בסיעתא דשמיא

ידיד נפש | Yedid Nefesh – You who love my soul (translation by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi)

"Orchard at Sunset" (credit: "Public Domain Pictures", license CC0)

Orchard at Sunset” (credit: “Public Domain Pictures”, license CC0)


יְדִיד נֶפֶשׁ אָב הָרַחֲמָן,
מְשׁוֹךְ עַבְדְּךְ אֶל רְצוֹנָךְ,
יָרוּץ עַבְדְּךְ כְמוֹ אַיָּל,
יִשְתַּחֲוֶה אֶל מוּל הֲדָרֶךְ,
יֶעֱרַב לוֹ יְדִידוֹתֶיךָ,
מִנֹּפֶת צוּף וְכָל טָעַם:‏
י You who love my soul
Compassion’s gentle source,
Take my disposition and shape it to Your will.
Like a darting deer I will flee to You.
Before Your glorious Presence Humbly I do bow.
Let Your sweet love
Delight me with its thrill
Because no other dainty
Will my hunger still.

הָדוּר נָאֶה זִיו הָעוֹלָם,
נַפְשִׁי חוֹלַת אַהֲבָתֶךָ,
אָנָא אֵל נָא רְפָא נָא לָהּ,
בְּהַרְאוֹת לָהּ נֹעַם זִיוֶךָ,
אָז תִּתְחַזֵּק וְתִתְרַפֵּא,
וְהָיְתָה לָּהּ שִֹמְחַת עוֹלָם:‏
ה How splendid is Your light
Which worlds do reflect!
My soul is worn from craving
For Your love’s delight.
Please, good God, do heal her
And show to her Your face,
So my soul can see You
And bathe in Your grace.
There she will find strength
And healing in this sight.
Her joy will be complete then
Eternal her delight.

וָתִיק יֶהֱמוּ רַחֲמֶיךָ,
וְחוּסָה נָא עַל בֵּן אֲהוּבֶךָ,
כִּי זֶה כַּמָּה נִכְסוֹף נִכְסַפְתִּי
לִרְאוֹת בְּתִפְאֶרֶת עֻזֶּךָ,
אֵלֶּה, חָמְדָה לִבִּי,
וְחוּסָה נָּא וְאַל תִּתְעַלָּם:‏
ו What pity stirs in You
Since days of old, my God!
Be kind to me Your own child
Begotten by Your love.
For long and longing hours
I yearned for Your embrace
To see my light in Your light
Basking in Your grace.
My heart’s desire is
To harmonize with Yours
Do not conceal Your pity
Hide not that light of Yours.

הִגָּלֶה נָא וּפְרוֹס חָבִיבִי עָלַי
אֶת סֻכַת שְׁלוֹמֶךָ,
תָּאִיר אֶרֶץ מִכְּבוֹדֶךָ,
נָגִילָה וְנִשְׂמְחָה בָּךְ,
מַהֵר אָהוּב כִּי בָא מוֹעֵד,
וְחָנֵּנוּ כִּימֵי עוֹלָם:‏
ה Help, my Lover, spread
Your canopy of peace.
Enfold all human beings
Give all pain surcease.
Your presence on this earth plane
Do make known to us
And we shall respond then
With song and with dance.
Rush, my love, be quick,
The time for love is now,
Let Your gentle favor
Grace us as of old…

Yedid Nefesh is a piyyut of uncertain authorship. Rabbi Elazar Moshe Azikri (1533-1600) included the piyyut in his Sefer Haḥaredim (1588). (The images below are of pages with Yedid Nefesh handwritten by Azikri.) A version of the piyyut “with noteworthy text, spelling and pointing” may be found on folio 146 (verso) of Samuel b. David b. Solomon’s Commentary On the Book of Numbers (ca. 1437 CE). Presumably, this text was added to the 15th century manuscript sometime in the 17th century after the popularization of Yedid Nefesh. The piyyut has since appeared with a number of variations in various siddurim. The variation of the piyyut shared above is sourced from the Nusaḥ ha-ARI of Rav Schenur Zalman of Liadi, transcribed by Shmuel Gonzales from the Siddur Torah Ohr.

Stefan C. Reif, The Hebrew Manuscripts at Cambridge University Libraries: A Description and Introduction Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997, page 93.

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