“My child, do not forget My Torah, and let your heart guard My commandments, for they add to you length of days and years of life and peace.” Proverbs 3:1-2
In the midst of all that is transpiring in our day and time today in the world, we all have much to be concerned about! More than ever, we now must rely wholeheartedly upon HaShem to see us through the difficult times we are living in! It is not by our efforts do we have enough food, medicine and shelter, but solely through the kind and compassionate Hand of HaShem Who acts on our behalf solely for His Name’s sake!
This Op is part two of our Shir HaShirim (Song of Songs) study and will discuss all 17 verses of Shir HaShirim chapter two! I am hopeful you will be able to see just what HaShem thinks about His people and what He desires in a relationship with each of us, collectively and individually! One aspect of studying Shir HaShirim chapter two is we will need to delve deeply into understanding the Beit HaMikdash (Temple of HaShem) in Jerusalem as well as all the avodot (Temple Services) and the liturgy recited by the Kohanim and the people because all of it is a picture HaShem is painting for us to better understand not only Himself but also how He set things up in human history and eschatology.
One aspect of HaShem which I have over the years grown to greatly appreciate about Him is He does NOT play all the political games we see our national leaders play! HaShem does NOT manipulate people nor does He say one thing but mean something entirely opposite! What He says goes and our task is to either accept what He said or to reject it and go our own way! He is Holy and we must strive to understand what exactly this means.
The Holiness of HaShem is a topic which unfortunately has been either tossed out completely, so twisted up the meaning of holiness is now whatever one wishes or has been totally ignored for countless years and as such it has done enormous damage. Another reason why I absolutely abhor Replacement Theology Christian doctrine. This is why when studying and learning about the Beit HaMikdash (Temple of HaShem), we will very quickly begin to see and understand the concept of kedusha (Holiness) of HaShem and how very, very real it is and how very, very serious HaShem is!
For example, on Yom Kippur, the Kohen HaGadol (High Priest) is authorized to enter the Most Holy Place where the Ark sat in order to perform the Yom Kippur services. Tractate Yoma 5.2 from the Talmud Yerushalmi says “Scripture indicates (Leviticus 16:2,13) that one who enters the Holy of Holies without sanction, or who deviates from the proper procedure in offering the ketoret (Incense), shall die. Although the Kohen Gadol was permitted to enter on Yom Kippur, if he deviated, or he was wicked and thus unworthy of serving as Kohen Gadol and entering the Holy of Holies, he would die immediately, and this actually occurred numerous times. When the Kohen Gadol entered, all those assembled in the Temple would raise their hands in prayer that he exit safely. Moreover, a golden chain was tied around the Kohen Gadol’s leg, so that if he died in the Holy of Holies, they would be able to pull his body out.” HaShem is NOT kidding around nor is He being cavalier! He is unchanging and it is we who must change, not Him!
This is precisely why I always add this section in all my Ops discussing the eternal characteristics of HaShem! Now, more than ever, we need consistency and stability in a world of madness and where things come and go as quickly as a gust of wind! This said, always remember the following eternal characteristics of HaShem:
- HaShem never changes per Num 23:19/Mal 3:6/Hebrews 13:8/James 1:17
- His Word is firmly established per Psalm 119:89
- He reveals the end out of the beginning per Is 46:10
- He does nothing without first revealing it to His prophets per Amos 3:7
- He says there is nothing new under the sun per Ecclesiastes 1:9
- He says His Torah is the ONLY truth there is per Psalms 119:142
- He says His Torah is a tree of life and eternal per Proverbs 3:18-19 and Psalm 119:160
- He says His Torah is perfect and restores the soul per Psalm 19:7
- He says His Torah makes the simple one wise per Psalm 19:7
- He says His Torah Is freedom and liberty per Psalm 119:45 and James 1:25
- He says His Torah is the only good doctrine there is Proverbs 4:2
- He says His Torah will add length of days and years of life and peace per Proverbs 3:2
- He says all of the ways of His Torah are ways of pleasantness and peace per Proverbs 3:17
- He says His Torah is for our good and well-being per Deuteronomy 6:24
- He says His Torah is health for our lives per Proverbs 3:8
- He says His Torah is life to our soul and a graceful ornament for our neck per Prov 3:22
- He says His Torah is better than pearls and all desires cannot compare to it per Prov 8:11
- He says those who walk with His Torah are praiseworthy per Psalms 119:1
- He says observing His Torah is how we purify our path per Psalms 119:9
- He says His Torah is better than thousands in gold and silver per Psalms 119:72
- He says His Torah brings abundant peace to those who love Him and His Torah per Psalms 119:165
- He says there is one Torah for all per Exodus 12:49/Leviticus 24:22
- He says those who hate His Torah love death per Proverbs 8:36
- He says His Torah is the way of faith per Psalms 119:29-30
- He says His Torah makes us wiser than our enemies per Psalms 119:98
- He says His Torah is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path per Psalms 119:105
- He says one who finds His Torah has found life per Proverbs 8:35
- He says one who finds His Torah has found favor from HaShem per Proverbs 8:35
- He says Messiah Yeshua is the GOAL of His Torah, meaning without His Torah, Messiah cannot be known per Romans 10:4
- He says if we had believed Moshe/Torah, we would have believed Messiah per John 5:46
- He says His Torah makes us wiser than our enemies per Psalms 119:98
- He says His salvation is far from the wicked for they sought not His Torah per Psalms 119:155
- He says to hold fast to and guard His Torah, for it is our life per Proverbs 4:13
Shir HaShirim 2:1 says “I am but a Rose of Sharon, even an ever fresh rose of the valleys.” Shir HaShirim chapter two begins with Israel describing herself as a ‘Rose of Sharon’ and a ‘Rose of the Valleys’. What is the significance of this? Well, we have to remember Shir HaShirim is to be understood as an allegory and therefore everything in it has significance and meaning.
