Friday, March 15, 2013

Greeting Shabbat With Beautiful Melodies: A Very Unusual Lecha Dodi


The Shabbat Song Project is an Israeli effort to spread the light of Shabbat, with popular singers performing traditional Shabbat melodies with new and eclectic arrangements. The arrangers and singers deserve a lot of credit for their creativity and use of a wide range of instruments and musical styles to present in a new light songs that we usually hear only inside a synagogue.

We're bringing you a few of their beautiful renditions on Fridays, when we prepare to welcome Shabbat. Last week we posted Yedid Nefesh, a piyyut (poem) usually sung on Friday night just before the Kabbalat Shabbat (Welcoming Shabbat) service begins.

Today we continue the series with a very unusual version of Lecha Dodi, an integral part of the Kabbalat Shabbat service.

According to Wikipedia, Lecha Dodi means "come my beloved," and is a request of a mysterious "beloved" that could mean either God or one's friend(s) to join together in welcoming Shabbat that is referred to as the "bride": likrat kallah ("to greet the [Shabbat] bride"). During the singing of the last verse, the entire congregation rises and turns to the open door, to greet "Queen Shabbat" as she arrives.

It was composed in the 16th century Ottoman Empire city of Edirne by Rabbi Shlomo Halevi Alkabetz, a Safed Kabbalist. As was common at the time, the song is also an acrostic, with the first letter of the first eight stanzas spelling the author's name. The author draws much of his phraseology from Isaiah's prophecy of Israel's restoration, and six of his verses are full of the thoughts to which his vision of Israel as the bride on that great Shabbat of Messianic deliverance gives rise. It is one of the latest of the Hebrew poems regularly accepted into the liturgy, both in the southern use, which the author followed, and in the more distant northern rite.
 
The lyrics, in Hebrew, with English translation and transliteration, appear below the video:

(A SPECIAL NOTE FOR NEW EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS:  THE VIDEO MAY NOT BE VIEWABLE DIRECTLY FROM THE EMAIL THAT YOU GET EACH DAY ON SOME COMPUTERS AND TABLETS.  YOU MUST CLICK ON THE TITLE AT THE TOP OF THE EMAIL TO REACH THE JEWISH HUMOR CENTRAL WEBSITE, FROM WHICH YOU CLICK ON THE PLAY BUTTON IN THE VIDEO IMAGE TO START THE VIDEO.)


