Then Haim Vital of Safed,, the student of the great Kabbalist innovator Isaac Luria, began the practice of going out of the city into the field to welcome the Shabbat queen/bride at sunset.
He was trying to revive the personal custom of the Talmudic rabbi, Rabbi Hanina who used to say: “Let’s go out to greet Shabbat the Queen.” (TB Shabbat 119a; Baba Kamma 32a). ” (Sefer Hakanah 65b)Moshe Cordovero, the Kabbalist philosopher (whose family probably originated in Cordoba in Spain) and who was also the student and brother-in-law of Shlomo Alkabetz) objected strenuously to literally exiting the synagogue in the direction of the fields to find the Shabbat Queen coming from the direction of the setting sun.
Liturgically Kabbalat Shabbat involves not only a cycle of Psalms and songs recited before the Friday evening service but a whole series of internal and external rituals that prepares for and expresses the spiritual acceptance of the Divine presence arriving on Shabbat.
This concept originates from a minor report of the personal practice of two pious Mishnaic Rabbis (2nd century) who welcomed Shabbat with the greeting Boi Kallah with which L’cha Dodi concludes: Rabbi Hanina robed himself and stood at sunset of Sabbath eve [and] exclaimed, “Come and let us go forth to welcome the queen Shabbat / Shabbat Malka.” Rabbi Yannai donned his robes on Sabbath eve and exclaimed, “Come, Bride, Come, Bride!
Thus paradoxically physical acts (like building the Mishkan and like making aliyah) are essential to prepare for the Shekhinah.“Wake up, be strong and of courage to do our Creator’s work, for as we understood from the Maggid (the spiritual messenger), who came to R. They joined the circle of faith, wisdom, communal leadership and literary creativity that included: Alkabetz’s student and son-in-law, the great conceptual systematizer of Zohar mysticism, Moshe Cordovero and the most innovative mystic of the era, Isaac Luria (Ha-Ari,) and his student Haim Vital who together created and disseminated a new interpretation of mysticism called Lurianic.
He asked that everyone make physical preparations including doing housework oneself - even if one has a servant – to prepare one’s home for the Shabbat guest as well as donning clean and beautiful clothes (Maimonides, Mishne Torah, Shabbat 30:6).Therefore it deserves a popular treatment in this educator’s companion volume with the hope that some people will follow these mini-essays back to their scholarly origins with the accepted bibliographical footnotes.