Additionally, we must see Shir HaShirim through the lens of the Temple of HaShem as well as through the Temple Services! To incorporate Christian Replacement Theology into this will absolutely, 100%, lead a person in the wrong direction. HaShem is unchanging, He reveals the end from the beginning and there is nothing new under the sun, therefore Christian Replacement Theology is automatically exposed for what it truly is. I digress.
Likening Israel to a rose in the Sharon or a rose in the Valley is being very specific in that per the commentary ‘The valley species of the flower retains its moistness because it is not exposed to the scorching sun, being of a more beautiful variety than the mountain species.’
Additionally, per the commentary, the reference to the ‘Sharon’ is ‘A common noun referring to a moist fertile area and coastal plains on the Mediterranean extending from Jaffa to Caesarea.’ Sharon is mentioned several times throughout the Tanakh and once in the Apostolic Writings. For example: Isaiah 33:9 says “The land is mournful and forlorn; Lebanon is shamed and cut down; Sharon has become a desert; Bashan and Carmel have become denuded.” This verse here in Isaiah 33 is in reference to Babylon and Rome who have destroyed the land to include Sharon and now HaShem will arise to rescue, redeem His people and destroy Babylon and Rome! Remember, He reveals the end from the beginning!!
Further, the commentary says this word ‘Sharon’ as used here in Shir HaShirim is related to the Hebrew word ‘Shir’ (Song) but not just any song, but the song which states “Tomorrow when HaShem will deliver me from the shadow of ruling powers I will blossom like a rose and sing a new song before Him!”
The commentary also interprets this verse as the following: “We are only like the rose of the moist plains and the rose of the valley which need much water and wither when the source of water is removed, unlike the hardier mountaintop roses which withstand aridity better. We cried ‘We will do and obey! (Shemot/Exodus 24:7) at Sinai, but as soon as our source of nourishment, Moses, went up to Heaven an was removed from us, our resolve withered and we succumbed to the allures of a Golden Calf.'”
This verse here should not be looked at as being a statement of self praise by Israel, but more importantly it is a statement as a combination of fear and hope. Other commentaries state the references to the Rose of Sharon and a rose of the valleys, should be understood as being a picture of Israel as it matures in HaShem. For example, the Rose of Sharon is a picture of Israel in its youth since it is always in danger of being uprooted by false teachings, idolatry and outside influences. The rose of the valleys reference is a picture of a mature Israel, secure in its commitment to HaShem and His Torah and will not walk away from HaShem again!
The Shir HaShirim Midrash Rabbah Parashah 2 commentary on this verse states “The Assembly of Israel states ‘I am she, and I am beloved before HaShem.’ I am she Whom the Holy One, blessed is He, loved more than the other seventy nations.'” The Midrash continues and says ‘HaSharon’ means ‘That I uttered before Him a song of praise at the Sea of Reeds through Moses, as it is written’, ‘Then Moses and the Children of Israel chose to sing this song to HaShem…(Shemot/Exodus 15): “Then Moshe and the Children of Israel chose to sing this song to HaShem, and they said the following: ‘I shall sing to HaShem for He is exalted above the arrogant, having hurled horse with its rider into the sea. The might and vengeance of Elohim was salvation for me. This is my Elohim and I will build Him a Sanctuary; the Elohim of my father and I will exalt Him. HaShem is Master of War, His Name is HaShem. Pharaoh’s chariots and army He threw in the sea, and the pick of his officers were mired in the Sea of Reeds. Deep waters covered them; they descended in the depths like stone. Your right hand, HaShem, is glorified with strength; Your right hand, HaShem smashes the enemy. In Your abundant grandeur You shatter Your opponents; You send forth Your wrath, it consumes them like straw. At a blast from Your nostrils the waters were heaped up; straight as a wall stood the running water; the deep waters congealed in the heart of the sea. The enemy declared, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide plunder; I will satisfy my lust with them. I will unsheathe my sword, my hand will impoverish them.’ You blew with Your wind, the sea enshrouded them; the mighty sank like lead in the water. Who is like You among the heavenly powers, HaShem! Who is like You, mighty in holiness, too awesome for praise, Doer of wonders! You stretched out Your right hand, the earth swallowed them. With Your kindness You guided this people that You redeemed; You led with Your might to Your holy abode. Peoples heard, they were agitated; terror gripped the dwellers of Philistia. Then the chieftains of Edom were confounded, trembling gripped the powers of Moav, all the dwellers of Canaan dissolved. May fear and terror befall them, at the greatness of Your arm may they be still as stone; until Your people passes through, HaShem, until this people You have acquired passes through. You will bring them and implant them on the mount of Your heritage, the foundation of Your dwelling place that You, HaShem, have made, the Sanctuary, my Master, that Your hand established. HaShem shall reign for all eternity! When Pharaoh’s cavalry came with his chariots and horsemen into the sea and HaShem turned back the waters of the sea upon them, the Children of Israel walked on the dry land amid the sea.'”
