Lecha Dodi

Echelon Art Gallery
Oil Paintings, Prints, Drawings and Water Colors

 

Lecha Dodi

 

 

 

Title:“Heetoreree Heetoreree”  התעוררי התעוררי

Medium: Water Color on Paper

Size: 22" x 17"

Available Framed or Unframed

Signed: Drew Kopf 2011 and דּוֹבֿ (in Hebrew) 5771 (lower right)

Created: Av 5771 corresponding to July and August 2011

Original: A gift of the artist.

The text afixed to the back of the framed origional and which is provided with each geclee copy, reads as follows:

Lecha Dodi   לכה דודי
An Illuminated Translation
by
Drew Kopf
 

 

The Sabbath is everything.

The message of Rabbi Shlomo HaLevi in his liturgical poem Lecha Dodi לכה דודי written in about 1540 goes much further than the way we use it in our Friday evening services when we sing it to wonderfully melodic tunes and turn towards the entrance door of our chapels to bow and symbolically greet the Sabbath as a new bridegroom would greet his bride. The Rabbi was using his great skill as a wordsmith and poet to create an easily memorized piece that could be brought to mind and mulled over at will by anyone, even the many illiterate Jews, who came to pray with their community when they could and who depended upon the leader of the prayers to provide them with the words for them to repeat or to simply give their assent to by answering “amen” at the appropriate time.

On the Sabbath, in one sense, everything stops. But, in another sense, and perhaps more importantly, on the Sabbath, everything begins. Perhaps a nice way to look at it is by looking at what goes into the making of anything fabulous; a fabulous meal, a fabulous work of art like a painting or an architectural triumph like Fallingwater, the memorable house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for Edgar J. Kauffman on Bear Run in Western Pennsylvania, or a fabulous  theatrical event like the Cirque Du Soleil company produces all over the world to the amazement of thrilled audiences who need not know one word of any particular language to get everything there is to be gotten out of the performances they witness.

The preparations for the making of these wonderments are surely feats to behold in and of themselves. They would be the stuff from which documentary films might be made. The inside story of the making of the movie “The Bible” would be tremendously interesting and revealing, but it would not be the movie itself.

So, it is, “Lehavdeel”; i.e. to make a distinction between that which is Holy and that which is mundane, with the story of Creation.

The Creation of the world in six days is an amazing tale with the making of man and woman to “rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground” (Genesis 1:28) coming as a capstone to the story. But, if the story ended right there it would be all but meaningless and, frankly, boring. So what if there is a human being who has a helpmate and they live on an earth with all manner of plants and animals. Who cares? Nobody would care about that at all until the concept of the Sabbath gets introduced when the Creator Himself rested from the creative work he had been doing. (Genesis 2:2). Now, the story of Creation becomes interesting.

It is literally the “nothingness” of the Sabbath; i.e. the “resting” from the work of Creation that makes the work; the Creation, worthwhile, and all the more exciting than if it existed forever but did nothing for anyone. It is the “ceasing from doing” by one’s own free will; the leaning away from the temptation to keep on keeping on; to tweak what you were creating with just one more little this or that, that makes what we are or had been doing even more meaningful than it could ever be without our turning away from it; at least for the expanse of a Sabbath day.

That magical stopping of doing what we were doing in the exact same way that the Lord did when He stopped working on the world is what Rabbi Shlomo HaLevi was referring to when he crafted his poem Lecha Dodi  לכה דודי , which has become the universally accepted way to launch the Sabbath among Jews the world over. “So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in Creation.” (Genesis 2:3).  

The Rabbi’s words are very special and, as is so often pointed out to those who might not notice it, the first letter of each line taken together spells out the Rabbi’s name, which was a popular thing for poets to do when writing such pieces. Translating his words, however, offers an interesting hurdle to be scaled. The desire to maintain the lyrical quality of Shlomo HaLevi’s poem is a natural and obvious objective so that those unable to know the nuance and flavor of the Hebrew could enjoy a rhythmic replica in English. But, often, what can be lost in a translation that tries to be faithful to the form of a literary creation is the clarity and scope of the author’s message.

