There are those (Sephardim and Chassidim, I guess) who have the custom to recite Shir HaShirim on Friday, Erev Shabbat. Do they also recite it on a Friday when Yom Tov leads directly into Shabbat?

If not, is there a reason why?


2 Answers 2


In my congregation we recite. However, the Mahazor Imri Pi and Tefilat Yesharim skip it.

  • 2
    Rabbi Gabriel, welcome to Judaism.SE, and thanks very much for this data point! Your answer would be more valuable if you'd cite a source or, if you're answering based on your own experience, describe the scope of that experience. If you choose to improve your answer, please do so by editing it rather than by just responding to this comment.
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Oct 19, 2011 at 14:13
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    +1. Nice improvement to the answer. It'd be even better if you could provide a little more context, like where your congregation's and those machzorim's customs hail from.
    – msh210
    Commented Oct 19, 2011 at 18:39

Otzar Dinim U'Minhagim brings several reasons for saying Shir HaShirim every Friday:

  • We are preparing ourselves to honor the Shabbat Queen by reading the praises of the bride that are mentioned many times in the Shir HaShirim

  • Shir HaShirim is a parable of lovers, and Shabbat acts like the broker that connects the Jewish people to their Father in Heaven. So we recite Shir HaShirim then before Shabbat to grow and strengthen the connection between them.

  • Friday night is the time of intimacy between a man and wife (Eshet Chayil is said for Friday night for the same reason).

  • The Zohar says that the wicked people in Gehenom are granted respite for the 24 hours of Shabbat, as well as 4 and 1/2 hours every day during prayer (3 prayers, 1 1/2 hours each). This leaves 117 hours a week when the souls are judged in Gehenom. King Shlomo therefore said the 117 verses of Shir HaShirim, in order to be saved from the judgment of Gehinom. Therefore we say it as well in order to be saved from the judgments of Gehenom (this answer is brought in Taami Minhagim #256 as well).

Except for the last reason (117 hours of judgment), all the reasons mentioned would seem to apply both on a regular Friday, and a Friday that was a Yom Tov.

According to the last reason, if a soul is also not judged on Yom Tov (as discussed here), it could perhaps be argued that Shir HaShirim need not be said, since there were not 117 hours of judgment time during that week.

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    Wow! An hour and a half for mincha!
    – Double AA
    Commented Dec 27, 2011 at 15:07
  • @DoubleAA: The Gemara in Brachot tells us that the Chassidim HaRishonim spent 3 hours on every prayer. It too doesn't differentiate between any of the prayers. (The relevant Gemara is quoted here: torah.org/learning/beyond-pshat/5763/shemini.html)
    – Menachem
    Commented Dec 27, 2011 at 16:24

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