education at the time. . . .


תהלים קנ״א | Psalms 151, as found in the Septuagint (LXX)

Contributed on: כ״ג בכסלו ה׳תשפ״א (2020-12-09) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | Avraham Kahana (Hebrew translation) | Septuagint (translation/Greek) |

This is Psalms 151 as found in the Septuagint (LXX) in Greek translation (here offered with its translation into Hebrew by Avraham Kahana). The psalm as it is found in Hebrew in the Dead Sea Scrolls is designated as Psalms 151a. . . .


מְגִלַּת פִּסְגָּה | Megillat Fustat, a Purim Sheni legend for the 28th of Adar translated and cantillated by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Contributed on: ט״ו באדר ה׳תש״פ (2020-03-11) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (transcription & naqdanut) | Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) |

Behold, a full text of the Megillah of Fustat, telling a story of a great miracle that happened in 1524 CE (5284 AM). . . .


תהלים קנ״א | Psalms 151a, according to the Nusaḥ of the Judean Desert Scrolls, Edited, Vocalized, Cantillated, and Translated into English by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Contributed on: כ״ה באייר ה׳תש״פ (2020-05-18) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | Unknown Author(s) | David haMelekh ben Yishai (traditional attribution) |

Psalm 151a is unlike any other psalm, because it is openly and clearly a description of David’s own life. He describes his childhood as the youngest of the family, and his anointing. It may have not been included as part of the Masoretic canon because this dissimilarity leads to just a whiff of pseudepigraphical overcompensation. [The psalm is designated Psalms 151a to destinguish it from the text of Psalms 151 found in the Septuagint. –ANV] . . .


A Letter of Passover Instruction, from the Judean Garrison of Elephantine/Yeb (TAD A4.1)

Contributed on: א׳ בניסן ה׳תשפ״א (2021-03-14) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (transcription & naqdanut) |

This letter, written in Imperial Aramaic in 419 BCE, is among the vast number of papyrus letters found in Elephantine, also known as Yeb. The Jewish (or more accurately, Judean) community of Yeb is a fascinating bit of history — a group of Judean mercenaries who settled in Egypt and built their own smaller temple! Although their origin was clearly Judean, and they referred to themselves as the ḥeila yehudaya = Judean garrison, their form of worship featured no Deuteronomic centralization, no discussion of the patriarchs, and questionable monotheism! Although the primary deity was YHW (note the difference in spelling), multiple other deities or hypostatized aspects of divinity were worshipped, and verbs for the word “God” are conjugated in the plural rather than the singular. This text is one of a series of letters written between the brothers Yedaniah and Ḥananiah. In this case, it is giving instructions for keeping the holiday of Pesaḥ. These instructions are interesting in their own right — the prohibition on beer could alternatively be read as a prohibition on any alcoholic drink, which would align with Karaite practice rather than rabbinic. But what’s even more interesting is what isn’t mentioned — the instructions given mention nothing whatsoever about the exodus from Egypt, or even God! The diktat to observe the holiday is accredited not to God or Moses, but to Darius, king of the Achaemenid Empire! This passage is a fascinating taste of a part of Judaism that we know very little about. Vocalization according to Tiberian norms and translation into English by the translator. . . .


מעריב ליל שבת לפי נוסח פרס העתיק | Maariv for the Sabbath Evening according to the Ancient Persian Rite

Contributed on: ג׳ במרחשון ה׳תשפ״א (2020-10-21) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) |

This is a transcript and translation of the Maariv service for Shabbat evening in the Old Persian rite, as recorded in MS Adler 23 ENA (https://hebrewbooks.org/20923) in the JTS Library. The Old Persian rite shows some fascinating unique linguistic features. The first thing that immediately strikes one is its tendency towards poetic extensions and doublings, even in texts (such as the Avot blessing) where most other rites are almost completely uniform. It also shows some nonstandard vocalizations that appear to be influenced by the Babylonian system of vocalization. In modern Persian communities the standard rite is a variation of the Sephardic rite used throught the Mizraḥi world, but this older rite with its unique facets deserves to be preserved as well. This is part 1 of a planned series of transcripts and translations from MS Adler 23 ENA. . . .


תהלים ע״ט | Psalms 79, a new translation for 17 Tamuz by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Contributed on: כ״ו באלול ה׳תש״פ (2020-09-15) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | the Masoretic Text | Asaph ben Berechiah |

A new translation of Psalms 79 for the 17th of Tamuz fast day of mourning. . . .


אַקְדָמּוּת מִלִּין | The Aḳdamut, a piyyut for introducing the Decalogue by Meir ben Yitsḥaq Nehorai of Orléans (acrostic translation by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer)

Contributed on: ט״ו באייר ה׳תשפ״א (2021-04-27) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | Meir ben Isaac Nehorai of Orléans |

The piyyut read as an introduction to the Decalogue during the Torah reading on Shavuot. . . .


