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Lecha Dodi

The Daily Halacha Moment - Lecha Dodi📙

״כל השונה הלכות בכל יום - מובטח לו שהוא בן ‎העולם הבא״ (נידה עג ע״א, מגילה כח:)

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What are some customs of Lecha Dodi?


It is customary among most communities, both Ashkenazic and Sephardic to recite the piyut of Lecha Dodi, on Friday night, as part of Kabbalat Shabbat. [See source 1]

It is customary to recite “Boee Kallah” three times at the end of Lecha Dodi. The first time, one should lean his head slightly[2] to the right, the second time to the left, and the third time straight.[3] This is part of accepting upon oneself, the extra neshamah that is granted to the Bnei Yisrael on Shabbat. According to kabbalah, this is accepted in three parts: first by Boee Kallah, the second by reciting barechu, and the third at the end of Hashkivenu. [4]


[1]. This piyut was written by Rabbi Shlomo Elkabetz, who was a great Mekubal who lived in the city of Tzefat

in the times of the Arizal and Rabbi Moshe Kordevero. The Ben Ish Chai, Vayera 2:5 points out that even though this piyut was never mentioned by the Arizal, and even though there is no obligation to recite this piyut as part of Kabbalat Shabbat, it has nevertheless become the common custom among Am Yisrael to recite it. However, the line “Boee Kallah” indeed dates back to the times of the Gemara. See also in Kaf HaChaim 270:4 who states that the custom in Yeshivat Bet El was to omit this piyut and only recite Boee Kallah. However, Rabbi Ben Tzion Mutzafi, in sefer Shivat Tzion, vol. 1, p. 160 states that it is possible that Rabbi Chaim Vital and other great Mekubalim indeed did recite this piyut. This is also mentioned by several Acharonim, including Seder HaYom, seder Kabbalat Shabbat; Mishnah Berurah 261:31 & 342:1; Aruch HaShulchan 261:16; Igrot Moshe, O.C., vol. 5, 16:8; Keter Shem Tov, p. 181 and others.

Some communities have the custom to only recite only four stanzas (beginning with the letters שלמה ,and only recite the stanza of התעוררי and not התנערי .(See Netivei Am, p. 147 regarding the custom in Yerushalayim and in sefer Derech Eretz, p. 50 regarding the custom of Syrian Jews. See also in Halachah Berurah, vol. 15, p. 146 who states that this was also the custom of Chacham Ovadia Yosef. See also in Yalkut Yosef, Shabbat, book 1, vol. 3, p. 51.

[2]. See Kaf HaChaim 28:8.

[3]. There are different customs regarding which direction one should bow his head. Ben Ish Chai, Vayera 2:2 states that one should first bow to the right, then left, and then straight. However, others, such as Kaf HaChaim, Palagi, 28:8 states that one should first bow to the left and then the right.

[4]. The Ben Ish Chai, Vayera 2:2 states that one should recite the last Boee Kallah quietly. See also in Halichot Olam, vol. 3, p. 68.

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