Leshoni Konanta

Sfarad-Turkey, based on a ladino tune

About the Piyut

This piyut is attributed to R. Shelomo ibn Gabirol and is sung in the Sephardic communities as part of the Request for Dew and the Request for Rain, which are recited respectively on Passover and Shemini Atzeret. Although it has become part of these two prayers which praise God for maintaining the natural order and plead with Him to bring forth the blessing of rain and dew, the piyut itself contains no reference to these themes. It was probably written as a Reshut, (permission) a genre of poems in which the poet or the cantor asks for permission to pray or introduces ornamentally a work of established liturgy such as the Keddushah or Nishmat Kol Hay.

In this poem the author recognizes the great talent he has, but at the same time acknowledges God as the one who granted him that talent, and commits himself to use it to praise God. The poem describes a very personal and intimate relationship between the poet and God and illuminates the importance of poetry in particular and aesthetics in general as part of the religious experience.

Leshoni Konanta can be found on the recordings of Piyutim North America. The author is R. Shelomo ibn Gabirol.

Lyrics

Transliteration:

Leshoni konanta Elohai vativchar
Beshirim she’samta befi tov mimishar
Venegdach konanta tze’adai mimishhar
Veli garon tata bekoree lo nihar
Veyitzri hilbanta kemo tzemer tzahar
Velachen lo shata levavi bi seharhar
Heyeh sitri ata ke-etmol u’chmahar
U’magini ata Elohai al te’achar

Translation:

My tongue You have fashioned / My Lord, and have chosen
Songs that you have placed in my mouth, / they are better than any other discourse
And my footsteps you have directed / towards you from the first
And you have given me a throat / that has not gone dry from calling out to you
And you have purified my Yetzer / to be as white as wool
Therefore my heart did not stray / nor grow dizzy within me
Be now my protector / as yesterday and tomorrow
You are my shield / My Lord, do not delay

Singers

Musicians

Production

  • Musical Direction and Arrangements: Yair Harel and Omer Avital
  • Production: Ari Priven, Yair Harel and Omer Avital
  • Mixing and editing: Daniel Freedman
  • Mastered by: Randy Merrill at Masterdisk
  • Recorded at B’nai Jeshurun, New York City, July 2010