In chad gadya, we use the Aramaic root זבן. Now that I think about it, I always recall hearing both דְזָבִין אַבָא בִּתְרֵי זוּזִי and דְּזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי‬. The obvious difference being that דְזָבִין means he bought and דְּזַבִּין means he sold. (See Jastrow)

A Hebrewbooks.org search for 'הגדה של פסח' allowed me to quickly find two versions at random of bought and sold. (and Zivan)

Which one was it? Do all or most interpretations lean one way?


On second inspection, the link I cited supposedly containing דְזָבִין, was actually דְּזַבִּין. When zoomed in, the dot is visable. I next found that all other Haggadas I viewed contained only two variants. זַבִּין and זְבַן. The incorrect vocalization of דְזָבִין was taken from Wikipedia, which is, Wikipedia.

Firstly, as cited by WAF, the Frank dictionary does claim that the correct text is זְבַן, meaning sell.

However, the question still stands because a sampling of my printed collection seems to yield both results.

A בּ should not be vocalized זַבִּין for 'sell' past tense, rather זַבֵּין (based on Frank grammar, p. 59). And the past tense for 'buy' is זְבַן, as mentioned. [Although he does mention זַבִּינא as past tense she/it for sell. גדיא seems to be a female word, so it could make sense how it made it זַבִּין from זַבִּינא. Even though aba is doing the selling!]

Therefore, there are still two contenders for proper meaning among the hagadas. Buy/ זַבִּין or sell/זְבַן, and all questions questioned above in the question.

  • Do you ask about the right translation of זבן or about the metaphorical meaning of the trade? Do you ask what difference does it make symbolically?
    – Al Berko
    Commented Jan 23, 2019 at 0:14
  • I know how to translate זבן. I am asking on what is the song actually saying, since the are so many variants. Thus, what would the primary meaning be based on the majority of interpretations. @AlBerko
    – Dr. Shmuel
    Commented Jan 23, 2019 at 0:23
  • 1
    I think I'm missing something -- the question is asking about dizavin and dizabin but not dizban? sefaria.org/…
    – rosends
    Commented Jan 23, 2019 at 1:23
  • What are you questioning, exactly? @rosends
    – Dr. Shmuel
    Commented Jan 23, 2019 at 1:28
  • @Dr.Shmuel what I found had "sell" as dizban " one lamb sells for two zuzim (had gadya, had gadya, dizban Abba b'tre zuze) " and I'm wondering why the question limits itself to these 2 possible words.
    – rosends
    Commented Jan 23, 2019 at 1:43

1 Answer 1


The ArtScroll interlinear translation follows the narrative that the father bought, not sold, the kid. Rav Yaakov Emden writes that the kid represents the Beis Hamikdash, and the cat (which comes next) represents the babylonians, who conquered the Beis Hamikdash. I think it makes more sense to say the goat was owned by the father, and conquered by the babylonians than to say the goat was sold by the father (Hashem), because if the goat was sold to someone else, then the father becomes irrelevant.

I looked through a bunch of Haggados we have at home (we have a lot), and in all of them I found the Hebrew text of דְּזַבִּין, yet translated bought. I also looked through your sources, and none of them say דְזָבִין. One says דְּזַבִּין, and the other says דְּזַבִין. It think both words mean the same thing. I'm not a dikduk expert, but I think they both mean bought. I'm not sure exactly why.

  • 2
    I'm not sure if דְּזַבִין (patach, no dageish) even makes sense
    – Heshy
    Commented Jan 22, 2019 at 23:27
  • See my edits. דְּזַבִּין nor דְּזַבִין mean bought.
    – Dr. Shmuel
    Commented Jan 23, 2019 at 12:48

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