About This Text
Composed: c.1575 – c.1625 CE
Yedid Nefesh (Hebrew: יְדִיד נֶפֶש) is the title of a piyyut. It is usually sung on the Jewish Sabbath. Some sing it between Minhah (afternoon prayer) of Friday and the beginning of Kabbalat Shabbat. It is sung by many Jews during Seudah Shelishit (the third meal on Shabbat; the first is on Friday night, the second on Saturday lunch, and the third on Saturday before nightfall). Many Hasidim say or sing it every morning before beginning to the Pesukei dezimra section of Shaharit in order to arouse their love of God in preparation for the praises of Pesukei dezimra. This poem is commonly attributed to the sixteenth century kabbalist, Rabbi Elazar ben Moshe Azikri (1533-1600), who first published it in Sefer Haredim, but he did not claim authorship. Stefan C. Reif notes the first appearance of Yedid Nefesh in the Samuel ben David ben Solomon’s commentary on Numbers.