July 16, 2024 ~ Shabbat BALAQ. Maqam MAHOUR.

Azharot - אזהרות


There is an old custom of chanting the Azharot on Shabuot.

There have been numerous Azharot written by poets going back to the days of the Geonim until ~1500. The most common Azharot today are by: Ribbi Shelomo Ibn Gabirol (Malaga, 1022-,Valencia, between 1053-1058) recited by most Sephardic/Eastern communities, and by Ribbi Yisshaq bar Reuben El Barceloni recited by the North African communities of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya.

These are wonderful poetic enumerations of all the missvot. The custom is to chant them; the Positive Commandments on the first day of Shabuot, and the Negative Commandments on the second day.

On the first day, prior to chanting the Azharot of Ibn Gabirol, an introduction, "Amon Yom Zeh," by Ribbi David Ben El'azar Baqoudah (11-12 centuries), is sung in a different tune. Most people gather at home to sing these Azharot with family and friends and at times they are discussed as well. In our days, the Rabbi of the synagogue, or a learned individual, will have a class explaining some of these missvot on both afternoons of Shabuot.

One of the best commentaries on both sets of famous Azharot was published in Livorno in 1841 by Rabbi Shaoul HaKohen of Jerba (1772-1848) it's entitled "Netib Missvotekha.". Rabbi David Bitton A"H published a spectacular volume on Ibn Gabirol's Azharot (Missvot 'Aseh) in 1979. Mahzor Shelom Yeroushalayim for Shabuot (New York, 1994) did a wonderful job on the Azharot. The Hebrew is by Rabbi Shimon Hai Alouf and the English is by Rabbi Ezra Labaton (pages 279-287).

Some Sephardic Posqim, most notably Rabbi Haim Yosef David Azoulai, and in our day, Hakham Obadiah Yosef, have stated that since Ibn Gabirol's Azharot do not follow the order of missvot as prescribed by HaRambam, one would be better off reading from HaRambam's Sefer Hamissvot. To that end, the late Maimonidean scholar Hakham Yosef Qafah composed his own Azharot based upon HaRambam at the end of his edition of Sefer Hamissvot (1971).

Index of Pizmonim

Pizmon Page Song CommentaryRecordings Application
391.094 A2 אמון יום זה An introduction to the Azharot by Ribbi David Ben El'azar Baqoudah Yosef Hamaoui
G. Shrem
שועת עניים
2351 A4 אזהרות Solomon Ibn Gabirol Composed by Sephardic Poet H Solomon Ibn Gabirol. Recited on the Shabuot holiday. Day 1- Positive Commandments. Day 2- Negative Commandments. G. Shrem
Yosef Hamaoui - Naqdishakh
I Cabasso- Semehim
D Binker-Duek - Semehim
2352 A25 כתובה למתן תורה Traditionally read when opening the Torah Ark on the first day of Shabuot. Maqam Hoseni. G. Shrem