Mah Nishtanah – multilingually!

The Mah Nishtanah is usually recited at the Pesach Seder by the youngest able participant. It’s very cute when a little kid stands on his chair in front of the assembled relatives and friends and belts out from memory what he learned in school. The purpose, some say, of getting the youngest to do it, is to keep them interested in the proceedings and feel like they are part of the whole seder. I was never the youngest, being an older twin, but we shared the responsibility, from what I remember.

These questions actually originate in the mishnah, however, the original format was a little different. Written at the time of the temple, there was a question about why we only eat roasted meat (ie from a sacrifice). These days the question about reclining was put in its place, a substitution made by the Rambam and Rav Saadia Gaon. (I read that on Wikipedia, so I am not sure how true that is). It has been suggested that instead of just dropping the question about roasted meat, that a substitution had to be made, in order to keep the theme of FOUR at the seder – 4 questions, 4 cups of wine, 4 sons etc.

As my son mentioned in his Pesach piece, the idea of kids reciting the Four Questions, the Mah Nishtanah, in different languages, is a cool thing. At our family sedarim in the past (haven’t made a seder in a few years, post divorce, but now we are looking forward to having both at home this year) we tried to say them in at least three languages – English, Hebrew and Yiddish. We added French over time. I am looking high and low for translations into different languages WITH transliteration, but it seems transliterations are hard to come by.

But so far, we have found (and I take NO responsibility for the accuracy of the translations)

English

What makes this night different from all [other] nights?

1) On all nights we need not dip even once, on this night we do so twice!

2) On all nights we eat chametz or matzah, and on this night only matzah.

3) On all nights we eat any kind of vegetables, and on this night maror!

4) On all nights we eat sitting upright or reclining, and on this night we all recline!

Hebrew

Mah nishtanah halyla hazeh mikol halaylot

1) She’bechol halaylot ain anu matbilin afilu pa’am echat, halyla hazeh shtei pe’amim?

2) She’bechol halaylot anu ochlim chametz o matza, halyla hazeh kulo maztah?

3) She’bechol halaylot anu ochlim she’ar yerakot, halyla hazeh maror?

4) She’bechol halaylot anu ochlim bain yoshvin bain mesubin, halyla hazeh kulanu mesubin?

Yiddish

Tate ich vil bei dir fregen di fir kashes:

Vos iz Anderesh fun der Nacht fun Pesach fun ale necht fun a gants yor?

1) Di ershte kashe iz,

Ale necht fun a gants yor tunken mir nisht ayn afileh eyn mol, ober di nacht fun peysach, tunken mir ayn tsvey mol — ayn mol karpas in zaltz vasser, di tsveyte mol maror in charoses.

2) Di tsveyte kashe iz,

Ale necht fun a gants yor esn mir chomets ader matseh, ober di nakht fun peysakh, esn mir nor matseh.

3) Di drite kashe iz,

Ale necht fun a gants yor esn mir alerlay grintsen, ober di nacht fun peysach, esn mir nor bitere grintsen.

4) Di ferte kashe iz,

Ale necht fun a gants yor esn mir say zitsndikerheit un say ongeleynterheit, ober di nakht fun peysach, esn mir nor ongeleynterheit.

Tate ich hob bei dir gefrekdt di fir kashes yetzt gib mir a teretz.

French

Pourquoi cette nuit se différencie-t-elle de toutes les autres nuits?

1) Toutes les nuits, nous ne sommes pas tenus de tremper même une seule fois, cette nuit nous le faisons deux fois!

2) Toutes les nuits, nous mangeons du ‘Hametz ou de la Matzah, cette nuit, seulement de la Matzah!

3) Toutes les nuits, nous mangeons n’importe quel sorte de légumes, cette nuit, du Maror!

4) Toutes les nuits, nous mangeons assis ou accoudés, cette nuit, nous sommes tous accoudés!

Spanish

¿Qué hace diferente a esta noche de todas las [demás] noches? ¿Ma nishtaná haláila hazé micól haleilót…

1) En todas las noches no precisamos sumergir ni siquiera una vez, ¡y en esta noche lo hacemos dos veces! …shebejól haleilót éin ánu matbilín afílu paám eját, haláila hazé shtéi peamím?

