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Questions tagged [song-poetry]

Holy songs and poetry are often found in Tanach. Another meaning is that of ordinary Jewish songs.

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Yiddish version of “Tov Li Toras Picha”

In various shuls during Hakafos on Simchas Torah, I have heard the well known song "Tov Li Toras Picha" (טוב לי תורת פיך מאלפי זהב וכסף" - תהלים קיט עב") with a chorus in Yiddish. Does anyone know the ...
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Recommended changes to the text of selichos when you say them at the “wrong” time

Some of the piyutim in selichos assume that you're saying them at the ideal time - before Amud Hashachar (for example, at the end of selicha #70 שחרנוך קדם עמוד השחר). Many people don't make it at ...
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Mareh Kohen Origin

This question was alluded to but ignored in Origin of Mareh Kohen tune. Who composed the piyut Mareh Cohen, and when was it written? (This will help me put the piyut in context, perhaps give an ...
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poetical works authored by women?

Are there any examples of songs, poems, piyyutim or kinnot from the time of the first temple until the 1700's (c.e.) which were authored by women and were adopted by traditional/orthodox communities. ...
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Didn't Rivkah also cry when the Jews were exiled?

In the kinos of Tishah B'Av it is clearly stated that Three out of four of the Imahos [matriarchs], (and also the Avos, forefathers, and Bilhah and Zilpah too) cried to Hashem on behalf of the Jews ...
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Can we hasten Moshiach's coming through the mitzvah of ואהבת לרעך כמוך?

In Jewish singer Meilech Kohn's song, "Veuhavtu", he expresses an interesting thought in the lyrics: .יעדער איינער דאווענט און בעט און מ'ווארט פאר משיח, ער וועט נאר קומען ווען מיר פארטראגן זיך "...
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History of How to Recite Kel Adon [duplicate]

In the Shabbos shacharis birkos kerias shema, there is a poem referred to as Kel Adon that we say. In some congregations, the custom is to say the stanzas responsively, with the chazzan saying each ...
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What does בי in בירבי mean?

The word בירבי "the son of Rabbi..." appears many times in the acrostics of piyyutim (e.g. El'azar the Kalir signs his name אלעזר בירבי קליר, e.g. in the יוצר beginning אומן בשמעו). (I have seen it ...
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Maoz Tzur: Is it a universal custom or just an ashkenaz one?

I know that Mi Yodea has already answered the question about the source of Maoz Tzur (Mordechai, unknown, 13th century, perhaps during Crusades?). Is it a universal custom or is it just an Ashkenazi ...
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Who are the seven shepherds at the end of Maoz Tzur?

The song Maoz Tzur ends with the line raise up the Seven Shepherds Who are the seven shepherds referenced? Please cite sources.
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English Book on Trop

My question is simple: is there an English-language book on cantillation, which includes Ta'amei Eme"t, rare trop, and their grammatical purposes ? I've seen books on learning to lehn and recognise ...
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Why don't we refer to Esther by her Hebrew name?

Slightly related to this question Esther's Hebrew name was Hadassah. I understand the use of that name in the Megillah. However in our liturgy including the Al haNissim prayer and other songs and ...
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Mesillat Yesharim Melody (Niggun)

Years ago I ran across a recording online of a niggun for reciting the opening paragraphs of Mesillat Yesharim. I can't relocate it, but I slightly remember reading that it was a well known learning ...
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Why are there piyyutim for the beginning of first day Rosh Hashanah musaf, but not for the second day (in Nusach Ashkenaz)?

On the first day of Rosh Hashanah at Musaf, we recite piyyutim as part of the first three brachot of the Amidah, composed by R. Elazar HaKalir. On the second day, no such piyyutim are recited and we ...
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Why do some people say לאל עורך דין during Musaph on the 2nd day of Rosh Hashanna?

Art Scroll and a few other Machzorim (Nusach Ashkenaz) have a notation for the piyut לאל עורך דין on the 2nd day of Rosh Hashanna. They place in it both Shacharit with a notation saying that some ...
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Y-h Ribon Olam tune origin [closed]

Of the tunes used for Y-h (Kah) Ribon Olam (even if used originally for another song), which is the first, and when was it composed and where? I know that the piyyut itself was composed in the 16th ...
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Adon Olam: “Yetzir” or “Yetzur”?

