Shlomo ha-Levi Alkabetz

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Shlomo ha-Levi Alkabetz

Hebrew: Shlomo שלמה אלקבץ
Birthplace: Thessalonika, Thessalonika, Central Macedonia, Greece
Death: 1580 (80)
Safed, Israel
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Managed by: Ilana Burgess
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About Shlomo ha-Levi Alkabetz

Shlomo ha-Levi Alkabetz, also spelt Alqabitz, Alqabes; ( שלמה אלקבץ) (c.1500, Thessaloniki– 1580, Safed ) was a rabbi, kabbalist and poet perhaps best known for his composition of the song Lecha Dodi; sources differ as to when he wrote it (1529, 1540 and 1571 have all been suggested). . . . More

We know very little about the childhood of Solomon ben Moses HaLevi Alkabetz. He was born around 1505. He began traveling to the Land of Israel in 1529. Along the way, he gave numerous classes and sermons. He was a charismatic speaker and inspired his audiences with his knowledge of Kabbalah.

He met Joseph Caro, and their talks might have inspired Caro in his mystical aspirations. It was from one of their shared experiences that Joseph Caro established the custom of staying awake on the night of Shavuot to study the Torah. Called Tikkun Leil Shavu'ot, the custom caught on.

Alkabez probably arrived in Tzfat in 1535. Very little is known of his life there. A prolific author, he wrote some works on the Bible, and others of a Kabbalistic nature. Many of his manuscripts were stolen when he died. It is not clear whether this was done during persecutions, or by other authors. None of his purely Kabbalistic works was printed or preserved in manuscript.

There were two kinds of Kabbalistic leaders. There were those who wrote Kabbalistic secrets about how the universe worked, and there were those who created rituals/prayers which assumed the Kabbalistic secrets. Alkabetz was primarily the second kind. He developed the habit of going with his students to pray and meditate on the graves of known righteous leaders, tzaddikim. This practice was called gerushin, "banishment." During these gerushin-meditations, they concentrated on rousing their contemplative powers spontaneously and without any previous preparation.

Alkabetz is credited with initiating the ritual of going into the fields just prior to sundown on Friday to physically welcome either the Shechinah, the special Shabbat soul all Jews receive on Shabbat, or the Sabbath bride.wikipedia

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Shlomo ha-Levi Alkabetz's Timeline

Thessalonika, Thessalonika, Central Macedonia, Greece
Age 80
Safed, Israel