Bakashot

The Bakashot were a collection of songs sung prior to Shaharit during the winter months. In countries throughout the Middle East and North Africa, people would sleep earlier on Friday night in order to wake up early to recite the Bakashot in its entirety.
According to the Moroccan tradition, the Bakashot run from Parashat Bereshit until Parashat Zachor. Each week (parasha) contains its own special Maqam (mode or melody) and the entire set of songs are sung with that maqam.
The Bakashot are always introduced with a set of openings (petihot) called "Dodi Yarad Legano" and then continue in various forms of praise to God in the order of the Aleph-Bet. These stanzas are recited according to the maqam of that week.
Following "Dodi Yarad Legano" it is customary to sing the holy piyut "Yedid Nefesh," also in the appropriate maqam for that week.
יְדִיד נֶפֶשׁ, אָב הָרַחְמָן
מְשךְ עַבְדָךְ אֶל רְצונָךְ
יָרוּץ עַבְדָךְ כְמו אַיָל
יִשְתַחֲוֶה מוּל הֲדָרָךְ
כִי יֶעְרַב לו יְדִידוּתָךְ
מִנּפֶת צוּף וְכָל טָעַם

הָדוּר, נָאֶה, זִיו הָעולָם
נַפְשִי חולַת אַהֲבָתָךְ
אָנָא אֵל נָא, רְפָא נָא לָהּ
בְהַרְאות לָהּ נעַם זִיוָךְ
אָז תִתְחֵזֵק וְתִתְרַפֵא
וְהָיְתָה לָךְ שִפְחַת עולָם

וָתִיק, יֶהְמוּ רַחֲמֶיךָ
וְחוּס נָא עַל בֵן אוהֲבָךְ
כִי זֶה כַמֶה נִכְסף נִכְסַף
לִרְאות בְתִפְאֶרֶת עֻזָךְ
אָנָא אֵלִי, מַחְמָד לִבִי
חוּשָה נָא, וְאַל תִתְעַלָם

הִגָלֵה נָא וּפְרשׂ, חָבִיב
עָלַי אֶת סֻכַת שְלומֶךְ
תָאִיר אֶרֶץ מִכְבודָךְ
נָגִילָה וְנִשְׂמְחָה בָךְ
מַהֵר, אָהוּב, כִי בָא מועֵד
וְחָנֵנִי כִימֵי עולָם
At this point, the Bakashot begin with poetry often connected to the theme of the parasha/week or other praises of God.
Every week concludes with a set of Ksedot (stories). These are longer story-like poems that express God's greatness and love of the Jewish people.

Here are the maqamim associated with each Parasha.

  • Bereshit - Raml Maya
  • Noah - Isbihane
  • Lech Lecha - Raml Maya
  • Vayera - Hijaz el Misirki
  • Chaye Sara - El Rasd
  • Toledot - Isbihane
  • Vayetze - Raml Maya
  • Vayishlah - Hijaz el Kbir
  • Vayeshev - El Maya
  • Miketz - Hijaz el Kbir
  • Vayigash - Hijaz el Kbir
  • Vayehi - Rasd Dil
  • Shemot - Istahlal
  • Vaera - El Ushak
  • Bo - Hijaz el Kbir
  • Beshalah - Hijaz el Misirki
  • Yitro - Grivt el Hsin
  • Mishpatim - Hijaz el Kbir
  • Terumaa - Mzmoum (Agam)
  • Zachor - El Rasd

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