This a love song that expresses Israel's desire to be close to G-d.
Explanation of Stanzas:
Yedid Nefesh was composed by Rabbi Elazar ben Moshe Azikri. In the piyut, the author compares himself to a swift deer, praying that he should have a clear and vigorous devotion of G-d.
Rabbi Azikri then seeks to have a loving relationship with G-d as sweet as the honey in a honeycomb.
In the second Stanza, Rabbi Azikri prays to G-d to heal him of any illnesses by showing her the pleasantness of Your radiance. He then turns to G-d desiring and yearning to see G-d’s might and glory.
The piyut concludes with a plea for divine protection symbolic of a Sukkah, "Reveal Yourself, beloved and spread over me the 'Sukkah' of Your peace."
Rabbi Elazar ben Moshe Azikri
Rabbi Elazar ben Moshe Azikri, was a student of Rabbi Isaac Luria (also known as "The Ari", "Ari-Hakadosh", or "Arizal). In his book Sefer Haredim, Azikri expresses the importance of expressing ones love of the Divine through song. Indeed, his song Yedid Nefesh is sung by in song by many Jewish communities around the world Friday night and Shabbat afternoon, as an expression of man's love for G-d.
Rabbi Azikri in is writings stresses the importance of Jerusalem and the land of Israel. He longs for Jerusalem and prays for her rebuilding. As he explains, G-d promised to redeem Zion on the condition that in return Israel demonstrates its love for G-d.