This song sung by Israel happened when HaShem miraculously rescued Israel out from the oppressing bondage in Egypt i.e. the Exodus, so it is very interesting this verse here in Shir HaShirim is being connected to the Exodus! This is very interesting because in the Shir HaShirim Midrash Rabbah another interpretation for understanding the statement ‘I am a rose of the Sharon’ is “I am she who was concealed in the shadow of the people of Egypt, but in a brief moment the Holy One, blessed is He, gathered me to Rameses, and I became saturated with good deeds like a rose, and uttered before Him a song of praise, as it is stated, ‘The song will be yours like the night of the festival’s consecration’ per Isaiah 30:29. This means that the song of praise Israel WILL sing upon the Messianic Redemption will resemble the song sung on the night of the festival of Passover in Egypt (Shemot/Exodus 15). We see, then, that the people of Israel sang a song of praise to HaShem on the night of the Exodus.” Again, we must understand and remember HaShem reveals the end out of the beginning and thus the future Messianic Redemption will be akin to the Redemption from Egypt!
During the Yom Kippur Temple Service performed by the Kohen HaGadol (High Priest), while in the Holy of Holies, he would utter the following prayer when he left the Holy of Holies: “May it be Your will HaShem, our Elohim and the Elohim of our forefathers, that a decree of exile not emerge from before You upon us, not on this day of Yom Kippur, nor during this entire year. And if a decree of exile did emerge upon us on this day or shall emerge during this year, then let our exile be to a place of Torah. And regarding Your people Israel, they should not elevate their authority one over the other. And concerning the inhabitants of Sharon, may it be Your will, HaShem, our Elohim and the Elohim of our forefathers, that their homes not become their graves.” The commentary from this tractate from the Talmud Yerushalmi says “The houses in the Sharon valley were subject to landslides and flash floods. Alternatively, the earth of the Sharon region was not suitable for construction, and houses had to be rebuilt there twice every seven years or else they would collapse.”
Can you see how much we have been able to pull out of just one single, simple verse from Shir HaShirim and why we MUST have the Oral Torah to supplement? This is just the beginning of this Op too!! Much more to come!
Shir HaShirim 2:2 says “Like the rose maintaining its beauty among the thorns, so is My faithful beloved among the nations.” This verse is HaShem’s response to what Israel said in verse 1! The commentary explains “Just as a rose retains its beauty and color although pricked by surrounding thorns, so does My beloved people maintain her faith despite the torments of her neighbors who try to sway her after their strange gods.”
The Shir HaShirim Midrash Rabbah Parashah 2 has a very interesting explanation and parable of this verse. It says “This can be compared to a king who had an orchard. The workers descended into it and planted a row of fig trees, a row of vines, a row of pomegranate trees, and a row of apple trees. Then the king entrusted it to a sharecropper and went away. After some days, the king came and peered at the orchard to see what it had produced, but he found it full of thorns and thistles. As a result, he brought choppers to chop it down. Then he saw in it a single rose. He took it and smelled it, and his soul was calmed. The king said, ‘On account of this rose, the entire orchard will be spared.”
“Similarly, the world was created for no purpose other than for the people of Israel. After twenty six generations from its creation, the Holy One, blessed is He, peered at His world to see what it had produced, but He found it to be full of water upon water. The generation of Enosh had been blotted out through water, the generation of the Flood had been blotted out through water; and the generation of the Dispersion was punished with water. Seeing that the inhabitants of the world had only brought devastation upon it, HaShem brought choppers to chop it down, as it is stated, HaShem sat at the Flood per Psalms 29:10. But then He saw a rose, these are a reference to the people of Israel; He took it and smelled it, this took place at the time when the people of Israel arranged the giving of the Ten Commandments; and His soul was calmed, this took place at the time when the people of Israel said ‘We will do and we will listen too!’ per Exodus 24:7. The Holy One, blessed is He, said, ‘On account of this rose, the entire orchard will be spared’; meaning in the merit of the Torah and those who study it, the entire universe will be spared.”