2) En todas las noches comemos jametz o matzá, ¡en esta noche solamente matzá! …shebejól haleilót ánu ojlín jamétz umatzá, haláila hazé kuló matzá?

3) En todas las noches comemos cualquier clase de verdura, ¡esta noche maror! …shebejól haleilót ánu ojlín sheár ieracót, haláila hazé marór?

4) En todas las noches comemos sentados erguidos o reclinados, ¡esta noche todos nos reclinamos!

Italian

Perché è diversa questa sera da tutte le altre?

1) Perché tutte le sere non intingiamo neppure una volta questa sera lo facciamo due volte?

2) Perché tutte le sere noi mangiamo chamètz e matzà questa sera soltanto matzà?

3) Perché tutte le sere noi mangiamo qualsiasi verdura questa sera maròr?

4) Perché tutte le sere noi mangiamo e beviamo sia seduti e sia adagiati, ma questa sera siamo tutti adagiati?

German

Was unterscheidet diese Nacht von allen anderen Nächten?

In allen anderen Nächten brauchen wir nicht ein einziges Mal einzutunken, in dieser Nacht zweimal.

In allen anderen Nächten können wir Gesäuertes und Ungesäuertes essen, in dieser Nacht nur Ungesäuertes.

In allen anderen Nächten können wir verschiedene Kräuter essen, in dieser Nacht nur bittere Kräuter.

In allen anderen Nächten können wir freisitzend oder angelehnt essen, in dieser Nacht sitzen wir alle angelehnt.

Portuguese

O que torna esta noite diferente de todas as [outras] noites ?

1) Em todas as noites não precisamos imergir nada nenhuma vez, nesta noite fazemos isto duas vezes !

2) Em todas as noites comemos chametz ou matzah, e nesta noite comemos apenas matzah.

3) Em todas as noites comemos qualquer tipo de vegetais e nesta noite comemos maror !

4) Em todas as noites comemos sentados em posição ereta ou reclinada e nesta noite todos nós nos reclinamos !

 ETA

from Phyllis who posted on my FB page – she got it from here

YYYY THS NITE DIFRNT FRM AL OTHR NITES 7

Y DUWE ET ONLY MATSA 7

Y ONLI BTR ERBS 7

Y DIP X2 7

Y ET LEENING 7

CUZ . 🙂

By: Ruthie Ben-Mayor; Kibbutz Ein-Shemer, Israel

(I am loving that one!!)

Phyllis also told me about this book that has different languages for the Mah Nishtanah in them : 300 ways to ask four questions

MORE:

Ladino

 Quanto fue demud’ad’a la noce la esta, mas ke tod’as las noces?

Ke en tod’as las noces, non nos entinientes afilu ves una, i la noce la esta doz vezes.

Ke en tod’as las noces, nos komientes levdo o sesenia, i la noce la esta tod’o el sesenia.

Ke en tod’as las noces, nos komientes resto de ved’ruras, i la noce la esta licuga.

Ke en tod’as las noces, nos komientes i bevientes tanto asentad’os i tanto areskovdad’os, i la noce la esta tod’os nos areskovdad’os.

Dutch*

 Wat is het verschil tussen deze avond en alle andered avonden?

Op alle andere avonden mogen vij zowel gezuurd als ongezuurd brood eten, op deze avond eten we alleen maar angezuurd brood.

Want op alle andere avonden mogen vij allerlei soorten groenten eten, op deze avond alleen bitterkruid.

Want op alle andere avonden dopen v eons eten zelfs niet een keer in, op deze avond doen we het zelfs zwee mal.

Want op alle andere avonden eten we terwijl we zitten of leunen, op deze avond leune we de hele tijd.

 *Pedantic Belgian alert!  Correcting the Dutch version

Wat is het verschil tussen deze avond en alle andere avonden?

Op alle andere avonden mogen wij zowel gezuurd als ongezuurd brood eten, op deze avond eten we alleen maar ongezuurd brood.

