Allei Tzion Newly Translated Like it Was Meant to Be – in Rhyme

1
Photo: Western Wall Heritage Foundation

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

by Rabbi Yair Hoffman for 5tjt.com

The Kinos were meant to be said in a slow dirge in rhyme.  That is how they were written.  When it is read in English – this is lost.  There is something unique that takes hold of you when you combine a slow dirge with rhyme.  Those that are not so fluent in the Hebrew lose the impact. To some, this poetic translation may help bring across that feeling. The Kinnah is numbered as #44 and is an expansion of The Pasuk in Yoel 1:5

אֱלִי צִיּוֹן וְעָרֶיהָ, כְּמוֹ אִשָּׁה בְּצִירֶיהָ, וְכִבְתוּלָה חֲגוּרַת שַׂק, עַל בַּעַל נְעוּרֶיהָ
עֲלֵי אַרְמוֹן אֲשֶׁר נֻטַּשׁ, בְּאַשְׁמַת צֹאן עֲדָרֶיהָ,

עַל בִּיאַת מְחָרְפֵי אֵל, בְּתוֹךְ מִקְדַּשׁ חֲדָרֶיהָ.
אֱלִי צִיּוֹן וְעָרֶיהָ, כְּמוֹ אִשָּׁה בְּצִירֶיהָ, וְכִבְתוּלָה חֲגוּרַת שַׂק, עַל בַּעַל נְעוּרֶיהָ
Cry, O Zion, and cities around her!

As a woman in labor whose birth pangs confound her.

And like a mournful, newly-wed bride,

Crying over her groom who died.

Cry for the palace abandoned and forlorn,

Because of the sins of the flock she had borne.

And for the arrival of the blasphemers that looms,

Into the sanctuary of the Temple’s rooms.

Cry, O Zion, and cities around her!

As a woman in labor whose birth pangs confound her.

And like a mournful newly-wed bride,

Crying over her groom who died.

עֲלֵי גָלוּת מְשָׁרְתֵי אֵל, נְעִימֵי שִׁיר זְמָרֶיהָ,

וְעַל דָּמָם אֲשֶׁר שֻׁפַּךְ כְּמוֹ מֵימֵי יְאוֹרֶיהָ.
אֱלִי צִיּוֹן וְעָרֶיהָ, כְּמוֹ אִשָּׁה בְּצִירֶיהָ, וְכִבְתוּלָה חֲגוּרַת שַׂק, עַל בַּעַל נְעוּרֶיהָ

Cry for the exile of the servants of G-d,

Who sang songs, praised and applaud,

And for their blood, spilled in barrels..

Bursting forth like waters of her channels.

Cry, O Zion, and cities around her!

As a woman in labor whose birth pangs confound her.

And like a mournful, newly-wed bride,

Crying over her groom who died.

עֲלֵי הֶגְיוֹן מְחוֹלֶיהָ, אֲשֶׁר דָּמַם בְּעָרֶיהָ,

וְעַל וַעַד אֲשֶׁר שָׁמַם וּבִטּוּל סַנְהֶדְרֶיהָ..
אֱלִי צִיּוֹן וְעָרֶיהָ, כְּמוֹ אִשָּׁה בְּצִירֶיהָ, וְכִבְתוּלָה חֲגוּרַת שַׂק, עַל בַּעַל נְעוּרֶיהָ

Cry for the lyrics of her dances so grand

Now absent and silent throughout the land

And for the great hall, in which it did stand

The glorious Sanhedrin, now unmanned.

Cry, O Zion, and cities around her..

As a woman in labor whose birth pangs confound her..

And like a mournful newly-wed bride..

Crying over her groom who died..

עֲלֵי זִבְחֵי תְמִידֶיהָ וּפִדְיוֹנֵי בְּכוֹרֶיהָ,

וְעַל חִלּוּל כְּלֵי הֵיכָל וּמִזְבַּח קְטוֹרֶיהָ
אֱלִי צִיּוֹן וְעָרֶיהָ, כְּמוֹ אִשָּׁה בְּצִירֶיהָ, וְכִבְתוּלָה חֲגוּרַת שַׂק, עַל בַּעַל נְעוּרֶיהָ

Cry for the daily offering lost to the nation

And for the Pidyon Bechor’s negation..

And for her vessel’s desecration

And for the incense altar’s salvation..

Cry, O Zion, and cities around her..

As a woman in labor whose birth pangs confound her..

And like a mournful newly-wed bride..

Crying over her groom who died..

עֲלֵי טַפֵּי מְלָכֶיהָ בְּנֵי דָוִד גְּבִירֶיהָ,

וְעַל יָפְיָם אֲשֶׁר חָשַׁךְ בְּעֵת סָרוּ כְּתָרֶיהָ.
אֱלִי צִיּוֹן וְעָרֶיהָ, כְּמוֹ אִשָּׁה בְּצִירֶיהָ, וְכִבְתוּלָה חֲגוּרַת שַׂק, עַל בַּעַל נְעוּרֶיהָ

For the children of her kings, let’s cry

The descendents of David, flying so high

And for their beauty, now entirely lost

When her royal crowns were tossed

6] Cry, O Zion, and cities around her..

As a woman in labor whose birth pangs confound her..

And like a mournful newly-wed bride..

Crying over her groom who died..

