Abraham Shlonsky: Toil (From Hebrew)

Toil
By Abraham Shlonsky
Translated by A.Z. Foreman
Click to hear me recite the original in Ashkenazi Hebrew

Clothe me, goodly mother, in a splendrous coat of many colors,1
Lead me with the dawn unto my toil

My land wraps itself in light as in a tallit2
Houses stand like tefillin,
And like tefillin-straps the palm-paved highways tumble down.3

Thus a beautiful new city lifts a morning prayer to her Maker,
And among all Makers,
Abraham your Son
Is the hymnal poet-paver
Of the roads of Israel.

In the twilight of the evening, Father shall return from labors,

Warmly whisper like a prayer:
Dearest son, my Abraham4
Flesh and bones and veins and sinews:
Hallelujah5

Clothe me, goodly mother in a splendrous coat of many colors,
Lead me with the dawn
Unto my toil.


Notes:
1- See Genesis 37:3 where "Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours."
2- See Psalm 104:2 where God is "enwrapped in light as in a cloak"
3- A tallit is a prayer shawl, and tefillin are small boxes attached to the head in worship. The square houses perched on the hills are compared to the square tefillin, and the roads to the valley like the straps holding it. The land is a worshipper standing at morning prayer.
4- see Jeremiah 13:19 where God refers to Ephraim as "my darling son"
5- Halelujah means "Praise ye God"

The Original:

עמל
אברהם שלונסקי

הַלְבִּישִׁינִי, אִמָּא כְּשֵׁרָה, כְּתֹנֶת־פַּסִּים לְתִפְאֶרֶת
וְעִם שַׁחֲרִית הוֹבִילִינִי אֱלֵי עָמָל.

עוֹטְפָה אַרְצִי אוֹר כַּטַּלִית.
בָּתִּים נִצְּבוּ כַּטּוֹטָפוֹת.
וְכִרְצוּעוֹת־תְּפִילִין גוֹלְשִׁים כְּבִישִׁים, סָלְלוּ כַּפַּיִם.

תְּפִלַּת שַׁחֲרִית פֹּה תִּתְפַּלֵּל קִרְיָה נָאָה אֱלֵי בּוֹרְאָהּ.
וּבַבּוֹרְאִים
בְּנֵךְ אַבְרָהָם,
פַּיְטָן סוֹלֵל בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל.
  
וּבָעֶרֶב בֵּין הַשְּׁמָשׁוֹת יָשׁוּב אַבָּא מִסִּבְלוֹתָיו
וְכִתְפִלָּה יִלְחַשׁ נַחַת:
הֲבֵן יַקִּיר לִי אַבְרָהָם,
עוֹר וְגִידִים וַעֲצָמוֹת.
הַלְלוּיָהּ.
  
הַלְבִּישִׁינִי, אִמָּא כְּשֵׁרָה, כְּתֹנֶת־פַּסִּים לְתִפְאֶרֶת
וְעִם שַׁחֲרִית הוֹבִילִינִי
אֱלֵי עָמָל.

No comments:

Post a Comment

There was an error in this gadget