A Hebrew Reconstruction of Psalms 152 and 153, edited, vocalized, cantillated, and translated into English by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Contributed on: י״ד במרחשון ה׳תשפ״א (2020-10-31) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (transcription & naqdanut) |

Unlike Psalms 151, 154, and 155, the apocryphal psalms 152 and 153 were not found in the Judean Desert scrolls, but only in the Syriac psalter. It is thus somewhat uncertain if they were actually ever written in Hebrew or in Aramaic. But their language and content is in keeping with other late apocryphal psalms, so it seems very possible that they were of Hebrew origin. These reconstructed Hebrew texts are largely based on the work of Professor Emeritus Herrie (H. F.) van Rooy,[1] an expert in the Syriac psalter, also factoring in some input from the work of J. A. Sanders.[2] Psalms 152 and 153 are included together here because they are framed by the ascriptions as a pair — the former being David’s prayer before going against the wild beasts (see I Samuel 17:34-36), and the latter being David’s thanksgiving afterwards . . .


ברכת המזון לשבת א׳ דנחמתא (נחמו)‏ | Birkat Hamazon additions for Shabbat Naḥamu, by Gabriel Wasserman

Contributed on: ב׳ באב ה׳תשע״ג (2013-07-08) by Gabriel Wasserman | Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | Aharon N. Varady (transcription) |

Supplemental prayers for the Birkat Hamazon on Tisha b’Av, Tu b’Av, and Shabbat Naḥamu by Gabriel Wasserman . . .


Announcement of the Count of Years since the Destruction of the (First) Temple, from the Yemenite Baladi-Rite (Tikhlal Ets Ḥayyim of Yiḥya Tsalaḥ)

Contributed on: כ״א בתמוז ה׳תשפ״א (2021-07-01) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | Yiḥya Tsalaḥ |

Many communities have a custom of announcing on the night of 9 Av the years since the destruction of the Temple. The Yemenite rite is unique in that it announces both the years since the destruction of the second, but also the years since the destruction of the first, in this poetic form recited after the conclusion of the evening kinnot. Why? Because the Yemenite community traced its origins back to the destruction of the first temple, claiming not to have returned under Ezra. Here the original Hebrew text is included along with a new translation and a transcription in the Yemenite pronunciation style. . . .


אַרְעָא רַקְדָא | Ar’a Raqda (And the Earth Danced), a piyyut in Aramaic for introducing the Decalogue as read in the Targum

Contributed on: כ׳ באייר ה׳תשפ״א (2021-05-02) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (transcription & naqdanut) |

“Ar’a Raqda,” a piyyut read directly before the Ten Commandments in the Targum, uses wedding imagery and language from the Shir haShirim to paint Sinai as a ḥuppah. . . .


תהלים קנ״ד | Psalms 154, according to the Nusaḥ of the Judean Desert Scrolls, Edited, Vocalized, Cantillated, and Translated into English by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Contributed on: כ״ה באייר ה׳תש״פ (2020-05-18) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | Unknown Author(s) |

Psalm 154 seems to be a hymn of communal eating, very appropriate for the communal life of Qumran, but also features a very Proverbs-like anthropomorphization of Wisdom as a woman. Of the three apocryphal psalms recorded in the Dead Sea Scrolls, this one seems the most likely to have been written with sectarian intent, which may have been why it wasn’t included in the Masoretic canon. . . .


תהלים קנ״ה | Psalms 155, according to the Nusaḥ of the Judean Desert Scrolls, Edited, Vocalized, Cantillated, and Translated into English by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Contributed on: כ״ה באייר ה׳תש״פ (2020-05-18) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | Unknown Author(s) |

Psalm 155 is an incomplete acrostic (the Dead Sea Scrolls text records it going from ב to נ, and the Syriac can be reconstructed to include up to פ) with similarities to petitionary psalms like Psalm 3, 22, and 143. It is unclear why it was not included in the Masoretic canon, but one can hazard a guess that it was just not familiar to the compilers. . . .


תוספות לקריאות התורה לשבת כלה (אחרי החתונה)‏ | Additions to the Torah Reading for Shabbat Kallah (after the wedding)

Contributed on: י״ג בתמוז ה׳תש״פ (2020-07-04) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | the Masoretic Text |

There are all sorts of customs associated with weddings in Judaism. But one custom that has been practiced for a long time and deserves a comeback is the additions to the Torah reading for Shabbat Kallah. Shabbat Kallah, the Shabbat in the “Sheva Berakhot” week after the wedding, is in many Sephardic communities preferred over Shabbat Ḥatan, the aufruf Shabbat before the wedding. And in all sorts of communities across the Jewish world, there have been customs for specific readings for Shabbat Kallah, treating it as a Special Sabbath in its own right. Traditionally this special maftir and haftarah would recited by the groom (along with an Aramaic translator interpolating for the maftir). The maftir is from the story of Abraham’s servant tasked with finding a wife for Isaac, and the haftarah is from the book of Isaiah and compares a groom and bride to the relationship between God and Israel. . . .


סדר עתיק לקריאות מהתנ״ך לפי מסכת סופרים | A Service for Scriptural Readings from Antiquity, reconstructed from Masekhet Soferim by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Contributed on: כ״ט בסיון ה׳תש״פ (2020-06-20) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | Eliyahu ben Shlomo Zalman |

The “minor tractate” Soferim is one of our best sources for early liturgical practice. It is the oldest known source for multiple practices still followed today, such as the blessing for the haftarah. Such luminaries as the Vilna Gaon considered it a vital work. But some of its practices are… well, odd. There are customs in Tractate Soferim which are found nowhere else in classical rabbinics — blessings for the recitation of books in Writings other than the scrolls, a three-year cycle of Torah readings, and a custom to divide the scrolls in half when reading them. This service is constructed based on the descriptions and passages of Tractate Soferim, mostly following the Gra’s edition. In some ways it may be very familiar, especially to Ashkenazim, but in others it is a fascinating glimpse into a heretofore lost practice of Judaism. . . .


