Jun 212014
 

A rare (the first?) wedding song from the woman’s standpoint. She seems pretty jazzed, all things considered. It seems she married fairly late.

Rahel Morpurgo (1790 – 1871)
And So Rahel Sang Concerning Her Weddding

To mighty God my thanks so dear
No longer I’m forsaken:
I cast away my every fear,
No longer mute; awakened.

A lad, eyes bright and proud
Adorns my head, my whole:
By heaven’s Lord endowed,
Beloved of my soul.

O bless this day of our delight,
Illuminate our dark;
The end of days please hasten.

Your Holy Temple set aright,
A new song will we utter:
May your hand bring us salvation.

רחל מורפורגו
וזאת אשר שרה רחל על חתונתה

 
תּוֹדָה לָאֵל נוֹרָא
לֹא-עוֹד אֶהְיֶה שׁוֹמֶמֶת:
אַשְׁלִיךְ אֶת-כָּל-מוֹרָא,
לֹא-עוֹד אֶהְיֶה דוֹמֶמֶת.
 
בָּחוּר יְפֵה עֵינַיִם
יִהְיֶה פְאֵר רֹאשִׁי:
נָתַן אֲדוֹן שָׁמַיִם
שֶׁאָהֲבָה נַפְשִׁי.
 
בָּרֵךְ יוֹם שִׂמְחָתֵנוּ,
הַגִּיהַּ אֶת חָשְׁכֵּנוּ;
חִיש נָא קֵץ הַיָּמִין.
 
כּוֹנֵן בֵּית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ,
אָז נָשִׁיר שִׁיר חָדָשׁ:
הוֹשִׁיעָה-לוֹ יָמִין.
י

Transliteration/תעתיק:

Todáh la-‘éil norá
Lo ʕod ‘ehyéh shomémet:
‘Ashlíkh ‘et kol morá,
Lo ʕod ‘ehyéh domémet.

Baḥúr yeféih ʕeináyim
Yihyéh pe’éir roshí:
Natán ‘adón shamáyim
She-‘ahaváh nafshí.

Baréikh yom simḥatéinu,
Hagíha ‘et ḥoshkéinu;
Ḥish na qeitz ha-yamín.

Konéin beit ha-miqdásh,
‘Az nashír shir ḥadásh:
Hoshíʕah-lo yamín.

May 032014
 

Well, this being the world’s largest repository of Italian Hebrew poetry in translation, I suppose it was inevitable that I’d eventually get to Rahel Morpurgo, one of the very few Italian poets anybody knows about and whose works are (fairly) widely distributed. Why is those things? Well, Mrs. Morpurgo (née Luzzatto, which is like being a Kennedy in Jewish Italy) is the very first female Hebrew poet of the modern(ish) era (although not the first female Italian Jewish poet, just the first one to compose in Hebrew), and really the first female Hebrew poet we know by name (and whose poetry we have) since, um, Miriam?

Anyway, this is an entry into that classic Hebrew genre, the riddle-poem. First person who guesses the answer gets a shiny piece of…money.

Rahel Morpurgo (1790 – 1871)
A Riddle: Dust Am I

Dust Am I in Life, All the More So in Death

Before you here discern me
You’d profit if you burn me;
My light would sate your soul,
Your treasures I make whole.

Upon me priests make offerings,
Beneath me reign your mighty kings,
If for this you held out your hand
You’d find fulfilled your wishes grand.

רחל מורפורגו
חידה: עפר אני

 
עָפָר אֲנִי בְּחַיַּי קַל וָחֹמֶר בְּמִיתָתִי
 
הֲרֵי אֲנִי לְפָנֶיךָ
שָׂרְפֵנִי לְטוֹבָתֶךָ;
לְאוֹרִי תִּשְׂבַּע נַפְשֶׁךָ,
וְעָלַי כָּל-חֶמְדָּתֶךָ.
 
עָלַי יַקְטִיר כֹּהֲנֶךָ,
וְתַחְתַּי יִמְלֹךְ מַלְכֶּךָ,
אִם בָּזֶה תַּהֲפֹךְ יָדֶךָ
אָז תִּמְצָא מַאֲוַיֶּיךָ.
י

Transliteration/תעתיק:

Haréi ‘aní lefanékha
Sorféini le-tovatékha;
Le-‘orí tisbáʕ nafshékha,
Ve-ʕalái kol ḥemdatékha.

ʕal0i yaqtír kohanékha,
Ve-taḥtí yimlókh malkékha,
‘Im ba-zéh tahafókh yadkhá
‘Az timtzá ma’avayékha.

