Kuando el rey Nimrod

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"Kuando el rey Nimrod"[1] (Judaeo-Spanish pronunciation: [ˈkwando el rei nimˈroð], or [nimˈrod] modern Spanish spelling: Cuando el Rey Nimrod; "When Nimrod was king") is a Sephardic folk song. It is sung in Judaeo-Spanish, the Jewish-Spanish language, and tells the story of the birth of Abraham, the biblical prophet.

History[edit]

In contrast to a popular misconception, "Kuando el rey Nimrod" is not a song that dates from the times when the Jews lived in Spain and Portugal in the Middle Ages, and has its roots in a piyyut called La vocación de Abraham, of which several versions have been found that date from the XVIII Century and were written by anonymous authors in the former Ottoman Empire. The song, with its original much longer lyrics and its makam rhythm, would become popular in the Sephardic communities of the Mediterranean basin. Around the year 1890, an anonymous author from Tangiers, Morocco wrote a different version of the song, shortening its lyrics and composing a new melody in the phrygian mode.[2] This reduced and catchier version survived to our days to become arguably the most popular song in the Sephardic repertoire, becoming a staple for Ladino singers such as Yehoram Gaon[3] and Fortuna,[4] and even for some Klezmer bands.[5]

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 juderia (modern Spanish: judería, Judaeo-Spanish: djudería), the Jewish quarter. Abraham became the first Jew by acknowledging the existence of one G-d. Abraham in the Bible is the very first man to be circumcised and perform circumcision.

Much of this story is based on the account of Abraham's life written in the book "Maaseh Avraham Avinu Alav HaShalom"[6] as well as the Midrash[7] regarding the furnace and Zohar[8] concerning Elijah the Prophet.

Lyrics[edit]