Want op alle andere avonden mogen wij allerlei soorten groenten eten, op deze avond alleen bitterkruid.

Want op alle andere avonden dopen we ons eten zelfs niet een keer in, op deze avond doen we het zelfs twee maal.

Want op alle andere avonden eten we terwijl we zitten of leunen, op deze avond leunen we de hele tijd.

It really was pretty accurate, only I get excited when I see Dutch on the Internets.

Lies

Afrikaans (with thanks to Kerstin)

Hoe verskil dié nag van alle ander nagte?

1. Op alle nagte ons makeer nie dryf selfs gelyk eenmaal,op hierdie nag ons doen so tweekeer

2. Op alle nagte ons eet chametz of matzah, en op hierdie nag alleen matzah

3. Op alle nagte ons eet enige soort van groente, en op hierdie nag maror

4. Op alle nagte ons eet sittend regop of lê terug, en op hierdie nag ons almal lê

and I have Pig Latin (from the English – working on the Hebrew)

Atwhay akesmay isthay ightnay ifferentday omfray allway [otherway] ightsnay?

1) Onway allway ightsnay eway eednay otnay ipday evenway onceway

, onway isthay ightnay eway oday osay icetway!

2) Onway allway ightsnay eway eatway ametzchay orway atzahmay,

andway onway isthay ightnay onlyway atzahmay.

3) Onway allway ightsnay eway eatway anyway indkay ofway

egetablesvay, andway onway isthay ightnay arormay!

4) Onway allway ightsnay eway eatway ittingsay uprightway orway

ecliningray, andway onway isthay ightnay eway allway eclineray!

and the Hebrew Pig Latin

Ahmay ishtanahnay alylahay azehhay ikolmay alaylothay

1) Eshay’echolbay alaylothay ainway anuway atbilinmay afiluway

apay’amway echatway, alylahay azehhay eishtay epay’amimway?

2) Eshay’echolbay alaylothay anuway ochlimway ametzchay oway

atzamay, alylahay azehhay ulokay aztahmay?

3) Eshay’echolbay alaylothay anuway ochlimway eshay’arway

erakotyay, alylahay azehhay arormay?

4) Eshay’echolbay alaylothay anuway ochlimway ainbay oshvinyay

ainbay esubinmay, alylahay azehhay ulanukay esubinmay?

Tagalog

Ano ang iba’t-ibang mga gabi na ito mula sa lahat ng [iba] gabi?

1) Sa lahat ng gabi kailangan namin ng hindi sawsaw kahit isang beses, sa gabi namin gawin ito ng dalawang beses!

2) Sa lahat ng gabi namin kumain ng chametz o matzah, at sa gabi lamang matzah.

3) Sa lahat ng gabi namin kumain ng anumang uri ng gulay, at sa gabi ito maror!

4) Sa lahat ng gabi namin kumain ng upo nang tuwid o reclining, at sa gabi namin na ito ang lahat ng isandal!

Catalan

El que fa aquesta nit diferent de totes les [altres] nits?

1) En totes les nits no tenim bany ni una sola vegada, en aquesta nit ho fem dues vegades!

2) En totes les nits que mengem o chametz Matzah, i en aquesta nit només Matzah.

3) En totes les nits mengem tot tipus de verdures, i en aquesta nit maror!

4) En totes les nits es menja assegut o recolzat, i en aquesta nit tots reclinables!

Croatian

Ono što čini ovu noć drugačija od svih [drugih] noći?

1) Na svim noćima mi ne treba potopiti čak jednom, na ovu noć mi to dvaput!

2) Na sva noćenja jedemo chametz ili matzah, a na ove noći samo matzah.

3) Na sve noći smo jesti bilo koje vrste povrća, a na ove noći maror!

4) Na sve noći jedemo ili zavaljen sjedi uspravno, a na ove noći svi smo poduprijeti!

Czech

Čím se liší tato noc od všech [ostatní] nocí?

1) Na všech nocí jsme nemusí omočí ještě jednou, na tuto noc jsme to dvakrát!

2) Na všech noci jíme chametz nebo matzah, a na tuto noc jen matzah.