מזמור לציון | Apostrophe to Zion, according to the Nusaḥ of the Judean Desert Scrolls

Contributed on: י״ג באב ה׳תש״פ (2020-08-03) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (transcription & naqdanut) | Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) |

The Apostrophe to Zion is an alphabetical acrostic poem, directed at Zion in the second person. It has been found in multiple locations in Qumran, including the Great Psalms Scroll 11QPsa as well as another fragmentary scroll in 4Q88. It was considered a regular part of their psalmodic canon. . . .


אֲנָא אַתְקֵינִית | Ana Atqenit (I am the one), a piyyut in Aramaic for introducing the first commandment as read in the Targum

Contributed on: כ׳ באייר ה׳תשפ״א (2021-05-02) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (transcription & naqdanut) |

Ana is a poem for the first commandment, that discusses all that God did for the ancestors. . . .


תרומה הבדילנו | T’rumah Hivdilanu (A Gift Distinguished Us) — A Poetic Ḳiddush for the Pesaḥ Seder, according to two of its nusḥaot (ca. 9th c.)

Contributed on: ה׳ בניסן ה׳תשפ״א (2021-03-17) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (transcription & naqdanut) | Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) |

Rav Saadia Gaon lists three additions to the Seder Pesaḥ which he considers not necessary, but acceptable. This is the first, a poetic version of the Kiddush. Interestingly enough, it is still recited in many Yemenite communities, which are in general less likely to incorporate poetic sections to their liturgy. Here it is recorded and translated into English according to two nusḥaot — that recorded in the siddur of Rav Saadia (marked in blue), and that recorded in modern Yemenite texts (marked in red). In cases where only the spelling differs rather than the meaning, the editor generally went with Rav Saadia as the older variant. . . .


ילקוט מזמורים לבן סירא פרק נ״א | An Appendix of Psalms of Ben Sira chapter 51, vocalized, cantillated, and translated by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Contributed on: י״א בסיון ה׳תש״פ (2020-06-03) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (transcription & naqdanut) | Shimon ben Yeshua ben Eliezer ben Sira |

The end of the scroll of Ben Sira (Ecclesiasticus) reconstructed from Cairo Geniza fragments not contained within the Septuagint. . . .


סדר מימונה | Seder Mimounah

Contributed on: כ״ג בניסן ה׳תש״פ (2020-04-16) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (transcription & naqdanut) | Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) |

A Mimouna packet including havdalah, a Moroccan-rite birkat ha-ilanot, traditional study texts, and yehiretzonot. . . .


אָמְרוּ רַבּוֹתֵֽינוּ זִכְרוֹנָם לִבְרָכָה | “Said our Sages of Blessed Memory” — a Midrashic Addition to the Extrapolation of the First Fruits

Contributed on: ד׳ בניסן ה׳תשפ״א (2021-03-16) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (transcription & naqdanut) | Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) |

In many eastern communities, including the communities of Aleppo and Yemen as well as the haggadah of Ḥakham Ovadia Yosef, this text is added to the extrapolation of the First Fruits declaration found in the Pesaḥ Maggid. Specifically, it is found after the citation of Exodus 12:12, specifically within or after the passage concluding “…who is Me and there is no other.” . . .


הגדה של פסח | Pesaḥ Haggadah (Nusaḥ Erets Yisrael), based on multiple Cairo Geniza manuscripts compiled and translated by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Contributed on: כ״ג באדר ה׳תש״פ (2020-03-18) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (transcription & naqdanut) |

This is a vocalized reconstruction, arrangement and translation of the Haggadah according to the ancient Land of Israel rite, based on multiple manuscripts from the Cairo Geniza, including Halper 211 and T-S H2.152, with additional input from the Italian rite and customs recorded by Rav Saadia Gaon. It is translated in gender-neutral Hebrew. . . .


מְגִלַּת שַׂאֲרָגוֹשָׂה | Megillat Saragossa, a Purim Sheni legend for the 17th of Shevat translated and cantillated by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Contributed on: י״ד באדר א׳ ה׳תשע״ט (2019-02-18) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (transcription & naqdanut) |

The Megillat Saragossa, also known as the Megillat Syracusa, in Hebrew and English, to be read on the 17th of Sh’vat. . . .


קדיש שלם | Ḳaddish Shalem (extended), according to the nusaḥ of the Cochin Jews

Contributed on: י״ט בשבט ה׳תש״פ (2020-02-14) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | Unknown Author(s) |

A traditional Cochin Ḳaddish Shalem, based on siddurim published for the Cochin Jewish community by the Props brothers of Amsterdam. . . .


אַשְׁרֵי יוֹשְׁבֵי בֵיתֶךָ | Ashrei Yoshvei Veitekha (Psalms 145), an Alphabetical English Translation by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Contributed on: י״ט בשבט ה׳תש״פ (2020-02-14) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | the Masoretic Text | David haMelekh ben Yishai (traditional attribution) |

Why is Ashrei such a beloved part of the service? Partially it is because of its alphabetical structure, making it perfect for communal reading. This translation attempts to preserve this in an English equivalence. . . .


