The Hail Mary in Hebrew

Ave Maria Hebraice et Latine

For those of you who’ve always wanted to know how to say the Hail Mary in Hebrew . . .

The image was originally a Facebook post, but proved so popular I chose to post it to the blog so there’d be a handy link anytime someone’s interested:

Speaking of interest, here are the words with transcription:

.שָלוֹם לָךְ, מִרְיָם, מְלֵאַת הַחֶסֶד, ה׳ עִמָּךְ
Shalom lakh, Miryam, m’leas HaḤesed, Adonai imakh.

.בְּרוּכָה אַתְּ בַּנָשִׁים, וּבָרוּךְ פְּרִי בֵּטְנֵךְ יֵשׁוּעַ
Berukhah at banashim, uvarukh p’ri betnekh Yeshua.

,מִרְיָם הַקְּדוֹשָׁה, אֵם הָאֱלהִים, הִתְפַּלְלִי בַּעֲדֵנוּ הַחוֹטְאִים
.עַתָּה, וּבִשְׁעַת מוֹתֵנוּ. אָמֵן
Miryam hakedoshah, Em HaElohim, hispeleli ba’adenu haḥotim,
atah, uvishas mosenu. Amen.

This is the standard version of the prayer as used by Hebrew-speaking Catholics, attested at HolyMary.info, at WikiSource, and at this video, which in turn was linked from the St. James Vicariate for Hebrew-Speaking Catholics in Israel. The only difference is that their transcription reflects standard Sefardi pronunciation, whereas mine recognizes Sav as a letter.

Now if you’re asking why I don’t use Sefardi like most of the internet, it’s because there’s a tradition regarding Hebrew pronunciation: you use the pronunciation of your parents or of your teacher. How my parent’s Jewish friends pronounced the words became how my parents pronounced them, and after seven years working for a Jewish-owned business where the owner (my best friend’s dad) used the same pronunciation, Ashkenazi is what I’m used to hearing.

When I posted to Facebook, some folks commented on the word “Ḥesed” being used for “grace,” followed by a discussion about how that was an “interesting” word-choice seeing it might better be translated as “Ḥen” (חֵן). My own sense is that whoever originally translated the prayer into Hebrew thought of God’s grace as being synonymous with God’s mercy. This can lead to a conversation of different models of “grace” as forgiveness, as gift, as energy, as favor, and so on, or perhaps a different emphasis on one aspect of grace over the others.

For those interested in such a conversation, I present the Hail Mary in Greek (source link), the original language of Luke’s Gospel where the prayer is found:

Χαίρε Μαρία, κεχαριτωμένη, ó Κύριος είναι μετά Σου, ευλογημένη Εσύ μεταξύ των γυναικών, (Luc 1:28) και ευλογημένος ο καρπός της κοιλίας Σου, ó Ιησούς. (Luc 1:42)

Αγία Μαρία, Θεοτόκε, παρακαλει για μας τους αμαρτωλούς, τώρα και στην ώρα του θανάτου μας. Αμήν.

[NOTE: Other versions of the prayer in both Koine and Modern Greek and be found over at WikiSource. ]

Note the word for “full of grace” here, “κεχαριτωμένη,” which the Vulgate gives “gratia plena,” the Hebrew “m’leas haḤesed,” and the King James “highly favored.” Consider that the Greek root word here would be either χάρη or χάρις, from which comes the English word “charisma,” and the conversation can be fun.

About Agostino

Originally from Queens, N.Y., and having grown up in Dayton, OH, Agostino Taumaturgo is a unique figure. He is the product of the unlikely combination of coming from a Traditional Roman Catholic background and a spirituality-friendly home. It was in this home that Agostino first learned the basics of meditation, prayer, and spiritual working. In time Agostino completed his theology studies and was ordained to the priesthood and was later consecrated a bishop. He has since left the Traditional movement and brings this knowledge to the “outside world” through his teaching and writing, discussing spiritual issues and practical matters through the lens of traditional Christian theology.
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