most popular Shabbat prayer-song,
composed by Rabbi Shlomo Alkebetz
and commentary by Rabbi Moshe Miller
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.
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. 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.
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.
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. This is also why
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. 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.
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
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.