3) Na všech nocí jíme jakýkoli druh zeleniny, a na tuto noc maror!

4) Na všech nocí jíme posezení ve vzpřímené poloze nebo reclining, a tuto noc jsme všichni lehnout!

Danish

Hvad gør denne nat anderledes end alle [andre] nætter?

1) På alle nætter vi behøver ikke dukkert endnu en gang, om denne nat gør vi det to gange!

2) På alle nætter vi spiser chametz eller matzah, og på denne aften kun matzah.

3) På alle nætter vi spiser alle slags grøntsager, og på denne aften maror!

4) På alle nætter vi spiser sidder oprejst eller reclining, og på denne aften vi alle ligge!

Estonian

Mis teeb selle öö erineb kõik [Muu] ööd?

1) kõik ööd me ei pea dip isegi üks kord, on see öö me seda kaks korda!

2) kõik ööd me sööme chametz või matzah, ja selle õhtu ainult matzah.

3) kõik ööd me sööme igasugused köögi-ja puuviljadest, ja sel ööl maror!

4) kõik ööd me sööme istungi püstises või lebamis ning see öö me kõik nõjatuda!

Finnish

Mikä tekee tästä yö erottuu kaikki [muut] yötä?

1) Kaikkien yötä meidän ei tarvitse dip vielä kerran, ja tämän yö teemme niin kahdesti!

2) kaikkien yötä syömme chametz tai matzah, ja tässä yö vain matzah.

3) kaikkien yötä syömme kaikenlaista vihannekset, ja tämä yö maror!

4) kaikkien yötä syömme istuu suorassa tai Siellä he saavat levätä, ja tässä yö me kaikki loikoa!

Hungarian

Mi teszi ezt az éjszakát különbözik minden [más] éjszaka?

1) Minden éjszaka nem kell még egyszer bemerülő, e este kétszer is!

2) Minden éjszaka eszünk chametz vagy matzah, és ez az éjszaka csak matzah.

3) Minden éjszaka eszünk bármilyen zöldség-, és ezen az éjszakán maror!

4) Minden éjszaka eszünk ülő vagy álló helyzetben fekvõ, és ebben fekszik minden este!

Norwegian

Hva gjør denne natten annerledes enn alle [andre] netter?

1) På alle netter vi trenger ikke dukkert enda en gang, på denne kvelden vi gjøre det to ganger!

2) På alle netter vi spiser chametz eller matzah, og på denne kvelden bare matzah.

3) På alle netter vi spiser alle slags grønnsaker, og på denne kvelden maror!

4) På alle netter vi spiser sitte oppreist eller reclining, og på denne kvelden vi alle hvile!

Polish

Co sprawia, że ta noc różni się od wszystkich [innych] noce?

1) Na wszystkie noce musimy nawet nie włożymy raz, w tej nocy to dwukrotnie!

2) Na wszystkie noce jemy chametz lub matzah, i na tej nocy tylko matzah.

3) Na wszystkie noce jemy wszelkiego rodzaju warzywa, i na tej nocy maror!

4) Na wszystkie noce jemy posiedzenia pionowej lub geda oni, i na tej nocy wszyscy kimś!

Romanian

Ce face ca această noapte diferite de la toate [celelalte] nopţi?

1) La toate nopţi nu avem nevoie de înmuia chiar şi o dată, în această noapte vom face acest lucru de două ori!

2) La toate nopţi am mânca chametz sau matzah, şi pe această noapte doar matzah.

3) La toate nopţi am mânca orice fel de legume, şi pe această noapte maror!

4) La toate nopţi am mânca şedinţei în poziţie verticală sau reclining, şi pe această noapte toţi se întinde!

Swedish

Vad gör denna natt annorlunda än alla [andra] nätter?

1) På alla nätter vi inte behöver dopp ännu en gång, denna natt vi göra det två gånger!

2) På alla nätter vi äter chametz eller matzah, och på denna natt endast matzah.

3) På alla nätter vi äter någon form av grönsaker, och på denna natt maror!

4) På alla nätter vi äter sitter upprätt eller tillbakalutande, och på denna natt vi alla sitta!