“And thus in Psalms 29:11 states, ‘HaShem will give might to His nation’, referring to the Torah, Elohim would have indeed destroyed the world as He did at the time of the Flood, but did not do so because His nation accepted the Torah. Here too, as in the above parable the others were spared in the merit of the people of Israel, since they rely on others for many of their necessities; or in the hope that the others would produce good offspring that would join the Jewish people.”
So, why didn’t HaShem just uproot the thorns and thistles in the parable? “Because the thorns were so close to the rose that uprooting them would inevitably destroy it as well. Alternatively, the thorns were spared in the hope that they would produce more roses.” This is why HaShem has given humanity 7,000 years to exist in this world and to either serve HaShem or serve other gods. 6,000 years for humanity and then 1,000 years to rest i.e. Shabbat before entering the Olam Haba i.e. the World to Come! I digress.
Another picture the Midrash uses says “Just as the rose, if heat comes out upon it, becomes withered, and if dew comes out upon it blossoms, so too, as long as the shelter of Esau endures, the people of Israel appear, so to speak, to be withering in this world; but once the shelter of Esau has passed, the people of Israel will be continuously saturated and blossoming. Thus it is written, ‘I will be to Israel like the dew, and he will blossom like a rosebush’ per Hosea 14:6. Just as the fragrance of the rose never ceases, rather, it constantly retains its fragrance, so too, the fragrance of the people of Israel never ceases; rather, they constantly retain their fragrance of commandments and good deeds.”
What is interesting is HaShem again is using a rose as a picture of prophecy and the Messianic Redemption of His people Israel yet to come. The Shir HaShirim Midrash Rabbah says “More so than other flowers, the rose is susceptible to sudden withering from heat, and, conversely, it blossoms more speedily than other flowers in response to dew. Similarly, the exile of the Jewish nation has always been more severe than those of other nations, and their redemption will be greater, and more sudden, than that of any of the other nations.”
This parable helps us understand why HaShem does things the way He does! Moving on!
Shir HaShirim 2:3 says “Like the fruitful, fragrant apple tree among the barren trees of the forest, so is my Beloved among the gods. In His shade I delighted and there I sat, and the fruit of His Torah was sweet to my palate.”
Right away we see HaShem compare His Torah to the sweetness of ripened fruit i.e. an apple! Replacement Theology Christian dogma, especially as of late, teaches HaShem and His Torah are bitter, rotten fruit designed to crush, deceive, enslave and destroy and have been removed, displaced and replaced. We will see who is correct shortly!
The commentary on this verse says “Just as an apple tree among fruitless trees is beloved by virtue of its excellent fruit and fragrance, so is HaShem superior to all the gods whom the heathen nations foolishly serve, and which are likened to insubstantial trees, simply wood of the forest. The apple tree or in Hebrew ‘The Esrog Tree’ is shunned by all people when the sun beats down because it provides no shadow. So did all the nations refuse to sit in the ‘shadow’ of HaShem on the day of the giving of the Torah. But the congregation of Israel longed for Him and sat; it was only Israel who longed, not the nations. It is Israel who perceived the eternal benefit of sitting in His shadow, unlike the others who saw only that there was no immediate glamor or benefit in accepting His Torah. For although the shade, i.e. reward, of Torah is not apparent, Israel acted from conviction and trust in His Redemption, unlike the heathen nations who were concerned only with ephemeral, existentialist recompense. ‘And His fruit is sweet to my palate.’ This refers to the twelve months which Israel spent before Mount Sinai regaling themselves with the words of the Torah, because its fruit was sweet to ‘my taste’. To my taste it was sweet, but to the taste of the other nations it was bitter like wormwood.”
Here are some interesting comparisons between Israel and the apple tree as stated from the Shir HaShirim Midrash Rabbah Parashah 2: “Just as is the case of the apple tree, its bud precedes its leaves, so did the people of Israel at Sinai commit to doing prior to listening, as it is stated ‘Everything that HaShem has said, we will do and we will listen to!’ per Exodus 24:7.”
“Just as the apple tree completes its fruit only in the month of Sivan, so did the people of Israel begin to yield a pleasant fragrance only in the month of Sivan, by their acceptance of the Torah.”
“Just as in the case of the apple tree, from the time that it produces its bud until the time that it completes its fruit there are fifty days, so too, from the time that the people of Israel left Egypt until the time that they accepted the Torah there were fifty days.”
Its interesting the Torah of HaShem is sweet to the taste to those who belong to Him, but to the nations, the Torah of HaShem is likened to ‘Wormwood’ i.e. ‘Bitterness’. My point is in all my years of having discussions with people concerning the validity of His Torah, the most common reaction is one of bitterness which leads to staunch rejection of HaShem and His Torah! Nothing changes in the world!
