Lecha Dodi was composed in the 16th century by Rabbi Shlomo Halevi Alkabetz, a Kabbalist from Safed. It is recited on Friday at sundown to welcome Shabbat, prior to Ma’ariv. It means ‘Come my beloved’ - to join together in welcoming the Shabbat bride - likrat kallah. In synagogue the congregation rises at the last verse and turns to the open door to greet ‘Queen Shabbat’ as she arrives.
The song is an acrostic, with the first letter of each of the first eight stanzas spelling the author's name. Much of the phraseology is drawn from Isaiah's prophecy of Israel's restoration, and six of the verses are full of the idea of Israel as the bride on the great Shabbat of Messianic deliverance.