שיר הכבוד (אַנְעִים זְמִירוֹת)‏ | Shir haKavod (An’im Zemirot), part eight of the Shir haYiḥud (translation by Israel Wolf Slotki)

Source Link: https://opensiddur.org/?p=29506

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Date: 2020-01-25

Last Updated: 2020-07-12

Categories: Musaf l'Shabbat

Tags: 12th century C.E., 50th century A.M., acrostic, Alphabetic Acrostic, חסידי אשכנז Ḥasidei Ashkenaz, שיר היחוד Shir haYiḥud, שיר הכבוד shir hakavod

Excerpt: A translation of the piyyut, Anim Zemirot. . . .

The Hymn of Glory which in our Prayer-Books is restricted to the Sabbath, is sometimes sung also on the eve of the Day of Atonement. The hymn itself is a good deal older, belonging to the [12th] century [at the latest]. Its author is unknown. To bring to fruition whatever is noble in human endeavor, to vindicate whatever is highest in Israelitic aspiration, to discover the innermost truths indicated in the holy books—this seemed to be the aim of a soul in which the poetical, the moral, and the divine were blended together.

The Hymn of Glory is written in lines each of which is divided into two parts, with eight syllables in each part. It well deserves its title, for it is a noble eulogy of the glory of God. Its images are possibly too direct for modern taste, as they sometimes reach the verge of anthropomorphic licence. But the mystics—to whom the author, whoever he be, belonged—were always bold similists, and the hymn must be read in something of this mystic spirit. As to its poetical beauty and emotional power there can be no doubt. –Israel Wolf Slotki

Source (Hebrew) Translation (English)

