Orah Hi: A New Passover Hymn

Passover this year begins the evening of April 19, 2008

This song, ďOrah Hi,Ē patterns itself after the traditional Passover closing song ďAdir Hu,Ē which is an acrostic poem listing Godís many qualities of power, righteousness, oneness, sovereignty, and kindness. ďAdir HuĒ means ďHe is mighty.Ē The traditional song speaks of God in majestic terms, celebrating Godís power as part of the telling of the story of Passover, and praying for the rebuilding of the Temple.

This alternative version is written in the feminine. Like ďAdir Hu,Ē it is a Hebrew acrostic, and it can be sung to the traditional melody. Almost all of its images come from the Bible, from rabbinic literature, and from Jewish mysticism. Yet this song does not dwell on Godís power and distance. Rather, it emphasizes Godís sharing in human joys and griefs, and Godís ability to renew life through the strength of the earth. These are traits that many modern Jews have chosen to ascribe to the Divine as they seek their own ways of understanding God as immanent, earthy and embodied. In this version, we can imagine Godís house as our entire world infused with the Shekhinah, the indwelling Presence. Singing Adir Hu and Orah Hi together creates a fuller picture of the Divine and the human.


Orah hi, orah hi, tivnei veitah bekarov, bimheira, bimheira, beyameinu bekarov, elah bíni, elah bíni, bíni veiteich bekarov.

She is light, she is light. May She build her house speedily and in our days. God, build Your house soonó close to us in time and space.

Binah hi, gilah hi, dimah hi, tivnei veitah bekarov, bimheira, bimheira, beyameinu bekarov, elah bíni, elah bíni, bíni veiteich bekarov.

She is wisdom, She is joy, She is tears. May She build her house speedily and in our days. God, build Your house soonó close to us in time and space.

Hadar hi, vered hi, zerem hi, tivnei veitah bekarov, bimheira, bimheira, beyameinu bekarov, elah bíni, elah bíni, bíni veiteich bekarov.

She is splendor, She is a rose, She is a flowing stream. May She build her house speedily and in our days. God, build Your house soonó close to us in time and space.

Chiddush hi, tibur hi, yichud hi, tivnei veitah bekarov, bimheira, bimheira, beyameinu bekarov, elah bíni, elah bíni, bíni veiteich bekarov.

She is renewal, She is the center, She is oneness. May She build her house speedily and in our days. God, build Your house soonó close to us in time and space.

Keseh hi, leidah hi, maíyan hi, tivnei veitah bekarov, bimheira, bimheira, beyameinu bekarov, elah bíni, elah bíni, bíni veiteich bekarov.

She is the full moon, She is birth, She is the fountain-source. May She build her house speedily and in our days. God, build Your house soonó close to us in time and space.

Nechamah hi, selichah hi, otzmah hi, tivnei veitah bekarov, bimheira, bimheira, beyameinu bekarov, elah bíni, elah bíni, bíni veiteich bekarov.

She is comfort, She is forgiveness, She is strength. May She build her house speedily and in our days. God, build Your house soonó close to us in time and space.

Pidyon hi, tzedek hi, kodesh hi, tivnei veitah bekarov, bimheira, bimheira, beyameinu bekarov, elah bíni, elah bíni, bíni veiteich bekarov.

She is redemption, She is righteousness, She is holiness. May She build her house speedily and in our days. God, build Your house soonó close to us in time and space.

Raíya hi, shonah hi, tamah hi, tivnei veitah bekarov, bimheira, bimheira, beyameinu bekarov, elah bíni, elah bíni, bíni veiteich bekarov

She is a beloved companion, She is always changing, She is complete and perfect. May She build her house speedily and in our days. God, build Your house soonó close to us in time and space.

Rabbi Jill Hammer is the Director of Tel Shemesh, the Director of Spiritual Education at the Academy for Jewish Religion, and the author of The Jewish Book of Days: A Companion for All Seasons.

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