תהלים קי״א | Psalms 111, translated by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Contributed on: י״ג באדר א׳ ה׳תשע״ט (2019-02-17) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | the Masoretic Text |

Psalms 111, an alphabetic acrostic translated into English by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer. . . .


תהלים קי״ג | Psalms 113, translated and cantillated for Hallel by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Contributed on: ט״ז באדר א׳ ה׳תשע״ט (2019-02-20) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | the Masoretic Text |

Psalms 113 in Hebrew with English translation. . . .


תהלים קי״ד | Psalms 114, translated and cantillated for Hallel by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Contributed on: ט״ז באדר א׳ ה׳תשע״ט (2019-02-20) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | the Masoretic Text |

Psalms 114 in Hebrew with English translation. . . .


מִדְרַשׁ מַעֲשֶׂה חֲנֻכָּה ב׳ | Midrash Ma’aseh Ḥanukkah “bet,” a retelling of Megillat Antiokhus as Midrash Aggadah

Contributed on: כ״ב בכסלו ה׳תש״פ (2019-12-19) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (transcription & naqdanut) |

A retelling of the story found in Megillat Antiokhus as midrash aggadah. . . .


שמות י״ט-כ׳ | Revelation at Sinai (Exodus 19-20): the first reading for the Sigd festival

Contributed on: י״ד במרחשון ה׳תש״פ (2019-11-12) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) |

The first reading for the Sigd festival, the Revelation at Sinai (Exodus 19-20). . . .


תהלים קט״ו | Psalms 115, translated and cantillated for Hallel by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Contributed on: ט״ז באדר א׳ ה׳תשע״ט (2019-02-20) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | the Masoretic Text |

Psalms 115 in Hebrew with English translation. . . .


Prayers for the Morning of Sigd: ወጾሩ ፡ ታቦቶሙ | Wäṣoru Tabotomu (They Carried Out Their Ark), in Ge’ez with vocalized Hebrew and English translation

Contributed on: ז׳ במרחשון ה׳תש״פ (2019-11-04) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) |

Wäṣoru Tabotomu (They Carried Out Their Ark) is the first prayer in this order of prayers for the morning of Sigd. It is a prayer said upon the removal of the Orit from the synagogue ark. . . .


Prayers for the Morning of Sigd: ወዐርጉ ፡ ደብር | Wäʿärəgu Däbərə (And They Climbed the Mount), in Ge’ez with vocalized Hebrew and English translation

Contributed on: ז׳ במרחשון ה׳תש״פ (2019-11-04) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) |

Wäy’ärgu Debre (And They Climbed the Mount) is the second prayer in this order of prayers for the morning of Sigd. It is the first prayer said upon arriving on the mountain, based on the ritual described in Neḥemyah 9. . . .


Prayers for the Morning of Sigd: ይትባረክ ፡ እግዚአብሔር | YətəbaräkəʾƎgəziʾäbəḥerə (Blessed be YHVH), in Ge’ez with vocalized Hebrew and English translation

Contributed on: ז׳ במרחשון ה׳תש״פ (2019-11-04) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) |

Yitbärēk Egzi’äbḥer (Blessed be YHVH) is the third prayer in this order of prayers for the morning of Sigd. It is a morning blessing. . . .


Prayers for the Morning of Sigd: ሃሌ ፡ ሃሌ ፡ ይባርክዎ | Hale hale yəbarəkəwo (Hail, Hail, Bless the One), in Ge’ez with vocalized Hebrew and English translation

Contributed on: ז׳ במרחשון ה׳תש״פ (2019-11-04) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) |

Hälē Hälē yebärkewo (Praise, Praise, Bless the One) is the fourth prayer in this order of prayers for the morning of Sigd. . . .


Prayers for the Morning of Sigd: Ne’u Nesēgēdē (Come, Let Us Bow), in Ge’ez with vocalized Hebrew and English translation

Contributed on: ז׳ במרחשון ה׳תש״פ (2019-11-04) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) |

Ne’u Nesēgēdē (Come, Let Us Bow) is the fifth prayer in this order of prayers for the morning of Sigd. . . .


Prayers for the Morning of Sigd: Menabērtē Bēytē Dawid (Thrones of David’s House), in Ge’ez/Agaw with vocalized Hebrew and English translation

Contributed on: ה׳ במרחשון ה׳תש״פ (2019-11-03) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) |

Menabērtē Bēytē Dawid (Thrones of David’s House) is the sixth prayer in this order of prayers for the morning of Sigd. It is an ancient text inspired by and quoting Psalm 122, partially in Geʿez and partially in Agaw. . . .


Haftarah Reading for Parashat Devarim (Shabbat Ḥazon, Isaiah 1:1-27), translated by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Contributed on: י״ח בתמוז ה׳תשע״ט (2019-07-21) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | the Masoretic Text | Yeshayahu ben Amōts |

On Shabbat Ḥazon, the Shabbat before Tisha b’Av, many Ashkenazi communities have a custom to read most of the haftarah (Isaiah 1:1-27) in Eikha trop, the cantillation used for the Book of Lamentations. There are many distinct customs, but one of the most common reads verses at the beginning and end in standard haftarah trop, as well as several verses in the middle, selected for their more hopeful message. This edition of the haftarah for Shabbat Ḥazon, along with its new translation, has the verses recited in Eikha trop marked in blue and the verses in haftarah trop in black. . . .