And why do the nations react to His Torah bitterly? Because His Torah is a tree of life to those who take hold of it, but it requires we surrender and submit ourselves to HaShem and to many in the nations, this just simply isn’t acceptable. This is why the Replacement Theology of Christendom can be so alluring and seductive because it promises the rewards of eternal life without the cumbersome Torah of HaShem to strive for. Now, for the record I am NOT implying eternal salvation is obtained via the Torah of HaShem, what I am saying is Torah is the evidence we are saved, after the fact. First we believe and it is accounted to us as righteousness and then we strive to learn and live out His Torah out of love, devotion and loyalty to HaShem. Can we do so perfectly? Sadly no, we cannot, but we strive for it because this is what Messiah Yeshua taught we are to strive for, imitate Him! Keep this in mind as we progress.
Shir HaShirim 2:4 says “He brought me to the chamber of Torah delights and clustered my encampments about Him in love.”
Literally this verse says per the commentary “He has brought me to the House of Wine or in other words the Tent of Meeting, in the Mishkan (Tabernacle) where the details and explanations of the Torah were expounded. Further, the Midrash says the House of Wine, refers to Sinai because the Torah was stored there in preparation for Revelation from the time of creation just as wine is stored in a cellar.” To help better understand what the Tent of Meeting is and where it was located, the following is an excerpt from the book ‘Measure The Pattern’ by Joseph Good page 146: “Originally the Ohel Moed (Tent of Meeting) was a tent set up outside the camp of Israel. When the Mishkan was built the Ohel Moed (Tent of Meeting) was transferred to the HaKodesh (The Holy Place), also known as the Heichal (Temple). According to halachah (How to walk in the Torah) any place within the Azarah (Courtyard before the Heichal) was ‘before the Ohel Moed (Tent of Meeting).'”
The encampments about HaShem in love are the tribes of Israel around the Mishkan. See the below image:
Likening HaShem’s Torah to a wine cellar is very important to understand. Per the Shir HaShirim Midrash Rabbah Parashah 2 states “The Torah is akin to a wine cellar in terms of its ability to fill the air with its enticing fragrance, its intoxicating vapor. Thus, when the Jews approached Mount Sinai, where the Torah was about to be introduced to the world, they became ‘drunk’ with love for it; they were swept over by a desire to receive the Torah and imbibe its teachings. Why was this important? Why did the Jewish people have to accept the Torah with love? Because love for the Torah is the key to opening our hearts to its wisdom. In our daily prayers we ask that HaShem open our hearts to His Torah, for when a person’s heart is truly opened, there is no limit to how much Torah it can absorb. The soul is never filled said the wisest of all men per Ecclesiastes 6:7. The difficulty lies in coaxing the heart open, so that the wealth of knowledge and insight waiting at its portals can find their way inside. Even today there is a concept of becoming drunk from the love of Torah. We see people with no background in Torah and mitzvos (Commandments) who, upon their first exposure to HaShem’s wisdom, are drawn to it with an unquenchable thirst. We, too, must strive to build up our appreciation for the Torah and our desire for its knowledge. If we would only open our hearts, even with an opening as small as the point of a needle, as long as it penetrates through and through, HaShem would step in and open it the rest of the way, lavishing His assistance upon us and giving us unforeseen success in Torah learning.”
I can personally attest that it is absolutely true how I was drawn to the Torah of HaShem when I left Christendom once and for all. His Torah truly is a tree of life to those who take hold of it and it is an unquenchable thirst! And why is this? Because the Torah of HaShem is the means to have a relationship with Him! If we want to know Who He is as well as know Who His Messiah truly is, we MUST grab hold of His Torah out of love!
The most difficult aspect of HaShem’s Torah that I see most people struggle with is how HaShem has commanded the Sanhedrin to be the ones to examine and rule on the ‘Halachah’ i.e. ‘The right rulings on how to walk in the Torah’ and then He commands we are to do exactly what the Sanhedrin rules on and to defy the Sanhedrin is to defy HaShem Himself! This is the basis for the legitimacy and validity of the Oral Torah, which we have discussed many times previously. Per Tractate Sanhedrin 4.2 from the Talmud Yerushalmi HaShem wants us to discuss and argue on how to walk in the Torah as it is a refining process!
Shir HaShirim 2:5 says “Sustain me in exile with dainty cakes, spread fragrant apples about me to comfort my dispersion, for bereft of Your Presence, I am sick with love.”
The commentary says “Poignantly wishing to demonstrate the profundity of her love, Israel depicts herself as a swooning, lovesick maiden in need of medicinal stimulants to help her revive herself, allegorically referring to exiled Israel’s love sickness for HaShem, while Israel suffers affliction and awaits His return, lovingly serving Him while anxious for Redemption.”
