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Nirtzah

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Nirtzah - Nirtzah (Hebrew: "acceptance") is a song or chant stating that the Passover Seder has been executed  and completed properly. It is recited at the end of the Seder meal and concludes, or rather follows, the "Magid" portion of the ritual observance, the formal telling of the story of the Exodus from Egypt.

 

Like much of the Passover observance, the Nirtzah includes a great deal of content that may be considered explicitly Zionist.  It concludes with the wish "Next Year in Jerusalem" or in Jerusalem, "Next year in rebuilt Jerusalem." According to modern orthodox Jews this refers to restoration of the temple with the coming of the Messiah, but according to Zionist Jews it is a vow or a wish to return to Israel, rather than a prayer for the Messiah.

 

The Nirtzah is actually part of a long poem by 11th century French Rabbi Joseph Bonfils (Ben Tov). The poem was to be recited on the "big Sabbath" - Shabbat Hagadol, preceding Passover. It explains all the laws and proper regulations of the Seder. 

The wording of the Nirtzah, which is generally sung:

, .
.
, .
.

!

 

In transliteration:

'Hahsahl Siddur Pessach Kehilchato, Kechol mishpatoh vehukatoh.

Ka'asher zachinu lesahder otoh ken nizkeh La'asoto

Zach shochen meunah. Komehm Kahal me mahnah

Bekarov Nachel Nitey Kahnah

Peduyim Letsiyon Berinah

Le shana Haba'ah Beyerushalayim

 
Translation of the Nirtzah

As it is understood when recited in the Seder:

The Seder is ended according to its proper form

In all its regulations and laws

As we were privileged to arrange it (now),

May he be privileged to perform it (in future)

Pure one dwelling on high

Raise up the countless congregation

In the near future lead the offshoots of your vineyard

Redeemed to Zion in joy. 

 

Next year in Jerusalem!

 

As it originally was meant in the poem of Rabbi Bonfils, the Nirtzah said literally, "We have concluded the arrangement (Seder - that is, the planning of the celebration) according to  all its Halachot (rabbinical regulations), laws and regulations. As we have been privileged to plan it, may we be privileged to perform it."

 

Perhaps because the song is written in obscure and poetic Hebrew, or because of its peculiar origin, many Haggadot (plural of Haggadah) do not explain the meaning of the Nirtzah. The Seder ritual observance of Passover is probably performed by more Jews around the world than any other single Jewish observance other than circumcision and other life cycle sacraments, and that includes families. It is therefore important to ensure that Jews in all parts of the Diaspora as well as those in Israel understand what it is that they are saying. 

 

Ami Isseroff

October 20, 2008


Synonyms and alternate spellings:

Further Information:


Hebrew/Arabic pronunciation and transliteration conventions:

'H - ('het) a sound made deep in the throat. To Western ears it may sound like the "ch" in loch. In Arabic there are several letters that have similar sounds. Examples: 'hanukah, 'hamas, 'haredi. Formerly, this sound was often represented by ch, especially in German transliterations of Hebrew. Thus, 'hanukah is often rendered as Chanuka for example.

ch - (chaf) a sound like "ch" in loch or the Russian Kh as in Khruschev or German Ach, made by putting the tongue against the roof of the mouth. In Hebrew, a chaf can never occur at the beginning of a word. At the beginning of a word, it has a dot in it and is pronounced "Kaf."

u - usually between oo as in spoon and u as in put.

a- sounded like a in arm

ah- used to represent an a sound made by the letter hey at the end of a word. It is the same sound as a. Haganah and Hagana are alternative acceptable transliterations.

'a-notation used for Hebrew and Arabic ayin, a guttural ah sound.

o - close to the French o as in homme.

th - (taf without a dot) - Th was formerly used to transliterate the Hebrew taf sound for taf without a dot. However in modern Hebrew there is no detectable difference in standard pronunciation of taf with or without a dot, and therefore Histadruth and Histadrut, Rehovoth and Rehovot are all acceptable.

q- (quf) - In transliteration of Hebrew and Arabic, it is best to consistently use the letter q for the quf, to avoid confusion with similar sounding words that might be spelled with a kaf, which should be transliterated as K. Thus, Hatiqva is preferable to Hatikva for example.


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This work and individual entries are copyright 2008 by Ami Isseroff and Zionism and Israel Information Center and may not reproduced in any form without permission unless explicitly noted otherwise. Individual entries may be cited with credit to The Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Zionism and Israel

 

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