Aside from the additional lines in the Sephardi version of the piyut, "Adon Olam", I have seen two different variations in the beginning lines of the prayer. In most versions, such as in general ...
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What does Zayin Ayin VeNun mean in the Ashkenazi Yotzer for Shabbos Rosh Chodesh?

In the Ashkenazi Yotzer for Shabbos Rosh Chodesh, the the Paytan (Rabbeinu Binyomin ben Zerach) writes in the "nun" verse "וזיי''ן עיי''ן ןנו''ן פשוטה מכריעות לכלנה" What does this mean? See here
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What song did Avraham ben Avraham sing before he was killed?

Avraham ben Avraham or Count Valentine Potocki, converted to Judaism and was burned at the stake for doing so by the Roman Catholic Church. Before he was killed he sang a song that was later used in ...
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Why isn't יה אלי said on days when Yizkor is said?

On the 3 Festivals, Pesach, Shavuot and Succot, many Nusach Ashkenaz congregations say a poem called יה אלי before saying אשרי . But it is eliminated on days when Yizkor is recited. What is the ...
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Why is יה אלי before Ashrei and הנני העני after?

At least in Nusach Ashkenaz, there is a piyut before Musaf on the 3 regalim, יה אלי, and one on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, הנני העני. However, in every shul I've been to, יה אלי is said before ...
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What is the source that singing and clapping sweetens judgment

I heard a song "על ידי ניגונים ומחיאת כף מתמתקין כל הדינים". Seeming to mean: through singing (or songs) and clapping hands all the (negative) judgments (made in Heaven) get sweetened (less harsh) ...
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Source for not singing Yamim Nora'im tunes during the year

I was told that one should not sing the tunes used for davening on the Yamim Nora'im during the year (the exception being during the month of Elul, in order to prepare for the High Holidays), because ...
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Would Levite girls be able to sing in the temple?

I assume the halacha that the voice of a woman is like nakedness only applies to girls over the age of bat mitzva, if so would Levite girls younger than that age have been able to participate in the ...
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When was Nirtzah added?

The Rambam's Haggadah and the Ba'al HaTanya's Haggadah lack Nirtzah. @DoubleAA quotes a version of the Simanim poem in which the order concludes with Hallel, as well. Also note the discussion here ...
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Mayim Achronim at The Pesach Seder

Why in the Order of the Seder (that is Kadesh urchatz…) do we not include Mayim Achronim while we do we include the regular washing and the washing before dipping the vegetable into saltwater when all ...
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What is the 'ten stringed' instrument in Psalm 33, Psalm 92 and Psalm 144?

Psalm 92:4 With an instrument of ten strings, and with the psaltery; with a solemn sound upon the harp. . Psalm 33:2 Give thanks unto the LORD with harp, sing praises unto Him with the ...
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Why do piyutim follow the aleph-beis?

DanF previously asked about piyutim and zemiros which follow the author's name. But if they don't follow the author's name, they follow the aleph-beis in some fashion or another (repeat letters, ...
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Meherah (מהרה) in Yedid Nefesh

Why do customs differ as to whether מהרה (meherah) is part of Yedid Nefesh? For example, Chabad siddurim and the NCSY bentcher omit מהרה, but the Artscroll siddur (Nusach Ashkenaz) includes it. Below ...
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Two names for Moshiach in Lecha Dodi

Lecha Dodi refers to moshiach twice. The first time, he is called "the son of Yishai." Later on, he is referred to as "the man descended from Peretz." We know that the piyut's author, Rav Alkabetz, ...
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Why do most piyutim and zemirot have an acrostic with the author's name?

Many of the Shabbat zemirot contain an acrostic of the (part of the) author's name, usually using a letter of his name at the start of each verse. For example, Y-ah Ribon has the name Yisra'el; Yom Ze ...
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Why is לְשַׁבֵּחַ pronounced leshabe'ah and not leshabacha? [duplicate]

This is the last word of the first line of Ma'oz Tzur. I've always sung leshabe'ah but wouldn't this require a yud between the Bet and Chet?
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Where did the popular Chanuka brachos niggun develop?

