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Echad Mi Yodea

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Echad Mi Yodea (Yiddish: ver ken zogn ver ken redn) (Hebrew: אחד מי יודע echad mi yodea) (Who Knows One?) is a traditional cumulative song sung on Passover and found in the haggadah. It enumerates common Jewish motifs and teachings. It is meant to be fun and humorous, while still imparting important lessons to the children present.

Recitation varies from family to family. The song, first has versions in Yiddish and Hebrew, and many other vernacular languages. Sometimes it is played as a memory game, recited without looking. Sometimes the goal is to recite the entire verse in one breath.

Meaning

Although it can appear to be simply a juvenile children's song, an important message is being imparted to those present at the Passover table. The main theme of Passover, and particularly of the Seder, is not only the physical freedom of a nation of slaves. More importantly, it is the spiritual and mental freeing of this people, to become a nation unto God, His "Chosen People" . As His people, the Jewish Nation is expected be wholly at one with God, and to relate everything in their lives to Him. It is well known that psychologists use word association to reveal the subconscious. Thus, it is at this point in the Seder that the Jews sing this cumulative song. After relating God's wonders and kindness, and the events of the Exodus, the song demonstrates how everything can and should relate to God: "If I say 'One', you think 'God!', if I say 'Five', you think 'Books of Moses!'"

History

According to the Encyclopaedia Judaica, this song is first found in Ashkenazi Haggadot of the 16th century. It is believed to have originated in Germany in the 15th century, possibly based on a German folk song "Guter freund ich frage dich", which means "Good friend which I ask".

Structure and text

"Echad Mi Yodea" is a cumulative song, meaning that each verse is built on top of the previous verses. There are thirteen verses.

The first verse runs:

Who knows one?
I know one.
One is our God, in heaven and on earth.


The second verse:

Who knows two?
I know two.
Two are the tablets of the covenant;
One is our God, in heaven and on earth.


...and so forth. The last verse is:

Who knows thirteen?
I know thirteen.
Thirteen are the temperaments of God;
Twelve are the tribes of Israel;
Eleven are the stars of Joseph's dream;
Ten are the [Ten] Commandments;
Nine are the months of pregnancy;
Eight are the days of circumcision;
Seven are the days of the week;
Six are the books of the Mishnah;
Five are the books of the Torah;
Four are the Matriarchs;
Three are the patriarchs;
Two are the tablets of the covenant;
One is our God, in heaven and on earth.


There are variations of this song. This includes where the sixth verse pertains to either the six books of the Mishnah or the six days of creation . Also, the eighth verse can either pertain to the eight days before a circumcision, or the eight candles of a Chanukah menorah. The ninth verse can either pertain to the nine months it takes to make a baby or the number of festivals in Judaism.

Popular version
English Hebrew
1. One is our God, in heaven and on earth אחד אלוהינו שבשמיים ובארץ
2. Two are the tablets of the covenant; שני לוחות הברית
3. Three are the Patriarchs שלושה אבות
4. Four are the Matriarchs ארבע אימהות
5. Five are the books of the Torah חמישה חומשי תורה
6. Six are the books of the Mishnah שישה סידרי משנה
7. Seven are the days of the week שיבעה ימי שבתא
8. Eight are the days of the circumcision שמונה ימי מילה
9. Nine are the months of the pregnant תישעה ירחי לידה
10. Ten are the Commandments עשרה דיבריא
11. Eleven are the stars of the Joseph's dream אחד עשר כוכביא .יא
12. Twelve are the tribes of Israel שנים עשר שיבטיא .יב
13. Thirteen are the temperaments of God שלושה עשר מידיא .יג
Rhyming version
English Hebrew
1. One is Hashem, one is Hashem, one is Hashem! In the Heaven and the Earth אחד אלוהינו שבשמיים ובארץ
2. Two are the tablets that Moshe brought; שני לוחות הברית
3. Three are the Fathers שלושה אבות
4. Four are the Mothers ארבע אימהות
5. Five are the books of the Torah חמישה חומשי תורה
6. Six are the books of the Mishnah שישה סידרי משנה
7. Seven are the days of the week ooh-ah שיבעה ימי שבתא
8. Eight are the days til the Brit Milah שמונה ימי מילה
9. Nine are the months til the baby's born תישעה ירחי לידה
10. Ten are the ten Commandments עשרה דיבריא
11. Eleven are the stars in Joseph's dream אחד עשר כוכביא .יא
12. Twelve are the tribes of Israel שנים עשר שיבטיא .יב
13. Thirteen are the attributes of Hashem שלושה עשר מידיא .יג

References

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

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