עֲלֵי כָבוֹד אֲשֶׁר גָּלָה בְּעֵת חָרְבַּן דְּבִירֶיהָ,

וְעַל לוֹחֵץ אֲשֶׁר לָחַץ וְשָׂם שַׂקִּים חֲגוֹרֶיהָ:
אֱלִי צִיּוֹן וְעָרֶיהָ, כְּמוֹ אִשָּׁה בְּצִירֶיהָ, וְכִבְתוּלָה חֲגוּרַת שַׂק, עַל בַּעַל נְעוּרֶיהָ

Cry for the Divine honor now in exile

At the destruction of temples erstwhile

And for the persecutor who did scorn

As she dons her garments torn

Cry, O Zion, and cities around her..

As a woman in labor whose birth pangs confound her..

And like a mournful newly-wed bride..

Crying over her groom who died..

עֲלֵי מַחַץ וְרֹב מַכּוֹת אֲשֶׁר הֻכּוּ נְזִירֶיהָ,

וְעַל נִפּוּץ אֱלֵי סֶלַע עֲוִילֶיהָ נְעָרֶיהָ.
אֱלִי צִיּוֹן וְעָרֶיהָ, כְּמוֹ אִשָּׁה בְּצִירֶיהָ, וְכִבְתוּלָה חֲגוּרַת שַׂק, עַל בַּעַל נְעוּרֶיהָ

Cry for the pounding and numerous blows

Her noblemen received from their foes

And for the smashing upon the stone

The skulls of infants and children not yet grown

Cry, O Zion, and cities around her..

As a woman in labor whose birth pangs confound her..

And like a mournful newly-wed bride..

Crying over her groom who died..

עֲלֵי שִׂמְחַת מְשַׂנְאֶיהָ בְּשָׂחְקָם עַל שְׁבָרֶיהָ,

וְעַל עִנּוּי בְּנֵי חוֹרִין נְדִיבֶיהָ טְהוֹרֶיהָ.
אֱלִי צִיּוֹן וְעָרֶיהָ, כְּמוֹ אִשָּׁה בְּצִירֶיהָ, וְכִבְתוּלָה חֲגוּרַת שַׂק, עַל בַּעַל נְעוּרֶיהָ

Cry for the joyous shouts of the enemy

Laughing at her misfortunate and calamity

And upon the affliction of free men set apart

Noble in spirit and pure of heart.

Cry, O Zion, and cities around her..

As a woman in labor whose birth pangs confound her..

And like a mournful newly-wed bride..

Crying over her groom who died..

עֲלֵי פֶשַׁע אֲשֶׁר עָוְתָה סְלוֹל דֶּרֶךְ אֲשׁוּרֶיהָ,

וְעַל צִבְאוֹת קְהָלֶיהָ שְׁזוּפֶיהָ שְׁחוֹרֶיהָ.
אֱלִי צִיּוֹן וְעָרֶיהָ, כְּמוֹ אִשָּׁה בְּצִירֶיהָ, וְכִבְתוּלָה חֲגוּרַת שַׂק, עַל בַּעַל נְעוּרֶיהָ

Cry for the sin that she had wrought

Diverting her from the straight path she had sought

And for the legions of congregations slackened

With faces now wrinkled and blackened

Cry, O Zion, and cities around her..

As a woman in labor whose birth pangs confound her..

And like a mournful newly-wed bride..

Crying over her groom who died..

עֲלֵי קוֹלוֹת מְחָרְפֶיהָ בְּעֵת רַבּוּ פְגָרֶיהָ,

וְעַל רִגְשַׁת מְגַדְפֶיהָ בְּתוֹךְ מִשְׁכַּן חֲצֵרֶיהָ.
אֱלִי צִיּוֹן וְעָרֶיהָ, כְּמוֹ אִשָּׁה בְּצִירֶיהָ, וְכִבְתוּלָה חֲגוּרַת שַׂק, עַל בַּעַל נְעוּרֶיהָ

Cry over the curses of those who abused her

Multiplying corpses as they pursued her

And for the sounds of those who blasphemed  long and hard

Inside the tabernacle of her courtyard

Cry, O Zion, and cities around her..

As a woman in labor whose birth pangs confound her..

And like a mournful newly-wed bride..

Crying over her groom who died..

עֲלֵי שִׁמְךָ אֲשֶׁר חֻלַּל בְּפִי קָמֵי מְצֵרֶיהָ,

וְעַל תַּחַן יְצַוְּחוּ לָךְ קְשׁוֹב וּשְׁמַע אֲמָרֶיהָ.

אֱלִי צִיּוֹן וְעָרֶיהָ, כְּמוֹ אִשָּׁה בְּצִירֶיהָ, וְכִבְתוּלָה חֲגוּרַת שַׂק, עַל בַּעַל נְעוּרֶיהָ

Cry for the Name that was profaned

In the mouth of the tormentor so disdained

And for the prayer we cry out to You

Hear our cries, through and through!

Cry, O Zion, and cities around her..

As a woman in labor whose birth pangs confound her..

And like a mournful newly-wed bride..

Crying over her groom who died..

The translator can be contacted at [email protected]




1 COMMENT

  1. The Kinos were meant to be said in a slow dirge in rhyme. ב”ה there are still some Shuls around, where each קינה is still chanted out loud in its entirety, many of them with unique tunes, and they aren’t simply recited quietly.