Master of the Universe
Adon Olam asher malach, beterem kol yetzir nivra
Master of the universe, Who reigned before any form was created.
Le-et na-asah vecheftzo kol, azai melech shemo nikra
At the time when His will brought all into being, then as 'King' was His Name proclaimed.
Ve-acharei kichelot hakol, levado yimloch nora
After all has ceased to be, He, the Awesome One, will reign alone.
Vehu hayah vehu hoveh vehu yihyeh betifarah
It is He Who was, He Who is, and He Who shall remain, in splendor.
Vehu echad ve-ein sheni lehamshil lo lehachbirah
He is One, there is no second to compare to Him, to declare as His equal.
Beli reishit beli tachlit velo ha-oz vehamisrah
Without beginning, without conclusion, His is the power and dominion.
Vehu Eli, vechai go-ali, vetzur chevli be-et tzara
He is my G-d, my living Redeemer, Rock of my pain in time of distress.
Vehu nisi u-manos li, menat kosi beyom ekra
He is my banner, a refuge for me, the portion in my cup on the day I call.
Beyado afkid ruchi, be-et ishan ve-airah
Into His hand I shall entrust my spirit when I go to sleep - and I shall awaken!
Ve-im ruchi geviyati, Hashem li, velo ira
With my spirit shall my body remain. Hashem is with me, I shall not fear.
Adon Olam is a poetic hymn to G-d whose author is thought to be Solomon ibn Gabirol (1021-1058), the poet philosopher who lived in Spain. It consists of ten lines: the first 6 express the Jewish concept of G-d, and the last four tell how the man of faith relates to G-d, the trust he feels in Him. The last words of the hymn, "Hashem is with me, I shall not fear," are taken from Tehillim 118:6, one of the passages of Hallel.
Adon Olam is recited in the beginning of the daily Shacharit (Morning) service and forms also part of the prayer recited each night before retiring. There are many musical settings for Adon Olam as can be heard in the above links of music clips of this prayer.
The daily prayer service is inaugurated with the name Adon to recall the merit of Avraham, the first one to address G-d with this title (Bereishit 15:2; Etz Yosef), and the one who instituted the morning prayers (Berachot 26b) (Vilna Gaon)
Berachot 26b: It has been stated:
- R. Jose son of R. Hanina said: The Tefillot (prayers) were instituted by the Patriarchs.
- R. Joshua b. Levi says: The Tefillot were instituted8 to replace the daily sacrifices.
- It has been taught in accordance with Rabbi Jose b. Hanina, and it has been taught in accordance with Rabbi Joshua b. Levi. It has been taught in accordance with Rabbi Jose b. Hanina: Avraham instituted the morning Tefillah, as it says, And Avraham got up early in the morning to the place where he had stood,9 and ‘standing’ means only prayer, as it says, Then stood up Phineas and prayed10 Yitzchak instituted the afternoon Tefillah, as it says, And Yitzchak went out to meditate in the field at eventide,11 and ‘meditation’ means only prayer, as it says, A prayer of the afflicted when he faints and pours out his meditation 12 before the Hashem.13 Yaakov instituted the evening prayer, as it says, And he lighted [va-yifga’] upon the place,14 and ‘pegi'ah’ means only prayer, as it says, Therefore pray not for this people neither lift up prayer nor cry for them, neither make intercession to [tifga’] Me.15
8 By the Men of the Great Synagogue. 9 Bereishit 19:27. 10 Tehillim 106:30. 11 Bereishit 24:63. 12 E.V. ‘complaint’. 13 Tehillim 102:1. 14 Bereishit 28:11. 15 Yirmeyahu 7:16.
This song emphasizes that G-d is timeless, infinite and omnipotent. Mankind can offer Him only one thing: to proclaim Him as King, by doing His will and praising Him. Despite G-d's greatness, however, He involves Himself with man's personal needs in time of pain and distress. The prayer concludes on the inspiring note that, lofty though He is, Hashem is with me, I shall not fear... Baruch Hashem!
Click links to listen several versions of the Adon Olam prayer:
(RealPlayer is needed to listen to these audio clips - download for free at the following link: Real Player)
ARTIST - CD TITLE - SONG
Jeff Place - In This Place - Adon Olam
Cantor Stuart Binder - Shabbat Workshop - Adon Olam
Nomi - Kumi Ori - Adon Olam
Kol B’seder - New Songs For Jewish Families - Adon Olam
Jon Simon - New Traditions - Adon Olam
- Artscroll Complete Siddur
- Encyclopedia of Jewish Concepts
- To Pray as a Jew, Rabbi Donin
- Soncino Talmud