Rabbi Shlomo Alkabetz was a prolific writer. In his times, his works were popular and earned him much respect and admiration, although most of them are not widely known today. Several of his works remain in manuscript; others have been lost. Several of his works are commentaries on Tanach and the Liturgy. There are also discourses on topics in Kabbala.
Among his printed works:
- Lecha Dodi, a mystical hymn sung at the inauguration of the Shabbat. It was composed according to kabbalistic teachings regarding the ascent of the sefira of malchut (which represents both the Shechina and the Jewish soul) on the Shabbat, and it therefore expresses the yearning of the Shechina and the Jewish soul for the Redemption. Rabbi Shlomo completed this work before his marriage and gave it to his wife as a wedding gift…
It was probably composed in Safed and was printed shortly after its appearance in the Sefardi version of the prayer-book (Venice 5344 / 1584 CE). The hymn became so popular that it was incorporated into the Shabbat liturgy of every community. It is for this work that Rabbi Shlomo is particularly renowned. The author signed his name - "Shlomo HaLevi" - in the acrostic formed by the first letter of the first eight stanzas of the hymn.
- Manot HaLevi on the Book of Esther. Rabbi Shlomo completed this work before his marriage in 5289 (1529 CE) and gave it to his wife as a wedding gift. It was published in Venice 5345 (1585 CE).
- Ayalet Ahavim on Song of Songs. The work was completed in 5292 (1532 CE), published in Venice 5312 (1552 CE).
- Shoresh Yishai on the Book of Ruth. The work was completed in 5312 (1552 CE), published in Venice 5321 (1561 CE).
- Berit HaLevi, a commentary on the Passover Haggada from a kabbalistic perspective, published in Lemberg 5323 (1563 CE).
- Or Tzadikim - a book of his sermons.
Among those existing in manuscript are:
- Divrei Shlomo, on the section of Scripture known as Writings.
- Naim Zemirot, on Psalms.
- Sukkat Shalom, Avotot Ahavah, on the Pentateuch.
- Pitzei Ohev, on Job.
- Apiryon Shlomo, Beit Hashem, Beit Tefilla, interpretations of the prayers.
- Lechem Shlomo, on the guidelines for the sanctification of meals, according to kabbala.
- Mittato shel Shlomo, on the mystical significance of sexual union.
- Shomer Emunim, on fundamental principles of the faith.
For more biographical information on R. Shlomo Alkabetz, click here.