Chad Gadya

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Chad Gadya or Had Gadya (Aramaic: חַד גַדְיָא chad gadya, "one little goat, or "one kid"; Hebrew: "גדי אחד gedi echad") is a playful cumulative song in Aramaic and Hebrew.[1] It is sung at the end of the Passover Seder, the Jewish ritual feast that marks the beginning of the Jewish holiday of Passover. The melody may have its roots in Medieval German folk music.[2] It first appeared in a Haggadah printed in Prague in 1590, which makes it the most recent inclusion in the traditional Passover seder liturgy.[3]

The song is popular with children and similar to other cumulative songs:[4] Echad Mi Yodea, ("Who Knows 'One'?) another cumulative song, is also in the Passover Haggadah.

Lyrics[edit]

English
ONE LITTLE GOAT
Transcription of Hebrew Reading
Chad Gadya
Transliteration of Aramaic
ħad gadyā
Aramaic
חַד גַּדְיָא
Verse 1:
One little goat, one little goat: Chad gadya, chad gadya, ħaḏ gaḏyā, ħaḏ gaḏyā, חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא
Which my father bought for two zuzim. dizabin abah bitrei zuzei. dəzabbīn abbā biṯrē zūzē. דְּזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי
Verse 2:
One little goat, one little goat: Chad gadya, chad gadya, ħaḏ gaḏyā, ħaḏ gaḏyā, חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא
The cat came, and ate the goat, ve-ata shunra ve-akhlah le-gadya wəʔāṯā šūnrā wəʔāḵlā ləgaḏyā וְאָתָא שׁוּנְרָא, וְאָכְלָה לְגַּדְיָא
Which my father bought for two zuzim. dizabin abba bitrei zuzei. dəzabbīn abbā biṯrē zūzē. דְּזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי
Verse 3:
One little goat, one little goat: Chad gadya, chad gadya, ħaḏ gaḏyā, ħaḏ gaḏyā, חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא
The dog came, and bit the cat, that ate the goat, ve-ata kalba ve-nashakh le-shunra, de-akhlah le-gadya wəʔāṯā ḵalbā wənāšaḵ ləšūnrā, dəʔāḵlā ləgaḏyā וְאָתָא כַלְבָּא ,וְנָשַׁךְ לְשׁוּנְרָא, דְּאָכְלָה לְגַּדְיָא
Which my father bought for two zuzim. dizabin abba bitrei zuzei. dəzabbīn abbā biṯrē zūzē. דְּזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי
Verse 4:
One little goat, one little goat: Chad gadya, chad gadya, ħaḏ gaḏyā, ħaḏ gaḏyā, חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא
The stick came, and beat the dog, ve-ata chutra, ve-hikkah le-khalba wəʔāṯā ħūṭrā, wəhikkā ləḵalbā וְאָתָא חוּטְרָא, וְהִכָּה לְכַלְבָּא
that bit the cat, that ate the goat, de-nashakh le-shunra, de-akhlah le-gadya dənāšaḵ ləšūnrā, dəʔāḵlā ləgāḏyā דְּנָשַׁךְ לְשׁוּנְרָא, דְּאָכְלָה לְגַּדְיָא
Which my father bought for two zuzim. dizabin abba bitrei zuzei. dəzabbīn abbā biṯrē zūzē. דְּזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי
Verse 5:
