Lekhah Dodi ('Come my friend') is the hymn sung during the synagogue service on Friday night to welcome the Sabbath. The opening stanza reads: 'Come my friend, to meet the bride; let us welcome the presence of the Sabbath'; and the other stanzas are in praise of the Sabbath and expressions of hope for the restoration of Zion and the Messianic redemption.
Solomon Alkabetz, the author of the Lekhah Dodi, was a member of this mystic brotherhood and composed the hymn especially for the ritual. The consecutive stanzas begin with the letters of his name to form the nominal acrostic, Shelomo Ha-Levi, 'Solomon the Levite'.
Lekhah Dodi is now recited in all Jewish congregations and various melodies have been composed with which to accompany it. The final stanza reads: 'Come in peace, thou crown of thy husband, with rejoicing and with cheerfulness, in the midst of the faithful of the chosen people; come, O bride, come, O bride.'
Very few modern writers appreciate that, for the Kabbalists, the 'husband' for whom the Sabbath is the crown is, following the doctrine of the Sefirot, the Sefirah Tiferet, the spouse of the Shekhinah.
The hymn is now sung, however, with no awareness of the original Kabbalistic nuances. It is the universal custom to turn towards the door when this stanza is sung and bow to welcome the Sabbath.