Reading the Tanakh in Judeo-Spanish (Ladino): Genesis 1:6-13

Based on the “Sefer Tora Neviim Uketuvim- El Livro de la Ley, los Profetas, las Eskrituras”, translated into Judeo-Spanish by A. H. Boyadjian, Constantinople 1873.

Vocabulary and Notes by Timo Schmitz

(6) I disho el Dyo, sea espandidura en medyo de las aguas, i aparte entre aguas i aguas. (7) I izo el Dyo la espandidura, i aparto las aguas ke estan debasho de la espandidura, de las aguas ke estan arriva de la espandidura: i fue ansi. (8) I yamo el Dyo a la espandidura syelos: i fue la tarde i la manyana el dia segundo. (9) I disho el Dyo, se apanyen las aguas debasho de los syelos en un lugar, i se apareska lo seko: i fue ansi. (10) I yamo el Dyo a lo seko tyerra, i al apanyamyento de las aguas yamo mares: i vido el Dyo ke era bueno. (11) I disho el Dyo, aga ermoyeser la tyerra ermoyo, yerva ke aga simyente, arvol de fruto ke aga fruto segun su manera, ke su simyente este en el sovre la tyerra: i fue ansi. (12) I sako la tyerra ermoyo, yerva ke aze simyente segun su manera, i arvol ke aze fruto, ke su simyente esta en el segun su manera: i vido el Dyo ke era bueno. (13) I fue la tarde i la manyana el dia tersero.

Vocabulary :

espandidura – expansion, extension

en medyo – in the middle

en medyo de – in the middle of

aparte – (to) separate, (to) divide

entre … i … – between [this] and [that]

azer – to do, to make

I aparto las aguas ke … – and separated the waters, which …

estan debasho – were below

debasho – below, under

debasho de la espandidura – underneath the firmament

arriva – above – cp. Spanish: arriba

I fue ansi – and it was so

I yamo el Dyo – And God called

el dia segundo – the second day

segundo/ – a – second

apanyarse – (to) be gathered

un lugar – one place

apareser – (to) appear

lo – there

seko / -a – dry

al apanyamyento de las aguas – and the gathering of the water

mares – oceans, seas

agar – to do ; cp. French: agir, Italian: agire

ermoyeser – to germinate, to bud, to bloom

ermoyo – germ, bud

yerva – grass

simyente – seed

ke aga simyente – which brought forth seeds

arvol – tree

arvol de fruto – fruit tree

ke aga fruto – which brought forth fruits

segun su manera – in their own way, in their respective way

ke su simyente – where its seed

este en el – which is in it

sovre – about, above

sovre la tyerra – above the earth, over the earth

el dia tersero – the third day


LA ESPANDIDURA – the term refers here to the firmament as in the Hebrew Bible, one can find the word רקיע. Also see Strong’s # 7549 “an extended surface”, and Samuel Pye: The Mosaic Theory of the Solar, Or Planetary, System. London: W. Sandby, 1766, p. 67.

DEBASHO DE – literally means “below of” or “under of”, and thus can be translated here as underneath.

I YAMO EL DYO A LA ESPANDIDURA SYELOS – after “i yamo el Dyo”, that which is referred to “la espandidura” is connected with the preposition “a”, so “I yamo el Dyo a la espandidura” belong together, followed by the predication of the first part, which is “syelos”, so one can translate it as “And God called the firmament skies”. According to the Ladino text, we have to use the plural “skies” and not “sky”, as “los syelos” is plural of “el syelo”. Indeed, the Hebrew wordשמים  is plural and therefore, the translator used the right term. Heaven and sky are the same words, so one can also use the term “heavens”. So the singular “la espandidura” – the expansion which was made – is predicated with the plural “los syelos” – that expansion was called the skies/ heavens.

I YAMO EL DYO A LO SEKO TYERRA – Like in the note before, that which ought to be named here follows after that what was described before, thus “a lo seko” can be understood as “that which was dry”. The construction here again is a preposition followed by a noun with article (built out of the adjective) and the referred noun without article. So we can translate it as “And God called that which was dry Earth”, or in short: “God called the dry Earth”.

AL APANYAMENTO – here, we find the exact same thing as before, but the preposition “a” and the article “el” become “al”.

DE LAS AGUAS – In Romance languages, one cannot use terms like “water gatherings” or compounds like “Wasseransammlung” as one can do in Germanic languages. Therefore, one has to say “the gathering of the waters”. We have to understand this altogether as one term “el apanyamento de las aguas” and it fits perfectly in the “a + article + term + reference”- construction as in the examples before.

Published on 20 December 2019.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: