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Quando el Rey Nimrod

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Quando el Rey Nimrod, Kuando el Rey Nimrod or Cuando el Rey Nimrod (When King Nimrod), also known as Avraham Avinu (Abraham, Our Father) is a Jewish folk song. It is supposed to have originated in Spain in the Middle Ages. After the expulsion of the Jews from that country, it became popular in the Sephardi communities in Morocco, Turkey, Greece, and elsewhere in the Mediterranean. It is sung in Ladino, the Jewish-Spanish language It tells a story of the birth of Abraham, the biblical prophet, although the events described in it have little connection to what is related about Abraham in the Torah.

Lyrics Edit

Quando el Rey NimrodEdit

Quando el Rey Nimrod al campo salía
mirava en el cielo y en la estrellería
vido una luz santa en la Judería
que havía de nascer Abraham Avinu.
chorus (x2):
Abraham Avinu, Padre querido
Padre bendicho, luz de Yisrael.
Luego a las comadres encomendava
que toda mujer que preñada quedasse
si no pariera al punto, la matasse
que havía de nascer Abraham Avinu.
(chorus)
La mujer de Terach quedó preñada
y de día en día le preguntava
¿De qué teneix la cara tan demudada?
ella ya sabía el bien qué tenía.
(chorus)
En fin de nueve meses parir quería
iva caminando por campos y viñas,
a su marido tal ni le descubría
topó una meara, allí lo pariría
(chorus)
En aquella hora el nascido fablava
"Andávos mi madre, de la meara
yo ya topo quen me alexasse
mandará del cielo ken me acompañará
porque só criado de El Dio Barukh."
(chorus)
Saludemos agora al compadre
y tambien al mohel
que por su Zehut nos venga
el Goel y Rihma a todo Israel,
cierto loaremos al Verdadero.
(chorus)

When King Nimrod (translation)Edit

When King Nimrod was going out to the fields
He was looking at heaven and at the stars
He saw a holy light in the Jewish quarter
[A sign] that Abraham, our father, was to be born.
chorus:
Abraham Avinu [our Father], dear father
Blessed Father, light of Israel.
Then he was telling all the midwives
That every pregnant woman
Who did not give birth at once was going to be killed
because Abraham our father was going to born.
Terah's wife was pregnant
and each day he would ask her
Why do you look so distraught?
She already knew very well what she had.
(chorus)
After nine months she wanted to give birth
She was walking through the fields and vineyards
So that not even her husband would find her
She found a manger; there, she would give birth.
(chorus)
In that hour the newborn was speaking
'Get away from the manger, my mother
I will find somebody to take me out
He will send from Heaven the one that will accompany me
Because I am a servant of the Blessed God.'
(chorus)
Now let us salute the friend and also the mohel (person who performs ritual circumcision)
That through whose worthiness we come
To the Redeemer and Merciful One of all Israel
And we surely praise the True One.
(chorus)

Interpretations Edit

Anachronistically, Abraham — who in the Bible is the very first Jew and the ancestor of all who followed, hence his appellation "Avinu" (Our Father)—is in the Judaeo-Spanish song already born, in the "Judería", the Jewish quarter. This makes Terach and his wife into Jews, as are the parents of other babies killed by Nimrod. Abraham in the Bible is the very first man to be circumcised and perform circumcision.

In essence, unlike its Biblical model, the song is about a Jewish community persecuted by a cruel king and witnessing the birth of a miraculous saviour—a subject of obvious interest and attraction to the Jewish people who composed and sang it in Medieval Spain before they were expelled in 1492.

The song attributes to Abraham elements from the story of Moses's birth (the cruel king killing innocent babies, with the midwives ordered to kill them) and from the careers of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who emerged unscathed from the fiery furnace. Nimrod is thus made to conflate the roles and attributes of two archetypal cruel and persecuting kings—Nebuchadnezzar and Pharaoh. For more information, see Nimrod.

It is also suggested that the song borrows from the Christian nativity story. For example, the miraculous light that signaled the birth, the birth in a manger, and the massacre of the innocents ordered by the cruel king Herod. The reference to Abraham as "the friend" comes from the Arabic title of Abraham. [1]

  1. In Arabic, "Ibrahim al-Khalil" (إبراهيم الخليل) means "Abraham the friend", signifying that, according to Islamic teaching, God [[chose Abraham as his friend.Surah 4 Ayara (verse) 125, Qur'an (source text)
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