tagged: נשמת כל חי Nishmat kol ḥai

 

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.)

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 . . .

צָמְאָה נַפְשִׁי | Tsam’ah Nafshi, a piyyut attributed to Avraham ibn Ezra (interpretive translation by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi)

An interpretive translation of a piyyut composed as an introduction to the prayer Nishmat Kol Ḥai. . . .