Wednesday, April 01, 2015

How Iraqis sing about the bread of affliction

Passover is almost here and many Iraqi Jews will be clinging on to their ancestors' traditions when they recite 'Ha Lahma Ania' during the Haggadah - the telling of the Passover story - to the old, familiar tune.

 The first stanza of Ha Lahma Ania is sung in Aramaic, but in this version (recorded in a synagogue), the second stanza is rendered in Judeo-Arabic. The Seder participants would point to the Matza, the unleavened bread, and sing:

 הא לחמא עניא די אכלו אבהתנא בארעא דמצרים. כל דכפין ייתי ויכל. כל דצריך ייתי ויפסח. השתא הכא. לשנה הבאה בארעא דישראל. השתא עבדי. לשנה הבאה בני חורין  

Ha lachma anya di achalu avahatana b'ara d'Mitzrayim. Kal dichfin yeitei v'yeichul. Kal ditzrich yeitei v'yifsach. Hashata hacha, l'shanah haba'ah b'ara d'Yisrael. Hashata avdei. L'shana haba'ah b'nei chorin.

"This is the bread of affliction that our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt. Let all who are hungry come and eat. Let all who are in need come and celebrate Passover. Now we are here. Next year in the land of Israel. Now we are slaves. Next year we will be free."

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