[Translator's notes - in square brackets]
(Editor Ben-Ezra comments: We print this song because of the specific version that circulated in Horodets. The song appears in various versions. Look up Yiddisher Folk songs in Russia by Ginsburg Marek No.234 p. 189 Peterburgh 1901; Rosental Folk Songs in rashumot b, page 369; Yiddisher Folklore p.39 Vilna 1938 where the notes are also presented p. 335.)
[It is difficult to translate poems/songs and when a line is not clear to me I make a suggestion.]
|Dark, slippery late at night
Walks a girl deep in thought
There is no person to be seen in the street
And her heart is broken from crying.
She walks so that no one will disrupt her
I press my child to my heart,
May good people find you
You will not know your real father
I promised myself to your father
[to me there are vague parts in this poem/song but I tried my best]
|Who suffers more than the workman for his bread
He must work until his last day.
Who suffers chill and hardship as much as the workman.
Oh, who lacks the piece of dry bread,
Who will be arrested
And who will be shipped to Siberia?
And now I am forced to part from my wife
My child asks me: Where are you going now, father?
My child, you probably wonder why I sit so sad?
Sick, lies our provider,
We print this because of the version that circulated in Horodets. Actually it is the Elyakim Tzunzer's song The 19th century. Look up: The collected writings of Elyakim Tzunzer pp.205-208 NY 1920 with various changes.
Apparently, the version circulating in Horodets was the original version, before it got its printed form; the version which was circulating among the Jewish folks the way it was heard from Tzunzer's mouth)
[This poem is a metaphor describing the spiritual changes Jews went through with the Enlightment movement - from the middle of the18th century to the second half of the 19th century. I hope that my efforts to understand it are successful at least in part. Some background will be helpful to the reader and some names/words will be explained:
There were two main trends in the Enlightment movement: one, mainly in Germany and Western Europe, called to get out of the closed walls of religious life into the freedom to seek general knowledge, acquire skills of productive work and mingle with the surroundings, shed the outward appearance that differentiated between Jews and gentiles and introduce reforms in the observance of Jewish rules.
The other trend mostly in Eastern Europe, called to stress the uniqueness of the Jewish people and put more stress on learning Hebrew besides the language of the country. From the middle of the 19th century scholars in Eastern Europe became critical of religion even to the point of being hostile to it, and there was scorn of the Jewish rules.
The philosophers of the general Enlightment movement believed in combining thought, education and action towards a better future and stressed the freedom of the individual, etc.
All this finds expression in this metaphorical poem, as well as the author's feelings]
Moshe Mendelssohn is considered the father of the Jewish Enlightment movement and his group of Jewish scholars and literary men printed their essays about literature and science in the yearly periodical Bikurey Ha'itim at first mostly in German and some in Hebrew and then mostly in Hebrew and some in German.
Hekhalutz pioneer, was an organization aiming to acquire skills of productive work towards aliya to the Land of Israel
Te'uda 1. Certificate 2. Purpose 3. Testimony 4. Destination.
Rival R' Yitzkhak Ber Levinson preached to combine Torah, science, general knowledge, productive manual work and agriculture. He wrote a book, 1823, called Te'uda Be'Israel which calls Jews to accept his principles. The Orthodox community treated him and other Enlighted people as heretic; any young man who joined the Enlightment camp was nicknamed Te'ud'ke after Rival's book.]
From Asia to Europe
I have crawled to find an inn
I have made my bed to sleep
In a narrow corridor.
Under my head - faith
Hard and cold
Sleep makes me forget
Friends from all corners
Bikurey Ha'itim, Hekhalutz, Mendelssohn's followers bloom [See underlined above]
One, two, three,
For freedom to sacrifice
It is soon daylight, Israel
Translated by Hannah Kadmon
[Translator's notes - in square brackets]
In memory of Khaike
|a. Hak messer||Chopping knife|
|Brok messer||Shredding knife|
|Dir iz goot||You have it good|
|Mir iz nokh besser||I have it even better|
|b. A regen, a regen||Rain, Rain|
|Di ka'le iz gelegen||the bride* gave birth|
|A voo hot zi gelegen||Where did she give birth?|
|Unter di vegen||On the way/roads|
|Vos hot zi gehat?||What did she beget?|
|A yingele||A small boy|
|Vi hot men gerufen?||What did they name him?|
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