Virtual Global Jewish Concert Song List

Dr. Sara Manasseh virtual performance featuring Jewish Song in the Iraqi and Bene Israel communities of Bombay (Mumbai) and Poona (Pune).


  1. Yahh Ribbon ‘Alam (Lord, Master of the World) Iraqi Jewish. Aramaic.
  2. Balini-b-Balwa (He plagues me) Iraqi Trad. Arabic.
  3. Ki Eshmerah Shabbath (Because I keep the Sabbath) Iraqi Jewish. Hebrew.
  4. El Eliyyahu (G-d of Elijah) Iraqi Jewish. Hebrew.
  5. Eliyahoo Hanabee (Elijah the Prophet) Bene Israel. Marathi.
  6. Sukkah Welulab (The tabernacle and the branch) Iraqi Jewish. Hebrew.
  7. Yadekha Thanheni (May Your hand guide me) Iraqi Jewish. Hebrew.
  8. Sinai Sinai (Mount Sinai) Iraqi Jewish. Hebrew.
  9. Sinai Dongrawar (On Mount Sinai) Bene Israel. Marathi.

You can click the song titles above to view the text excerpts and translations.

Notes and translations © Sara Manasseh

1 Yâhh ribbón ‘âlam (Lord, master of the universe) Aramaic

Text: Yisrâél Najjâra (c. 1550–c. 1620)
Acrostic: yisrâél Melodic Mode: ‘ajam Trad. Iraqi Jewish
This poem is widely known throughout the Jewish world.
It may be sung at any time, but is often sung on the Sabbath.

I Refr: Lord, Master of the Universe, of Eternity,
You are King, King of Kings.
Your deeds are mighty and wonderful,
Let Thy teachings be pleasant before us.

II Praises shall I set forth, morning and evening,
To You, Holy God, who created all souls,
Holy angels, and children of men,
Beasts of the field and birds of heaven.
. . . . .

2 Balîni-b balwa (He plagued me with a plague!) Arabic
Melodic mode: Hijaz Trad. Iraqi Folksong

The text is from the singing of Salha Khattan (London, 1983) and Jacob Baher (Manchester, 1985)

Refr: He plagued me with a plague, my eyes
He’s a plague upon me
By God! I don’t want him
He’s a plague upon me

I How can I sleep at night
With you on my mind?
Even the fish in the water
Weep at my condition
. . . .

3 Kî eshmérâh shabbâth (Because I keep the Sabbath) Hebrew
Text: Âbrâhâm Ibn ‘Ezra (c. 1089–c. 1164)
Acrostic: âbrâhâm Trad. Iraqi Jewish

Abrâhâm Ibn ‘Ezra was a leading luminary of Hebrew secular and liturgical
poetry, which blossomed in medieval Andalusian Spain. Many melodies are
associated with this Sabbath text. It may also be sung to the tune of the well-
known Iraqi folk song Balînî-b balwa (‘He’s a plague on me’)

Because I keep the Sabbath, the Lord will keep me,
It is an eternal sign between Him and me.

I It is forbidden to find delight in worldly things,
And also to talk of our needs –
Talk of business, or talk of matters of state.
I will meditate on God’s law, and it will make me wise.
IV This day is honoured, a day of delight,
Bread and good wine, meat and fish.
Those who rejoice in the Sabbath, attain great happiness,
For this is a day of rejoicing, and You will make me glad.

4 Él éliyyâhu (God of Elijah) Hebrew
Text: Abrâhâm Ibn ‘Ezra (c. 1089–c. 1164)
Acrostic: Abraham Melodic mode: Husénî Trad. Iraqi Jewish

This hymn is a favourite in the Baghdad tradition, sung every week, at the habdâlâh service following the termination of Shabbath. It is also sung for the birth of a boy, on the night of the aqd el-yâs (Judeo-Arabic: Binding of the Myrtle), and the following morning, at the circumcision ceremony, often punctuated by ‘kilililili-s’ – ululations.

I Refr: God of Elijah,
God of Elijah,
In honour of Elijah,
Bring the prophet to us!

II He’ll harness his chariot
Captive, in it.
His heart was restless,
Nor did he have any sleep.

III We’re very disturbed to see
Those who belittle, hate us
Are themselves beautiful,
Wax fat, grazing (in fields).
. . . .
VI The Angel of Redemption
Pleads for the poor.
Please, Oh Lord! God
Of Abraham, make it happen!

5 Éliyâhoo Hannâbî (Elijah the Prophet) Marâthi
Trad. Bene Israel

The melody is based on the theme song from the 1950s Hindi film, Dil ek mandir hai (The heart is a temple).
Elijah the Prophet and Miracle Worker holds a special place in the Bene Israel Jewish tradition.

