Hu Ya’aneynu (“God will answer us”)

Today, on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, I am posting a piyyut that expresses the hope that God may hear our prayers. May those who have suffered so much then and since find comfort.

Hu Ya’aneynu is a chronological piyyut (liturgical prayer), similar to Psalm 136: each verse refers to a Biblical character, and how God responded to their distress. The refrain says, “He will answer us” [meaning, of course: as God responded to them when x happened].

In the traditional version all the characters are men, but there is Mark Frydenberg and David Seidenberg’s egalitarian translation from the Havurah listserv:

The One who answered Abraham our father on Mount Moriah—Hu ya-aneynu
The One who answered Sarah our mother in her tent at Alon Mamre, —Hu ya-aneynu
The One who answered Isaac tied down on the altar, —Hu ya-aneynu
The One who answered Rebecca at the well—Hu ya-aneynu
The One who answered Jacob in Beit El—Hu ya-aneynu
The One who answered Leah in the field—Hu ya-aneynu
The One who answered Joseph in the dungeon—Hu ya-aneynu
The One who answered Deborah at Mount Tavor—Hu ya-aneynu
The One who answered our ancestors at the Red Sea—Hu ya-aneynu
The One who answered Moses in Horeb from the bush—Hu ya-aneynu
The One who answered Miriam across the sea—Hu ya-aneynu
The One who answered Aaron standing with incense—Hu ya-aneynu
The One who answered Joshua in Gilgal and Jericho—Hu ya-aneynu
The One who answered Shifra and Puah in Pharaohs house—Hu ya-aneynu
The One who answered Samuel in Mitzpah—Hu ya-aneynu
The One who answered David and Solomon in Jerusalem—Hu ya-aneynu
The One who answered Ruth in Moav and Beit Lechem—Hu ya-aneynu
The One who answered Jonah deep in the bowels of the fish—Hu ya-aneynu
The One who answered Daniel in the lions den—Hu ya-aneynu
The One who answered Mordechai and Esther in Shushan—Hu ya-aneynu
The One who will answer Rachel crying in Ramah—Hu ya-aneynu
The One who answers all the righteous and pious—Hu ya-aneynu
The One who answers all the faithful and the honest—Hu ya-aneynu

(http://www.keshertalk.com/archives/2006/09/ellul23-06.php)

Check out piyut.org.il for more information on this piyyut.

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