What is the source for the popular niggun that is generally sung in America (and maybe elsewhere) for the brachos on lighting the Chanuka lights? How far back does this tune go? Is it an American "...
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Maoz Tzur and Chanukah

The piyut Maoz Tzur mentions both Purim and Chanukah. Why then was it chosen to be said on Chanukah and not Purim? I've tried researching the subject and asking scholars but have not received a ...
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Hidden Meaning in “Oyfn Pripetshik”

There is a certain Yiddish lullaby called "Oyfn Pripetshik," which was written by Mark Warshawsky in the late 1800s. Here you can see the lyrics in the original Yiddish with no translation, and here ...
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May one join a holiday choir that sings “neutral” songs?

I understand that generally, Jews should not devote attention towards celebrating non-Jewish holidays. Christmas, particularly, is also specifically a religious Christian holiday (vs., say, ...
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Why does An'im Zemiros have two רs?

The song beginning אנעים זמירות (also named Shir HaKavod), which is popularly sung in shuls on Shabbos and/or Yom Tov and/or Yamim Noraim, basically follows a letter-scheme, with one verse for each ...
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A piyut refers to the converts: Keni, Na'aman, Ovadiah, Rachav, Na'amah and Ruth. How come?

There is an old Minhag Ashkenaz to sing a piyut by R' Avigdor Kra called Echad Yachid Umeyuchad in honour of a chasan being called to the Torah. The piyut is an acrostic which spells out אביגדור קרא. ...
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What was wrong with David referring to Torah as a song?

What is wrong with King David calling the Torah a song (tehillim 119:54, Sotah 35a) when the Torah calls itself such (Devarim 31:19, Nedarim 38a)
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Why is this Rosh Hashanah piyut recited differently from how it is printed?

From the structure and sequence of the piyut "Melech Elyon", it is clear that each phrase is meant to begin with the words 'Melech Elyon' and end with 'laadei ad Yimloch', and indeed it is printed ...
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Dancing around shul on Rosh Hashanah

At my shul, during Musaf of Rosh Hashanah (and i think Yom Kippur as well), they sing the piyut ויאתיו כל to the Carlebach tune. At the end, a large percentage of the community gets up and starts ...
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What defines a שלמונית?

According to the Artscroll Selichot in the introduction, a שלמונית is "a piyut composed exclusively of quatrains, or four-lined stanzas." This definition fits most of the selichot, maybe 75%, but ...
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Arabic text chanted by Jo Amar for Yachatz in Haggadah

Interesting thing I found. I'm listening to Jo Amar's rendition of the haggadah (first part can be found here; second part here) and, at about 3:18 in the first part, he sings an Arabic text that I ...
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MBD Daddy Dear Source

Way back in 1998, on MBD's "English Collection," he published a song titled "Daddy Dear" depicting a dialogue between a son and his father regarding a cup Hashem supposedly has in Shamayim into which ...
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Origin for the song Bederech Hamelech

Yaakov Shwekey composed a song called Bederech Hamelech. Here are the lyrics: ומבלעדיך אין לנו מלך אין לנו מלך גואל ומושיע ומבלעדיך אין לנו מלך אין לנו מלך גואל ומושיע ומבלעדיך אין לנו מלך אין ...
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Need help finding a song

years ago I visited Majdanek, one of the most intact concentration camps. The tour ends in a huge heap of ashes. There I was, standing in front of those ashes, thinking about the meaning of life, ...
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Sing about Moshiach at the end of davening

In many kindergartens and preschools, both boys and girls sing at the end of davening, "We want Moshiach, we want Moshiach now..." Was this instituted by the Lubavitcher Rebbe?
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?חד גדיא ,הגדה--מי יודע

My question is about the history of the Passover song Chad Gadya. I have long suspected this song was originally conceived as a pastiche of Echad Mi Yodeya--the thematic, musical, and phonetic ...
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Last line of Yetziv Pitgam

The Artscroll siddurim (that I've seen, I haven't done a full survey of the siddurim and machzorim) translate the last line of Yetziv Pitgam as a reference to Yonatan ben Uziel. The Artscroll chumash,...
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How to say Mi Yodeya's version of Echad Mi Yodeya in hebrew

A selection of the Mi Yodeya series is being prepared for the hagadah mi yodeya 14 are the books of the Rambam. 15 were the cubits of the Flood. 16 are the maneh of the myrrh. 17 were the ...