Avraham ben Yaakov
SONG OF SONGS CHAPTER 7
These notes on the final chapters of Song of Songs consist of a translation of the Aramaic Targum, which is exceptionally beautiful and inspiring. While the Targum may appear far-fetched and distant from the surface meaning of the text as rendered in the standard English translations, those who have some understanding of the Hebrew original and of the methods of Midrash will be able to see that every word and idea in the Targum is soundly based on the actual Hebrew text.
Chapter 7 v 1: Return to Me, O Assembly of Israel, return to Jerusalem, return to the Torah study hall, return to the prophets who prophesy in the Name of HaShem - why should the false prophets seek to lead the people of Jerusalem astray with prophecies that are contrary to God's word in order to defile the camp of Israel and Judah?
V 2: King Solomon said with prophetic spirit from God: How beautiful are the feet of Israel when they go up to appear before God three times in the year and bring their sacrifices, and their children are beautiful as the gems in the crown that the craftsman Bezalel made for Aaron the Priest.
V 3: The head of the Academy, in whose merit the entire world is sustained like an embryo is sustained in the womb of its mother, shines in Torah like the crescent of the moon when he comes to rule pure or impure, innocent or guilty. Words of Torah are never lacking from his mouth, just like waters are never lacking from the great river that goes forth out of Eden . Seventy sages surround him like a round threshing floor, with their store-houses full of the holy tithes that Ezra the Priest and the Men of the Great Assembly - who are like roses - assigned to them in order that they should have strength to engage in Torah day and night.
V 4: The two redeemers that are destined to redeem you, Mashiach son of David and Mashiach son of Ephraim, will be like Moses and Aaron, who are compared to two fawns, twins of a gazelle.
V 5: The father of the court of law that judges your cases takes pity on the people, disciplining them, giving lashes to those who deserve it, as did King Solomon, who built a tower of elephant's tusk and mastered the people of Israel , restoring them to the Ruler of the Universe. Your sages are full of wisdom like fountains of water, and they know how to calculate the months and leap years, fixing the new moons and new years in the gates of the great Sanhedrin, while the leader of the House of Judah is like King David, who built the Fortress of Zion, which is called the Tower of Lebanon, all who stand on which can count all the towers of Damascus.
V 6: The king appointed as head over you is righteous like Elijah, who was zealous for the King of Heaven and killed the false prophets on Mt Carmel, restoring the House of Israel to the fear of God. Even the lowliest of the people who go with their head bowed down are destined to wear purple, as did Daniel in Babylon and Mordechai in Shushan, in the mert of the patriarchs.
V 7: Said King Solomon: How beautiful are you O Assembly of Israel when you bear upon you the yoke of my kingship when I chastise you over your sins and you accept this with love.
V 8: At the moment when your priests stretch out their hands in prayer and bless their brothers the House of Israel, their fingers are spread like the branches of a palm and their stature is like the date palm, and your assembly stand face to face with the priests, their heads bent over to the ground like bunches of grapes.
V 9: God says: I will go and test Daniel and see if he can withstand one test just as Abraham, who was straight like the Lulav, withstood ten tests, and I will also test Hananiyah, Misha-el and Azariah, and if they stand firm I will in their merit redeem the people of Israel, who are like a bunch of grapes, and the fame of those Tzaddikim will be known throughout the earth and their fragrance will spread like the fragrance of the apple trees of the Garden of Eden.
V 10: Daniel and his companions said, Let us accept God's decree as did Abraham, who is compared to old wine, and let us go in His paths like Elijah and Elisha, in whose merit the dead - who are like a man asleep - came to life, and like Ezekiel, through the prophecy of whose mouth the dead were revived in the valley of Doura.
V 11: Jerusalem says: As long as I go in the ways of the Master of the Universe, He rests His Presence upon me and His desire is upon me, while if I stray from His paths, He withdraws His Presence and makes me wander among the nations and they rule over me as a man rules over his wife.
V 12: When the House of Israel sinned, God sent them into exile in the land of Edom . Then the Assembly of Israel said: Master of the Universe, please accept my prayer, which I offer to you from the cities of my exile and the provinces of the nations.
V 13: The Children of Israel say to one another, Let us rise early in the morning and go to the synagogues and the study halls and study the scroll of the Torah and see if the time has arrived for the redemption of Israel, who are compared to the vine, and let us ask the sages - since it is revealed before God that the righteous are full of merits like the pomegranate - if the end has come so that we may go up to Jerusalem to give praise there to the God of Heaven and to offer holy sacrifices and libations.
V 14: And when God's desire will be to redeem His people from exile, King Mashiach will be told: The time of the exile has reached its end, and the merits of the righteous are fragrant as the scent of balsam, and the sages of the generation are constantly by the gates of the study hall engaging in the teachings of the scribes and the words of the Torah. Arise now and receive the kingship that I have stored up for you.
V 1: At that time King Mashiach will be revealed to the Assembly of Israel, and the Children of Israel will say to him, Come and go with us like a brother and we will go up to Jerusalem, and we will feed upon the deep wisdom of the Torah just as a baby suckles at his mother's chest. For all the time that I was wandering about outside my land, when I remembered the Name of the great God and sacrificed myself for His sake, even the nations of the land did not despise me.
