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Lecha Dodi

Judaism's most popular Shabbat prayer-song,
composed by Rabbi Shlomo Alkebetz

translation and commentary by Rabbi Moshe Miller


Stanza 9

To right and left you'll spread abroad,
And the Eternal One you shall laud.
Through the man from Peretz's family,
We shall rejoice and sing happily.


To right and left you'll spread abroad: During the six days of the week malchut receives from netzach and hod of Zeir Anpin. On Shabbat malchut breaks through her limitations and receives directly from the right and left - from chesed and gevura.[1] Alternatively, this refers to the rectification of Paran (Ishmael), the chesed of the kelipa - and Seir (Esau), the gevura of the kelipa in the future.[2]

To right and left you'll spread abroad: As in Isaiah 54:3. The word "tifrotzi" has the connotation of bursting forth, rather than merely spreading out. It derives from the same root as the name Peretz, the son of Judah, who "burst forth" from the womb of his mother (see Gen. 38:29). The Talmud (Shabbat 118a) remarks that this signifies the limitless inheritance that we will receive in the future by virtue of Jacob, who embodies the attribute of tiferet. Tiferet unites chesed and gevura, referred to as right and left in kabbala.[3]

At present all holiness is nourished by the right column only, whereas unholiness sucks energy from the left column. In the future, however, through the Divine service represented by Jacob and his attribute of tiferet, the left column will also nourish holiness. Thus, the inheritance will be unlimited, since it will not be constricted by gevura.[4] This is also why
G-d's promises specifically Jacob, "You shall burst forth to west and to the east, to north and to the south" (Gen. 28:14).

The man from Peretz's family: This refers to Mashiach, who descends from the tribe of Judah through Judah's son Peretz.[5] Mashiach is also referred to as "haporetz" (Micah 2:13) - one who breaks through.

We shall rejoice and sing happily: Joy and happiness is not only the result or celebration of redemption. Rather it is the joy itself that breaks through the boundaries of limitation and exile. [6]



1. Maamarei Admor HaZaken, Al Maamarei Razal, p. 457-458.
2. Or HaTorah (Tzemach Tzedek) Neviim uKetuvim p. 815.
3. Introduction to Tikunei Zohar.
4. Or HaTorah (Tzemach Tzedek) Neviim uKetuvim p. 815.
5. See Ruth 4:18-22.
6. As in the adage "simcha poretzet geder" (Samach Tesamach 5657 p. 49); Likutei Sichot vol. 20, p. 259.


Continue to stanza 10

[go to Prayer Menu for commentary on other stanzas, and/or for the complete, original rhyming translation]


Rabbi Moshe-Leib Miller, a guest teacher at Ascent when he lived in Israel, was born in South Africa and received his yeshiva education in Israel and America. He is a prolific author and translator, with some twenty books to his name on a wide variety of topics, including a new, authoritative, annotated translation of the Zohar. He currently lives in Chicago.


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