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Passover songs

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Music
Religious music:
HistoricalContemporary
PiyyutZemirotNigun
PizmonimBaqashot
Secular music:
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Not Jewish in Form:
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Dance:
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Israel
HatikvahJerusalem of Gold
Piyyutim
Adon OlamGeshemLekhah Dodi
Ma'oz TzurYedid NefeshYigdal
Music for Holidays
HanukkahPassoverShabbat
Music of the Haggadah
Ma NishtanaDayenuAdir Hu
Chad GadyaEchad Mi Yodea
Music of Hanukkah
BlessingsOh ChanukahDreidel Song
Al HanisimMi Y'malelNer Li

Passover songs are songs traditionally associated with the end of the seder, the festive meal associated with the Jewish festival of Passover.

Songs of the main part of the Seder

While most songs are in the second half after dinner, "Ma Nishtanah" and "Dayenu" are sung during the main part of the seder before the meal, called the "Maggid" of the seder. This part of the seder devoted to telling the story of the Exodus.

Ma Nishtanah

"Ma Nishtanah" or the "Four Questions" in English, is the four questions sung at the Passover seder by the youngest child at the table who is able. The questions are asked as part of the haggadah, after the Yachatz (יחץ), as part of the Maggid (מגיד).

Dayenu

"Dayenu" is a Hebrew song, traditionally sung during the celebration of Passover. The word itself essentially means "It would have been enough for us." "Day" being the Hebrew word for "enough" and the suffix "enu" meaning "our".

The song goes through a series of gifts believed granted by God to the Israelites (such as Torah or Shabbat), proclaiming that any of them alone would have been sufficient, to express greater appreciation for them as a whole.

It is 15 verses long, sequentially recounting each divine intervention in the story of the Exodus. After each divine act, the chorus "(if God had done only this) it would have been enough for us" is sung.

Songs of the Nirtzah

The following are traditionally sung in the Nirtzah, the last of the 15 subdivisions of the feast, devoted exclusively to singing.

Adir Hu

"Adir Hu"(English: Mighty is He, Hebrew אדיר הוּא) is a hymn sung by Jews worldwide at the Passover Seder. It switches rapidly between saying the virtues of God in an alphabet format (Aleph, Bet, Gimmel,...), and expressing hope that God will "rebuild the Holy Temple speedily." Most of the virtues of God are adjectives (for instance, Holy (Kadosh) is he); however, a few are nouns. (Lord is he).

Adir Hu is sung towards the end of the Seder, and is used by many families to conclude it. The traditional melody is a bouncy, major one.[1] Other melodies, however, have been composed for the alphabetical song.[2]

The song is a plea to the Creator to rebuild the temple soon in Jerusalem. Each line begins with a consecutive letter of the Hebrew alphabet.

Chad Gadya

"Chad Gadya" ("One Kid" 'i.e., baby goat]) is an Aramaic song describing the food chain from a goat, through a dog, an ox, fire, water, and the angel of death, all the way up to God.

Echad Mi Yodea

"Echad Mi Yodea", (Who Knows One?), a Hebrew song. Starting at one and going up to thirteen, each verse describes a different religious or worldly concept associated with its number. For example, the fifth verse is about the five books of Moses whereas the ninth verse describes the nine months of pregnancy. After singing each new verse, all the preceding verses are repeated in decreasing order back down to one. The pattern is similar to the Christian songs Green Grow the Rushes, O (which was originally written in Hebrew) or The Twelve Days of Christmas.

Eliyahu HaNavi

"Eliyahu HaNavi", in English, Elijah the Prophet is A Hebrew song entreating the prophet Elijah, an invited guest at the Passover meal, to return soon with the Messiah. This song is also part of the traditional Saturday night Havdalah service.

Transliteration English Translation

Eliyahu haNavi
Eliyahu haTishbi,
Eliyahu haGil'adi -

Bim'hera v'yameinu yavoh eleinu,
im mashiach ben David. (x2)

Elijah the prophet
Elijah the Tishbite,
Elijah the Giladite -

In haste and in our days may he come to us
with the messiah son of David. (x2)

This is often sung at the opening of the door for Elijah, upon pouring the fourth cup.

Hatikva

"Hatikva" ("The Hope"), the Israeli national anthem, is often sung at the seder. It is found at the back of many haggadahs, though is not formally part of the sedar. Hatikvah is about the hope of returning to Israel, much like the Haggadah's story of the Exodus of Egypt into the Promised Land, and much like the concluding song of the seder, "L'Shana habah bi'Yerushalayim" (see below).

L'shana Ha'ba'ah

"L'Shana haba bi'Yerushalayim" is sung at the end of the seder, and is the last line of the haggadah. The whole line means "Next year in Jerusalem!"

References

  1. Standard version of Adir Hu
  2. Adir Hu in 5/4

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