The piyut is an inspiring song of praise composed by Rabbi Shlomo ben Yehuda ibn Gevirol. The theme of the song is the greatness of almighty and our dependence on His protection.
Explanation of Stanzas:
Lord of Eternity Who reigned before the birth of creation
At the time when His will brought all into being, then as "King" was His name declared.
After everything has finished, He alone will rule in awesomeness.
He Was, He Is, and He Will Be in majestic.
He is One, there is no second to compare or to be His equal
Without beginning, without end, His is the Power and Dominion
And He is my G-d, my living Redeemer, the Rock of my pain in time of distress.
He is my banner, and my refuge, the portion in my cup on the day that I call
Into His hand shall I entrust my spirit, at the time I sleep and I awake
and with my spirit, my body.
Hashem is with me, I shall not fear, body and soul from harm will He keep.
Rabbi Shlomo ben Yehuda ibn Gevirol
Rabbi ibn Gevirol was one of the greatest poets and Jewish philosophers of medieval Spain. He was born in Málaga in 1021. Little is known of ibn Gabirol's life. His parents died while he was a child. At seventeen years of age he became the friend and protégé of Jekuthiel Hassan.
ibn Gevirol was a master in linguistics, and began to compose songs and piyutim by the age of 16. When barely twenty Gabirol wrote Anaḳ, a versified Hebrew grammar, alphabetical and acrostic, consisting of 400 verses divided into ten parts. Of this grammar, ninety-five lines have been preserved by Solomon Parḥon. In these Gabirol reproaches his townsmen with their neglect of the Hebrew language.
He had a strong passion for his studies, which brought him closer to philosophy. When he was still a teen he moved to Zaragoza. His residence in Zaragoza however was embittered by strife. He thought of leaving Spain, but remained and wandered about. He gained another friend and patron in the person of Samuel ibn Naghrela also known as Samuel HaNagid.
Gabirol was comparatively young at the time of his death, in 1048 which followed years of wandering. A legend concerning the manner of Gabirol's death is related by Gedlaiya Ben Yosef Ibn Yaḥya in "Shalshelet ha-Kabbalah." In this legend, a Muslim poet, jealous of Gabirol's poetic gifts, killed him, and buried him beneath the roots of a fig tree. The tree bore fruit abundantly; and the fruit was of extraordinary sweetness. This strange circumstance excited attention; a search was instituted, the remains of the murdered Gabirol were brought to light, and the murderer expiated his crime with his life.