MELAVVEH MALKAH (Heb. מְלַוֵּה מַלְכָּה; "escorting the queen"), term used to describe the meal and festivities at the end of the Sabbath. This gesture of farewell to the "queen" (Sabbath) is designed as the counterpart of the festivities which greeted her arrival. The origin of the custom has been traced to the Talmud. R. Ḥanina asserted that the table should be (festively) laid at the termination of the Sabbath, although only a small amount of food would be eaten (Shab. 119b). The melavveh malkah was later seen by both jacob b. asher and joseph caro to be the fulfillment of R. Ḥidka's injunction to celebrate four meals on the Sabbath (Shab. 117b). It was in the context of this injunction that the melavveh malkah later assumed the image of a virtually voluntary extension of the Sabbath. isaac luria , for example, believed that not until the melavveh malkah was over did the sinful dead return to hell from their Sabbath rest, and the kabbalists and Ḥasidim were so reluctant to relinquish the honored Sabbath guest, that they used the melavveh malkah as a means of prolonging the Sabbath day as long as possible. They used the occasion to chant special zemirot and to relate ḥasidic tales. The melavveh malkah is also known as se'udat David ("King David's banquet"). As such, it serves as a reminder of the legend that King David, having been told by God that he would die on the Sabbath (Shab. 30a), celebrated his survival each new week with special joy (Ta'amei Minhagim). One of the favorite melavveh malkah hymns is Eliyahu ha-Navi ("Elijah the Prophet"), attributed by some authorities to meir of Rothenburg. It welcomes the prophet as the herald of the Messiah. According to legend, Elijah is expected to announce the salvation of Israel at the first opportunity after the termination of the Sabbath. Medieval paytanim devoted several other zemirot to the melavveh malkah festivities. Among the most notable are Be-Moẓa'ei Yom Menuḥah by Jacob Menea (14th century); Addir Ayom ve-Nora, Ish Ḥasid by Jesse b. Mordecai (13th century); and Amar Adonai le-Ya'akov. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Eisenstein, Dinim, 227; H. Schauss, Guide to Jewish Holy Days (1962), 27, 30, 35. (Harry Rabinowicz)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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