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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. (He also authors his own original works and transcribes Hebrew and Aramaic text, adding niqqud and t'amim as needed.) 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

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: 18 May 2020 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] . . .


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

Contributed on: 09 Dec 2020 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. . . .


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

Contributed on: 31 Oct 2020 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 . . .


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: 18 May 2020 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: 18 May 2020 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. . . .


קרובות למוסף שבת שקלים | Ḳerovot for Musaf Shabbat Sheqalim

Contributed on: 23 Mar 2022 by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (transcription & naqdanut) | Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | Unknown Author(s) |

The traditional Ashkenazi qerovot added to the Musaf repetition for Shabbat Sheqalim, alongside a new gender-neutral translation . . .


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

Contributed on: 04 Apr 2021 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. . . .


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

Contributed on: 02 Jan 2021 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. . . .


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

Contributed on: 12 Nov 2019 by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) |

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


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

Contributed on: 12 Nov 2019 by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) |

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


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

Contributed on: 16 Mar 2021 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.” . . .


סדר מימונה | Seder Mimounah

Contributed on: 16 Apr 2020 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. . . .


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: 20 Jun 2020 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. . . .


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

Contributed on: 28 Jan 2021 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. . . .


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

Contributed on: 16 Jan 2020 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. . . .


Təʾəzazä Sänbät, a work from the Greater Betä Ǝsraʾel Canon, translated and cantillated in Masoretic Hebrew

Contributed on: 30 Oct 2021 by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (transcription & naqdanut) | Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | Wolf Leslau (translation: English) | Abba Tsabrah (traditional attribution) |

The Təʾəzazä Sänbät, or the Commandments of the Sabbath, is a unique and fascinatingly eclectic work, combining Enochic and aggadic material with an almost kabbalistic personification of Shabbat, and influence from Islamic and Christian texts. Attributed to Abba Ṣabra, a famed 15th-century convert to Judaism, it is a compilation of texts meant to be studied and considered on Shabbat, alongside unique and striking visualizations of divine cosmology, heaven and hell, and midrashim found nowhere else. . . .


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: 17 Mar 2021 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. . . .


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

Contributed on: 19 Jun 2020 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. . . .


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

Contributed on: 11 Feb 2020 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. . . .


קריאות לימי הותיקים | Torah and Haftarah Readings for Days Recognizing Military Veterans, compiled by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Contributed on: 14 Jul 2019 by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | the Masoretic Text |

This is a Torah reading (divided into three aliyot) and a Haftarah reading to be recited for such holidays. The aliyot are from Shoftim, describing the rules for just warfare and treatment of those in need. . . .


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

Contributed on: 26 Jan 2021 by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | the Masoretic Text | Yeḥezqel ben Būzi haKohen |

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


וּמִנַּֽיִן שֶׁנָּתַן־לָֽנוּ | uMinayin sheNatan Lanu — a Midrashic Addition to Daiyenu

Contributed on: 04 Apr 2022 by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (transcription & naqdanut) | Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) |

In many Eastern rites, as well as in the writings of R. Avraham ben haRambam, it is customary to add this brief midrash to Dayenu, after the verse that ends “but had not given us their wealth, dayenu.” Here it is translated into English, including some notes for certain locations where the Yemenite nusaḥ differs from others. . . .


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: 23 Mar 2021 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. . . .


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: 04 Nov 2019 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: 04 Nov 2019 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. . . .


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

Contributed on: 19 May 2021 by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (translation) | Unknown Author(s) |

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


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

Contributed on: 04 Nov 2019 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. . . .



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