Baqashot: El Mistater (The God Who Hides)

Part of the Matheson Trust Sacred Audio Collection

The baqashot (literally, “supplications”) are a collection of songs (piyyutim) and prayers that have been sung by the Sephardic Syrian, Moroccan, and Turkish Jewish communities for centuries. They are sung each week on Shabbat mornings from the early hours of the morning until dawn, particularly during the winter months. They are historically associated with late medieval Spanish liturgy, and particularly with the Kabbalist masters of Tsefat (Safed) in Palestine, as is reflected in their lyrics.

El Mistater (“The God Who Hides”, a reference to Isaiah 45:15) is a poem on the Ten Sefirot (Divine Emanations). It was written in Tsefat around 1550 by Rabbi Avraham Maimin, a student of Rabbi Moshe Cordovero (1522-1570). This piyyut is particularly well-known among the Jews of Aleppo and the Hasidim, and it is customarily recited after reading the Zohar.

El Mistater (Moshe Havusha, lute)

Click here to download – 3:44 (3MB)

Click here to view the original Hebrew text and an English translation.

El Mistater (Pizmonim archives)

Click here to download – 1:53

El Mistater (Obadya/Cohen)

Click here to download – 6:24 (8MB)

Some old footage from the Ades Synagogue in Jerusalem can be seen here.

This poem is often sung in relation to Yedid Nefesh, another classic of Jewish mystical literature for which also have a recording in our Sacred Audio Library.

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