Jan 302013

More Yehuda. This is one of a rather striking series of poems describing his voyage by sea to Egypt on the way to the Land of Israel. This is not the most striking among them, but I’m pressed for time lately, not to mention still sick. What do the three of you reading expect from me. I’m just happy I found a play on words that works in both English and Hebrew (“teshabeir/mishbarim – break/breakers“).

Yehuda ha-Levi (1075? – 1141?)
My God, Break You Not

My God, break you not the sea’s breakers;
And say not “Be dry!” to the depths of the sea
‘Til I thank you for all of your kindness,
And thank the waves and the west wind that bear me,
Which are drawing me near to the yoke of your love,
Which lift from my neck the yoke of Araby!
And how could my hopes ever fail to come to true —
For in you I shall trust; you’re my surety.

יהודה הלוי / يهوذا اللاوي
אלוהי, אל תשבר

אֱלֹהַי אַל תְּשַׁבֵּר מִשְׁבְּרֵי יָם
וְאַל תֹּאמַר לְצוּלַת יָם חֳרָבִי
עֲדֵי אוֹדֶה חֲסָדֶיךָ וְאוֹדֶה
לְגַלֵּי יָם וְרוּחַ מַעֲרָבִי
יְקָרֵבוּ מְקוֹם עֹל אַהֲבָתְךָ
וּמֵעָלַי יְסִירוּן עֹל עֲרָבִי
וְאֵיךְ לֹא יִתְּמוּ לִי מִשְׁאֲלוֹתַי
וּבָךְ אֶבְטַח וְאַתָּה הוּא עֲרָבִי.


‘Elohái, ‘al teshabéir mishberéi yam
Ve-‘ál tomár le-tzulát yam ḥoraví
ʕadéi ‘odéh ḥasadékha ve-‘odéh
Le-galéi yam ve-rúaḥ maʕaraví
Yekaréivu mekóm ʕol ‘ahavatkhá
U-mei-ʕalái yesirún ʕol ʕaraví
Ve-‘éikh lo yitmú li mish’alotái
U-vákh ‘evtáḥ ve-‘atáh hu ʕaraví.

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