Turkish

Bu gece tüm [diğer] gece farklı kılan nedir?

1) hatta bir kez, bu kadar iki kez bu gece bandırmak değildir bütün geceler’nin Açık!

2) biz chametz veya hamursuz ekmek yemek bütün geceler’nin Açık ve bu gece sadece hamursuz ekmek.

3) biz sebze her türlü yemek bütün geceler’nin Açık ve bu gece maror üzerinde!

4) biz dik veya reclining bakimi yemek bütün geceler’nin Açık ve bu gece hepimiz yatmak!

Vietnamese

Điều gì làm ban đêm này khác với tất cả các [khác] đêm?

1) Trên tất cả các đêm, chúng tôi không cần phải dip, ngay cả một lần, vào ban đêm này, chúng tôi làm như vậy hai lần!

2) Trên tất cả các đêm, chúng tôi ăn chametz hoặc matzah, và vào ban đêm này chỉ matzah.

3) Trên tất cả các đêm, chúng tôi ăn bất kỳ loại rau quả, và ban đêm này maror!

4) Trên tất cả các đêm, chúng tôi ăn không ngồi thẳng đứng hay leaning, và vào đêm nay tất cả chúng ta đều nạc!

Please feel free to add some that you have picked up – I really would love a Ladino version (thanks got that one by now, posted above) as well as other languages – Latin perhaps? (Why should a seder be boring? this can certainly spice it up!)

25 responses to “Mah Nishtanah – multilingually!

  1. Chavi – how did you find it so quick? i googled it and couldnt find! thanks – i do hope its accurate. not being a Ladino speaker i have no idea – it reads like ladino should read…..
    thanks a million!

  2. I actually Googled Ladio Haggadah and that link came up as one of the options! I also discovered ChabadLibrary.org, which has several versions of super-old Ladino Haggadot scanned in for viewing!

  3. i’m lol because i started leaving you ideas/stuff on your facebook page and then i noticed your status was this post….

    so go there to see all the things i said:-)

  4. Phyllis – i did, and i thank you! this is turning out to be a lot of fun!

  5. lady lock and load

    Out of all the Jewish Holidays, I think kids love Passover the most. There is a mitzvah of telling the story to the children, so they are the star of the show! They love the sedar, the four questions, the songs, and the afikomen. They come to the sedar with their little hagaddahs they made at school, all ready to participate with enthusiasm at the sedar. My girls knew the ma nishtanah in all different languages, including russian! It was pretty neat, I wonder if they remember!

  6. Lady LnL – it totally is a kids holiday. i look forward to their participation. they are only with me alternate years for seder, so the years i dont have them at the seder it kinda bites – something is missing, you know? i cannot wait for this years sedarim! it is going to be awesome. i think we might have to invent some new traditions!

  7. Managed to get Afrikaans from a guy at work, and have been told Farsi is on the way!

    Hoe verskil dié nag van alle ander nagte?

    1. Op alle nagte ons makeer nie dryf selfs gelyk eenmaal,op hierdie nag ons doen so tweekeer
    2. Op alle nagte ons eet chametz of matzah, en op hierdie nag alleen matzah
    3. Op alle nagte ons eet enige soort van groente, en op hierdie nag maror
    4. Op alle nagte ons eet sittend regop of lê terug, en op hierdie nag ons almal lê

  8. Kerstin – you totally rock!! thanks.

    Farsi is from where? Persia?

  9. lady lock and load

    Hadassah, even though some years your kids won’t be there at the sedar, KoD will! Right?

  10. KoD will be my constant companion forever. (but i cant seem him standing on a chair and belting out mah nishtanah…oh wait a sec, i’m younger, drat, i’m gonna have to do it if there are no kids around. I am hoping that between the 7 kids, *someone* will be around every seder night)

  11. Get it translated to Egyptian. That would be a kick, no?

  12. lady lock and load

    In our house the girls say ma nishtana but my hub always says it after they do (guess he wants to be a kid too!!).

  13. i have added about 10 different languages to the body of the post. enjoy!