“What is the proper love for HaShem? It is to love HaShem and be constantly enraptured by it like a love sick individual, whose mind is at no time free from his passion for a particular woman, the thought of her filling his heart at all times, when sitting down or rising up, when eating or drinking. Even more intense should love of HaShem be in the hearts of those who love Him, and this love should constantly absorb him as commanded us in the phrase ‘With all your heart and with all your soul’ per Deuteronomy 6:5. Solomon expressed this allegorically in the verse ‘For I am sick with love.’ The entire Song of Songs is indeed an allegorical description of this love.”
The Shir HaShirim Midrash Rabbah Parashah 2 says “Sustain me with two fires i.e. The Written Torah and The Oral Torah, the Torah being called fire, as it says ‘Is not My Word like fire?’ per Jeremiah 23:29.”
The Perek Shirah on page 53 discussing apples says “The apple tree says: ‘When the patriarch Jacob came to receive the blessing of his father Isaac, the scent of a blessed field came into the room with him. It was the scent of an apple orchard, the Sages teach, the scent of the Garden of Eden before Adam and Eve sinned. A scent is not only a reflection of the person from whom it emanates, it deposits its fragrance on his neighbors, as well. This is why we eat an apple on Rosh HaShanah, to inspire ourselves not only to personal growth, but to have a positive influence on others.'”
Shir HaShirim 2:6 says “With memories of His loving support in the desert, of His left hand under my head, of His right hand enveloping me.”
The Shir HaShirim Midrash Rabbah Parashah 2 says “His left hand is under my head is interpreted to mean these are the Clouds of Glory that surrounded Israel in the Wilderness; and His right arm embraces me, this is the cloud of the Divine Presence in the Future World. Thus it is written with regard to the Future Era, the sun will no longer be for you the light of day, and for brightness, the moon will not illuminate for you per Isaiah 60:19. The Midrash interjects by way of elucidation. Who then will illuminate for you at that time? The verse continues, ‘HaShem will be an eternal light for you.’ The Midrash understands this to mean that in the Future to Come, a Cloud of the Divine Presence will provide light for Jerusalem, just as in the Wilderness, the Clouds of Glory provided light for Israel.”
Shir HaShirim 2:7 says “I adjure you, O nations who are destined to ascend to Jerusalem, lest you become defenseless as gazelles or hinds of the field, if you dare cause hatred or disturb this love while it yet gratifies.”
This verse is a strong warning to the nations of the world who may attempt to take advantage of Israel’s exile and think HaShem is no longer continuing to watch over and protect His people i.e. dare to cause hatred or disturb this love between HaShem and Israel, while it yet gratifies!
Shir HaShirim 2:8 says “The Voice of my Beloved! Behold it came SUDDENLY to redeem me, as if leaping over mountains, skipping over hills.”
The commentary on this verse is very revealing: “This interpretation is a metaphorical image, if one may so express oneself, as if HaShem hurriedly leaped and skipped to redeem Israel BEFORE the pre-determined End.” Point is, this verse paints the picture of HaShem being very, very eager to redeem and rescue His Bride i.e. Israel.
The commentary from the Illuminated Shir HaShirim book says “The sound of my Beloved, behold, He has come BEFORE THE APPOINTED TIME TO REDEEM ME FROM EGYPT, skipping over the mountains in the merit of the Patriarchs, jumping over the hills in the merit of the Matriarchs.”
Another image being painted in the Midrash is that the reference to ‘mountains’ refers to Israel’s intentional transgressions which HaShem theoretically skipped over i.e. forgave and the reference to ‘hills’ refers to the less severe unintentional transgressions.
The Shir HaShirim Midrash Rabbah Parashah 2 says something very, very interesting. It says “When there’s a Divine Will….When Moshe came bearing news of the redemption, the Jewish people were incredulous. In their eyes, the obstacles before them, the 400 years of exile foretold to Abraham, the paucity of their good deeds, their past ardor for idolatry, seemed insurmountable. But Moshe brushed all the skeptics aside. ‘HaShem wants to redeem you,’ he told them, ‘And therefore will not be deterred by all these considerations about timing and merit.’ These timeless words should echo in our minds anytime we contemplate the state of our own spiritual lives. After all, we, too, seek redemption from past moral failures and enduring moral faults. And we, too, encounter serious obstacles on our path to repentance, craftily laid out by the yetzer hara, the evil inclination. Ever the cynic, he (Evil Inclination) mocks our thoughts of betterment as hopelessly naïve. ‘What makes you think that at this stage in your life, you can succeed where you have failed so often and so miserably? Your best days are behind you and you are still at square one, relatively unaccomplished in Torah learning and character development. After years of neglect, the bad habits you have formed are deeply ingrained and hardly reversible. It is simply too late. You cannot, at your age, hope to make a fresh start!’”
