One of the loveliest traditions in all of Judaism is the mystical greeting of the Shabbat as you would a bride. Kabbalists would get all dressed up and go out to the edge of town and sing "L'cha Dodi," come my beloved. In synagogue L'Cha Dodi is part of the kabbalat shabbat, the greeting of the Sabbath, warm-up to the main part of the Friday night service. When the words "bo'i v'shalom," come in peace are reached, the congregation may turn and face the door in expectation. See the text here.
It's this voluntary embodiment of an idea, the physical act of actively going out to get Shabbat, that makes this song, this prayer so unique. If you want Shabbat, you have to make it. Dress up yourself, your table, your home, and create the "sanctuary in time" that Rabbi Heschel talked about. Choose it, create it, go for it.
There are many, many melodies for L'Cha Dodi. There are solemn chants, stately processionals, jaunty klezmer tunes, raucous dance numbers; check the links below. However you celebrate Shabbat, go out to meet it in joy.
If you have a favorite L'Cha Dodi melody, paste a link to it in the Comments.
Kim Phillips is a Jewish artist, teacher and pararabbinic who frequently gives workshops and artist-in-residence programs using Jewish papercut art to illuminate sacred Jewish texts. To ask about an event for your synagogue, sisterhood, JCC or religious school, click here. The artwork that accompanies this post was done by a student in a Hebrica Jewish papercutting art workshop.