May 092014

Can it have been more than a year since our last ibn Ezra tajnis? That’s unpossible!

Anyway, while the meaning of this one is clear (he likes wine! A lot!), the words pidyon and kofer are sort of difficult to translate, both being related to the Temple service. Pidyon is a price paid to the priests to redeem someone or something that would normally belong to the Temple; traditional Jews today still practice pidyon ha-ben, in which a firstborn non-Levite son is symbolically redeemed from a priest for a small (nowadays generally symbolic) amount of money; when the Temple was still standing, this was probably a major source of revenue. A kofer can be either the Biblical poll tax or the expiation-price to clear oneself of a minor sin. Again, the words are hard to translate, but the general sense is clear.

Moshe ibn Ezra (1060? – 1140?)
I’d Gladly Be Sold

I’d gladly be sold to the planters of vines
  and be an offering to the pruners and pickers
Beneath the presser, as soon as he tires
  and weakens, I’d give him the spirit of princes.

משה אבן עזרא / موسى ابن عزرا
אהי פדיון לנוטעי הזמורה

אֱהִי פִדְיוֹן לְנֹטְעֵי הַזְּמוֹרָה / וְכֹפֶר לַאֲשֶׁר יִזְמוֹר וְיִבְצֹר
וְתַחַת דָּשׁ אֲשֶׁר יִדְרֹךְ וְרוּחַ / נְגִידִים בּוֹ בְּעֵת יַחְלֹש וְיִבְצֹר.


‘Ehí pidyón le-notʕéi ha-zemoráh / ve-khófer la’ashér yizmór ve-yivtzór
Ve-táḥat dash ‘ashér yidrókh ve-rúaḥ / negidím bo be-ʕéir yaḥlósh ve-yivtzór.

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