All transliterations, commentary, and audio recordings are copyright © 1997, 1998, 2002, 2009 by
Jordan Lee Wagner. All rights reserved.
This zemer first appeared in print in 1545. The first words of the first three stanzas form an acrostic for Moshe, but nothing more is known of its author.
1. the attitude that all one's work is complete.
2. resulting from the physical pleasures of food, drink, relations, and leisure.
3. This could be the light of the candles, which makes a friendly home atmosphere. But the parallelism between this phrase and Esther 8:16 also makes "light" a metaphor for an abundance of goodness. An alternative reading: "Contentment and joy" ARE the "light of the Jews", implying that only when happy can the greatest spiritual light be received. The "light" may also refer to the "light sown for the righteous", visible only during Creation but preserved for the enjoyment of the righteous in the World to Come, emphasizing Shabbat's role as a weekly foretaste of the utopia to come.
4. referring to those who refrain from Sabbath's prohibited acts (as per Deuteronomy 5:12) and to those who perform its positive acts (as per Exodus 20:8). "Remembering it" can also be understood as a reference to reciting kiddush.
5. Our public acknowledgement of God's role in creation (proclaimed by our dedication to Sabbath observance) may constitute God's best evidence.
6. Without the Sabbath's periodic infusion of holiness, Creation couldn't last beyond six consecutive days.
7. Even in the purely spiritual realms there are levels of holiness.
8. The order of items listed in this verse follows the order in which they were created; each day's creative work is mentioned before that of the next.
9. Heaven was created with the letter yud, and earth with the letter hei.
10. Although "tzur" is usually translated as "Rock" (a metaphor for strength and stability), it can also connote "molder" because of its visual similarity (when written in the Hebrew alphabet) to "tza-yar". In many z'mirot, the poet clearly intends to invoke this connotation. In such contexts, "Creator", "Former", or "Molder" may be a better translation.
11. C.f., Exodus 19:5 and Deuteronomy 7:6.
12. The remainder of the song traces the course of the day from beginning to end --- from Friday night through Saturday night --- like a program. The following verses proceed from Creation, to Revelation (equated with the partnership between God and the Jews), to Redemption. Along the way, they recount details of the day's schedule in order: first Kabbalat Shabbat, then Shacharit, then Musaf, then Second Meal, and finally Third Meal and Havdallah (the welcoming of the Messiah).
13. This refers to Kabbalat Shabbat, the Friday evening service that welcomes the Sabbath.
14. a glorious poem of praise that is only inserted into the Shacharit service (the Daily Morning Service) on Sabbaths.
15. the opening words (in Ashkenazic rite) of the Kedushah (a high point) of the Musaf service (the weekly Sabbath service).
16. The Saturday morning kiddush, recited at the The Second Meal.
|Last Updated on Sunday, 27 November 2011 00:24|