תהלים קט״ז | Psalms 116, translated and cantillated for Hallel by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Contributed on: ט״ז באדר א׳ ה׳תשע״ט (2019-02-20) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | the Masoretic Text |

Psalms 116 in Hebrew with English translation. . . .


Gebet für das Vaterland | A Prayer for the Fatherland (Siddur Sephat Emeth, Rödelheim, 1938)

Contributed on: ט״ו באב ה׳תש״פ (2020-08-04) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | Unknown Author(s) |

This prayer for the country is found in the Siddur Sephat Emeth, which was published by the venerable Rödelheim publishing house in Frankfurt in 1938. This was probably the last siddur ever published in pre-Holocaust Germany. This prayer is full of pathos and yearning, and in a time of rising government-sponsored antisemitism worldwide it’s worth keeping in mind. . . .


תהלים קי״ז | Psalms 117, translated and cantillated for Hallel by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Contributed on: ט״ז באדר א׳ ה׳תשע״ט (2019-02-20) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | the Masoretic Text |

Psalms 117 in Hebrew with English translation. . . .


מזמור לבן סירא על זכות אבותינו (פרקים מד-נ)‏ | Paean of Ben Sira on the Merit of the Ancestors (ch. 44-50), vocalized and cantillated with the Poetic Masoretic System by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Contributed on: כ״ז באייר ה׳תש״פ (2020-05-20) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (transcription & naqdanut) | Shimon ben Yeshua ben Eliezer ben Sira |

The poem lauding the ancestors from Chapters 44 to 50 of Ben Sira (Ecclesiasticus) is considered by many scholars to be the original influence for the Yom Kippur Avodah service, and the paean to Shimon the Righteous bears a striking similarity to the beloved piyyut “Mar’eh Khohen.” This passage from Ben Sira, the great paean on the merit of the ancestors, takes the Hebrew text of one of the Cairo Geniza manuscripts — Bodleian MS Heb e62 — and versifies it according to the standard Septuagintal text, along with vocalization and cantillation per the standard Masoretic EMe”T system for poetic books. It could be read on Yom Kippur for the avodah service, or just studied as a fascinating piece of Jewish history. . . .


כֹּל נְדָרִים | Kol N’darim, translated by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Contributed on: כ״ג באלול ה׳תשע״ט (2019-09-23) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) |

The Italian Jewish community is one of the oldest continuous Jewish communities on the planet, dating back to the Roman empire at the latest.The Italian Jewish nusaḥ preserves several archaic practices that Ashkenazi and Sephardi rites no longer follow, many of which were found in gaonic siddurim and preserved only among the Italians. One fascinating custom of the Italian Jews is the recitation of what Ashkenazim and Sephardim call “Kol Nidrei” not in Aramaic, but in Hebrew, under the name “Kol N’darim.” This custom, also found among the Romaniotes of Greece, is elsewhere only found in the siddur of Rav Amram Gaon. The text included here is transcribed, niqqud and all, directly from a 1469 Italian-rite siddur found in the British Library. The scribe uses several non-standard vocalizations, which have been marked in editors’ notes. . . .


Βηλ Και Δρακων | בֵּל וְהַתַּנִּין | Bel & the Dragon, according to Theodotion translated into Biblical Hebrew by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Contributed on: כ׳ בטבת ה׳תש״פ (2020-01-16) by Aharon N. Varady (transcription) | Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | Theodotion (translation/Greek) | Unknown Author(s) |

The story of Bel and the Dragon according to the text of Theodotion, translated into biblical Hebrew. . . .


תהלים קי״ט | Psalms 118, translated and cantillated for Hallel by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Contributed on: ט״ז באדר א׳ ה׳תשע״ט (2019-02-20) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | the Masoretic Text |

Psalms 118 in Hebrew with English translation. . . .


תפילה על מת בהמה או חיה מחמד | Prayer on the Death of a Beloved Animal, by Aharon Varady (1994)

Contributed on: ז׳ בתמוז ה׳תשע״ט (2019-07-10) by Aharon N. Varady | Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) |

A prayer for a beloved animal first compiled in English by Aharon N. Varady for Nethaniel Puzael, his family’s cat, in 1994. . . .


אֵל מָלֵא רַחֲמִים | A poetic El Malei Raḥamim for 20 Sivan, composed in memory of Yəḥiel Mikhel ben Eliezer, the Martyr of Nemirov (ca. late 17th c.)

Contributed on: כ״א בסיון ה׳תשפ״א (2021-05-31) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | Unknown Author(s) |

One of the most prominent martyrs in the Chmielnicki massacres of 1648–1649 was the kabbalist and sage Yəḥiel Mikhel ben Eliezer ha-Kohen, known to posterity as the Martyr of Nemirov. This unique poetic El Malei Raḥamim was said in his honor, and communities that fast on 20 Sivan still recite it to this day. . . .


לכה דודי (נוסח אחר)‏ | A different version of Lekhah Dodi found in R’ Moshe ibn Makhir’s Seder haYom (1599)

Contributed on: כ׳ באדר ב׳ ה׳תשע״ט (2019-03-27) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | Mosheh ben Yehudah ibn Makhir |

A different version of the poem Lekhah Dodi according to the book Seder haYom by R. Moshe ibn Makhir of righteous blessed memory, vocalized and translated into English by Isaac Mayer. . . .