“Such arguments, reinforced by select quotations from unimpeachable sources, can be very convincing, and deeply discouraging. But Moshe’s rejoinder, conveyed by the righteous in every generation, tells a different story. ‘HaShem wants you back! He longs for your repentance.’ He says ‘I do not desire the death of the wicked one, but only the wicked one’s return from his evil way that he may live!’ He is therefore ready to overlook your past, even more, to free you from your past, if you will only resolve, firmly and sincerely, to strive from this point forward to reconnect with Him. Leaping over every hurdle to welcome your return, He will help you find the strength to carry out your plans and complete your redemption from a life of moral servitude into one of freedom and nobility!”
HaShem is ALL about life, living and being at peace! When we go our own way and reject and rebel against HaShem and His Torah, we end up in chaos and our lives are ruined and destroyed, ultimately, if we hold onto this rebellion, we will succumb to death both physical and spiritual death which is something HaShem does NOT desire for anyone! He desires true repentance, which is defined, biblically, as returning to HaShem and embracing His Torah as the means to live in this life! Messiah Yeshua renewed the Covenant of HaShem and secured our eternal redemption, but we must put that belief into action and live it out in our lives i.e. His Torah.
Shir HaShirim 2:9-10 says “In His swiftness to redeem me, my Beloved is like a gazelle or a young hart. I thought I would be forever alone, but behold! He was standing behind our wall, observing through the windows, peering through the lattices!” My Beloved called out and said to me: ‘Arise My love, My fair one, and go forth.’“
These two verses here, in my opinion, drive home the seriousness of HaShem and His desire to redeem and interact with each of us! We are not just waiting for Him, but He is eagerly awaiting the time when He can redeem us!!
The Shir HaShirim Midrash Rabbah Parashah 2 describes this very well: “Just as this gazelle leaps from mountain to mountain, from valley to valley, from tree to tree, and from hut to hut, and from stone fence to stone fence, so too, does the Holy One, blessed is He, leap from this synagogue to that synagogue, and from this study hall to that study hall. Why is it that HaShem goes to such an extent? So as to bless Israel!”
How many of us at times in our lives thought just as this verse says that we would be forever alone in this world? I would imagine we all have at one point or another had that thought! But, here in these verses, it shows us just how close HaShem is to each of us in that “He is standing behind our wall observing through the windows, peering through the lattices!” But, what does this mean?
The Shir HaShirim Midrash Rabbah Parashah 2 explains it as follows: “HaShem is standing, so to speak, behind the walls of the synagogue and study halls. Looking through the windows meaning HaShem is looking through the space between the shoulders of the Kohanim (Priests) when they stand together pronouncing the priestly blessing. Peering through the lattices, meaning, HaShem is peering through the space between the fingers of the Kohanim when they raise their hands to bless the people.”
The Midrash gives a parable to better understand these verses. It says “A father came from overseas to visit his son. To his dismay, he found the son deathly ill and oblivious to his surroundings. For weeks on end, the father remained with his son, watching, praying, conferring with the doctors, and managing his care. Finally, the day came when the young man’s fever broke. His condition began improving and one morning, he awakens and finds his father at his bedside. In amazement he exclaims weakly, ‘Oh, Father, what a surprise! How did you get here so quickly?’ To which the father responds, ‘What are you saying, my son? I have been here the entire time!”
We are currently in exile and our interaction with HaShem is not what He intended it to be, however, He is watching and protecting His Bride even if He does so via looking through a window or peering through lattices! This is precisely why He commands we are to learn about His Temple and all the Temple Services via Ezekiel 43:10-11, because when we do so, we begin to see just how much He is watching and peering through the lattices!!
Shir HaShirim 2:11 says “For the winter of bondage has passed, the deluge of suffering is over and gone.”
This verse refers to the 400 years of exile that had been decreed upon our forefathers in Egypt which HaShem delivered out of bondage BEFORE the total 400 years had been completed! Since He reveals the end out of the beginning, then is it possible this verse can be applied for the future Final Redemption we are still awaiting and longing for? May it be so very, very soon in our days!!
Shir HaShirim 2:12 says “The righteous blossoms are seen in the Land, the time of your song has arrived, and the voice of your guide is heard in the Land.”
The commentary on this verse says “The word ‘blossoms’ is a reference to Moses and Aaron who blossomed for all of Israel’s needs. The comparison of Moses and the prophets to blossoms is appropriate. Just as blossoms herald the imminent blooming flower, so do the prophets herald the oncoming Redemption!”
Moses and Joshua are both considered to be great Guides of Israel because “Each of whom made proclamations and guided the people during the process of Exodus and conquest. Alternately in consonance with the Midrashic interpretations attaching this verse to other epochs in Jewish history: Cyrus, who issued the Call to return from Babylonian captivity; and King Messiah.”
What is the purpose of King Messiah’s arrival? To complete the Final Redemption of all of Israel, bring everyone home into the Land and ultimately and eternally defeat the enemies of HaShem and Israel!