Jan 072013
 

I told you there were a lot of Luzzatti. Shmuel was a particularly notable one. This poem, a sonnet with an additional opening statement in verse, dates from the year of his death, which happens to be the same year a certain eminent emancipator died. Speaking of emancipation: can you imagine a rosh yeshiva today not only reading Dante, ḥas ve-shalom, but admitting he had read Dante, and then actually composing a poem in his honor? It is completely beyond the fucking pale. Ha-tzevi, Yisra’el, `al bamoteikha ḥalal…

Shmuel David Luzzatto (1800 – 1865)
A Tongue That Hates All Falsehood

A tongue that hates all falsehood and iniquity
And lips whose voice is mercy, truth and holiness —
As every tongue bowed down before mere vanity,
With grace and pleasure, majesty and wealthiness,
You kept faith in the Lord and in his every righteous way:
So crown the righteous man and sing out the name Dante!

A flow’ring city was brought down by brothers’ strife
Into the depths of every evil rift —
To far-flung exile you were cast for life,
But your pure soul a single hand did lift.

Your mouth you opened with a dream of Hell
You called to spirits from within the grave
Against the wrong, with thun’dring voice you yelled
And thanked kind God, as righteous men behave.

Like ancient prophets, you were cloaked in zeal
The rod of justice you passed o’er the proud
Though poor, you rose up to the highest station

For this, to you the wisest poets kneel
And every nation sings your praise aloud,
And you’re a sign to every generation.

שמואל דוד לוצאטו
לשון שונא כזב

 
לָשׁוֹן שׂוֹנֵא כָזָב גָּאוֹן וָעָוֶל
שָׂפָה קוֹלָהּ קָדוֹשׁ חֶסֶד וָיֹשֶׁר
בִּכְרֹעַ כָּל־לָשׁוֹן לִפְנֵי הֶהָבֶל,
חֶמְדָּה עֶדְנָה כָּבוֹד שִׁלְטוֹן וָעֹשֶׁר
אַתְּ לֵאלֹהיִם וּלְמֵישָׁרִים נֶאֱמַנְתְּ:
הַכְתִּירִי נָא צַדִּיק זַמֵּרִי דַנְטֵי.
 
מִדְיָנִים בֵּין־אַחִים קִרְיָה פוֹרָחַת
הִפִּילוּ בִמְצוּלַת כָּל־רַע כָּל־שֶׁבֶר,
אָז גֹרַשְׁתָּ וָאָז, גּוֹלָה נִדָּחַת,
הַנֶּפֶשׁ הַזַּכָּה הֵרִימָה אֵבֶר.
 
פִּיךָ פָתַחְתָּ בֶּחָזוֹן מִשָּׁחַת
קָרָאתָ לִרְפָאִים מֵחַדְרֵי־קֶבֶר
הִרְעַמְתָּ עַל־עַוְלָה רַעַם תּוֹכָחַת
הוֹדַעְתָּ אֵל גּוֹמֵל כִּפְעֻלּוֹת גֶּבֶר.
 
כִּנְבִיאֵי־קֶדֶם עֹז קִנְאָה עָטִיתָ
הֵנַפְתָּ עַל־גֵּאִים שֵׁבֶט הַקֹּשֶׁט
דַּלֹתָ אַךְ עַל־כָּל־רָם הִתְרוֹמָמְתָּ.
 
עַל־כָּל־חַכְמֵי זִמְרָה עַל־כֵּן עָלִיתָ
עַל־כֵּן כָּל־גּוֹי שֵׁם וּתְהִלָּה לָךְ יוֹשֶׁט
וּלְנֵס וּלְמוֹפֵת לַדּוֹרוֹת הוּשָׂמְתָּ.
י

Transliteration/תעתיק:

Lashón sonéi khazáv ga’ón va-ʕável
Safáh koláh kadósh ḥésed va-yósher
Bikróaʕ kol lashón lifnéi ha-hável,
Ḥemdáh ʕednah kavód shiltón va-ʕósher
‘At leilohím u-le-meisharím ne’emánte:
Hakhtíri na tzadík zaméiri dántei.

Midyaním bein ‘aḥím kiryáh poráḥat
Hipílu vimtzulát kol raʕ kol shéver,
‘Az goráshta va-áz, goláh nidáḥat,
Ha-néfesh ha-zakáh heirímah ‘éiver.

Pikhá patáḥta be-ḥazón mi-sháḥat
Karáta lirfa’ím mei-ḥadréi kéver
Hirʕámta ʕal ʕavláh ráʕam tokháḥat
Hodáʕta ‘eil goméil kifʕulót géver.

Kinvi’éi kédem ʕoz kin’áh ʕatíta
Heináfta ʕal gei’ím shéivet ha-kóshet
Dalóta ‘akh ʕal kol ram hitromámta.

ʕal kol ḥakhméi zimráh ʕal kein ʕalíta
ʕal kein kol goi sheim u-tehiláh lakh yóshet
U-le-néis u-la-moféit la-dorót husámta.