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Hamavdil: a medival Hymn
by Yitzhak Ha-katan

It is customary to sing hymns at the close of the Havdalah ceremony to mark the end of the Sabbath. From the words it is clear that it belongs to the end of Yom Kippur (Ne'ilah) and was moved to the end of the Sabbath later. It is also an acrostic poem carrying the name of the author "Yitzhak Ha-katan" or "Isaac the Younger" ; several scholars identify him with Isaac b. Judah ibn Ghayyat of Spain (1030-1089).

Hebrew (chorus refrain only):

Hamavdil ben kodesh l'hol, hatoteinu hu yimhol;
zareinu v'chaspenu yarbeh kahol v'chakochavim

English translation:

The English translation goes something like:

He who makes a distinction between the holy and the every-day
May he nullify our sins.
May he multiply our offspring and our wealth like the sand
and like the stars in the night.

The day has passed like the shadow of a Palm tree.
I call out to God, over me complete
the watchman says "Morning comes and also night".

Your righteousness is like Mt Tabor
May you pass over my failings
Like yesterday which is gone
And like a Watch in the night

The time of the afternoon prayer has past
Who will give me rest?
I have wearied with my sighing;
I shall pray every night

Listen to my voice, cast it not aside
Open up to me the lofty gate
For my head is drenched with dew
and my locks with the raindrops of the night

...there are four further verses in the version in the Jewish prayer book.

The song exists in Sephardi and Ashklenasi Jewish traditions, There are also versions in Yiddish and Ladino as well and many different tunes.