Taste of Hebrew title graphic


April

Chad Gadyá  (Ashkenazi: Chad Gádye)
''me of the last song in the Passover Hagada''


'Little Miriam fell asleep in the middle of Chad Gadya.'

Chad Gadya is literally 'one little goat' -- the opening words of a song universally sung to round off the Passover Seder Night. The song is a ballad about a little goat who is eaten by a cat who is eaten by a dog who is eaten by etc etc, until the Almighty Himself comes and saves the day. Entirely appropriate to the Passover story and loved by children, who are invariably asleep all over the place by the time you get to Chad Gadya.
    The words chad gadya and indeed the entire song are in Aramaic, a Jewish popular language in ancient and medieval times, but to all intents and purposes Aramaic has always been included with Hebrew as part of leshon ha-kodesh 'the Holy Tongue'.

Chad Gadya, Chad Gadya,
Which Father bought for two pennies,
Chad Gadya.

And along came a cat
And ate the little goat,
Which father bought for two pennies,
Chad Gadya...
   Translation of the opening of Chad Gadya.

The next step, the lawyer said, would be for the rich man to sue Birnbaum, Birnbaum me, I my brother, my brother the monk. Like the Passover song Chad Gadya...
    Sholom Aleichem ['Stories & Satires', 264] (translation Curt Leviant)


By kind permission of Oxford University Press,
publishers of The Joys of Hebrew by Lewis Glinert.



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Last Modified February 12, 2006