One little goat, one little goat: Chad gadya, chad gadya, ħaḏ gaḏyā, ħaḏ gaḏyā, חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא
The fire came, and burned the stick, ve-ata nura, ve-saraf le-chutra wəʔāṯā nūrā, wəśārap̄ ləħūṭrā וְאָתָא נוּרָא, וְשָׂרַף לְחוּטְרָא
that beat the dog, that bit the cat, that ate the goat, de-hikkah le-khalba, de-nashakh le-shunra, de-akhlah le-gadya dəhikkā ləḵalbā, dənāšaḵ ləšūnrā, dəʔāḵlā ləgāḏyā דְּהִכָּה לְכַלְבָּא ,דְּנָשַׁךְ לְשׁוּנְרָא, דְּאָכְלָה לְגַּדְיָא
Which my father bought for two zuzim. dizabin abba bitrei zuzei. dəzabbīn abbā biṯrē zūzē. דְּזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי
Verse 6:
One little goat, one little goat: Chad gadya, chad gadya, ħaḏ gaḏyā, ħaḏ gaḏyā, חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא
The water came, and extinguished the fire, ve-ata maya, ve-khavah le-nura wəʔāṯā mayyā, wəḵāḇā lənūrā וְאָתָא מַיָּא, וְכָבָה לְנוּרָא
that burned the stick, that beat the dog, de-saraf le-chutra, de-hikkah le-khalba dəšārap̄ ləħūṭrā, dəħikkā ləḵalbā דְּשָׂרַף לְחוּטְרָא ,דְּהִכָּה לְכַלְבָּא
that bit the cat, that ate the goat, de-nashakh le-shunra, de-akhlah le-gadya dənāšaḵ ləšūnrā, dəʔāḵlā ləgāḏyā דְּנָשַׁךְ לְשׁוּנְרָא, דְּאָכְלָה לְגַּדְיָא
Which my father bought for two zuzim]. dizabin abba bitrei zuzei. dəzabbīn abbā biṯrē zūzē. דְּזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי
Verse 7:
One little goat, one little goat: Chad gadya, chad gadya, ħaḏ gaḏyā, ħaḏ gaḏyā, חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא
The ox came, and drank the water, ve-ata tora, ve-shatah le-maya wəʔāṯā tōrā, wəšāṯā ləmayyā וְאָתָא תוֹרָא, וְשָׁתָה לְמַיָּא
that extinguished the fire, that burned the stick, de-khavah le-nura, de-saraf le-chutra dəḵāḇā lənūrā, dəšārap̄ ləħūṭrā דְּכָבָה לְנוּרָא ,דְּשָׂרַף לְחוּטְרָא
that beat the dog, that bit the cat, that ate the goat, de-hikkah le-khalba, de-nashakh le-shunra, de-akhlah le-gadya dəhikkā ləḵalbā, dənāšaḵ ləšūnrā, dəʔāḵlā ləgāḏyā ּ דהִכָּה לְכַלְבָּא, דְּנָשַׁךְ לְשׁוּנְרָא, דְּאָכְלָה לְגַּדְיָא
Which my father bought for two zuzim. dizabin abba bitrei zuzei. dəzabbīn abbā biṯrē zūzē. דְּזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי
Verse 8:
One little goat, one little goat: Chad gadya, chad gadya, ħaḏ gaḏyā, ħaḏ gaḏyā, חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא
The slaughterer (Shohet) came, and killed the ox, ve-ata ha-shochet, ve-shachat le-tora wəʔāṯā hašōħēṭ, wəšāħaṯ ləṯōrā וְאָתָא הַשּׁוֹחֵט, וְשָׁחַט לְתוֹרָא
that drank the water, that extinguished the fire, de-shatah le-maya, de-khavah le-nura dəšāṯā ləmayyā, dəḵāḇā lənūrā דְּשָׁתָה לְמַיָּא ,דְּכָבָה לְנוּרָא
that burned the stick, that beat the dog, de-saraf le-chutra, de-hikkah le-khalba dəšārap̄ ləħūṭrā, dəhikkā ləḵalbā דְּשָׂרַף לְחוּטְרָא, דְּהִכָּה לְכַלְבָּא
