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יְדִיד נֶפֶשׁ | Yedid Nefesh, translation by Rabbi Levi Weiman-Kelman & Shaul Vardi


יְדִיד נֶפֶשׁ אָב הָרַחֲמָן,
מְשֹׁךְ עַבְדָּךְ אֶל רְצוֹנָךְ,
יָרוּץ עַבְדָּךְ כְּמוֹ אַיָּל,
יִשְׁתַּחֲוֶה מוּל הֲדָרָךְ,
כִּי יֶעֱרַב לוֹ יְדִידוּתָךְ,
מִנֹּפֶת צוּף וְכָל טַעַם.
י O most dearly beloved! O merciful father!
Draw me, your slave, toward your will;
your slave will run like a gazelle
to prostrate himself before your splendor.
Your companionship will be as pleasing to him
as honey and nectar and every good savor.

הָדוּר נָאֶה זִיו הָעוֹלָם,
נַפְשִׁי חוֹלַת אַהֲבָתָךְ,
אָנָּא אֵל נָא רְפָא נָא לָהּ,
בְּהַרְאוֹת לָהּ נֹעַם זִיוָךְ,
אָז תִּתְחַזֵּק וְתִתְרַפֵּא,
וְהָיְתָה לָךְ שִׁפְחַת עוֹלָם.
ה O most splendid! O light of the world!
My soul is ill from love of you.
Please, my El, please heal her[1]cf. Numbers 12:13.
by showing her the beauty of your light.
Then she will be strengthened, and she will be healed,
and she will have eternal joy.

וָתִיק יֶהֱמוּ רַחֲמֶיךָ,
וְחוּסָה נָא עַל בֶּן אוֹהֲבָךְ,
כִּי זֶה כַמָּה נִכְסֹף נִכְסַף,
לִרְאוֹת בְּתִפְאֶרֶת עֻזָּךְ,
אָנָּא, אֵלִי, מַחֲמַד לִבִּי,
חוּשָׁה נָא וְאַל תִּתְעַלָּם.
ו O most faithful! Arouse your mercy!
Have pity on your beloved child,
for how much how much! ­
have I longed to gaze upon your mighty splendor.
This is my heart’s desire:
have pity and do not disregard me.

הִגָּלֶה נָא וּפְרֹשׂ, חָבִיב,
עָלַי אֶת סֻכַּת שְׁלוֹמָךְ
תָּאִיר אֶרֶץ מִכְּבוֹדָךְ,
נָגִילָה וְנִשְׂמְחָה בָּךְ,
מַהֵר, אָהוּב, כִּי בָא מוֹעֵד,
וְחָנֵּנִי כִּימֵי עוֹלָם.
ה Be revealed, my beloved,
and spread the canopy of your peace over me.
Illumine the earth with your glory;
we will rejoice and be glad in you.
Hurry, beloved, for the time has come.
Be gracious to us for eternity.

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”[2]Stefan C. Reif, The Hebrew Manuscripts at Cambridge University Libraries: A Description and Introduction Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997, page 93. 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 and translation of Yedid Nefesh here can be found in HaAvodah SheBaLev – the Service of the Heart (Kehilat Kol HaNeshama, Jerusalem, 2007). “Adonai” is used as a circumlocution for the Tetragrammaton in the English translation. I have replaced God with ‘El.’ –Aharon Varady.

Source(s)

Notes   [ + ]

  1. cf. Numbers 12:13.
  2. 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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