Yedid Nefesh

Morocco-Algeria

Iraq

About the Piyut

This piyut, which holds a highly respected place among the traditions of Jewish liturgy, was written by R. Elazar Azkari, a philosopher and ethicist who was a major figure among the mystics of 16th century Tzfat.

The poet himself defined his piyut as “a supplication for union and the desire of love” and it is indeed sung by all communities at times of great emotional and spiritual awakenings, such as the dawn hour, the welcoming of the Shabbat or the third meal of Shabbat.

The poem is imbued with love, longing and emotion and it reflects the sensitive and mystical tendencies of the author.

Another noteworthy fact is that the acrostic is the tetragrammaton, God’s ineffable name, and not, as is customary, the author’s name. This again reflects the deep spiritual feelings of the author.

Yedid Nefesh can be found on the recordings of Piyutim North America. The author is Rabbi Elazar Azkari, Tzfat, 16th Century.

Lyrics

Transliteration

Yedid nefesh av harachaman meshoch avdach el retzonach
Yarutz avdach kemo ayal yishtachaveh el mul hadarach
Ki ye’erav lo yedidutach minofet tzuf vechol ta’am
Hadur na’eh ziv haolam nafshi cholat ahavatach
Ana el na refa na lah beharot lah noam zivach
Az titchazek vetitrapeh vehayta lach shifchat olam
Vatik yehemu rachamecha vechusa na al ben ahuvach
Ki zeh khameh nichsof nichsaf lirot betiferet uzach
Ana Eli machmad libi chusha na ve’al titalam
Higaleh na u’fros haviv alai et sukkat shelomach
Tair eretz mikevodach nagila venismecha bach
Maher ahuv ki ba moed vechonenu kimei olam

Translation

Beloved of my soul, Merciful Father / draw your servant after your will
Your servant would run swift as a deer / to kneel before Your splendor
For Your love is sweeter to him / than honey nectar and all pleasing savor
Exalted Glorious Beautiful Light of the World / my soul is love-sick for You
Please, My God, please heal her / by showing her the beauty of Your radiance
Then she will be strengthened and healed / and be Your maidservant forever
Ancient One arouse Your mercy / spare the son of Your beloved friend
For he has a long time longed to behold / the magnificence Your might
Please, My God, My Heart’s Delight, / oh come quickly do not forsake me
Reveal Yourself my dearest / and spread over me Your canopy of peace
Let the earth be illuminated with Your glory / let us be delighted and rejoice in You
Make haste my beloved for the time has come / show me Your favor as in the days of old

Singers

Musicians

Production

  • Musical Direction and Arrangements: Yair Harel and Omer Avital
  • Production: Ari Priven, Yair Harel and Omer Avital
  • Mixing and editing: Daniel Freedman
  • Mastered by: Randy Merrill at Masterdisk
  • Recorded at B’nai Jeshurun, New York City, July 2010