Etz Hayim


עֵץ חַיִּים הִיא
etz high-eem hee
It is a tree of life

לַמַּחְַזִיקִים בָּהּ
la-ma-ha zi-keem baa
for those who hold fast to it

וְתֹמְכֶיהָ מְאֻשָׁר
veh-tom-hey-ha may-oo-shar
and those who uphold it are happy

דְרָכֶיהָ דַרְכֵי נֹעַם
deh-rah-hay-ha dar-hay no-aam
Its ways are pleasant

וְכָל נְתִיבוֹתֶיהָ שׁלוֹם
vay-hole na-tee-voh-tay-ha sha-lome
and all of its paths peaceful

הֲשִׁיבִנוּ יהוה

ha-shee-vay-noo Yahuweh
Return us to you, Yahuweh

אֵלֶיךָ וֵנָשׁוּבָה
elay-ha vay-nah-shoo-vah
so that we shall return


חַדֵּשׁ יָמִינוּ
haa-desh yaa-may-noo
renew our days

חַדֵּשׁ יָמִינוּ כְּקֶדֶם
haa-desh yaa-may-noo keh-keh-dem
renew our days as of old

Etz Hayim, also transliterated as Eitz Chaim (עץ חיים Etz Ḥayyim, meaning “Tree of Life”), is a common term used in Judaism. The expression can be found in Genesis 2:9, referring to the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden. It is also found in the Book of Proverbs, where it is figuratively applied to “the Torah” Proverbs 3:18, “the fruit of a righteous man” Proverbs 11:30, “a desire fulfilled” Proverbs 13:12, and “healing tongue” Proverbs 15:4

The term Etz Chaim (plural: עצי חיים Atzei Chaim) is also used to describe each of the wooden poles to which the parchment of a Sefer Torah is attached. A hymn including the aforementioned verse Proverbs 3:18 (Etz ḥayim hi lamaḥaziqim bah, v’tomkheha m’ushar) is sung in all Ashkenazi rites as the Torah is returned to the ark.

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