Though the translations found in many of the prayer books are quite beautiful and make a great effort to capture the lyrical flow of the Hebrew phrases, they may make the meaning of the poem far more cryptic than Shlomo HaLevi had intended it to be. Surely, he wanted his verses to be as clear as day and would have left nothing to be figured out or inferred. The images he chose were selected because they were very well known. The references he made are to Biblical passages that would have been instant reminders to anyone who had been raised in a Torah centered society.

That said, a question that comes to mind is, “If the poem was intended for those who already knew what the message of the poem would be, then why did he feel the need to write it?”

Without delving deeply into the times in which he lived, we can know that the draw of the non-Jewish and non-observant part of the community was the same, if not greater, as it is today. It is easy to become so subsumed in one's work-a-day world that one does not realize that one is becoming a slave to his own creations. When the world and what we are doing in it becomes more important to us than we are to ourselves; when we stop taking time off to demonstrate, not to others but to ourselves, that we are free, then, we are no longer free.

Shlomo HaLevi must have wanted to serve as what might be called a cheerleader for the Lord; really, a cheerleader for us to act in the way that the Lord acted when he demonstrated what being free is and how important it is that even He, the Lord Himself, took a break from all he had done, called it good, and hallowed the time he took by stopping and, in doing so, created the concept of the Sabbath Day. Dare we ignore that? Shlomo HaLevi did not want the people in his community to miss out on the gift of all gifts; the Sabbath, which defines life and, without which, life would hardly be worth living.

The following translation of Rabbi Shlomo HaLevi’s poem Lecha Dodi  לכה דודי   is anything but lyrical or poetic in the way that the Rabbi’s Hebrew is. It is offered for those of us who may not be as or at all familiar with the concepts to which the Rabbi was referring in his marvelous piece. We hope this translation helps to illuminate his words, which were written over 500 years ago, and, at the same time, help achieve Shlomo HaLevi’s overarching goal, which we believe was to keep his fellow Jews on the pathways of the Torah through the observance of the Sabbath.

The Sabbath is everything.

Av 14, 5771 corresponding to August 15, 2011

© Drew Kopf 2011

Lekhah Dodi   דודי לכה
An Illuminated Translation
By
Drew Kopf

Chorus:
Line 1: Lekhah dodi liqrat kallah  לכה דודי לקראת כלה

Let’s go my friend to greet a bride.

Line 2: p'nei Shabbat neqabelah פני שבת נקבלה
Let’s receive or welcome the Sabbath in person; face-to-face.

Verse 1:
Line 3: Shamor v'zakhor b'dibur eḥad שמור וזכור בדבור אחד

“Guard”, in the sense of “observing” or “keeping”, and “Remember” spoken in one miraculous utterance.

Line 4: Hishmianu El hameyuḥad השמיענו אל המיחד
The Lord, the Issuer of Commandments, caused us to hear or, perhaps, allowed us to hear (them), i.e. both words were spoken simultaneously and we were made able to hear and understand them in that way. That the Lord could speak those words in that way, in one utterance, was really not a miracle; God can do anything. His allowing us to hear and understand both words as they were spoken by Him was the miracle.

Line 5: Adonai echad ushemo echad יי אחד ושמו אחד
God is one; not divided into many aspects as is the belief of the unenlightened; such as idol worshipers or barbarians; and His name is one; not referred to with many different names as if each name was representing an aspect or a “part” of God and meaning that that one part is, in a way, a god unto itself.

Line 6: L'Sheim ulitiferet v'lit'hilah לשם ולתפארת ולתהלה
And a name that is gloriously beautiful and sings praises.

Verse 2:
Line 7: Liqrat Shabbat lekhu v'nelekhah לקראת שבת לכו ונלכה

Lets go and be carried along or swept up and taken along to receive the Sabbath.

