Poetry, Religious Texts

“Sabbath, My Love” by Yehudah Halevi (1075-1141)

ריהל ראלי.jpg

“Sholom Loch Yom ha-Shevi-i” (Sabbath, My Love) is a celebration of the Sabbath Day by the 12th-century Spanish Jew Yehudah (Judah) Halevi.

Halevi was a philosopher, a poet, and a physician. The Kuzari, Halevi’s dialogue in defense of Judaism, is considered to be one the greatest philosophical works of the Middle Ages. Halevi’s meditations on Jewish religious and national identity are set against the backdrops of Reconquista Spain and a Jerusalem recently captured by Crusaders.

Sabbath, My Love (Trans. Solomon Solis-Cohen)

I greet my love with wine and gladsome lay;
Welcome, thrice welcome, joyous Seventh Day!

Six slaves the weekdays are; I share
With them a round of toil and care,
Yet light the burdens seem, I bear
For your sweet sake, Sabbath, my love!

On the First-day to the accustomed task
I go content, nor reward ask,
Save in your smile, at length, to bask —
Day blessed of God, Sabbath, my love!

Is the Second-day dull, the Third-day unbright?
Hide sun and stars from the Fourth-day’s sight?
What need I care, who have your light,
Orb of my life, Sabbath, my love!

The Fifth-day, joyful tidings ring:
“The morrow shall your freedom bring!”
At dawn a slave, at eve a king —
God’s table waits, Sabbath, my love!

On the Sixth-day does my cup overflow,
What blissful rest the night shall know,
When, in your arms, my toil and woe
Are all forgotten, Sabbath, my love!

Now it’s dusk. With sudden light distilled
From one sweet face, the world is filled;
The tumult of my heart is stilled —
For you have arrived, Sabbath, my love!

Bring fruits and wine, and sing a cheerful lay,
Chant: “Come in peace, O blissful Seventh Day!”

1 thought on ““Sabbath, My Love” by Yehudah Halevi (1075-1141)”

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