The Akdamuth is traditionally chanted on the first day of Shavuot
Before reciting the Ten Commandments,
I first ask permission and approval
To start with two or three stanzas in fear
Of God who creates and ever sustains.
He has endless might, not to be described
Were the sky of parchment made,
A quill each reed, each twig and blade,
Could we with ink the oceans fill,
Were every man a scribe of skill,
The marvelous story
Of God's great glory
Would still remain untold;
For He, Most High,
The earth and sky
Created alone of old.
Without fatigue or weary hand,
He spoke the word, He breathed command;
The world and all that therein dwell,
Field and meadow, fen and fell,
Mount and sea,
In six days He
With life did then inspire;
The work when ended,
His glory ascended
Upon His throne of fire.
Before Him myriads angels flash,
To do His Will they run and dash;
Each day new hosts gleam forth to praise
The Mighty One, Ancient of Days;
Stand at their posts -
The flaming Seraphim -
In hushed awe
To chant their morning hymn.
The angels, together, without delay,
Call one to another in rapturous lay:
"Thrice holy He
Fills earth from end to end."
The Cherubim soar,
Like the Oceans's roar,
On celestial spheres ascend,
To gaze upon the Light on high,
Which, like the bow in cloudy sky,
Is iris-colored, silver-lined;
While hasting on their task assigned,
In every tongue
They utter song
And bless and praise the Lord,
Whose secret and source,
Whose light and force
Can ne'er he fully explored.
The heavenly hosts in awe reply:
"His Kingdom be blessed for e'er and aye."
Their song being hushed, they vanish away:
They may ne'er again offer rapturous lay.
Therein excel -
Fixed times they set aside,
With praise and prayer,
Him One declare,
At morn and eventide.
His portion them He made, that they
His praise declare by night and day:
A Torah, precious more than gold,
He bade them study, fast to hold;
That He may be near,
Their prayer to hear,
For always wear will He
As diadem fair
His people's prayer
In His phylactery,
Wherein is told of Israel's fame
Who oft God's unity proclaim.
'Tis also meet God's praise to sing
In presence of both prince and king.
— Translation from Sabbath and Festival Prayer Book, edited by Morris Silverman with Robert Gordis, 1946. USCJ and RA, 185-88.