ציון, ציון

Text and music by Abraham Goldfaden (1840-1908). The words were first published in Dos heylike land, Zhitomir, 1891, entitled “Knaan” (Canaan); the music was published by Israel and Samuel E. Goldfarb in 1929.

Illustration of musical notes from the books


Oh Zion, Zion thou holy land,
how holy you are to me.
May I forget my right hand,
if I forget thee.
Every step in you is holy,
God showed himself in you,
when through Moses, that godly man,
He sent us the ten commandments.
The holy patriarchs sleep in your lap:
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and David;
there our heroes rest
in honor, with their swords!

Oy, oy, oy, how I long
for you, holy land,
oy, oy, oy, how I long
I cannot bear my circumstance.

On the stone roads that lead to Bethlehem,
you can see there is a tomb,
and right at midnight, whoever stands there
hears a terrible weeping.
Groaning, sighing, oh, woe, woe,
this is our mother’s voice,
Rachel is weeping and crying out to God
to help her children.
She will not go back to her rest
until she hears some comfort from Heaven,
until God puts her back to sleep Himself,
into her sweet and holy slumber.

Akh tsion, tsion, du heylik land,
Vi heylik bistu bay mir,
Fargesn zol ikh in mayn rekhter hant,
Oyb ikh vel fargesn in dir.
Heylik iz dokh in dir yeder shpan,
Bavizn in dir hot zikh got,
Ven er hot durkh Moyshe, dem getlekhn man,
Geshikt far undz di tsen gebot.
Di heylike oves shlofn in dayn shoys:
Avrom, Yitskhok, Yankev un Dovid;
Dort ruen zikh undzere heldn oys
Mit zeyere shverdn bekoved!

Oy, oy, oy, vi benk ikh azoy,
Nokh dir, heylik land,
Oy, oy, oy, vi benk ikh azoy,
Oyshaltn bin ikh nit umstand.

Oyf di shteynerne vegn, vos keyn beys-lekhem geyt,
Zet men a keyver dort shteyn,
Un punkt halbe nakht, ver dortn shteyt,
Hert men a shreklekh geveyn.
Men krekhtst, men ziftst, oy-vey, oy-vey,
Dos iz undzer muters kol,
Veynt Rokhl tsu got mit a geshrey,
Ire kinder, er helfn zol.
Zi geyt nit tsurik in ir ru arayn
Biz zi hert nit a treyst fun dem himl,
Biz got aleyn shlefert zi nit ayn,
In ir zisn, heylikn driml.

אַך, ציון, ציון, דו הײליק לאַנד,
װי הײליק ביסטו בײַ מיר,
פֿאַרגעסן זאָל איך אין מײַן רעכטער האַנט,
אױב איך װעל פֿאַרגעסן אין דיר.
הײליק איז דאָך אין דיר יעדער שפּאַן,
באַװיזן אין דיר האָט זיך גאָט,
װען ער האָט דורך משה, דעם געטלעכן מאַן,
געשיקט פֿאַר אונדז די צען געבאָט,
די הײליקע אָבֿות שלאָפֿן אין דײַן שױס:
אַבֿרהם, יצחק, יעקבֿ און דוד:
דאָרט רוען זיך אונדזערע העלדן אױס
מיט זײערע שװערדן בכּבֿוד!

אױ, אױ, אױ, װי בענק איך אַזױ,
נאָך דיר, הײליק לאַנד,
אױ, אױ, אױ, װי בענק איך אַזױ,
אױסהאַלטן בין איך ניט אומשטאַנד.

אױף די שטײנערנע װעגן, װאָס קײן בית־לחם גײט,
זעט מען אַ קבֿר דאָרט שטײן,
און פּונקט האַלבע נאַכט, װער דאָרטן שטײט,
הערט מען אַ שרעקלעך געװײן.
מען קרעכצט, מען זיפֿצט, אױ־װײ, אױ־װײ,
דאָס איז אונדזער מוטערס קול,
װײנט רחל צו גאָט מיט אַ געשרײ,
אירע קינדער ער העלפֿן זאָל.
זי גײט ניט צוריק אין איר רו אַרײַן
ביז זי הערט ניט אַ טרײסט פֿון דעם הימל,
ביז גאָט אַלײן שלעפֿערט זי ניט אײַן,
אין איר זיסן, הײליקן דרימל.

Song Title: Tsion

Composer: Abraham Goldfaden
Composer’s Yiddish Name: אַבֿרהם גאָלדפֿאַדען
Lyricist: Abraham Goldfaden
Lyricist’s Yiddish Name: אַבֿרהם גאָלדפֿאַדען
Time Period: Unspecified

This Song is Part of a Collection

Songs of Generations: New Pearls of Yiddish Song

The Songs of Generations: New Pearls of Yiddish Song anthology comprises songs that were either never printed before or appeared in rare and inaccessible publications — sometimes in different versions and without proper sources. Most of the songs in this book were submitted by readers of Chana and Yosl’s column “Perl fun der yidisher poezye” (Pearls of Yiddish Poetry) in the Yiddish newspaper Der Forverts (The Forward), initiated in October, 1970. Over 25 years, thousands of songs were collected in correspondence and on cassettes from readers throughout the world, and they represent a veritable national Yiddish song archive. Chana Mlotek, in her introduction, writes, “In the course of years the inquiries, contributions and enthusiasm of these readers have kept our own interest unflagging and have reinforced our dedication to this effort. And in recent years our participants have also been augmented by new readers from the former Soviet Russia, who receive our newspaper there or from newly-arrived immigrants in this country and Israel.”

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