The Ark is opened.
אַנְעִים זְמִירוֹת וְשִׁירִים אֶאֱרוֹג,
כִּי אֵלֶֽיךָ נַפְשִׁי תַעֲרוֹג.
I will chant hymns and weave songs,
for my soul pants after thee.
נַפְשִׁי חָמְדָה בְּצֵל יָדֶֽךָ,
לָדַֽעַת כָּל רָז סוֹדֶֽךָ.
My soul longs to be in the shadow of thy hand,
to gain the knowledge of every secret of thy mysteries.
מִדֵּי דַבְּרִי בִּכְבוֹדֶֽךָ,
הוֹמֶה לִבִּי אֶל דּוֹדֶֽיךָ.
As often as I speak of thy glory,
my heart yearns for thy affections.
עַל כֵּן אֲדַבֵּר בְּךָ נִכְבָּדוֹת,
וְשִׁמְךָ אֲכַבֵּד בְּשִׁירֵי יְדִידוֹת.
I, therefore, speak glorious things of thee,
and honour thy name with the loveliest songs.
אֲסַפְּרָה כְבוֹדְךָ
וְלֹא רְאִיתִֽיךָ,
אֲדַמְּךָ אֲכַנְּךָ
וְלֹא יְדַעְתִּֽיךָ.
Of thy glory I tell,
though I have not seen thee;
I image forth and describe thee,
though I have not known thee.
בְּיַד נְבִיאֶֽיךָ
בְּסוֹד עֲבָדֶֽיךָ,
דִּמִּֽיתָ הֲדַר
כְבוֹד הוֹדֶֽךָ.
By the hand of thy prophets,
in the council of thy servants,
thou hast imaged forth the splendour
of thy glorious majesty.
גְּדֻלָּתְךָ וּגְבוּרָתֶֽךָ.
כִּנּוּ לְתֹֽקֶף פְּעֻלָּתֶֽךָ.
Thy greatness and thy might they described,
in accordance with the power of thy work.
דִּמּוּ אוֹתְךָ
וְלֹא כְפִי יֶשְׁךָ,
לְפִי מַעֲשֶֽׂיךָ.
In images they spoke of thee,
but not in accordance with thy essence;
they likened thee only
in accordance with thy acts.
בְּרוֹב חֶזְיוֹנוֹת,
הִנְּךָ אֶחָד בְּכָל דִּמְיוֹנוֹת.
They figured thee in metaphors,
in a multitude of visions;
but under all images thou art one.
וַיֶּחֱזוּ בְךָ זִקְנָה וּבַחֲרוּת,
וּשְׂעַר רֹאשְׁךָ
בְּשֵׂיבָה וְשַׁחֲרוּת.
In thee they saw old age and youth;
and in the hair of thy head
the greyness of age and the dawn of youth.
זִקְנָה בְּיוֹם דִּין
וּבַחֲרוּת בְּיוֹם קְרָב,
כְּאִישׁ מִלְחָמוֹת יָדָיו לוֹ רָב.
Ripe age in the day of judgement,
and youth in the day of battle;
as a man of wars his hands contend for him.
חָבַשׁ כּֽוֹבַע יְשׁוּעָה בְּרֹאשוֹ,
הוֹשִֽׁיעָה לּוֹ יְמִינוֹ
וּזְרֽוֹעַ קָדְשׁוֹ.
He has bound a helmet of salvation upon his head;
his right hand and holy arm
have brought him triumph.
טַלְלֵי אוֹרוֹת רֹאשוֹ נִמְלָא,
רְסִֽיסֵי לָֽיְלָה.
His head is filled with dew of light;
his locks are decked
with drops of the night.
יִתְפָּאֵר בִּי
כִּי חָפֵץ בִּי,
וְהוּא יִהְיֶה לִי לַעֲטֶֽרֶת צְבִי.
He will be glorified by me,
for he takes delight in me;
my crown of beauty he will ever be.
כֶּֽתֶם טָהוֹר פָּז דְּמוּת רֹאשוֹ,
וְחַק עַל מֵֽצַח כְּבוֹד שֵׁם קָדְשׁוֹ.
His head is like pure, fine gold;
the glory of his holy name is upon his forehead impressed.
לְחֵן וּלְכָבוֹד
צְבִי תִפְאָרָה,
אֻמָּתוֹ לוֹ עִטְּרָה עֲטָרָה.
For grace and honour,
splendour and beauty,
his people has adorned him with a crown.
מַחְלְפוֹת רֹאשוֹ
כְּבִימֵי בְחֻרוֹת,
קְוֻצּוֹתָיו תַּלְתַּלִּים שְׁחוֹרוֹת.
The plaits of his head
as in the days of youth;
his locks as curls black.
נְוֵה הַצֶּֽדֶק
צְבִי תִפְאַרְתּוֹ,
יַעֲלֶה נָּא עַל רֹאש שִׂמְחָתוֹ.
The abode of righteousness,
his glorious beauty,
may he raise it above his chiefest joy.
סְגֻלָּתוֹ תְּהִי נָא
בְיָדוֹ עֲטֶֽרֶת.
וּצְנִיף מְלוּכָה צְבִי תִפְאֶֽרֶת.
Let his treasured people
be a diadem in his hand,
and a royal turban of matchless beauty.
עֲמוּסִים נְשָׂאָם
עֲטֶֽרֶת עִנְּדָם,
מֵאֲשֶׁר יָקְרוּ
בְעֵינָיו כִּבְּדָם.
Carried by him,
he raised them and crowned them;
he honoured them
because they were precious in his sight.
פְּאֵרוֹ עָלַי
וּפְאֵרִי עָלָיו,
וְקָרוֹב אֵלַי בְּקָרְאִי אֵלָיו.
His glory rests on me,
and my adoration is for him;
he is near unto me when I call upon him.
צַח וְאָדוֹם
לִלְבוּשׁוֹ אָדוֹם,
פּוּרָה בְּדָרְכוֹ בְּבוֹאוֹ מֵאֱדוֹם.
Bright and ruddy
in red apparel,
when he came from Edom where he trod the winepress.
קֶֽשֶׁר תְּפִלִּין
הֶרְאָה לֶעָנָו,
תְּמוּנַת יְיָ
לְנֶֽגֶד עֵינָיו.
The knot of the tefillin
he showed to the meek (Moses),
while the similitude of the Lord
was before his eyes.
רוֹצֶה בְעַמּוֹ
עֲנָוִים יְפָאֵר,
יוֹשֵׁב תְּהִלּוֹת
בָּם לְהִתְפָּאֵר.
He delights in his people,
he glorifies the meek;
he that dwells amid praises
is glorified by them.
רֹאשׁ דְּבָרְךָ אֱמֶת
קוֹרֵא מֵרֹאשׁ, דּוֹר וָדוֹר
עַם דּוֹרֶשְׁךָ דְּרוֹשׁ.
Thy choicest word is truth;
O, thou who hast called generation after generation from the beginning,
seek the people that seek thee.
שִׁית הֲמוֹן
שִׁירַי נָא עָלֶֽיךָ,
תִּקְרַב אֵלֶֽיךָ.
Set down the abundance
of my songs with thee,
and let my exultation
come near unto thee.
תְּהִלָּתִי תְּהִי
לְרֹאשׁךָ עֲטֶֽרֶת,
תִּכּוֹן קְטֹֽרֶת.
Let my praise
be as a crown unto thy head,
and my prayer
be set forth as fragrant incense.
תִּיקַר שִׁירַת רָשׁ בְּעֵינֶֽיךָ,
כַּשִּׁיר יוּשַׁר עַל קָרְבָּנֶֽיךָ.
May the poor man’s song be precious in thy sight,
as the song that was sung at thy altar sacrifices.
בִּרְכָתִי תַעֲלֶה לְרֹאשׁ מַשְבִּיר,
מְחוֹלֵל וּמוֹלִיד
צַדִּיק כַּבִּיר.
May my blessing ascend to the giver of life,
who decrees travail and birth,
who is mighty in justice.
וּבְבִרְכָתִי תְנַעֲנַע לִי רֹאשׁ,
וְאוֹתָהּ קַח לְךָ כִּבְשָׂמִים רֹאשׁ.
And do thou incline thy head to me when I offer my blessing,
and accept it as the choicest of spices.
יֶעֱרַב נָא שִׂיחִי עָלֶֽיךָ.
כִּי נַפְשִׁי תַעֲרוֹג אֵלֶֽיךָ.
May the meditation be pleasant unto thee,
for my soul panteth after thee.
לְךָ יְהוָה הַגְּדֻלָּה וְהַגְּבוּרָה
וְהַתִּפְאֶרֶת וְהַנֵּצַח וְהַהוֹד
כִּי־כֹל בַּשָּׁמַיִם וּבָאָרֶץ
לְךָ יְהוָה הַמַּמְלָכָה
וְהַמִּתְנַשֵּׂא לְכֹל לְרֹאשׁ׃ (דברי הימים א׳ כט:יא)