Line 8: ki hi maqor haberakhah כי היא מקור הברכה
Because she, the Sabbath, is the root source or wellspring or, perhaps best of all, the essence of the blessing, which is the blessing of freedom to be able to observe and enjoy a day devoted to contemplative rest, spiritual rejuvenation and connecting with nature and its wonderment.

Line 9: merosh miqedem nesukhah מראש מקדם נסוכ
From the very beginning it, the Sabbath, emerged as the end of what was made but was always intended as that which would be praised.
 
Line 10: sof maaseh b'maḥashavah teḥilah סוף מעשה במחשבה תחלה

It flowed or emerged at the very beginning of everything and, even though it was made at the very end of creation, it was always intended to be the beginning of everything for, before there was the Sabbath, everything that had come before would have counted for nothing. Creation, including man, needed the Sabbath to define it to give it purpose; a reason for having been created at all.

Verse 3:
Line 11: Miqdash melekh ir melukhah מקדש מלך עיר מלוכה

A majestic sanctuary; a royal city.

Line 12: Qumi tze'i mitokh ha-hafeikhahקומי צאי מתוך ההפכה
Arise! Leave from the middle of destruction.

Line 13: Rav lakh shevet b'eimeq habakha רב לך שבת בעמק הבכא
You have endured in this tearful depression long enough.

Line 14: v'hu yaḥamol alayikh ḥemlah והוא יחמול עליך חמלה
The Lord will compassionately show you mercy.

Verse4:
Line 15: Hitna ari me'afar qumi התנערי מעפר קומי

Get up off the ground and dust yourself off.

Line 16: Livshi bigdei tifartekh ami לבשי בגדי תפארתך עמי
Dress yourselves in splendiferous clothing; my people.
 
Line 17: Al yad ben Yishai beit ha-laḥmi על יד בן ישי בית הלחמי
As you are in the vicinity of the house of Jesse of Bethlehem, which should remind you that King David, who was the youngest son of Jesse of Bethlehem, is the one from whose lineage the Messiah will someday be born.  

Line 18: Qorvah el nafshi g'alah  קרבה אל נפשי גאלה
The redemption of my soul is coming closer.

Verse 5:
Line 19: Hitoreri hitoreri   התעוררי התעוררי

Be as awake as you can be and stay that way; stay awake and aware.

Line 20: Ki va oreikh qumi ori  כי בא אורך קומי אורי
Rise up glowing because your guiding light has arrived.

Line 21:  Uri uri shir dabeiri  עורי עורי שיר דברי
Get up right now singing a song.

Line 22: K'vod Ado-nai alayikh niglah  כבוד יי עליך נגלה
That which makes the Lord Holy; separate and apart; so very special; can now be part of you.

Verse 6:
Line 23: Lo tivoshi v'lo tikalmi  לא תבושי ולא תכלמי

Do not feel ashamed. Do not feel embarrassed.

Line 24: Mah tishtoḥai umah tehemi  מה תשתוחחי ומה תהמי
What is it that makes you sullen and what is it that makes you groan?

Line 25: bakh yeḥesu aniyei ami  בך יחסו עניי עמי
The impoverished, afflicted and humble of my people will find compassion in you.

Line 26:  v'nivnetah ir al tilah  ונבנתה עיר על תלה
And a city will be established on its hilltop.
 
Verse 7:
Line 27:  V'hayu limshisah shosayikh  והיו למשסה שאסיך

And it will come to pass that those who would have you as their reward will become your reward.

Line 28:  V'raḥaqu kol mevalayikh  ורחקו כל מבלעיך
All those who would destroy you will be kept at a safe distance from you.
 
Line 29: Yasis alayikh Elohayikh  ישיש עליך אלהיך
Your Lord will be happy because of you

Line 30: Kimsos ḥatan al kalah  כמשוש חתן על כלה
In the same way that a bridegroom is happy because of his bride,
 
Verse 8:
Line 31: Yamin usmol tifrotzi  ימין ושמאל תפרוצי

You will be bursting with joy all over

Line 32:  V'et Adonai ta aritzi  ואת יי תעריצי
And you will admire God greatly

Line 33: Al yad ish ben Partzi  על יד איש בן פרצי
By being so close to someone who is enjoying such unrestrained happiness.

