Jan 062013

Todros Abulafia was sort of a medieval Spanish Alex Portnoy. He talks about sex a lot and he’s totally nuts for shiksas. I’m sure his poetry is meant to be interpreted allegorically, however. Certainly not as a commentary on the middos of the holy yidden in medieval Spain.

Todros Abulafia (1247 – after 1300)
In Love I Travail

Concerning an Arab girl whose love was sweet to me, whom I saw in the company of other young women, all kissing one another:

I have not given birth, though in love I travail,
Being caught in the snare of this Arab gazelle.
My own soul so desires to kiss her sweet lips
That I long to be female, to no avail —
For she’s perfectly willing to kiss other girls,
Oh, how I’ve missed out, being born a male!

טודרוס אבולעפיה / طدروس أبو العافية
באהבה חלתי

על בת ערב ערבה לי אהבתה, ובתוך עלמות ראיתי אותה, משיקות אשה על אחותה.
בָּאַהֲבָה חַלְתִּי וְלֹא יָלַדְתִּי,
וּבְפַח צְבִיָּה בַּת עֲרָב נִלְכַּדְתִּי.
לִנְשֹׁק בְּפִיהָ אִוְּתָה נַפְשִׁי עֲדֵי
לִהְיוֹת נְקֵבָה בַעֲדָהּ חָמַדְתִּי —
כִּי הַנְּקֵבוֹת הִיא מְנַשֶּׁקֶת, וּבִשְׁ־
בִיל שֶׁאֲנִי זָכָר, אֲנִי הִפְסַדְתִּי!


Ba-‘ahaváh ḥálti ve-ló yaládeti,
U-ve-fáḥ tzeviyáh bat ʕaráv nilkádeti.
Linshók be-fíha ‘ivtáh nafshí ʕadéi
Liheyót nekeiváh vaʕadáh ḥamádeti —
Ki ha-nekeivót hi menashéket, u-vish-
víl she-‘aní zakhár, ‘aní hifsádeti!

  One Response to “Todros Abulafia, “Be-‘Ahavah Ḥalti””

  1. This reads like a subversion of the morning benediction ברוך אתה יי אלהינו מלך העולם שלא עשני אשה. Wouldn’t be the only one.

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>



Are you a Russian spam robot? Prove it: *