that bit the cat, that ate the goat, de-nashakh le-shunra, de-akhlah le-gadya dənāšaḵ ləšūnrā, dəʔāḵlā ləgāḏyā דְּנָשַׁךְ לְשׁוּנְרָא, דְּאָכְלָה לְגַּדְיָא
Which my father bought for two zuzim. dizabin abba bitrei zuzei. dəzabbīn abbā biṯrē zūzē. דְּזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי
Verse 9:
One little goat, one little goat: Chad gadya, chad gadya, ħaḏ gaḏyā, ħaḏ gaḏyā, חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא
The angel of death came, and slew the slaughterer, ve-ata mal'akh ha-mavet, ve-shachat le-shochet wəʔāṯā malʔaḵ hammāweṯ, wəšāħaṭ ləšōħēṭ וְאָתָא מַלְאַךְ הַמָּוֶת, וְשָׁחַט לְשׁוֹחֵט
who killed the ox, that drank the water, de-shachat le-tora, de-shatah le-maya dəšāħaṭ ləṯōrā, dəšāṯā ləmayyā דְּשָׁחַט לְתוֹרָא, דְּשָׁתָה לְמַיָּא
that extinguished the fire, that burned the stick, de-khavah le-nura, de-saraf le-chutra dəḵāḇā lənūrā, dəšārap̄ ləħūṭrā דְּכָבָה לְנוּרָא, דְּשָׂרַף לְחוּטְרָא
that beat the dog, that bit the cat, that ate the goat, de hikkah le-khalba, de-nashakh le-shunra, de-akhlah le-gadya dəhikkā ləḵalbā, dənāšaḵ ləšūnrā, dəʔāḵlā ləgāḏyā דְּהִכָּה לְכַלְבָּא, דְּנָשַׁךְ לְשׁוּנְרָא, דְּאָכְלָה לְגַּדְיָא
Which my father bought for two zuzim. dizabin abba bitrei zuzei. dəzabbīn abbā biṯrē zūzē. דְּזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי
Verse 10:
One little goat, one little goat: Chad gadya, chad gadya, ħaḏ gaḏyā, ħaḏ gaḏyā, חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא
Then came the Holy One, Blessed be He, ve-ata ha-Kadosh Baruch Hu wəʔāṯā haqqadōš bārūḵ hū וְאָתָא הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא
and smote the angel of death, who slew the slaughterer, ve-shachat le-mal'akh ha-mavet, de-shachat le-shochet wəšāħaṭ ləmalʔaḵ hammāweṯ, dəšāħaṭ ləšōħēṭ וְשָׁחַט לְמַלְאַךְ הַמָּוֶת ,דְּשָׁחַט לְשׁוֹחֵט
who killed the ox, that drank the water, de-shachat le-tora, de-shatah le-maya dəšāħaṭ ləṯōrā, dəšāṯā ləmayyā דְּשָׁחַט לְתוֹרָא, דְּשָׁתָה לְמַיָּא
that extinguished the fire, that burned the stick, de-khavah le-nura, de-saraf le-chutra dəḵāḇā lənūrā, dəšārap̄ ləħūṭrā דְּכָבָה לְנוּרָא, דְּשָׂרַף לְחוּטְרָא
that beat the dog, that bit the cat, that ate the goat, de-hikkah le-khalba, de-nashakh le-shunra, de-akhlah le-gadya dəhikkā ləḵalbā, dənāšaḵ ləšūnrā, dəʔāḵlā ləgāḏyā דְּהִכָּה לְכַלְבָּא ,דְּנָשַׁךְ לְשׁוּנְרָא, דְּאָכְלָה לְגַּדְיָא
Which my father bought for two zuzim. dizabin abba bitrei zuzei. dəzabbīn abbā biṯrē zūzē. דְּזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי
Verse 11:
One little goat, one little goat. Chad gadya, chad gadya, ħaḏ gaḏyā, ħaḏ gaḏyā, חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא

Symbolism[edit]

Chad Gadya, Sung by Yosef Elbaz, Jerusalem 19 April 1973. Sung in Aramaic and in Moroccan Arabic.

As with any work of prose, Chad Gadya is open to interpretation. According to some modern Jewish commentators, what appears to be a light-hearted song may be symbolic. One interpretation is that Chad Gadya is about the different nations that have conquered the Land of Israel: The kid symbolizes the Jewish people, the cat, Assyria; the dog, Babylon; the stick, Persia; the fire, Macedonia; the water, Roman Empire; the ox, the Saracens; the slaughterer, the Crusaders; the angel of death, the Turks. At the end, God returns to send the Jews back to Israel. The recurring refrain of 'two zuzim' is a reference to the two stone tablets given to Moses on Mount Sinai (or refer to Moses and Aaron). Apparently this interpretation was first widely published in pamphlet published in 1731 in Leipzig by Philip Nocodemus Lebrecht.[5] This interpretation has become quite popular, with many variations of which oppressor is represented by which character in the song.

Though commonly interpreted as an historical allegory of the Jewish people, the song may also represent the journey to self-development. In an article first published in the Journal of Jewish Music & Liturgy in 1994, Rabbi Kenneth Brander, the co-author of The Yeshiva University Haggadah, summarized the interpretations of three reknowed rabbis: (1) Rabbi Jacob Emden in 1975, as a list of the pitfalls and perils facing the soul during one's life. (2) Rabbi Jonathan Eybeschuetz (1690-1764) as a very abbreviated history of Israel from the Covenant of the Two Pieces recorded in Genesis 15 (the two zuzim), to slavery in Egypt (the cat), the staff of Moses (the stick) and ending with the Roman conqueror Titus (the Angel of Death). And (3) from Rabbi Moses Sofer, the Hatim Sofer (1762-1839), in which the song described the Passover ritual in the Temple of Jerusalem - the goat purchased for the Paschal sacrifice, according to the Talmud dreaming of a cat is a premonition of singing such as occurs in the seder, the Talmud also relates that dogs bark after midnight which is the time limit for the seder, the priest who led the cleaning of the altar on Passover morning would use water to wash his hands, many people at the Temple that day would bring oxen as sacrifices, the Angel of Death is the Roman Empire that destroyed the Second Temple, etc. [6]

Variations[edit]

The words "dizabin abah" in the second line of the song literally mean "which father sold", rather than "which father bought". The Aramaic for "which father bought" is "dizvan abah", and some Haggadot have that as the text.[7]

In popular culture[edit]

Chad Gadya column in Castra center, Haifa
  • The soundtrack of the 2005 film Free Zone includes a controversial interpretation of Chad Gadya composed by Israeli singer Chava Alberstein.[8] There were calls for the song to be banned on Israeli radio in 1989, although it became very well-known and is now frequently played during Passover.[9] [10] [11][12]
  • In the Season 1, episode 14 of The West Wing "Take This Sabbath Day," the rabbi of Toby Ziegler's temple references this story as a deterrence against capital punishment and mentions that vengeance is not Jewish.[13]
  • It is source of the title A Kid for Two Farthings, a 1953 novel written by Wolf Mankowitz, the basis of a 1955 film and 1996 musical play.[14]
  • It was featured in the American television series NCIS in the season 7 opener "Truth or Consequences" by Abby and McGee, and then was sung jokingly in a scene by Dinozzo in another season 7 episode titled "Reunion". McGee explains that they accessed Mossad's encrypted files, "but they weren't in English, so we had to do a little bit of rudimentary linguistics. It's a Hebrew school nursery rhyme." Chad Gadya (One Little Goat). McGee and Abby start to enthusiastically sing along with the nursery rhyme." [15]
  • The recording "A Different Night" by the group Voice of the Turtle has 23 different versions of Chad Gadya in all different languages.[16]
  • The Israeli satirical team Latma has created a parody "Chad Bayta" ("One House"), to the tune of "Chad Gadya", which tells the story of a house in the settlements. Instead of a cat, a dog, a stick, and so on,the song features Peace Now, Benyamin Netanyahu, Barack Obama, Ahmadinejad, and the UN, among others.[17][18]
  • It is sung in the seder scene of the 1999 film The Devil's Arithmetic, with Kirsten Dunst.
  • In Italy the song has become very popular since the ’70s, when the Italian folk singer and composer Angelo Branduardi recorded it with the title of Alla fiera dell'est.
  • It is the name of a theatre company based in Toronto, Canada: One Little Goat Theatre Company

Other uses[edit]