  14. All those languages and no Russian?! I feel left out.

  15. Moshe – i couldnt find a transliterated version, and seeing as i dont read cyrillic, i couldnt do it myself. perhaps you want to add it here yourself? thanks.

  16. Even though I’m greatly offended, look at how many Russian Jews there are in Russia, US and Israel, I shall be a bigger man. 😛

    Actually was too lazy so downloaded Russian version and then ran it through an online translit. “My” is not pronounced as English “my”, but more of “me” but in the back of the throat.

    Чем отличается эта ночь от других ночей?
    Chem otlichaetsja eta noch’ ot drugih nochej?

    1. Почему во все ночи мы можем есть и хамец, и мацу, а в эту ночь только мацу?
    Pochemu vo vse nochi my mozhem est’ i hametz, i matzu, a v etu noch’ tol’ko matzu?

    2. Почему во все ночи мы едим разную зелень, а в эту ночь – горькую зелень?
    Pochemu vo vse nochi my edim raznuju zelen’, a v etu noch’ – gor’kuju zelen’?

    3. Почему во все ночи мы не обмакиваем еду,
    а в эту ночь обмакиваем дважды (карпас в соленую воду и марор в харосет)?
    Pochemu vo vse nochi my ne obmakivaem edu, a v etu noch’ obmakivaem dvazhdy (karpas v solenuju vodu i maror v haroset)?

    4. Почему во все другие ночи мы можем есть и сидя прямо, и облокотившись, а в эту ночь все мы (едим и пьем) облокотившись?
    Pochemu vo vse drugie nochi my mozhem est’ i sidja prjamo, i oblokotivshis’, a v etu noch’ vse my (edim i p’em) oblokotivshis’?

  17. thank you Moshe!!

  18. Moshe: My thoughts exactly! 1/3 Jews have Russian roots and I kept scrolling waiting for the Russian! Lol… ok you forgot:

    папа дорогой, дедушка дорогой, у меня ест четыры вопроса

    Papa dorogoy, dedushka dorogoy, u menya yest chetiri voprosa.

    (don’t know how good my spelling is in Russian, I typed that myself)

    This is the equivalent of ‘Tata Leiben’, the litte introduction.

    And to everyone else: I love the Ladino! Are there communities in Brooklyn that still cultivate this language? My grandmother is Turkish and fluent in Ladino, she would be thrilled to hear.

  19. Very Cool 🙂

    The Yiddish one though needs questions #1 and #2 reversed! (That’s not a translation issue 🙂

    I guess there are variations on the Yiddish…as I always said #4 this way.

    4. Ale necht fun a gants yor esn mir say zitsndik un say ungeshpart, ober di nakht fun peysach, esn mir nor ungeshpart.

    Chag Kasher vSameach!

  20. Pingback: Our Pesach So Far « In the Pink

  21. Hey everyone! We published a book called “300 Ways to Ask the Four Questions.” We have everything you could ask for:

    English, Ladino, Ancient Egyptian from the time of the Exodus!, Klingon, Valley Girl, Zulu, Afrikaans, aboriginal languages, ancient languages from around the world.

    World renowned language experts provided many of the translations. This was a 30-year project of 2 nuts in NJ. How about a Hebrew-speaking Donald Duck? Pig Latin in English and Hebrew; a childrens language invented in Israel; lawyerese and Dr Suess styles too.

    The book comes with a CD and DVD (4 sign languages), transliterations and lots of commentary. Much fun.

    Get the book soon – we’ll probably be selling out in the near future: http://WhyIsThisNight.com

    Enjoy and have a wonderful, multilingual Pesach!

  22. Something about mah nishtana in pig latin seems so wrong 😉 hehe. I’m going to have to print this out for my seder and by golly I want mah nishtana in swedish chef style! Hergie pergie!

  23. Now add some Google translated ones so we can all have a good laugh (I think Google translate does Latin now too).

  24. A number of years ago, we started a tradition in the house of adding a new language every year. So far, we do the Mah Nishtanah in Hebrew, English, Yiddish, French, Spanish, and Arabic. this year, we’re adding Hungarian. Our guests, which are like family to us, participate in reciting a foreign language, and get a tremendous amount of accomplishment out of it.

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