Refr: Elijah, the Prophet – all the Jewish people
Constantly await your coming

I You are the watchman for all the poor
I chant your name incessantly
Appear in a vision to this poor person
Descend upon this earth
. . .
III Life and death are in your hands
Oh! Let me but feel the dust of your feet!
This is the one, profound wish of the Jewish people
The people of PinHas [the Messiah]

6 Sukkâh wélulâb (The tabernacle and the branch) Hebrew
Text: Attributed to Moshéh Adhân Acrostic: ani moshe Hazaq Melodic mode: Saba Trad. Iraqi Jewish

A favourite shbaH for Sukkoth (Feast of Tabernacles). In Jewish mysticism, the composition of the Four Species (lûlâb and ethrogh) is linked to the Redemption and to the Seven ‘Visitors’ (the ushpîzîn) to the Tabernacle (sukkâh), which is erected for the festival of Sukkoth.

Refr: The tabernacle and the branch for a chosen people.
Exult together, send forth praises.

I The Lord delivered us from Egypt,
He made known to us His sacred commandments.
His clouds of glory protected us
From the four corners of the world, below and above. The tabernacle

II He instructed us in His pleasant path,
He revealed to us the radiance of His glory,
He declares His knowledge to us day by day,
Night by night, He reveals His knowledge. The tabernacle
. . .
V The Lord’s name has four letters, embedded in the lûlâb.
Insert ‘h’ between the letters of His name, they add up to ‘lûlâb’;
Holding the lûlâb, you face the upright stalk,
The other species are arranged around it. The tabernacle.

VI The myrtle symbolizes the three patriarchs,
Moses and Aaron (are symbolized) by the willow branch,
Joseph, like the lûlâb branch, is dear to the heart,
David, by the ethrogh (citron), a bride at the marriage ceremony.
The tabernacle

7 Yâdkhâ thanHénî (May Your hand guide me) Hebrew
Text: Yisrâél Najjâra (c.1550–c.1620)
Acrostic: yisrâél Melodic Mode: nahawand Trad. Iraqi Jewish

Concerned with Redemption, this hymn is sung on the festivals of Sukkoth (Tabernacles) and PésaH (Passover).

I May Your hand guide me, Oh Living Lord, my Creator,
And support me, Within my homestead.
Refr: Soon, grant us a portion in the House of David,
And our inheritance in the son of Jesse.

II Listen to the cry of the poor, Whose heart is faint,
They were separated from their city, And became subservient.
Their sigh increased, They cried out at the oppression,
And said ‘Why does he not come, the son of Jesse?’
. . .
VI For You, Rock of my salvation, I wait daily,
And to my voice of pleading, Give redemption.
Let the flower of my salvation bloom, An
awesome blade of the date-palm,
A (Messianic) shoot from the stock of Jesse.

8        Sîna-y sîna-y ayyéh moshéh? (Sinai, Sinai, where is Moses?)  Hebrew

         Text: Anon.

          Acrostic: Alphabetic  Melodic Mode: nahawand    Trad. Iraqi Jewish

A well-loved call and response song, for SimHath Torâh (Rejoicing of the Law). The stanzas enumerate the qualities of Moses that were revealed on Mount Sinai: âhûb (the loved one); bârûkh (the blessed one); gibbor (the mighty one) etc.

CALL: Sinai Sinai, ayyé Moshé       RESPONSE: Moshé Moshé ayyé Sinai


CALL: Ahub nighla (etc.)                RESPONSE: ‘Al har Sinai

Refr: Sinai, Sinai, where is Moses?             Moses, Moses, where is Sinai?

I        The loved one was revealed                         On Mount Sinai    

          The blessed one was revealed                       On Mount Sinai

          The heroic one was revealed                        On Mount Sinai

          The distinguished one was revealed              On Mount Sinai

II       The glorious one was revealed                      On Mount Sinai

          The eternal one was revealed                        On Mount Sinai

          The righteous one was revealed                    On Mount Sinai

          The merciful one was revealed                      On Mount Sinai

. . .

VI      The Almighty was revealed                          On Mount Sinai

          The faultless one was revealed                      On Mount Sinai

          The supporting one was revealed                 On Mount Sinai

          The resolute one was revealed                      On Mount Sinai

9        Sinây Dongrâwar moshélâ (Moses, on Mount Sinai)     Marâthi

                                                                                      Trad. Bene Israel  

The text of this call and response song in the Bene Israel tradition, for SimHath Torâh (Rejoicing of the Law) is based on the previous song, describing the qualities of Moses on Mount Sinai.

Sinai dongrâwar Moshélâ         RESP: Sinai dongrâwar Moshélâ

CALL: Pawitra shâstra dilé âmhâlâ       RESP: Pawitra shâstra dilé âmhâlâ


CALL: Phâr pawitra (etc.)                     RESP: Sinai dongar
. . . .

CALL: Sinai dongrâwar Moshélâ         RESP: Pawitra shâstra dilé âmhâlâ

Refr: Moses, on Mount Sinai,

          Gave us the Holy Law

I        Complete purity                       On Mount Sinai

          Modesty                                  On Mount Sinai

          Purity                                      On Mount Sinai

II       Youthfulnes                             On Mount Sinai

          Full of love                              On Mount Sinai

          The favourite one                    On Mount Sinai

. . .

IV      Joyousness                               On Mount Sinai

          Dancing                                   On Mount Sinai

          Singing                                    On Mount Sinai

. . .