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Chad Gadya (Aramaic: חַד גַדְיָה chad gadya, "one little goat, or "one kid"; Hebrew: "echad gedi") is a playful cumulative song, written in Aramaic with Hebrew words interspersed. In Ashkenazi Jewish custom, it concludes the Passover Seder, which is a Jewish ritual feast that marks the beginning of the Jewish holiday of Passover. It is believed to be derived from Medieval German folk music.

The song is popular with children and similar to other cumulative songs[1]: Echad Mi Yodea, ("Who Knows 'One'?) another cumulative song, is also in the Passover Haggadah.

Lyrics

English
ONE LITTLE GOAT
Transliteration
Chad Gadya
Aramaic
חַד גַּדְיָא
Verse 1:
One little goat, one little goat: Chad gadya, chad gadya, חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא
Which my father bought for two zuzim. dizabin abah bitrei zuzei. דְּזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי
Verse 2:
One little goat, one little goat: Chad gadya, chad gadya, חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא
The cat came, and ate the goat, ve-ata shunra ve-akhlah le-gadya וְאָתָא שׁוּנְרָא, וְאָכְלָה לְגַּדְיָא
Which my father bought for two zuzim. dizabin abba bitrei zuzei. דְּזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי
Verse 3:
One little goat, one little goat: Chad gadya, chad gadya, חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא
The dog came, and bit the cat, that ate the goat, ve-ata kalba ve-nashakh le-shunra, de-akhlah le-gadya וְאָתָא כַלְבָּא ,וְנָשַׁךְ לְשׁוּנְרָא, דְּאָכְלָה לְגַּדְיָא
Which my father bought for two zuzim. dizabin abba bitrei zuzei. דְּזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי
Verse 4:
One little goat, one little goat: Chad gadya, chad gadya, חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא
The stick came, and beat the dog, ve-ata chutra, ve-hikkah le-khalba וְאָתָא חוּטְרָא, וְהִכָּה לְכַלְבָּא
that bit the cat, that ate the goat, de-nashakh le-shunra, de-akhlah le-gadya דְּנָשַׁךְ לְשׁוּנְרָא, דְּאָכְלָה לְגַּדְיָא
Which my father bought for two zuzim. dizabin abba bitrei zuzei. דְּזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי
Verse 5:
One little goat, one little goat: Chad gadya, chad gadya, חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא
The fire came, and burned the stick, ve-ata nura, ve-saraf le-chutra וְאָתָא נוּרָא, וְשָׂרַף לְחוּטְרָא
that beat the dog, that bit the cat, that ate the goat, de-hikkah le-khalba, de-nashakh le-shunra, de-akhlah le-gadya דְּהִכָּה לְכַלְבָּא ,דְּנָשַׁךְ לְשׁוּנְרָא, דְּאָכְלָה לְגַּדְיָא
Which my father bought for two zuzim. dizabin abba bitrei zuzei. דְּזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי
Verse 6:
One little goat, one little goat: Chad gadya, chad gadya, חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא
The water came, and extinguished the fire, ve-ata maya, ve-khavah le-nura וְאָתָא מַיָּא, וְכָבָה לְנוּרָא
that burned the stick, that beat the dog, de-saraf le-chutra, de-hikkah le-khalba דְּשָׂרַף לְחוּטְרָא ,דְּהִכָּה לְכַלְבָּא
that bit the cat, that ate the goat, de-nashakh le-shunra, de-akhlah le-gadya דְּנָשַׁךְ לְשׁוּנְרָא, דְּאָכְלָה לְגַּדְיָא
Which my father bought for two zuzim. dizabin abba bitrei zuzei. דְּזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי
Verse 7:
One little goat, one little goat: Chad gadya, chad gadya, חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא
The ox came, and drank the water, ve-ata tora, ve-shatah le-maya וְאָתָא תוֹרָא, וְשָׁתָה לְמַיָּא
that extinguished the fire, that burned the stick, de-khavah le-nura, de-saraf le-chutra דְּכָבָה לְנוּרָא ,דְּשָׂרַף לְחוּטְרָא
that beat the dog, that bit the cat, that ate the goat, de-hikkah le-khalba, de-nashakh le-shunra, de-akhlah le-gadya ּ דהִכָּה לְכַלְבָּא, דְּנָשַׁךְ לְשׁוּנְרָא, דְּאָכְלָה לְגַּדְיָא
Which my father bought for two zuzim. dizabin abba bitrei zuzei. דְּזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי
Verse 8:
One little goat, one little goat: Chad gadya, chad gadya, חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא
The slaughterer came, and killed the ox, ve-ata ha-shochet, ve-shachat le-tora וְאָתָא הַשּׁוֹחֵט, וְשָׁחַט לְתוֹרָא
that drank the water, that extinguished the fire, de-shatah le-maya, de-khavah le-nura דְּשָׁתָה לְמַיָּא ,דְּכָבָה לְנוּרָא
that burned the stick, that beat the dog, de-saraf le-chutra, de-hikkah le-khalba דְּשָׂרַף לְחוּטְרָא, דְּהִכָּה לְכַלְבָּא
that bit the cat, that ate the goat, de-nashakh le-shunra, de-akhlah le-gadya דְּנָשַׁךְ לְשׁוּנְרָא, דְּאָכְלָה לְגַּדְיָא
Which my father bought for two zuzim. dizabin abba bitrei zuzei. דְּזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי
Verse 9:
One little goat, one little goat: Chad gadya, chad gadya, חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא
The Angel of Death came, and slew the slaughterer, ve-ata mal'akh ha-mavet, ve-shachat le-shochet וְאָתָא מַלְאַךְ הַמָּוֶת, וְשָׁחַט לְשׁוֹחֵט
who killed the ox, that drank the water, de-shachat le-torah, de-shatah le-maya דְּשָׁחַט לְתוֹרָא,דְּשָׁתָה לְמַיָּא
that extinguished the fire, that burned the stick, de-khavah le-maya, de-saraf le-chutra דְּכָבָה לְנוּרָא, דְּשָׂרַף לְחוּטְרָא
that beat the dog, that bit the cat, that ate the goat, de hikkah le-khalba, de-nashakh le-shunra, de-akhlah le-gadya דְּהִכָּה לְכַלְבָּא, דְּנָשַׁךְ לְשׁוּנְרָא, דְּאָכְלָה לְגַּדְיָא
Which my father bought for two zuzim. dizabin abba bitrei zuzei. דְּזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי
Verse 10:
One little goat, one little goat: Chad gadya, chad gadya, חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא
Then came the Holy One, Blessed be He, ve-ata ha-Kadosh Baruch Hu וְאָתָא הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא
and smote the Angel of Death, who slew the slaughterer, ve-shachat le-mal'akh ha-mavet, de-shachat le-shochet וְשָׁחַט לְמַלְאַךְ הַמָּוֶת ,דְּשָׁחַט לְשׁוֹחֵט
who killed the ox, that drank the water, de-shachat le-tora, de-shatah le-maya דְּשָׁחַט לְתוֹרָא, דְּשָׁתָה לְמַיָּא
that extinguished the fire, that burned the stick, de-khavah le-nura, de-saraf le-chutra דְּכָבָה לְנוּרָא, דְּשָׂרַף לְחוּטְרָא
that beat the dog, that bit the cat, that ate the goat, de-hikkah le-khalba, de-nashakh le-shunra, de-akhlah le-gadya דְּהִכָּה לְכַלְבָּא ,דְּנָשַׁךְ לְשׁוּנְרָא, דְּאָכְלָה לְגַּדְיָא
Which my father bought for two zuzim. dizabin abba bitrei zuzei. דְּזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי
Verse 11:
One little goat, one little goat. Chad gadya, chad gadya, חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא

Symbolism of Chad Gadya

At first glance, this song seems merely a playful, cumulative song, much akin to "There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly". However many claims have been written about its symbolism:

Some Jewish or Zionist thinkers believe Chad Gadya shows the different nations that have inhabited in Israel: the kid being the Jewish people, the cat, Assyria; the dog, Babylon; the stick, Persia; the fire, Macedonia; the water, Rome; the ox, the Saracens; the slaughterer, the Crusaders; the Angel of Death, the Turks. At the end, God returns to send the Jews back to Israel.

Or, of course and more prosaically, it may be just something for the children to look forward to so that they will stay awake. It is also often sung with animal noises to represent each of the characters.[2].

In popular culture

  • In the 2005 Natalie Portman film Free Zone, a song based on the traditional Chad Gadya is sung and composed by Israeli singer Chava Alberstein. It relates to the contemporary themes in the movie.[3] It was banned on Israeli radio stations during 1980s.[4]
  • It was featured in the American series NCIS in the season 7 opener Truth or Consequences by Abby and McGee, and then was sung jokingly in a scene by Dinozzo in another season 7 episode titled Reunion."McGee explains that they accessed Mossad's encrypted files, "but they weren't in English, so we had to do a little bit of rudimentary linguistics. It's a Hebrew school nursery rhyme." Chad Gadya (One Little Goat). McGee and Abby start to enthusiastically sing along with the nursery rhyme." [5]
  • The recording "A Different Night" by the group Voice of the Turtle has 23 different versions of Chad Gadya in all different languages.[6]

Other usage

  • The words "dizabin abah" in the second line of the song literally mean "which father sold", rather than "which father bought". The Aramaic for "which father bought" is "dizvan abah", and some Haggadot have that as the text[7].
  • In Yiddish slang, the term "chad gadya" is a euphemism for jail. A prisoner is said to languish in a chad gadya — that is, all alone.[8]
  • Chad Gadya was the pseudonym of Marousia (Miriam) Nissenholtz, the only female student at Bezalel Art School in Palestine in 1912.[9]


References

  1. For example, "There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly".
  2. "Chad Gadya". JCC Association 'This New Month' Project. Jewish Community Center Association. March-April 2009. http://www.jccathisnewmonth.org/5769/Nisan/nisanson2.asp. Retrieved 25 December 2009. 
  3. BAC Films (2005-05-09). "Free Zone electronic press kit" (PDF). Press release. http://www.bacfilms.com/presse/freezone/dpus.pdf. Retrieved 2006-12-10. 
  4. [1]
  5. http://www.tv.com/ncis/truth-or-consequences/episode/1289697/recap.html
  6. http://www.jewishmusic.com/index.asp?FID=2101&ACT=4&ID_Prd={AF2323D5-4A77-4C4F-8037-48E6C180F63A}
  7. For example, the 1839 Rodelheim Haggadah.
  8. [2] Google Books view of Inside Judaism: The Concepts, Customs, and Celebrations of the Jewish People, by Alfred Kolatch.
  9. I lived life to the fullest, Haaretz

Some or all of this article is forked from Wikipedia. The original article was at Chad Gadya. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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