Line 34:  V'nismeḥah v'nagilah   ונשמחה ונגילה
You will be happy and rejoice.

Verse 9:
Line 35:  Boi v'shalom ateret ba alah  בואי בשלום עטרת בעלה

Come to me in peace as a husband’s crowning adornment; his bride.

Line 36: Gam b'simḥah uvetzahalah 
גם בשמחה ובצהלה

Moreover, with gladness and with jubilation

Line 37:  Tokh emunei am segulah  תוך אמוני עם סגלה
In the middle of your faithful treasured nation

Line 38: Boi khalah boi khalah  בואי כלה בואי כלה
Welcome, Welcome, Welcome bride; she who completes me. 

 

Notes on my painting "Hitoreri Hitoreri"

The focus of my painting entitled “Hitoreri Hitoreri”  התעוררי התעוררי   are those words painted in a stylized red font which I would have flashing in the way of a strobe light if I could find a way to capture that “look” or effect on watercolor paper. Hitoreri Hitoreri are the first two words of the Fifth Verse of Lecha Dodi לכה דודי the liturgical poem by Rabbi Schlomo HaLevi, who lived in the 1500’s. The verse reads as follows:

Verse 5:
Line 19: Hitoreri hitoreri   התעוררי התעוררי
Be as awake as you can be and stay that way; stay awake and aware.

Line 20: Ki va oreikh qumi ori  כי בא אורך קומי אורי
Rise up glowing because your guiding light has arrived.

Line 21:  Uri uri shir dabeiri  עורי עורי שיר דברי
Get up right now singing a song.

Line 22: K'vod Ado-nai alayikh niglah  כבוד יי עליך נגלה
That which makes the Lord Holy; separate and apart; so very special; can now be part of you.

The essence of the Rabbi’s message is expressed here with great, no, with tremendous force. He directs us, using the imperative or command form of the verb awake but in the tense that should be translated as “to be awake” or, “be awake” rather than simply “wake up” as it is usually defined. In Hebrew, I believe it is referred to as the Hithpael (reflexive; i.e. “to be awake) which would make the proper translation of the word Hitoreri in the imperative: “Be Awake.

That would be true for the word Hitoreri התעוררי   when it stands alone. But, the poet repeated the word, which introduces an entirely new dimension, which has a great effect on the meaning.

Repeating a word in Hebrew serves to augment it rather than to merely ask the reader to say it twice. In this instance it has the effect of commanding the listener to “Be as Awake as You can Be” but more emphatically than that; “Hitoreri Hitoreri”  התעוררי התעוררי : “Be as awake as you can be and stay that way; stay awake and aware,” which is what Shlomo HaLevi communicated to his contemporaries, who would have known exactly the power of the message he was trying to convey.

That is why I made these words as prominently displayed as I did in my painting; to try and “shake them up a little” and thereby shake the viewer up to help the viewer appreciate the importance and urgency of the Rabbi’s message.

The painting’s blue background  was made in an effort to make the moments just before creation actually began come to the mind of the viewer; when sky and sea were an amorphous mass not really one or the other or both but ready to be defined further by the addition of the land.

In that moment, the plan was for the next six days to be used to create the world culminating with the creation of man and his helpmate, woman. When the six days of Creation were done, the Lord would stop, rest from all He had done and evaluate his efforts. In doing so, i.e. in resting, he would create what would be the crowning glory of his entire masterpiece; the Sabbath. In creating the Sabbath, the Lord would then have given all that He had made a purpose for its continued existence: to provide mankind with a world in need of the perfecting that only mankind could bring about, and, at the same time, the opportunity for man and woman to relate to God, their Creator and the Creator of the world he made for them, to interrelate in a mutuality of love.

It is the Sabbath that we greet each week when we sing the last stanza that serves to remind us of the Creation and He who is the Creator of all creators and of the freedom we enjoy to rest as He rested and, thereby, it allows us to relate, even only if in a small way, as one creator to another with the Lord our God.

