May 082014
 

This one I think we can definitely all relate to. I wonder if this is the ur-“If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.”

Immanuel of Rome (1261 – 1328)
Every Man Who Hires a Jewish Servant

O, every man who hires a Jewish servant
  He hires himself a lord within his dwelling
To mine I offered but my little finger
  And soon enough my arm he was requesting
“Come in, and here’s a place to sit,” I told him
  He asked me for a cushion for reclining
I told him, “Eat from all I have to offer,”
  With his sweet words he asked me what’s for drinking
I told him, “Sleep,” he asked me for a courtyard
  With brass and iron fences for surrounding
I gave him bread, he drank my fine wine freely
  But quail and manna, that was more his craving
In finest vests and cloaks I duly dressed him
  He asked for bells to grace his garments’ fringing1
And so I raise my voice as if a shofar
  As if a king and his viziers commanding
That when you buy the servant buy a rod too,
  A strap as well for all his evildoing.

עמנואל הרומי
כל הקונה עבד עברי

 
כָּל־הַקּוֹנֶה עֶבֶד עִבְרִי / קוֹנֶה אָדוֹן לוֹ בִּגְבוּלָיו
נָתַתִּי אֶל־עַבְדִּי זֶרֶת / בִּקֵּשׁ אַמָּה לוֹ בִּמְשָׁלָיו
אָמַרְתִּי ״סוּרָה וּשְׁבָה־פֹּה״ / בִּקֵּשׁ כַּר לָשֶׁבֶת עָלָיו
אָמַרְתִּי ״אָכְלָה מִצֵּידִי״ / בִּקֵּשׁ לְשְׁתּוֹת עִם טוֹב מִלָּיו
אָמַרְתִּי ״לִין״ בִּקֵּשׁ חָצֵר / בַּרְזֶל וּנְחשֶׁת מִנְעָלָיו
אוֹכִילֵהוּ פַת אַשְׁקֶנּוּ / יֵין רִקְחִי בִּקֵּשׁ מָן וּשְׂלָו
הִלְבַּשְׁתִּיהוּ אֵפוֹד וּמְעִיל / בִּקֵּשׁ רִמּוֹנִים עַל־שׁוּלָיו
לָכֵן אָרִים קוֹל כַּשּׁוֹפָר / מִטַּעַם מֶלֶךְ וּגְדֹלָיו
לִקְנוֹת עִם־הָעֶבֶד מַקֵּל / וּרְצוּעָה לִפְרִי מַעְלָלָיו.
י

Transliteration/תעתיק:

Kol ha-qonéh ʕéved ʕivrí / qonéh ‘adón lo bigvuláv
Natáti ‘el ʕavdí zéret / biqéish ‘amáh lo bimshaláv
‘Amárti súrah u-shváh poh / biqéish kar lashévet ʕaláv
‘Amárti ‘ókhlah mi-tzeidí / biqéish lishtot ʕim tov miláv
‘Amárti lin biqéish ḥatzéir / barzél unḥóshet minʕaláv
‘Okhiléihu fat ‘ashqénu / yein riqḥí biqéish man u-sláv
Hilbashtíhu ‘eifód umʕíl / biqéish rimoním ʕal shuláv
Lakhéin ‘arím qol ka-shofár / mi-táʕam mélekh ugdoláv
Liqnot ʕim ha-ʕéved maqéil / urtzuʕáh lifrí maʕlaláv.

  1. Immanuel is playing around here with the priestly uniform described in the Torah – the word I’ve translated as “bells” is “pomegranates,” evidently some sort of round decoration that were supposed to be stitched to the fringes of the priestly garments.

 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>

(required)

(required)

Are you a Russian spam robot? Prove it: *