Ladino original English translation
Kuando el rey Nimrod al campo salia
mirava en el cielo y en la estrelleria
vido una luz santa en la juderia
que havia de naser Avraham Avinu.
When King Nimrod went out to the countryside
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 about to be born.
chorus:
(Avraham Avinu, Padre querido
Padre bendicho, luz de Yisrael) (x2).
chorus:
(Abraham Avinu [our Father], beloved father
Blessed father, light of Israel) (x2).
Luego a las comadres encomendava
que toda mujer que prenyada quedara
si paria un hijo, al punto la matara
que havia de naser Avraham Avinu.
Then he told the midwives
That every woman who was still pregnant
If she gave birth to a male child at once he will be killed
because Abraham our father was about to be born.
(chorus) (chorus)
La mujer de Terach quedó prenyada
y de dia en dia él le preguntava (or demandava)
"¿De qué teneix la cara tan demudada?"
Ella ya savia el bien que tenia.
Terach's wife was pregnant
and each day he would ask her
"Why do you look so pale?"
She already knew the blessing that she had.
(chorus) (chorus)
En fin de nueve mezes parir queria
iva caminando por campos y vinyas,
a su marido tal ni le descubria
topó una meara, alli lo pariria
At the end of nine months she wanted to give birth,
She walked through fields and vineyards
She didn't tell her husband anything,
She found a cave; there, she would give birth.
(chorus) (chorus)
En aquella hora el nasido avlava:
"Anda vos, la mi madre, de la meara,
yo ya topo quien m'alechará,
Malakh de cielo me accompanyará
porque so criado del Dio bendicho."
At that time the newborn spoke:
"Walk away from the cave, my mother
I have already found someone who will take me away.
An angel from heaven will accompany me
Because I am a child of the blessed God."
(chorus) (chorus)
En fin de veinte dias lo fue a visitar,
lo vido d'enfrente, mancevo saltar,
mirando al cielo y bien atinar,
para conocer el Dio de la verdad.
After twenty days she went to visit him.
She saw in front of her a young man leaping,
Looking at the sky and (looking carefully/noticing everything),
In order to know the God of Truth.
(chorus) (chorus)
"Madre, la mi madre, que buscaix aqui?
Un hijo preciado parí yo aquí.
Vine a buscarlo, si se topa aqui,
si está bivo me consolaré yo."
"Mother, my mother, what are you looking for here?"
"I gave birth to a precious son here.
I came to look for him here, if he is still here.
If he is alive I will be consoled."
(chorus) (chorus)
"Madre, la mi madre, que avlaix?
Un hijo preciado, como lo dexaix?
A fin de veinte dias, como lo vizitaix?
¡Yo so vuestro hijo preciado!"
"Mother, my mother, what are you saying?
How could you leave your precious son?
After twenty days how is it that you're visiting him?
I am your precious son!
(chorus) (chorus)
Mirad la mi madre, que el Dío es uno,
él crio los cielos uno per uno.
Dizedle a Nimrod que perdio su tino
porque no quiere creer en el Verdadero.
"Look, mother: God is one,
He created the heavens one by one.
Tell Nimrod that he has lost his mind
Because he does not want to believe in the True One."
(chorus) (chorus)
Lo alcanzó a saver el rey Nimrod esto,
"¡dixo que lo traigan aina y presto
antes que desreinen a todo el resto
y dexen a mi ya crean en el Verdadero!"
IThe knowledge [of Abraham's birth] reached King Nimrod.
"Bring him here immediately
Before everyone else rebels
And say to me they already believe in the True One!"
(chorus) (chorus)
Ya me lo truxeron con grande albon
y el travó de la silla un buen travon.
"¿Di, raxa—por que te tienes tu por Dío?
¿Por que no quieres creer en el Verdadero?"
They brought him in great humility.
He strongly seized the throne.
"Tell me, evil one: why do you think you are God?"
Why do you not wish to believe in the True One?"
(chorus) (chorus)
"¡Acendiendo un horno, bien acendido,
echadlo presto qu'es entendido!
Llevadlo con trabucos, qu'es agudo,
si d'aqui el Dío lo escapa, es el Verdadero."
"Light a fiery furnace,
Throw in the one who has learned immediately!
Protect yourself from him because he is sharp.
If God allows him to escape from here, then He is the Real One."
(chorus) (chorus)
Echandolo al horno, iva caminando,
con los malakhim iva paseando,
y todos los lenyos fruto ivan dando;
d'aqui conocemos al Dío verdadero.
Thrown into the furnace, he walked
With the angels he wandered.
All the firewood gave forth fruit,
And that is how we know the true God.
(chorus) (chorus)
Grande zekhut tiene el senyor Avraham,
que por él conocemos el Dío de la verdad.
Grande zekhut tiene el senyor parido,
que afirma la mitsvá de Avraham Avinu.
Great merit has honorable Abraham
Because of him we recognize the true God.
Great merit has the father of the newborn
Who fulfills the commandment of Abraham our father (circumcision).
(chorus) (chorus)
Saludemos agora al senyor parido,
que le sea besiman-tov este nacido,
qu'Eliahu ha-Navi mos sea aparecido,
y daremos loores al Verdadero.
We greet now the father of the newborn
We wish mazel tov (good luck) to this newborn.
Because Elijah the Prophet appeared to us
And we will give praises to the True One.
(chorus) (chorus)
Saludemos agora al compadre [sandak] y tambien al mohel
que por su Zekhut mos venga
el Goel y Rahma a todo Yisrael,
cierto loaremos al Verdadero.
We greet now the godfather and also the circumciser,
Because of his merit the Redeemer and Merciful One [God] will come to all Israel,
Sure of this, we will praise the True One.
(chorus) (chorus)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Marcy Brink-Danan: Jewish Life in Twenty-First-Century Turkey: The Other Side of Tolerance, Indiana University Press, 2011, p. 130.
  2. ^ Hassán, Iacob M.; Izquierdo Benito, Ricardo (2008). Sefardíes: Literatura y lengua de una nación dispersa. Cuenca: Ediciones de la Universidad de Castilla - La Mancha. p. 558. 
  3. ^ "Cuando El Rey Nimrod - Canción sefardí". Retrieved 1 December 2016. 
  4. ^ "FORTUNA AO VIVO - "Avram Avinu"". Retrieved 1 December 2016. 
  5. ^ "Klezmer from Brussels - KRUPNIK - Quando el Rey Nimrod". Retrieved 1 December 2016. 
  6. ^ Bernard H. Mehlman. "Maayanot (Primary Sources) : The Maaseh Avraham Avinu Alav HaShalom: Translation, Notes, and Commentary" (PDF). Ccarnet.org. Retrieved 2015-06-11. 
  7. ^ "פרשת נח". Daat.ac.il. Retrieved 2015-06-11. 
  8. ^ כסא של אליהו [Chair of Elijah]. Jewish Encyclopedia Daat (in Hebrew). Herzog College. Retrieved 2015-06-11.