Thine, YHVH, is the greatness, and the power,
and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty:
for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is Thine;
Thine, YHVH, is the kingdom,
and the supremacy as head over all.[1] 1 Chronicles 29:11. 

מִי יְמַלֵּל גְּבוּרוֹת יְהוָה
יַשְׁמִיעַ כָּל־תְּהִלָּתוֹ׃ (תהלים קו:ב)
Who can tell the mighty acts of YHVH,
proclaim all their praises?[2] Psalms 106:2. 

The Ark is closed.
The Mourner’s Ḳaddish is here recited.

Known popularly by its incipit, Anim Zemirot, the Shir haKavod is often attributed to Yehudah heḤasid of Regensbeurg (1150–1217), but he may have only written a commentary on it. The piyyut itself is the last of eight piyyutim, the rest known as the Shir haYiḥud, first printed in Tiengen, 1560.

This translation of the Shir haKavod (Hymn of Glory) by Rabbi Dr. Israel Wolf Slotki (1884–1973) can be found in the combined edition of Prayers of Israel of Rabbi Jacob Bosniak (1887-1963) published by Pardes Publishing House, N.Y.C. in 1964. I have added the concluding verses from Psalms 106:2 and replaced “O Lord” with ‘YHVH’ in 1 Chronicles 29:11. –Aharon N. Varady

In the United States, the copyright on this translation should expire in 2043, seventy years after I.W. Slotki’s death. Reproduction rights for libraries and archives go into effect in 2023.







1 1 Chronicles 29:11.
2 Psalms 106:2.

Contributor: Aharon N. Varady (editing/transcription)


Featured Image:
Judenhat escutcheon (Aharon Varady CC BY-SA)
Title: Judenhat escutcheon (Aharon Varady CC BY-SA)
Caption: A Judenhat escutcheon (colorized by Aharon Varady)