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Poem by Rabeinu Shmuel HaNagid – Bet Tefillah – The House of Prayer

September 3rd, 2009 No comments

I would like to feature a poem by Rabeinu Shmuel HaNagid who lived in the 10th century in Spain. The poem is one of my favorites, because it speaks to all Jews today as much as it spoke in his day. It seems that not much has changed in the last thousand years. Officially this poem does not have a name, but in some books it is called Bet Tefillah – The House of Prayer. The translation into English is mine, and was edited by my wife. You can find this poem printed in this sefer on page 19.

בית תפילה
ר’ שמואל הנגיד

?הֲיִרְהַב הַזְּמָן בִּרְבִי וְרָבָא
?וְאִם בֵּינָיו וּבֵין תַּלְמוּד מְרִיבָה
,וְלָכֵן סִדְּרוֹ עַל פִּי פְתָאִים
,מְתֵי בֶטֶן וְאַדֶּרֶת וְשֵׂיבָה
וְכָל בַּעַר אֲשֶׁר יֹאמַר “אֲנִי הוּא
“!מְפִיבשֶׁת, וְרַב הַאייַ כְּצִיבָא
יְדַמּוּ כִּי בְצִיצִיּוֹת וְזָקָן
.וּמִגְבַּעַת יְהִי אִישׁ רֹאשׁ יְשִׁיבָה
זְכֹר, אָחִי, בְּלֶכְתֵּנוּ שְׁנֵינוּ
אֱלֵי בֵית הַתְּפִלָּה יוֹם עֲרָבָה
וְשָׁמַעְנוּ חֲמוֹר נוֹעֵר וְצִוְחַת
בְּנֵי בָקָר, וְהֵם גּוֹעִים, קְרוֹבָה
וְשַׂחְתִּי “מִי אֲשֶׁר שָׁת בֵּית אֱלֹהִים
“?כְּבֵית רֶפֶת – וְהִיא חַטָּאת וְחוֹבָה
,וְאָמְרוּ “אֵין חֲמוֹר וּמְרִיא בְּבֵית אֵל
“!אֲבָל קוֹרִין בְּמַסֶּכֶת וּבָבָא
וְאָמַרְתִּי “הֲמִירוֹתֶם תְּעוּדָה
“?וְתוֹרָה, וַאֲנִי אָנָה אֲנִי בָא
- וּבָאנוּ זוֹעֲמִים אֶל בֵּית אֱלֹהִים
!וּמִי יִתֵּן וְנִטְעֶה בַנְּתִיבָה
וְהִנֵּה רַב וְתַלְמִידִים מְנִידִים
,לְרָאשֵׁיהֶם כְּעַרְעָר בָּעֲרָבָה
בְּפִיהֶם גִּדְּפוּ הִלֵּל וְשַׁמַּאי
,וְהִכּוּ עַל לְחִי רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא
וְהָרַב יַאֲרִיךְ לָהֶם טְעָמִים
.וְיִטְרֹף מִלְּשׁוֹנָם אוֹת וְתֵבָה
וְיָשַׁבְתִּי וּפָנַי זוֹעֲפִים מִן
,אֲשֶׁר אֶרְאֶה וְנַפְשִׁי בִי עֲצֵבָה
- וְשָׁאַלְתִּי שְׁלוֹם הָרַב בְּכָבוֹד
.וְעָנַנִי כְּאִישׁ מָדוֹן וְאֵיבָה
וְהֵחֵל לַעֲנוֹת מֵאָה בְרָכוֹת
,בְּקוֹל עָבֶה כְּקוֹל הָמוֹן וְצָבָא
יְבָרֵךְ אֵל לְמַעַן אִישׁ בְּרָאוֹ
:וְלֹא אִשָּׁה – הֲשִׁיבוֹתִיו תְּשׁוּבָה
?הֲתָשִׁית נַפְשְׁךָ מִן הַזְּכָרִים”
“!וְאֵל יָעִיד בְּךָ כִּי אַתְּ נְקֵבָה

Translated by Eli Gurevich
Edited by Rachel Gurevich

Is Time mocking Rebbi and Rava? Starting with the Talmud a fight?

With fat-bellied fools, in long overcoats, “teaching” what they “feel” is right.

Any ass can say, “I am the great Mefivoshet, and Rav Hai is just an amoeba,” –

And he’s raised up high, with Tzitzit, beard and hat – because anyone can become Rosh Yeshiva.

Remember, my brother, the speech at Shul, on last Hoshana Rabbah night?

When we heard the ass bray, and the cows mooing their pleasure, at rubbish and foolish trite.

And I said, “How has God’s house become a barn? It is sinful! Disgusting! A disgrace!”

But they replied, “There is no ass, no cattle here – this is the Torah that we embrace!”

And I said, “You have changed the testimony and Torah. Where should I go now? How far?”

But with nowhere to go, we relented and entered, and saw more actions, increasingly bizarre.

There it was – a Rabbi and students – waving like juniper trees in the wind.

They babbled about Hillel, mumbled about Shamai, and slapped Rebbi Akivah on the chin!

The Rabbi expounded his thoughts, but the students – he cut off at the start.

Still, I sat down, with a twisted face, as I watched with a broken heart.

I asked the Rabbi, “How are you?” in a voice dripping with respect. But he shouted and yelled,

Tossing at me one hundred Berachot, and I felt myself further repelled.

Then he blessed God for not creating him a woman, as he twisted his Peyot into curls.

But I answered, “You place your soul with men, but God knows — you are no better than a girl!”

1 new sefer added – #254

September 2nd, 2009 No comments

I added another sefer to the database #254.

254 The inscription
on the stele of
Mesa commonly
called the
Moabite Stone:
The Text in
Moabite and
Hebrew, with
Translation.
London 1919

2 new seforim added – #252 and #253 – Leningrad Codex

September 2nd, 2009 No comments

I just added 2 seforim:

252 Westminster
Leningrad Codex
Manuscript
  London 2005
253 Westminster
Leningrad Codex
Manuscript
(Small Format)
  London 2009

The Leningrad Codex (or Codex Leningradensis) is one of the oldest manuscripts of the complete Tanach produced according to the Tiberian mesorah. It is dated from the year 1008 according to its colophon. This edition of the Leningrad Codex was compiled by Tigran Aivazian from the text published by the Westminster Theological Seminary.