Introductions to the Exodus story in Judeo-Arabic

Haggadah Section: -- Exodus Story

Hagda Qsem Allah – Splitting the Sea
Judeo-Arabic from Morocco

Moroccan Jews recite a passage in Judeo-Arabic at the Yaḥaṣ section of the Seder, when the leader takes the middle of three maṣṣot and breaks it into two pieces, demonstrating how God split the sea:​

Hagda qsem Allah libḥar, 'ala tnas leṭreq
hen kherjou jdoudna min maṣar
'Ala yid sidna unbina Mousa bin 'Amram
Hen fikkhoum ughatehoum, milkhdema se'iba alḥouriya.
Hagda yifikkna haQadosh Baroukh Hou wenomar Amen

This is how God split the sea into twelve paths when our forefathers were taken out of Egypt by our master and prophet Moshe, son of Amram, peace be upon him. Just as at that time God saved and redeemed them from slavery to freedom, may the Holy One Blessed be He liberate us, our children, and the children of our children, Amen may it be God’s will.

Mish-arotam – Theatrical Exchange

Many Sephardi and Mizrahi communities include this tradition near the beginning of the Maggid section of the seder.

Judeo-Arabic from Aleppo, Syria

After the leader breaks the middle maṣṣa, he places the larger piece (the afikomen) in a napkin. One participant holds this in his right hand over his left shoulder and recites: 

Mish-arotam ṣerourot besimlotam ‘al shikhmam. Ubene yisra-el ‘asu kidbar Moshe.

…their remaining possessions tied up in their bags on their shoulders. And the children of Israel did as Moses commanded (Exodus 12:34-35).

The seder participants then ask the person holding the maṣṣa:

 Min jayye? – Where are you coming from?

The individual holding the maṣṣa replies:

Mimmiṣrayim – From Egypt

The seder participants then ask:

Lawen rayyiḥ? – Where are you going?

The individual holding the maṣṣa replies:

Lirushalayim (be‘ezrat ha-el) – To Jerusalem (some say: with God's help)

The maṣṣa is then passed to the next oldest, who repeats the ceremony. This continues until everyone at the table has participated.

Ma Chabar – A Women’s Seder Summary

Judeo-Arabic from Yemen

Women in Yemen did not have the Hebrew education to understand the haggadah, so they recited a summary in Judeo-Arabic:

What makes this night different from all nights? Our elders and forefathers left Egypt, the house of slavery. What did they do there? They mixed the straw with bricks and the bricks with straw. For whom? For Pharaoh, the absolute evil man, whose head is like a monster, whose mouth is like a furnace. And God brought upon the Egyptians: blood, frogs, locusts, lice, beasts, cattle disease, boils, hail, darkness, and the slaying of the firstborn. Even a wrinkled old woman, who had an idol made of dough – the dog came in and ate it, and she cried that night. And there was a great outcry in Egypt to fulfill the verse that says, “There was no house without someone dead.” And God saved them with a mighty hand and outstretched arm and great judgments, signs, and wonders, through our leader, Moses, may he rest in peace. And that is the answer. 

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