  • In Yiddish slang, the term "chad gadya" is a euphemism for jail. A prisoner is said to languish in a chad gadya — that is, all alone.[19]
  • Chad Gadya was the pseudonym of Marousia (Miriam) Nissenholtz, the only female student at Bezalel Art School in Palestine in 1912.[20]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Birnbaum, Philip, The Birnbaum Haggadah (1976, NY, Hebrew Publ'g Co.) page 156 ("phrased in the simplest style of Aramaic-Hebrew"); similiarly, Birnbaum, Philip, Encyclopedia of Jewish Concepts (1975, NY, Hebrew Publ'g Co.) page 203, s.v. Had Gadya; Cohen, Jeffrey M., 1001 Questions and Answers on Pesach (1996, NJ, Jason Aronson Inc.) page 173 ("a variation of a popular German folk song, .... its Aramaic is faulty,..."); Guggenheimer, Heinrich, The Scholar's Haggadah (1995, NJ, Jason Aronson Inc.) page 390 ("questionable Aramaic"); Glatzer, Nahum N., The Schocken Passover Haggadah (1996, NY, Schocken Books) page 119 ("written in poor Aramaic with a scattering of Hebrew words....").
  2. ^ Roth, Cecil, The Haggadah, A New Edition (1959, London, Soncino Press) page 85 ("Some pundits ssert that the Had Gadya is based upon the famous old German nursery-rhyme, Der Herr der schickt den Jokel aus, which was generally sung upon the feast of St. Lambert (September 17th); itself, as a matter of fact, probably the imitation of an older French original. This theory is by no means surely established," The German nursery rhyme is included in Kohut, George Alexander, "Le Had Gadya et les Chansons Similaires", Revue des Etudes Juives, vol. 31 (nr. 62), (Paris, Oct-Dec 1895) pages 243-244; it begins "The boss (or the Lord) sent the yokel out to chop the oats, but the yokel didn't chop the oats and he didn't come home. So the boss sent his poodle to bite the yokel, but the poodle didn't bite him and the yokel didn't mow ....." and goes on to send out the Devil to take the executioners who failed to hang the butcher who was supposed to slaughter the ox which was sent to drink the water that was meant to put out the fire that was sent to burn the whip that was sent to beat the poodle, and finally the boss comes himself and all those tasks are finally done.
  3. ^ Roth, Cecil, The Haggadah, A New Edition (1959, London, Soncino Press) page 85; Idelsohn, Abraham Z., Jewish Music in Its Historical Development (1929, NY, Henry Holt & Co.) page 361; Idelsohn, Abraham Z., Jewish Liturgy and It Development (1932, NY, Henry Holt & Co.) page 186; Nulman, Macy, The Encyclopedia of Jewish Prayer (1993, NJ, Jason Aronson Inc.) page 145, s.v. Had Gadya. It did not appear in a Haggadah printed in Prague in 1526, but it did appear in the 1590 Prague Haggadah accompanied by a German translation. The Jewish Encyclopedia (1906, NY) vol. 8 page 190 s.v. "Had Gadya".
  4. ^ For example, "There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly", This Is the House That Jack Built and, begging the reader's pardon, The Twelve Days of Christmas. George Alexander Kohut provided a bibliography of comparable poems in his article "Le Had Gadya et les Chansons Similaires", Revue des Etudes Juives, vol. 31 (nr. 62), (Paris, Oct-Dec 1895) pages 240-246.
  5. ^ "Had Gadya ('One Kid')". Jewish Encyclopedia. 1906. Retrieved 29 March 2013. 
  6. ^ "An Analysis Of Had Gadya" (PDF). YUTorah Online. Retrieved 27 March 2014. 
  7. ^ For example, the 1839 Rodelheim Haggadah.
  8. ^ "Free Zone electronic press kit" (PDF) (Press release). BAC Films. 9 May 2005. Retrieved 2006-12-10. 
  9. ^ http://articles.latimes.com/1999/may/10/entertainment/ca-35675
  10. ^ https://books.google.com.au/books?id=gyiTOcnb2yYC&pg=PA364&dq=chava+alberstein+world+music:++africa,+europe+and+the+middle+east&hl=en&sa=X&ei=4c6kVOndCc-b8QWb4oCgBg&ved=0CB4Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=chava%20alberstein%20world%20music%3A%20%20africa%2C%20europe%20and%20the%20middle%20east&f=false
  11. ^ http://www.jewishaustralia.com/ppt-chadgadya06.htm
  12. ^ "Israel: Chava Alberstein banned". Freemuse. Retrieved 2012-02-09. 
  13. ^ "The West Wing" Take This Sabbath Day (2000). IMDB.
  14. ^ Steven H. Gale, Mankowitz, Wolf, Literary Analysis, Encyclopedia of British Humorists, Vol. 2, 1996.
  15. ^ TV.com. "NCIS: Truth or Consequences - Season 7, Episode 1". TV.com. Retrieved 2012-02-09. 
  16. ^ "Jewish Music". Jewish Music. Retrieved 2012-02-09. 
  17. ^ "‫חד ביתא". YouTube. 4 April 2010. Retrieved 2012-02-09. 
  18. ^ English version
  19. ^ Kolatch, Alfred (April 30, 2006). Inside Judaism: The Concepts, Customs, And Celebrations of the Jewish People. Jonathan David Publ. 
  20. ^ I lived life to the fullest, Haaretz

External links[edit]