A Story of the World (for the Avodah Service on Yom Kippur) by R’ Yonah Lavery-Yisraeli

This Yom Kipur, our congregation (Beth Jacob Synagogue in Hamilton) requested a reworking of the piyyut, “Amits Koaḥ” (text, audio) since the language is very tough and resists plain translation into English. I was also commissioned to write a poem describing the history of the world from a Jewish perspective, from scratch and in English, for use at the beginning of the Avodah service. It turned out to be just as obscure as the original so I put in a little column to the right with a little reference what I was talking about. . . .

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

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. . . .


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