Every Friday on Erev Shabbat the evening before Shabbat, for hundreds of years the Jewish communities in Ashkenazi (the German-speaking, northern Europe) and Sephardic (Spain. Portugal and Orient) synagogues were singing the song Lecha Dodi („and let go , my friend“), which welcomes at dusk the Jewish day of rest. Just as God in the Creation story was resting after he had finished his work, also the man, his creation, has to rest on the same day of the week and should stay away from any physical effort.
וַיְכַ֤ל אֱלֹהִים֙ בַּיֹּ֣ום הַשְּׁבִיעִ֔י מְלַאכְתֹּ֖ו אֲשֶׁ֣ר עָשָׂ֑ה וַיִּשְׁבֹּת֙ בַּיֹּ֣ום הַשְּׁבִיעִ֔י מִכָּל־מְלַאכְתֹּ֖ו אֲשֶׁ֥ר עָשָֽׂה׃ וַיְבָ֤רֶךְ אֱלֹהִים֙ אֶת־יֹ֣ום הַשְּׁבִיעִ֔י וַיְקַדֵּ֖שׁ אֹתֹ֑ו כִּ֣י בֹ֤ו שָׁבַת֙ מִכָּל־מְלַאכְתֹּ֔ו אֲשֶׁר־בָּרָ֥א אֱלֹהִ֖ים לַעֲשֹֽׂות׃
On the seventh day God finished the work that He had been doing, and He ceased on the seventh day from all the work that He had done. And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because on it God ceased from all the work of creation that He had done. (Genesis 2.1-3)
The song itself was composed in the 16th Century by Rabbi Shlomo Halewi-Alkabez in Safed in nowadays Israel. It consists of nine stanzas, while the first letter of the first eight stanzas reveals the acrostic of the author. In the last verse traditionally the entire Jewish community rotates to the entrance and bows to greet the Shabbat.
The content of the song regards to the biblical visions of Isaiah from a new Israel, which in the Messianic time is erected together with his bride, the people of Israel. Furthermore, the text also symbolizes the yearning for the messianic redemption of the people of Israel. Moreover, it reflects a practice, which the rabbis in Safed exercised: Influenced by Talmudic Stories (tractate Shabbat 119a) the rabbis went each Erev Shabbat to the fields outside of Safed in order to welcome the Shabbat and its bride with prayers and meditations.
Diwon, an Orthodox Jew and DJ from New York, took this sacred song, which has been dubbed already in various versions, and packed it in a modern guise. With the new disco graphicc sounds he not only attracts many people to his concerts, but also on his myspace and on his Youtube channel. On his official website he additionally offers all his mix tapes for free download.
This article is a translation of the original German text that I posted yesterday and that Yorit was interested to read in English. Thanks Yorit for the interest in my work.