Friday, March 8, 2013

Welcoming Shabbat With Beautiful Melodies: "Yedid Nefesh"


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 intend to bring you a few of their beautiful renditions on Fridays, when we prepare to welcome Shabbat. The first in this series is Yedid Nefesh, a piyyut (poem) usually sung on Friday night just before the Kabbalat Shabbat (Welcoming Shabbat) service begins.

According to Wikipedia, this beautiful poem is commonly attributed to the sixteenth century kabbalist, Rabbi Elazar ben Moshe Azikri (1533-1600), who first published it in Sefer Charedim (published in Venice 1601), but Azikri did not claim authorship of it and there have been other suggested authors (e.g. Judah Halevi, or Israel Nagara). The Hebrew Manuscripts at Cambridge University Libraries by Stefan C. Reif (1997, page 93) refers to an appearance of Yedid Nefesh in the Commentary On the Book of Numbers by Samuel ben David ben Solomon, a manuscript dated to about 1438—long before Azikri's birth. Azikri's philosophy centered around the intense love one must feel for God, a theme that is evident in this piyyut. The first letters of each of the four verses make up the four letter name of God, known in English as the tetragrammaton.

The artists appearing in this video are Ilan Damari, Roi Levy, Nadav Bachar, Rabbi Oded David, Tamir right, Neria Moyal, Shahar Ariel, Ehud Ariel, Eyal Maoz, Yaniv Ahiel, Ofer Shechtman, Omer Horvitz, Ronen Tessie, Israel Kasif, and Michael Michaeli.


Enjoy and Shabbat Shalom! 

(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.)