תהלים ק״כ | Psalms 120 for the Fast of Gedalyah, translated by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Contributed on: ג׳ באלול ה׳תשע״ט (2019-09-03) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | the Masoretic Text |

An English translation of Psalms 120 with color coding indicating the style of cantillation for each verse. This Psalms is read by some on Tsom Gedalyah (the Fast of Gedalyah). . . .


תהלים כ׳ | Psalms 20 by David, translated by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Contributed on: י״ז באדר א׳ ה׳תשע״ט (2019-02-21) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | the Masoretic Text | David haMelekh ben Yishai (traditional attribution) |

Psalms 20 by David in Hebrew with English translation. . . .


תהלים כז | Psalms 27, translated by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Contributed on: כ׳ באלול ה׳תשע״ח (2018-08-30) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | the Masoretic Text | David haMelekh ben Yishai (traditional attribution) |

A translation of Psalm 27 for the season of repentance, by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer. . . .


אֱמוּנִים עִרְכוּ שֶֽׁבַח | Emunim ʿIrkhu Shevaḥ — a Poetic Addition to Rabban Gamliel’s List

Contributed on: ד׳ בניסן ה׳תשפ״א (2021-03-16) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (transcription & naqdanut) | Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) |

Emunim ʿIrkhu Shevaḥ is a brief piyyut recited in North African communities in Rabban Gamliel’s list, between Pesaḥ and Maror. It spells out “Aaron the Priest” as an alphabetical acrostic, but it is uncertain whether this is an authorial signature or a mystical reference to the Biblical figure. . . .


נחמיה ט׳ | Rededication Ceremony (Neḥemiah 9): the second reading for the Sigd festival

Contributed on: י״ד במרחשון ה׳תש״פ (2019-11-12) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) |

The second reading for the Sigd festival, the Rededication Ceremony (Nehemiah 9). . . .


תהלים קל״ה | Psalms 135, translated by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Contributed on: ח׳ באייר ה׳תשע״ט (2019-05-13) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | the Masoretic Text |

Psalms 135, translated into English by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer. . . .


בְּרִיךְ שְׁמֵהּ דְּמָרֵא עָלְמָא | B’rikh Shmeih d’Marei Alma (Bendito sea Tu nombre, Senyor del Mundo), Ladino translation from the siddur El Nuevo Avodat haShanah (1904)

Contributed on: כ״ז באדר ה׳תשפ״א (2021-03-11) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | Yaaqov Mosheh Ḥai Altarats (translation) | Unknown Author(s) |

A Ladino translation of Brikh Shmei d’Marei Alma. . . .


תהלים ס׳ | Psalms 60 for the Fast of the Tenth of Tevet, translated by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Contributed on: ד׳ בטבת ה׳תש״פ (2020-01-01) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | the Masoretic Text | David haMelekh ben Yishai (traditional attribution) |

Psalms 60 in Hebrew with English translation by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer, presented for the fast of the Tenth of Tevet. . . .


Σουσαννα | שׁוֹשַׁנָּה וְהַזְּקֵנִים | Shoshanah & the Elders, according to Theodotion translated into Biblical Hebrew by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Contributed on: כ׳ בטבת ה׳תש״פ (2020-01-16) by Aharon N. Varady (transcription) | Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | Theodotion (translation/Greek) | Unknown Author(s) |

The story of Shoshanah & the Elders, according to the text of Theodotion translated into Biblical Hebrew. . . .


תהלים צ״ב | Psalms 92, translated by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Contributed on: כ׳ באדר ב׳ ה׳תשע״ט (2019-03-27) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | the Masoretic Text | Unknown Author(s) | David haMelekh ben Yishai (traditional attribution) |

An English translation of Psalms 92 set side-by-side with the Masoretic text. . . .


ברכת המזון לשבועות ‬| Birkat haMazon for Shavuot, according to the Cairo Geniza fragment ‫T-S H6.37 vocalized and translated by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Contributed on: כ״ט באייר ה׳תש״פ (2020-05-23) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (transcription & naqdanut) |

A Birkat haMazon for Shavuot presenting an alphabetic acrostic from a manuscript preserved in the Cairo Geniza. . . .


תהלים ק״ד | Psalms 104, translated by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Contributed on: א׳ במרחשון ה׳תשע״ט (2018-10-10) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | the Masoretic Text | Unknown Author(s) |

An English translation of Psalm 104 set side-by-side with the Masoretic text. . . .


הפטרה חלופית לשבת שחל ביום לפני חנוכה או ביום הראשון של חנוכה (ביום כד׳ וכה׳ לכסלו)‏ | Alternative Haftarah for when Shabbat falls either on the day before Ḥanukkah or the first day of Ḥanukkah

Contributed on: כ״ב בכסלו ה׳תשפ״א (2020-12-07) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | the Masoretic Text | Ḥaggai haNavi |

When the first day of Ḥanukkah is a Shabbat, the last day of Ḥanukkah is also Shabbat. In most customs this is addressed by using the standard Shabbat Ḥanukkah haftarah from Zechariah on the first day and I Kings 7:40–50 on the last day. But this never sat well with me, since I Kings 7:40–50 (also the haftara for Vayakhel) is a very technical reading, and the last day of Ḥanukkah is more of a culmination. Conveniently, another minor prophet contemporary of Zechariah, Ḥaggai, discusses the reconstruction of the House as a process of national revitalization, *and* claims that the foundation of the temple was rebuilt on the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month — i.e. the day before Ḥanukkah! This is historically fascinating since it suggests that Ḥanukkah as a rededication festival might predate the Maccabean Revolt entirely, but more importantly here, it makes it a very appropriate reading for the day before or the first day of Ḥanukkah. This is an alternative haftarah from the book of Ḥaggai , chapter 2 verses 2—23, that could be used as a replacement for the standard haftarah when Shabbat falls on the day before Ḥanukkah or on the first day of Ḥanukkah. When read on the first day of Ḥanukkah, the traditional Ḥanukkah haftarah reading of Zechariah 2:14–4:7 would be postponed to the eighth day in its place. . . .