V 2: I will take you, King Mashiach, and bring you up to my Temple, and you will teach me to fear God and go in His ways, and there we will partake of the feast of Leviathan and drink the old wine that has been hidden away since the day the world was created and partake of the pomegranate fruits destined for the Tzaddikim in the Garden of Eden.
V 3: The Assembly of Israel says: I am the choicest of all the nations, for I bind the Tefilin on my left arm and upon my head, and I fix the Mezzuzah on the right hand door post, so that no destructive spirits have the power to harm me.
V 4: King Mashiach will say: I adjure you, my people the House of Israel, why do you provoke the nations of the earth in trying to go out of exile, and why do you rebel against the forces of Gog and Magog. Tarry here a little while until the nations that go up to make war against Jerusalem will be destroyed, and afterwards God will remember in your favor the kindnesses of the Tzaddikim, and it will be His will to redeem you.
V 5: Solomon the prophet said: When the dead will come to life, the Mt of Olives will be split and all the dead of Israel will come up from beneath it, and even the righteous who died in exile will go through tunnels under the earth and come out from under the Mt of Olives, while the wicked who died and were buried in the Land of Israel will be cast out as a man casts a stone. Then all the inhabitants of the earth will say: What is the merit of this people who go up from the land in their multiple thousands upon thousands as on the day when they went up from the wilderness to the land of Israel, delighting in the kindnesses of their Master as on the day when they surrounded Mt Sinai to receive the Torah? At that hour Zion , who is the mother of Israel , will give birth to her children and Jerusalem will receive the children of the exile.
V 6: On that day the Children of Israel will say to their Master: Please place us like the seal of a ring upon Your heart, like the seal of a ring upon Your arm, so that we will be exiles no more. For the love of Your Godliness is strong as death, and the people's jealousy of us is fierce as hell, and the hatred they bear against us is like the coals of fire of Gehennom which God created on the second day of creation in order to burn up the idolaters.
V 7: The Master of the Universe says to His people the House of Israel: Even if all the nations, who are compared to the many waters of the sea, were to gather together, they cannot drown My love and make it depart from you. And even if all the kings of the earth, who are compared to the waters of a mighty river, gather together, they will not be able to obliterate you from the world. And if a man pays all the money of his house to acquire wisdom while in exile, I will return him double in the world to come, and all the spoils of the camp of Gog will not be enough to compare with this reward.
V 8: At that time the angels of heaven will say one to another: We have one nation on earth whose merits are slender and she has no kings or rulers to go out to do battle with the camp of Gog. What shall we do for our sister on the day that the nations say they will go up against her in war?
V 9: Michael the guardian angel of Israel will say: If she stands like a wall among the nations and pays money to unify the Name of the Master of the Universe,, then I and you, together with their scribes, shall surround her like walls of silver and the nations will have no power to rule over her, just like worms have no power to destroy silver. And even if she is poor in merits, let us entreat God for mercy upon her and remember the merit of the Torah written on the tablets of the heart which the children study, and she will stand against the nations like a cedar.
V 10: The Assembly of Israel answers and says: I am firm as a wall in following the teachings of the Torah, and the children are strong as a tower. At that time the Assembly of Israel will find favor in the eyes of her Master, and they will seek the peace of all the inhabitants of earth.
V 11: One nation went up as the share of the Master of the Universe to whom peace belongs. She is compared to a vineyard. He settled her in Jerusalem and entrusted her into the hand of the kings of the House of David to guard her, just as a tenant tends a vineyard. After Solomon king of Israel died, they were left in the hands of his son Rehaboam. Jeraboam came and divided the kingdom with him and took ten tribes from him in accordance with the words of Ahiyah of Shilo.
V 12: When King Solomon heard the prophecy of Ahiyah, he sought to kill him, and Jeraboam fled from Solomon and went to Egypt . At that hour King Solomon was told in a prophecy that he would rule over the Ten Tribes all his days, but that after his death Jeraboam son of Nevat would rule over them, while the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin would be under the rule of Rehaboam son of Solomon.
V 13: Said King Solomon at the end of his prophecy: At the end of days, the Master of the Universe will say to the Assembly of Israel: You, O Assembly of Israel, that is compared to a small garden among the nations, and you sit in the study hall with the members of the Sanhedrin while the rest of the people listen to the voice of the head of the Assembly and learn from the words of his mouth. Let Me hear the sound of your words of Torah when you sit in judgment, whether to vindicate or condemn, and I will agree with everything you do.
V 14: At that hour the elders of the Assembly of Israel will say: Run, my Beloved, Master of the Universe, from this impure land and let Your Presence dwell in the heavens above. And in times of trouble, when we pray to You, be like a gazelle, which when it sleeps keeps one eye closed and one eye open, or like a young hart, which when it flees looks behind it. So too may You look upon us and see our pain and suffering from the heavens above, until the time when You will show favor and redeem us and bring us up on the mountain of Jerusalem, and there the priests will offer the incense spices before You.
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By Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum
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