Avraham ben Yaakov
KNOW YOUR BIBLE
SONG OF SONGS CHAPTER 3
V 1-2: When Israel sinned, the Divine Presence departed. In her distress in the night-time of exile, Israel - the soul - seeks out God but cannot find Him, "for I shall not go up in your midst" (Exodus 32:11).
V 3: "The watchmen that go around the city found me." The watchmen or guards are the Tzaddikim, such as Moses and Aaron, who entreat God on behalf of Israel .
V 4: "Only a little after I passed on from them." After 38 years in the wilderness, just after Aaron and Moses departed the world, Israel "found" God when Joshua brought them into the Land of Israel , miraculously defeating the 31 kings of Canaan . "I held him and would not let him go until I had brought him into my mother's house and into the chamber of her that conceived me" - After entry into the Land, Israel built the Sanctuary at Shilo.
V 5: "I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem ." Israel tells the nations not to spoil God's love for her by enticing her to abandon Him and go after their idols (Rashi).
V 6: "Who is this that comes out of the wilderness." When the nations saw Israel miraculously cross the River Jordan and enter the Land, they could not but wonder at the greatness of this upright nation advancing in the merit of the patriarchs (Targum).
V 7: The ultimate purpose of the entry into the Land was to build the Temple , which is the "bed" upon which the King of Peace causes His presence to rest (cf. II Kings 11:2). The "sixty mighty warriors" allude to the 600,000 souls of Israel ordered around the Sanctuary (in Hebrew, 600,000 is expressed as 60 REEBO, where each REEBO is 10,000). The "sixty warriors" also allude to the sixty Hebrew letters that make up the Priestly Blessing (Numbers 6:24-26) recited daily in the Temple .
V 8: "They all handle the sword and are expert in war." - "The priests and Levites and Israelites are all expert in the Torah which is compared to a sword" (Targum). "Every man has his sword on his thigh" - This alludes to the sign of the Covenant cut into the flesh by the thighs: this gives protection against all the forces of evil (Targum).
V 9: "King Solomon made himself a palanquin." This alludes to Solomon's Temple , built from the precious timbers of Lebanon .
V 10: Having completed the Temple , Solomon brought in the Ark of the Covenant, and the Divine Presence dwelled between the cherubs on its cover. ".the seat of it of purple (ARGAMAN)" - this alludes to the woven Parochet-screen that was hung in front of the Ark. As an example of the deep allusions contained in every word and letter of Song of Songs, it may be noted that ARGAMAN is an acronym of the initial letters of the names of the archangels, Oori-el, Repha-el, Gavri-el, Micha-el and Noori-el, who are the "seat" or "chariot" upon which the Divine Presence "rides".
V 11: "Go forth and gaze, O daughters of Zion , upon the King of Peace, upon the crown with which His MOTHER crowned Him on the day of His wedding and on the day of the joy of His heart". "Rabbi Elazar the son of Rabbi Yosse said, This is like a king who had an only daughter whom he loved very greatly. He had such great affection for her that he called her 'my daughter' (Psalms 45:11); so great was his affection for her that he did not move until he called her 'my sister' (Songs 5:2). So great was his affection for her that he did not move until he called her 'my mother' (cf. Isaiah 51:4 where the Hebrew text reads 'My mother') - (Rashi on Songs 3:11).
Chapter 4 vv 1-7 is the Lover's description of the beautiful features of his Beloved. Kabbalistically, this description alludes to the PARTZUF of the Shechinah, Malchus (kingship), the Nukva (female), for with the completion of Solomon's Temple , the attribute of Malchus was fully revealed.
V 1: The "eyes" are the leaders of the assembly and the sages of the Sanhedrin. The "hair" alludes to the rest of the people: even the merest of the "people of the land" (AM HA-ARETZ) are righteous like the sons of Jacob, who heaped up stones on Mt Gilead, Gen. 31:46 (Targum).
V 2: The "teeth" are the priests and Levites, who eat the meat of the sacrifices and the Terumah and Maaser tithes of the people. They are compared to flocks that are clean after having been washed since they are guiltless of any theft or robbery (Targum).
V 3: The "lips" are those of the High Priest, whose prayers on the Day of Atonement whitened the "scarlet" sins of the people (Targum).
V 4: The "neck" alludes to the NASI, President of the Sanhedrin, whose merit is a tower of strength to the nation, who thereby win all their wars as if holding every kind of weapon in their hands (Targum).
V 5: "Your two breasts are like two fawns." The two breasts allude to Mashiah ben David and Mashiah ben Yosef (who nurture and redeem Israel ): they are compared to two fawns = Moses and Aaron, who "feed among the lilies" - during their 40 year leadership of the people in the wilderness, they provided them with Manna, fat quails and Miriam's well (Targum).
Rashi interprets the two breasts as alluding to the Two Tablets of Stone. They are called "twins" because the five commandments on one are intrinsically bound up with the five commandments on the other. "I am HaShem." - "Do not murder": a murderer destroys the divine form, since man is created in God's image. "You shall have no other gods" - "Do not commit adultery": idolatry is like marital disloyalty. "Do not bear God's name in vain" - "Do not steal": a thief ends up swearing falsely. "Remember the Sabbath" - "Do not bear false testimony": Desecration of the Shabbos is like bearing false testimony against the Creator. "Honor your father and mother" - "Do not covet": One who covets another man's wife ends up bearing a son who despises him and honors one who is not his father.
V 6: "As long as the House of Israel practiced the craft of their saintly forefathers, all the destructive forces fled from them, just like they fled from the incense offered in the Temple built on Mount Moriah" (Targum).
V 8: "With Me from Lebanon , my bride, come with Me from Lebanon ." - "When you go into exile from this Lebanon (= the Temple ), you will go into exile with Me, for I will be in exile with you. And when you return from the exile, I will return with you. And through all the days of the exile, I shall share in your sorrow" (Rashi). "Look from the top of Mount Amanah ". Mount Amanah is the northern boundary of the Holy Land (=Hor HaHar, Numbers 34:7). Amanah = Emunah, Faith. "When I gather in your dispersed exiles, examine and contemplate what is your reward for your achievements, from the beginning of the Emunah with which you believed in Me when you went after Me into the wilderness." (Rashi).
V 9: "You have ravished My heart. with one bead of your necklace" - even your smallest is righteous as one of the rabbis of the Sanhedrin! (Targum).
V 12 praises the great modesty of the women of Israel .
V 13: "Your offshoots are an orchard of pomegranates" - "Even the smallest of Israel are moist in good deeds like an orchard of pomegranates" (Rashi).
V 16: "Awake, O north wind." God says, Since your fragrance is so sweet to me, I command the north and south winds to blow, gathering in all your exiles, and bringing them as an offering to Jerusalem . Then Israel answers: Let my Beloved come to His garden - if You are there, everything is there!" (Rashi).
BACK TO KNOW YOUR BIBLE HOMEPAGE
By Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum
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