Lecha Dodi III
The remaining seven stanzas of Lechoh Dodi are divided into three parts.
Part 1: Mikdash Melech…Hitnaari…and Hitoreri…all advance words of consolation, hope and renewal of Jerusalem from a state of exile. We implore Jerusalem, the throne of Hashem to arise from her desolation, cloak herself with splendor and prepare for the coming of the Eternal Redemption led by Moshiach, ‘BenYishai Beit Halachmi’.
Part 2: Lo Tayvoshi…Vehayu Lemishisah…and Yamin Usmohl… are a collection of phrases taken from the redemptive prophecies of the navi Yeshayahu. These stanzas foretell the eventual rebuilding, celebration, and expansion of the holy city of Jerusalem.
Part 3: The final stanza Boee Beshalom is chanted with extra joy and fervor. The custom is to turn around and face the west as the sun is setting and acknowledge the Shechinah – G-d’s presence which has arrived.
In his Siddur, Beit Yaakov, Rav Yaakov Emden writes that at the conclusion of the stanza we bow three times. First to the left (towards the right of the Shechinah) and recite Boi Kallah, then to the right and recite Boi Kallah and finally to the center and recite Boi Shabbat Malkitah (Queen). He explains that like a Kallah(Bride) before the Shechinah ascends the throne, she is a Kallah, but once she arrives in the palace she is crowned Malkita, as a queen.
Several times in our studies of Kabbalat Shabbat, we have compared Shabbat to a bride/queen. It is noteworthy that in the 6th stanza we recite Yosis Alayich Elokayich Kimsos Chattan Al Kallah – G-d will rejoice with you like a groom rejoices with his newly beloved bride – what an image!
Concluding thought: In the Nefesh Hacahaim Shaar II,Rav Chaim Voloshiner writes that when we daven we should not merely focus on our own needs, but also the honor and dignity of Hashem. When the Jewish Nation is downtrodden and in exile, it is an embarrassment to G-d. During Lechoh Dodi, we not only greet the Shabbat and the Shechinah, but we also encounter the joy of seeing the pride (so to speak) and glory of Hashem revealed Kimsos Chattan Al Kallah – like a groom with his bride.
Take Home Tip: In the merit of our singing Lechoh Dodi with joy, may we see the fruition of the prophetic words soon in our days.
Rabbi Ephraim Epstein, Congregation Sons of Israel, Cherry Hill, New Jersey for Tefillah Tips
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