   
# English translation Transliteration Hebrew
Chorus:
1 Let’s go, my beloved, to meet the bride, Lekhah dodi liqrat kallah לכה דודי לקראת כלה
2 and let us welcome the presence of Shabbat. p'nei Shabbat neqabelah פני שבת נקבלה
Verse 1:
3 "Observe" and "recall" in a single utterance, Shamor v'zakhor b'dibur eḥad שמור וזכור בדבור אחד
4 We were made to hear by the unified God, hishmiʿanu El hameyuḥad השמיענו אל המיחד
5 God is one and God’s Name is one, Adonai eḥad ushemo eḥad יי אחד ושמו אחד
6 In fame and splendor and praiseful song. L'Sheim ulitiferet v'lit'hilah לשם ולתפארת ולתהלה
Verse 2:
7 To greet Shabbat let’s go, let’s travel, Liqrat Shabbat lekhu v'nelekhah לקראת שבת לכו ונלכה
8 For she is the wellspring of blessing, ki hi maqor haberakhah כי היא מקור הברכה
9 From the start, from ancient times she was chosen, merosh miqedem nesukhah מראש מקדם נסוכה
10 Last made, but first planned. sof maʿaseh b'maḥashavah teḥilah סוף מעשה במחשבה תחלה
Verse 3:
11 Sanctuary of the king, royal city, Miqdash melekh ʿir melukhah מקדש מלך עיר מלוכה
12 Arise! Leave from the midst of the turmoil; Qumi tze'i mitokh ha-hafeikhah קומי צאי מתוך ההפכה
13 Long enough have you sat in the valley of tears Rav lakh shevet b'ʿeimeq habakha רב לך שבת בעמק הבכא
14 And He will take great pity upon you compassionately. v'hu yaḥamol ʿalayikh ḥemlah והוא יחמול עליך חמלה
Verse 4:
15 Shake yourself free, rise from the dust, Hitnaʿari me'afar qumi התנערי מעפר קומי
16 Dress in your garments of splendor, my people, Livshi bigdei tifartekh ʿami לבשי בגדי תפארתך עמי
17 By the hand of Jesse’s son of Bethlehem, ʿAl yad ben Yishai beit ha-laḥmi על יד בן ישי בית הלחמי
18 Redemption draws near to my soul. Qorvah el nafshi g'alah קרבה אל נפשי גאלה
Verse 5:
19 Rouse yourselves! Rouse yourselves! Hitʿoreri hitʿoreri התעוררי התעוררי
20 Your light is coming, rise up and shine. Ki va oreikh qumi ori כי בא אורך קומי אורי
21 Awaken! Awaken! utter a song, ʿUri ʿuri shir dabeiri עורי עורי שיר דברי
22 The glory of the Lord is revealed upon you. K'vod Adonai ʿalayikh niglah כבוד יי עליך נגלה
Verse 6:
23 Do not be embarrassed! Do not be ashamed! Lo tivoshi v'lo tikalmi לא תבושי ולא תכלמי
24 Why be downcast? Why groan? Mah tishtoḥai umah tehemi מה תשתוחחי ומה תהמי
25 All my afflicted people will find refuge within you bakh yeḥesu ʿaniyei ʿami בך יחסו עניי עמי
26 And the city shall be rebuilt on her hill. v'nivnetah ʿir ʿal tilah ונבנתה עיר על תלה
Verse 7:
27 Your despoilers will become your spoil, V'hayu limshisah shosayikh והיו למשסה שאסיך
28 Far away shall be any who would devour you, V'raḥaqu kol mevalʿayikh ורחקו כל מבלעיך
29 Your God will rejoice concerning you, Yasis ʿalayikh Elohayikh ישיש עליך אלהיך
30 As a groom rejoices over a bride. Kimsos ḥatan ʿal kalah כמשוש חתן על כלה
Verse 8:
31 To your right and your left you will burst forth, Yamin usmol tifrotzi ימין ושמאל תפרוצי
32 And the Lord will you revere V'et Adonai taʿaritzi ואת יי תעריצי
33 By the hand of a child of Perez, ʿAl yad ish ben Partzi על יד איש בן פרצי
34 We will rejoice and sing happily. V'nismeḥah v'nagilah ונשמחה ונגילה
Verse 9:
35 Come in peace, crown of her husband, Boi v'shalom ateret baʿalah בואי בשלום עטרת בעלה
36 Both in happiness and in jubilation Gam b'simḥah uvetzahalah גם בשמחה ובצהלה
37 Amidst the faithful of the treasured nation Tokh emunei ʿam segulah תוך אמוני עם סגלה
38 Come O Bride! Come O Bride! Boi khalah boi khalah בואי כלה בואי כלה


Project Shabbat Project Manager: Ronnie Ayalon
Artistic direction: Guttman Foundation
Musical producer: Israel Kassif
Photographer: Ofer Shechtman
Editor: Gideon Mosiknsky and songs Alzra
Sound: Roy Geva
After Effects: Danny Ben-Yaacov
Artists: Ilan Damari, Roi Levy, Nadav Bachar, Rabbi Oded David, Tamir Yamin, Neria Moyal, Shahar Ariel, Ehud Ariel, Eyal Maoz, Yaniv Ahiel, Ofer Shechtman, Omer Horvitz, Ronen Tessie, Israel Kasif, Micha Michaeli, Gil Ladin, Fishi Hagadol