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Hymn for the Sabbath Eve

(Friday Sundown)

by Rabbi Isaac Luria, the Ari Zaal

I sing in hymns
to enter the gates
of the Field
of holy apples.

A new table
we prepare for Her,
a lovely candelabrum
sheds its light upon us.

Between right and left
the Bride approaches,
in holy jewels
and festive garments.

Her Husband embraces Her
in Her foundation,
giving Her pleasure,
squeezing out his strength.

Torment and trouble
are ended.
Now there are joyous faces
and spirits and souls.

He gives Her great joy
in twofold measure.
Light shines upon Her
and streams of blessing.

Bridesmen go forth
and prepare the Bride's adornments,
food of various kinds
all manner of fish.

To beget souls
and new spirits
on the thirty-two paths
and three branches.

She has seventy crowns
and the supernal King,
that all may be crowned
in the Holy of Holies.

All the worlds are engraved
and concealed within Her,
but all shine forth
from the "Ancient of Days."

May it be His will
that He dwell among His people,
who take joy for His sake
with sweets and honey.

In the south I set
the hidden candelabrum,
I make room in the north
for the table with the loaves.

With wine in beakers
and boughs of myrtle
to fortify the Betrothed,
to strengthen the weak.

We plait them wreaths
of precious words
for the crowning of the seventy
in fifty gates.

Let the Shekhinah be adorned
by six Sabbath loaves
connected on every side
with the Heavenly Sanctuary.

Weakened and cast out
the impure powers,
the menacing demons
are now in fetters.

From: Safed Spirituality
Lawrence Fine, Translator
Paulist Press, 1984


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page uploaded 15 March 1999