In our busy and, at times, frenetic lives, it is very easy for us to miss such moments. That is why I believe Shlomo HaLevi came with his imperative: “Hitoreri Hitoreri” התעוררי התעוררי to implore his listeners to “Be as awake as you can be and stay that way; stay awake and aware.” so, that they would remain vigilant with themselves to make certain that they kept all that they did in perspective by keeping the Sabbath as the focal point of their lives.

I believe that were Rabbi Shlomo HaLevi here with us today, he would be alerting us with the same imperative he issued 500 years ago; to make the Sabbath the beginning, the end and the center of our week because, by doing so, we will be protecting and preserving our freedom, which will make the lives we live meaningful and worthwhile.

 

Giclée Reproductions:

 
Price per Giclee Reproduction on Water resistant Canvas or 310 Gram Hahmemule Art Paper
Size
1
2 to 3
4 to 7
8 or more
Standard Stretching
Standard Stretching
5" x 7"
$175.00
$150.00
$100.00
$70.00
custom
custom
8" x 10"
$225.00
$170.00
$135.00
$100.00
custom
custom
11" x 14"
$275.00
$225.00
$190.00
$150.00
custom
custom
12" x 16"
$325.00
$275.00
$200.00
$175.00
custom
custom
16" x 20"
$375.00
$300.00
$225.00
$200.00
custom
custom
18" x 24"
$425.00
$350.00
$275.00
$225.00
custom
custom
20" x 24"
$475.00
$375.00
$300.00
$250.00
custom
custom
20" x 30"
$525.00
$400.00
$350.00
$300.00
custom
custom
24" x 30"
$600.00
$525.00
$475.00
$400.00
custom
custom
24" x 36"
$725.00
$625.00
$575.00
$500.00
custom
custom
30" x 40"
$850.00
$750.00
$675.00
$600.00
custom
custom
32" x 48"
$900.00
$800.00
$725.00
$625.00
custom
custom
36" x 48"
$975.00
$850.00
$775.00
$675.00
custom
custom
40" x 50"
$1,350.00
$1,200.00
$975.00
$875.00
custom
custom
40" x 60"
$1,800.00
$1,500.00
$1.300.00
$1,175.00
custom
custom
Please Note:
1. Prices are exclusive of shipping and handling charges, which will be added.
2. Deliveries to NY, CT or NJ are subject to applicable Sales Tax. Please provide Resale or Tax Exempt Certificate with Purchase Order.
3. All sales are subject to the conditions delineated in the Terms of Agreement for Sale and Transfer of a Work of Art. Please print and complete a for and submit it with purchase order. Thank you.
4. Prices are for printing on canvas or on 310g archival art paper. unframed pieces. Please inquire if framing is desired. (516)501-0744

 

Abstracts Drawings Oils Still Lifes
Architecture Jewish Subjects Pastels Water Colors
Books Landscapes Portraits
Cityscapes Nautical Prints

 

Toll-Free Phone: (800)839-2929

Toll-Free Fax: (888)329-6287

 

 

 

Echelon Artists About Echelon Art Gallery Drawings
Oil Paintings Water Color Paintings Prints
Exhibitions Art for Art Sake Helpful Links
Interesting Articles Photographs Pastel Paintings
Artists Agreement   Purchase Art Agreement

 

Geoffrey Drew Marketing, Inc.
3000 Hempstead Turnpike, Suite 305
Levittown, Long Island, NY 11756 USA


International Phone: (516)501-0744
International Fax: (516)501-0753
Toll-Free Phone: (800)839-2929
Toll-Free Fax: (888)329-6287

© 2000-2018 Geoffrey Drew Marketing, Inc.
All Rights Reserved. Reproduction Prohibited.
It is prohibited to use any graphics or images in
this web site without the written permission of
Geoffrey Drew Marketing, Inc.

Designed & Maintained by Geoffrey Drew Marketing
Hosted by
Geoffrey Drew Marketing