Hymn for the Third Meal

By Yitzhak Luria Yitzhak Luria

Translated By Peter Cole Read the translator's notes

Prepare the feast
       of perfect faith,
the delight of the Holy King.
       Prepare the feast of the King.

This is the feast
       of the Lesser Presence;
the Ancient Eminence and Field of Apples
       assemble with Him for the feast.


Sons of the Palace—
       you who yearn
to behold the radiance
       of the Lesser Presence—

be seated here
       at this Sabbath table,
adorned and crowned
       with the name of the King.

Exult in your being
       part of this gathering
among the guardian
       angels’ wings,

and rejoice now
       within this hour
of favor which knows
       not what anger brings.

Draw near me here—
       see my power,
without the judgments
       of judgment’s terror.

Those without
       may not enter,
for they are dogs
       of rancor and gall.

I hereby call
       to the Ancient of Days
to summon His will
       to drive them away—

for when His favor
       in this room is shown,
the husks are rendered
       null and void.

He drives them into
       holes in the ground,
conceals them deep
       in caverns of stone.

And so it is
       now and till twilight—
within the Impatient
       One’s delight.

Source: Poetry (March 2012).


This poem originally appeared in the March 2012 issue of Poetry magazine

March 2012


Yitzhak Luria (1534–1572) was raised in Egypt and, late in life, came to the Galilee town of Safed. While he left behind almost no writing apart from a handful of poems, he is responsible for the articulation of a highly complex and potent revision of Kabbalah’s principal mythic vision.

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Religion, God & the Divine, Judaism

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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