Piyyut Preview - Odeh l'El

Here's another beautiful piyyut translated by R' Mark Greenspan. This one comes from R' Shemaya Qosson, and is a moving song to the soul. You can see the full Hebrew text and hear a beautiful recording of it sung here

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Rabbi Qosson is relatively unknown - we only know that he lived in the 17th century in North Africa, and that his poetry was quickly adopted as liturgical text across the Sephardi world. 

Rabbi Qosson sings to the soul, who he describes as wandering across a barren world, and calls upon it to return to God. Almost a love-poem to the soul itself, Odeh l'El will be one of the seven piyyutim included for daily study and practice in Siddur Masorati. 


I thank the One who probes the heart        As stars, in unison, sing praise the morning.

 

Pay heed to the soul:                                    As precious as jacinth, agate and amethyst

As bright as is the sun's glow,                                Sevenfold brighter than the morning! 

 

It is hewn from God's throne,                                                In the wilderness  it dwells,

Seeking deliverance from burning flames,             Illuminating the way  toward morning.

 

Arise each night                                                                  As your soul ascends on high

Accounting for its deeds                                     Before the Maker of night and morning.

 

If it is found tainted                                                                        With sins and wrongs;

It is like a maiden disgraced                                          Each day, morning after morning.

 

If it is found sanctified                                                               With mitzvot and merits;

It is like a bride adorned,                                               Each day, morning after morning.

 

God is a faithful guardian                                             Who willingly returns the deposit

No one need die for one’s sin,                                        In the night before the morning.

 

Rise up! This is not the final rest                           For divine mercy has been extended.

Return, for God’s hand is open                                          To all who rise in the morning.

 

Adore not sleep;                                                                             Instead sanctify God.

Ascribe unto God, ascribe                                              Glory, and let there be morning!

 

Sing of the soul, once bare,                                               While the animal spirit sleeps

As a fisherman lays out the net                      Prepare the prayerful offering of morning.

 

Let us revive the poor one                                                      An innocent and pure soul.

If the soul has not yet renewed                   How can it attain the light of the morning?

 

May we merit, this year                                                              To behold God’s beauty

In joy and not anger;                                                         Hear my voice In the morning.