דברים כ״ז | Blessings and Curses on the Mountains (Deuteronomy 27): the third reading for the Sigd festival

Contributed on: י״ד במרחשון ה׳תש״פ (2019-11-12) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) |

The third reading for the Sigd festival, Blessings and Curses on the Mountains (Deuteronomy 27). . . .


קרובות לראש שנה לאילנות | Ḳerovot for Tu biShvat, by Yehudah ben R’ Hillel haLevi (ca. 11th c.)

Contributed on: י״ח בטבת ה׳תשפ״א (2021-01-02) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (transcription & naqdanut) | Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | Yehudah ben Hillel haLevi |

Ḳerovot for Tu biShvat, a celebration of Divine verdancy, which namedrops a stunning array of flora from throughout the land of Israel. . . .


תהלים קמ״א | Psalms 141 by David, translated by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Contributed on: י״ז באדר א׳ ה׳תשע״ט (2019-02-21) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | the Masoretic Text | David haMelekh ben Yishai (traditional attribution) |

Psalms 141 by David, in Hebrew with English translation. . . .


תהלים קמ״ב | Psalms 142 by David, translated by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Contributed on: י״ז באדר א׳ ה׳תשע״ט (2019-02-21) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | the Masoretic Text | David haMelekh ben Yishai (traditional attribution) |

Psalms 142 by David in Hebrew with English translation. . . .


תהלים קמ״ג | Psalms 143 by David, translated by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Contributed on: י״ז באדר א׳ ה׳תשע״ט (2019-02-21) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | the Masoretic Text | David haMelekh ben Yishai (traditional attribution) |

Psalms 143 by David in Hebrew with English translation. . . .


תהלים קמ״ד | Psalms 144 by David, translated by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Contributed on: י״ז באדר א׳ ה׳תשע״ט (2019-02-21) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | the Masoretic Text | David haMelekh ben Yishai (traditional attribution) |

Psalms 144 in Hebrew with English translation. . . .


תהלים קמ״ט | Psalms 149, translated by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Contributed on: ז׳ בסיון ה׳תשע״ט (2019-06-09) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | the Masoretic Text |

Psalms 149 in Hebrew with English translation. . . .


תהלים פ״ד | Psalms 84 for the children of Qoraḥ, translated by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Contributed on: י״ז באדר א׳ ה׳תשע״ט (2019-02-21) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | the Masoretic Text | Bnei Koraḥ |

Psalms 84 in Hebrew with English translation. . . .


תפילה להפך – מאבן בֹחן | Prayer for Transformation, from the poem “Even Boḥan” by Rabbi Ḳalonymus ben Ḳalonymus ben Meir (1322 C.E.)

Contributed on: ב׳ במרחשון ה׳תשע״ט (2018-10-11) by Aharon N. Varady (transcription) | Aharon N. Varady (translation) | Nir Krakauer (translation) | Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | Steven Greenberg | Ḳalonymus ben Ḳalonymus ben Meir |

A prayer by רבי קלונימוס בן קלונימוס Kalonymus ben Kalonymus that appears in his poem ספר אבן בוחן, יג Even Boḥan (§13), describing the author’s wish to have been born a Jewish woman. . . .


בּױגעזאנג | Baugesang (Building Song): an alphabetical Yiddish adaptation of the piyyut Adir Hu (1769)

Contributed on: ה׳ בניסן ה׳תשפ״א (2021-03-17) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | Unknown Author(s) |

This Western Yiddish alphabetical adaptation of Adir Hu is first found in the 1769 Selig Haggadah, under the name of “Baugesang” (meaning Building Song). It grew to be a beloved part of the Western Ashkenazi rite, to the point where the traditional German Jewish greeting after the Seder was “Bau gut,” or “build well!” . . .


אדיר הוא | Awesome One: an Alphabetical English Interpretation of the piyyut Adir Hu, by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Contributed on: ט״ו בניסן ה׳תשע״ט (2019-04-19) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | Unknown Author(s) |

Adir Hu, a classic Pesaḥ song if ever there was one, is a part of Seder tables all over the planet. Its alphabetical list of God’s attributes, combined with its repeated pleas for a return to Jerusalem, make it a classic, to the point where the traditional German farewell greeting for Passover was not “chag sameach” or “gut yontef” but “bau gut” – build well. This interpretation, while not a direct translation by any means, has the same rhythmic pattern and alphabetical structure, giving a sense of the greatness of God. . . .


תהלים קמ״ה | Psalms 145 by David, translated by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Contributed on: ז׳ בסיון ה׳תשע״ט (2019-06-09) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | the Masoretic Text | David haMelekh ben Yishai (traditional attribution) |

Psalms 145 in Hebrew with English translation. . . .


