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Yedid Nefesh

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Yedid Nefesh (Hebrew: יְדִיד נֶפֶש y’did nefesh) is the title of a piyyut. It is usually sung on the Jewish Sabbath.

Traditions and origin

Some sing it between Minchah (afternoon prayer) of Friday and the beginning of Kabbalat Shabbat (literally: receiving or greeting the Sabbath — a collection of psalms usually sung to welcome in the Shabbat queen, as it were, the restful contentment that descends from above during nightfall on Friday).

It is sung by many Jews during Seudah Shlishit (the third meal on Shabbat; the first is on Friday night, the second on Saturday lunch, and the third on Saturday before nightfall). This beautiful poem was originally written by the sixteenth century kabbalist, Rabbi Elazar Azikri, the author of Sefer Charedim. His philosophy centred around the intense love one must feel for God, a theme that is evident in this piyyut (see references). The first letters of each of the four verses make up the four letter name of God, known in English as the tetragrammaton.


Follow these links to hear a couple of versions:


The words are as follows:

Transliteration English translation Original Hebrew

Verse 1

Yedid Nefesh av harachaman, Beloved of the soul, Compassionate Father, ידיד נפש אב הרחמן
meshoch avdechah el retzonechah, draw Your servant to Your Will; משוך עבדך אל רצונך
ya'arutz avdechah kmo ayal, then Your servant will hurry like a hart ירוץ עבדך כמו איל
yishtachave el mul hadarecha, to bow before Your majesty; ישתחוה אל מול הדרך
ye-erav lo yedidotecha, to him Your friendship will be sweeter יערב לו ידידותיך
minofet tzuf v'chol ta-am. than the dripping of the honeycomb and any taste. מנפת צוף וכל טעם

Verse 2

Hadur na-e ziv ha-ōlom, Majestic, Beautiful, Radiance of the universe, הדור נאה זיו העולם
nafshi cholat ahavatecha, my soul pines [lit: is sick for] for your love. נפשי חולת אהבתך
ana el na r'fa na lah, Please, O G-d, heal her now אנא אל נא רפא נא לה
b'harot lah noam zivecha, by showing her the pleasantness of Your radiance; בהראות לה נעם זיוך
az teet-chazeik v'titrapei, then she will be strengthened and healed, אז תתחזק ותתרפא
v'hayta lah simchat olam and eternal gladness will be hers. והיתה לה שמחת עולם

Verse 3

Vatik yehemu na rachamecha, Enduring One, may Your mercy be aroused ותיק יהמו נא רחמיך
v'chuso na al bein ahuvecha, and please take pity on the son of Your beloved, וחוסה נא על בן אהובך
ki ze kama nichsof nichsafti, because it is so very long that I have yearned intensely כי זה כמה נכסף נכספתי
lir'ot m'heiro b'tiferet uzecha, to see speedily to splendour of Your strength; לראת מהרה בתפארת עזך
eile chamdah libi, only these my heart desired, אלה חמדה לבי
v'chuso na v'al tit-alom. so please take pity and do not conceal Yourself וחוסה נא ואל תתעלם

Verse 4

Higalei na ufros chavivi alai, Please, my Beloved, reveal Yourself and spread upon me הגלה נא ופרש חביבי עלי
et sukat shlomecha, the shelter of Your peace; את סכת שלומך
ta-ir eretz mich'vodecha, illuminate the Earth with Your glory, תאיר ארץ מכבודך
nagila v'nism'cha bach. that we may rejoice and be glad with You; נגילה ונשמחה בך
Maheir ehov ki va mo-ed, hasten, show love, for the time has come, מהר אהוב כי בא מועד
v'chaneinu kimei olom. and show us grace as in days of old. וחננו כימי עולם


  • Siddur Rinat Yisrael - Hotza'at Moreshet, p. 180
  • Siddur Sim Shalom, RA/USCJ, p. 252
  • The Complete Artscroll Siddur (סדור קול יעקב) — Nosson Scherman, Meir Zlotowitz, Sheah Brander — Mesorah Publications, p591.
  • Artscroll Transliterated Linear Siddur, Sabbath and Festival (סדור זכרון אברהם) — Nosson Scherman, Benjamin Yudin, Sheah Brander — Mesorah Publications, p82.
  • The Essential Shiron-Birkon — Feldheim, p90.
  • The NCSY Bencher — Rothman Foundation, p51.

=External links


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