Yah Ribon Olam

G-d, Master of the Universe


Yah ribon olam ve-almaya
G-d, Master of the Universe

Ant hu malka melech malchaya
You are the King of kings

Ovad gevurtech vetimhaya
It is my pleasure to declare

Shefar kodamai lehachavaya
Your mighty and wondrous deeds


Shevachin asader tzafra veramsha
I offer praises morning and evening

Lach elaka kadisha di v'ra chol nafsha
To you, holy G-d, creator of all living things

Irin kadishin uvenei enasha
Holy angels and human beings

Cheivat bara ve-ofei shemaya
Beasts of the field and birds of the sky


Ravrevin ovedach vetakifin
Your deeds are great and mighty

Machech ramaya vezakef kefifin
Bringing low the proud, raising up the humble

Lu yechei gevar shenin alefin
Even if men lived a thousand years

Lo ye-ol gevurtech bechushbenaya
They could not tell fully of your might


Elaka di le yekar ur'vuta
Great and revered G-d

Peruk yat anach mipum aryavata
Save Your flock from the mouths of lions

Ve-apek yat amach migo galuta
Take Your people out of exile

Amach di vechart mekol umaya
The people You chose above all others


Lemikdashech tuv ul'kodesh kudshin
Return to Your Temple and to the Holy of Holies

Atar di ve yechedun ruchin venafshin
The place where all souls will rejoice

Vizamrun lach shirin verachashin
There they will sing songs of praise to You

Birushlem karta deshufraya
In Jerusalem, the city of beauty


Yah Ribon Olam was written by Rabbi Israel Najara (1555-1628), a native of Damascus who later lived in Safed.  He was one of the prominent members of the Kabbalistic school at Safed, Upper Galilee, where he spent most of his life and served as a rabbi in Gaza.  It is claimed that he composed 650 hymns. This poem is a hymn of praise to G-d, a major theme of Shabbat liturgy.

The initial letters of the verses of Yah Ribon Olam form the name-acrostic "Yisrael" by which the poet's memory is immortalized.

Though Yah Ribon Olam contains no allusion to Shabbat, it is chanted on Friday evenings in all parts of the world.  After describing the wonders of G-d's creation, the poet, Kabbalistically inspired, concludes with a prayer for the redemption of Yisrael and the restoration of Yerushalayim, "the city of beauty."

Israel Abrahams speaks of this table hymn in ecstatic terms.  He describes them as "The bridge between the human and the divine; they were at once serious and jocular; they were at once prayers and merry glees."



  • Encyclopedia of Jewish Concepts - Philip Birnbaum
  • Jewish Worship - Abraham Millgram