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Yehudah ben Shmuel haLevi

Yehudah haLevi (also Judah ha-Levi; Hebrew: יהודה הלוי and Judah ben Shmuel Halevi יהודה בן שמואל הלוי; Arabic: يهوذا اللاوي‎; c. 1075 – 1141) was a Spanish Jewish physician, poet and philosopher. He was born in Spain, either in Toledo or Tudela, in 1075 or 1086, and died shortly after arriving in the Holy Land in 1141, at that point the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem. Yehudah haLevi is considered one of the greatest Hebrew poets, celebrated both for his religious and secular poems, many of which appear in present-day liturgy. His greatest philosophical work was The Kuzari.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judah_Halevi

אֲֽדֹנָי נֶגְדְּךָ כׇל־תַּאֲוָתִי | Adonai Negdekha kol Ta’avati, a piyyut by Yehudah haLevi (early 12th c.) rhyming translation by Alice Lucas (1894)

Contributed on: ט״ו בתשרי ה׳תשפ״ב (2021-09-21) by Aharon N. Varady (transcription) | Alice Lucas (translation) | Yehudah ben Shmuel haLevi |

A rhyming English translation of the piyyut Adonai Negdekha kol Ta’avati. . . .


על אהבתך אשתה גביעי | Al Ahavatekha Eshteh Gəvi’i, a piyyut of Yehudah haLevi (German translation by Franz Rosenzweig 1921)

Contributed on: ג׳ באלול ה׳תשפ״א (2021-08-11) by Aharon N. Varady (transcription) | Franz Rosenzweig (translation) | Yehudah ben Shmuel haLevi |

The text of Yehudah haLevi’s piyyut, “Al Ahavatekha Eshteh Gəvi’i,” with a German translation by Franz Rosenzweig. . . .


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 . . .


יוֹם שַׁבָּתוֹן | Yom Shabbaton, a Shabbat song by Yehudah haLevi (interpretive translation by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi)

Contributed on: כ״ג בטבת ה׳תש״פ (2020-01-20) by Aharon N. Varady (transcription) | Zalman Schachter-Shalomi | Yehudah ben Shmuel haLevi |

An interpretive translation of Yehudah haLevi’s shabbat song, “Yom Shabbaton.” . . .


יָהּ, אָנָה אֶמְצָאֶךָּ | Yah, Where shall I find you?, a piyyut by Yehudah haLevi (ca. early 12th c.)

Contributed on: ט״ו בסיון ה׳תש״פ (2020-06-06) by Aharon N. Varady (translation) | Nina Davis Salaman (translation) | the Ben Yehuda Project (transcription) | Yehudah ben Shmuel haLevi |

A piyyut that expresses the paradox of a divinity that is both “Beyond” and “Present.” . . .


אֱלִי, רְפָאֵנִי וְאֵרָפֵא | Eli Refa’eni v’Erafé, the personal physician’s prayer of Rabbi Dr. Yehudah haLevi (ca. early 12th c.)

Contributed on: ט״ו בסיון ה׳תש״פ (2020-06-06) by Aharon N. Varady (translation) | Nina Davis Salaman (translation) | the Ben Yehuda Project (transcription) | Yehudah ben Shmuel haLevi |

The physician’s prayer of Rabbi Dr. Yehudah ben Shmuel haLevi in the 12th century CE. . . .