כִּי בְּהַרְאָיָה הַשֵּׁנִית | The Second Inaugural Address of President Abraham Lincoln on 4 March 1865

Contributed on: ט״ז בשבט ה׳תש״פ (2020-02-11) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (transcription & naqdanut) | Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | Abraham Lincoln |

The second inaugural address of President Abraham Lincoln in English with a cantillized Hebrew translation suitable for chanting. . . .


הַצְהָרַת הָאֵמַנְצִיפַּצְיָה | The Emancipation Proclamation (1863), translated, vocalized and cantillated by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Contributed on: כ״ח בסיון ה׳תש״פ (2020-06-19) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (transcription & naqdanut) | Abraham Lincoln |

In honor of Juneteenth, the holiday of American liberation, this is a translation of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation into Biblical Hebrew. . . .


אָב הָרַחֲמִים שׁוֹכֵן מְרוֹמִים | Av haRaḥamim Shokhein Meromim, a prayer for the martyred during the First Crusade & Rhineland massacres

Contributed on: ד׳ בסיון ה׳תש״פ (2020-05-27) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | Unknown Author(s) |

A prayer for those martyred in the First Crusade and Rhineland Massacres, and by extension, all subsequent pogroms up until and including the Holocaust. . . .


אֱמוּנֵי שְׁלוּמֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל | Emunei Shlumei Yisrael — a seliḥah witnessing the Blois incident of 1171 by Hillel ben Yaaqov of Bonn

Contributed on: כ׳ בסיון ה׳תשפ״א (2021-05-30) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | Hillel ben Yaaqov of Bonn |

Some Jewish communities, especially those in the region of the Four Lands, have a custom of fasting on the 20th of Sivan. This day has a full seliḥot service, commemorating a series of horrors that occurred on that day, most prominently the Chmielnicki (Khmielnetsky) massacres of 1648-49. But this poem was written for another horrific occurrence on 20 Sivan, the blood libel of Blois in 1171. This was the first time the accusation of ritual murder was ever made against the Jews of France, but it wasn’t the last. This seliḥah poem, written by Hillel ben Jacob of Bonn, starts with the dramatic accusation that God has abandoned the people Israel, continuing by listing those who died in myriad horrid ways, and ending with several citations from the apocalyptic final chapter of the book of Joel. . . .


תהלים קכ״ב | Psalm of Gathering in Jerusalem (Psalms 122): the fourth reading for the Sigd festival

Contributed on: י״ד במרחשון ה׳תש״פ (2019-11-12) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) |

The fourth reading for the Sigd festival, the Psalm of Gathering in Jerusalem — Psalms 122 Masoretic (121 Tewahedo). . . .


קרובות לתשעה באב | Ḳerovot for Tishah b’Av, by Elazar ben Kilir (ca. 7th c.)

Contributed on: כ״ג בניסן ה׳תשפ״א (2021-04-04) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (transcription & naqdanut) | Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | Elazar ben Killir |

Many communities recite a series of poems interwoven with the Amidah on Purim. These poems, known as the “krovets,” were written by Elazar b. Rabbi Kalir, the greatest of the early paytanim. But lesser known than the krovets for Purim are the krovets for Tisha b’Av, written as well by Elazar b. Rabbi Kalir. A fine example of Elazar’s intricate poetry, the krovets for Tisha b’Av is rife with Biblical citations, finally culminating with the prayer for Jerusalem. Each stanza begins with five tightly rhymed lines beginning with a constant א followed by a quintuple half-acrostic on the second letter, then a poetic volta on the word אֵיכָה, followed by a Biblical citation, a verse starting with the last word in the citation, a letter from Elazar’s name, and a final Biblical citation. The krovets for Tisha b’Av is meant to be part of the morning service, tied into the cantorial repetition for Tisha b’Av. . . .


תהלים ק״נ | Psalms 150, translated by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Contributed on: ז׳ בסיון ה׳תשע״ט (2019-06-09) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | the Masoretic Text |

Psalms 150 in Hebrew with English translation. . . .


תהלים קל״ז | Psalms 137 (Al Naharot Bavel :: By the Rivers of Babylon), translated by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Contributed on: ו׳ באב ה׳תשע״ט (2019-08-06) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | the Masoretic Text | Yirmiyah ben Ḥilkiyah haKohen |

Psalm 137 is traditionally recited before the Birkat Hamazon (the Blessing [after eating] the Meal) on a weekday. Psalms 137 (with Psalms 138:1) is read on the day of the Fast of Tisha b’Av. . . .


אתה גאלת | Atah Ga’alta (You Redeemed Our Ancestors), a Poetic Rendition of the Blessing of Redemption in the Pesaḥ Seder (ca. 9th c.)

Contributed on: ה׳ בניסן ה׳תשפ״א (2021-03-17) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (transcription & naqdanut) | Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) |

Rav Saadia Gaon lists three additions to the Seder Pesaḥ which he considers not necessary, but acceptable. This is the third, a poetic insert of the blessing of redemption known as Ata Ga’alta. In the form of an alphabetical acrostic, this poem is still recited in many eastern communities including the Babylonians, Persians, and Yemenites, and was a feature of the the old Kaifeng rite. Here it is recorded and translated into English according to the nusaḥ of Saadia Gaon, with notes in several locations for additional phrases used in some customs. . . .