Kinnah #44 Alei Tzion – Newly Translated in Rhyme – Like it was Meant to Be

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    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]

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    3 COMMENTS

    1. Good job.
      Poetic license used to add the word “cry” at every stanza beginning – which is not in the original Hebrew.
      עלי is the first actual word in each of those stanzas meaning “for” – cry is inserted by translator.

      אלי is more accurately wail or lament more then just cry.

      Last but not least in all of my kinos Seforim Ali Tzion.. is Kinna 45 not 44.

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