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Come, my Beloved, to greet the bride; Beloved, come to greet Shabbat!


ש  “Observe” and “remember” in a single utterance

The one and only God caused us to hear.

Adonai is One and God’s name is One

For renown, for glory and for praise.


ל  Come let us go forth and welcome Shabbat

For she is the source of blessing.

From the very beginning she was honored:

Last to be created but first in the imagination of the Creator.


מ  Sanctuary of the King, City of Kings:

Arise and leave behind your ruins!

Long enough have you dwelt in the valley of weeping

God will have mercy upon you.


ה  Lift yourself up! Arise from the dust!

Put on the clothing of your glory, my people! {Isaiah 52:1-2 “Awake, awake, put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city…Shake thyself from the dust; arise… O Jerusalem; loose from thyself the bands around thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion.”}

Redemption for my soul is approaching

Through a descendant of Jesse the Bethlehemite. {Jesse was the father of King David, a descendant of whom was to be anointed (Hebrew: mashiach) king in Jerusalem, heralding the end of our exile.}


ה  Awake! Awake!

Your light has come: rise up and shine!

Arise! Arise! burst out in song

For the glory of Adonai has dawned upon you. {Isaiah 60:1 “Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of Adonai is risen upon thee.”}


ל  No longer be ashamed or degraded.

Why should you be downcast? Why should you groan?

The afflicted of My people shall take shelter in You,

O City rebuilt on its ancient ruins!


ו  Those who scavenged your ruins shall themselves be scavenged,

And those who devoured you will be scattered.

Your God will take joy in you

As a bridegroom rejoices in his bride.


י  You shall spread outward to the right and the left,

And extol the might of Adonai.

Through a descendant of Peretz {Another reference to the Davidic line that began with Peretz, the son of Judah and grandson of Jacob.}

Shall we be glad and rejoice. {Many of us are familiar with the Hebrew words v’nis-mecha v’nagila, because they have been incorporated into the modern Hebrew song Hava Nagila.}


Enter in peace, O crown of her husband;

Enter in joy and in gladness.

Into the midst of God’s faithful people

Enter, O bride! Enter, O bride!



This poem, at the very beginning of the Shabbat evening service, was composed in the 16th century by the kabbalist {Kabbalah - Wikipedia} Rabbi Shlomo Halevi Alkabetz. A letter of his name begins each stanza, forming an alphabetical acrostic שלמה הלוי 

The poem envisions Shabbat as a beautiful bride whom we welcome with love as she approaches. 

Even so do we consider God to be the Jewish people’s Beloved, as in the refrain, “Come, my Beloved, to greet the bride; Beloved, come to greet Shabbat!” 

Alkabetz, Rabbi Isaac Luria, and Rabbi Joseph Karo were outstanding medieval scholars whose academy was at Safed, in northern Israel. (Safed remains to this day a renowned center of Jewish mysticism.) 

In the Talmud (Tracate Shabbat 119a), the sages of old are depicted as wrapping themselves in holy garments and going forth to greet Shabbat with expressions of joy. It is upon this description that Alkabetz based his beautiful poem. 

“Keep” and “remember” in a single utterance: in the Book of Exodus, we are bidden to rememberzachor the Sabbath day to keep it holy; but in Deuteronomy’s version of the Ten Commandments we are bidden to oberveshamor the Sabbath. Which verb did God actually use? No problem, say the rabbis. God was, and is, capable of speaking both words in a single utterance! 

At the conclusion of the song it is customary for the entire congregation to face the door and bow as they chant the words bo-ee kala, bo-ee kala—“Enter, O bride! Enter, O bride!”

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