Query: Text of Piyyut by Judah Halevi

Jacob Adler's picture

In his Nishmat Ḥayyim, Menasseh ben Israel makes reference to a piyyut by Judah Halevi that contains the line, Tiken neshamot im ha-'or ha-rishon, teḥilat devar Hashem. Can anyone refer me to a source for the text of this piyyut?

Thanks in advance.

Jacob Adler
University of Arkansas



Categories: Query

For the question of Prof. Jacob Adler: In his Nishmat Ḥayyim, Menasseh ben Israel makes reference to a piyyut by Judah Halevi that contains the line, Tiken neshamot im ha-'or ha-rishon, teḥilat devar Hashem. Can anyone refer me to a source for the text of this piyyut?

- It is in the poem of R. Yehuda haLevi “Barkhi Azulah”. See the poem in Daat site:
It is also to be found in the Mahzor to Yom Kippur – before Tefilat Ne’ilah – see for example Mahzor Ohalei Yaakov: Yom Kippur, Jerusalem 1908, pp. 195-198.

And see Nachmanides in his commentary to Job 38:21, in Dov Shevel (ed.), Kitvei Rabenu Mosheh ben Naḥman, vol. 1, p. 117. Shevel refers to this line in the poem of HaLevi in his note there (and see also later on in the same volume, on p. 157 in Derashat “Torat haShem Temimah”; and see Dov Shevel, Sefer haKuzari veHaRamben, HaDarom 41, pp. 40-41).

And see also the answer of Ramban to Rabenu Yonah in this regard: R. Yohah asked him if it is indeed true that the spirits (Neshamot) were created in the first day (ha-yom ha-rishon) along with the creation of the light. For this answer of Ramban see Teshuvot haRashba hameyuhasot laRamban no. 284.

And see the important notes on this specific point of Sheraga Abramson, Kelalei ha-Talmud be-divre ha-Ramban, Jerusalem: Mosad ha-Rav Kuk, 1971, pp. 12-13 n. 3. And see also the notes of Yaakov Kopil in Sinai 122 p. 66 n. 3.

And lastly, see in this regard the interesting note of Dov Shevel in Sinai 86, p. 96 on the question if the spirits (Neshamot) of women were created as well on this Sunday in the same event (!).

Admiel Kosman
Potsdam University

The line you are looking for appears towards the end of the sixth poem on this page: https://benyehuda.org/rihal/rihal9_2_no_nikkud.html
It is also cited by R. Bachaya to Gen. 2:7.


Rabbi Reuven Chaim Klein
Beitar Illit, Israel
Author of: God versus Gods: Judaism in the Age of Idolatry --> https://amzn.to/2NO4jLy

Dear Jacob,

The piyyut is ברכי אצולה מרוח הקודש. You may find it in Judah Halevi, Shirim, ed. Israel Levin (Tel Aviv, 2007), 144-150; and online here (#6): https://benyehuda.org/rihal/rihal9_2.html

Best wishes,

Liran Yadgar

UCLA Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies


The piyut is called "Borkhi Atzוlah." It can be found in the Sefardi Mahzor before the beginning of the Neilah service. For reference, see Davidson's "Otzar HaShirah v'HaPiyut" vol. 1, entry 1746. The piyut is written acrostically, and this sentence appears at the very end in the letter "tav." Email me if you'd like a scanned copy of the entire piyut.

Daniel Korobkin