The time for singing praises to HaShem for His miraculous deliverance and salvation just as Israel sang the song of praise to HaShem at the Red Sea! He reveals the end out of the beginning which means we all will sing songs of praise to HaShem for His miraculous deliverance and salvation at the Final Redemption, may it be so very soon in our days!
Shir HaShirim 2:13 says “The fig tree has formed its first small figs, ready for ascent to the Temple. The vines are in blossom, their fragrance declaring they are ready for libation. Arise My love, My fair one and go forth!”
The commentary on this verse says “The time is drawing near for you (Israel) to enter the Land so that you can bring First Fruits to the Temple. The unripened first figs, are perceived by the Sages to refer to the wicked who are unripened in their actions. The fig tree drops her unripe figs, while the vines blossom give forth their fragrance. That is, the House of Israel drops her unripe figs i.e. her wicked. This refers to the wicked ones among the children of Israel who spurned redemption. Their lives were brought to an end by HaShem during the three days of darkness per Exodus 10:22. The rest of the verse refers to the others who repented and survived by the fragrance of their repentance which was accepted by HaShem. Thereupon Moses said to the Children of Israel: ‘So many good fragrances are within you, and yet you are still here in Egypt! Arise My beloved My fair one and come away!’”
One interesting statement in this commentary says “In the literal sense, the external signs which signal the propitiousness of Redemption, are among those very same signs which will signal the future Redemption!” In other words, HaShem reveals the end out of the beginning!!
The Shir HaShirim Midrash Rabbah Parashah 2 explains why the unrepentant are compared to unripe figs: “Repentance is possible only if one is prepared to recognize his flaws and shortcomings. There is then the hope that such a person will return to HaShem with heart and soul. Not so one who is blithely unaware that there is anything amiss with him. He strides confidently forward, unperturbed, in his path of sin, and mistakes it for a path of virtue. He cannot repent, for in his eyes he does no wrong. A fig is eaten in its entirety, skin, seeds, and all. There is no residue, all of it is fruit. The young fruit produced by the fig tree, then, is symbolic of the one who can do no wrong, the sinner who will not repent. The grape, however, is different. Inside and outside, there are elements of it that will be discarded. When crushed to yield its wine, the grape leaves an uneaten residue of skin and pits. The blossoming vine is thus the symbol of repentance. The one who can recognize his spiritual failings can arise from the shackles of misdeed and give forth the redemptive fragrance of teshuvah (Repentance).”
Can you see again how HaShem uses elements of His creation to teach us spiritual principles such as grapes, wine, figs, grain, water, etc,?
The Shir HaShrirm Midrash Rabbah Parashah 2 says “The events of the seven year period that will precede the coming of the Messiah. Ordinarily, change occurs in small increments. Children are born and slowly mature. A seedling sprouts and slowly grows. Not so with regard o the period of Israel’s redemption, which will see great changes take place in a relatively short amount of time. Before the redemption, Israel shall be in steepest decline, her Torah forgotten, her enemies triumphant. And then, with the sudden coming of the Messiah, she will quickly rise and shine forth again, brighter than before.
Why must the redemption be marked by such extremes? It is because the purpose of the Messiah is not merely to herald the redemption of a single oppressed nation, but to call into being a new paradigm for Creation. When the Messiah comes, the world that existed since the days of Creation will be no more. The current reality will be replaced with something entirely fresh and unfamiliar: The New Creation of the post Messiah period. The emergence of a new world demands the disappearance of the old. Perforce, the arrival of the Messiah must be preceded by a period of decline, when the earlier Creation falls, and the stage is set for a renewed world to appear.
The events of this great transformation are catalogued here, in the Midrash’s account of the seven years that precede the Messiah. The first three years will see the progression of a great and deadly famine, the consequent decimation of the pious, and the loss of their Torah. This represents the decline of the old world. The subsequent years will bring the first emanations of the new world, foreshadowed by the lessening of famine in the fourth year, the great plenty of the fifth, and the return of Torah to Israel in the sixth. In the sixth year, the signs of rebirth will grow stronger, and rumor of the Messiah will fill the land. In the seventh year, battle will be joined between the soon to be disenfranchised nations, who are rooted in the paradigm of the old Creation, and Israel, who shall find in the new world of the Messiah their natural milieu.
When the seventh year is complete, and the eighth begins, the scion of David comes. Arachin 13b (Talmud Bavli) teaches ‘The harp of the Holy Temple was one of seven strings, but that of the Messiah will be one of EIGHT strings. The number seven is symbolic of the natural world, which was created in seven days. The number eight represents the world of the Messiah, which exists on a more elevated plane than the world of seven and in which the seven notes of this world’s music will be brought into perfect harmony by a newly revealed eighth note, ethereal and pure. The seven years are the final ones of HaShem’s original Creation. The eighth year ushers in a new Creation, a spiritual existence, the new world of the Messianic age.”
Shir HaShirim 2:14 says “O My dove, trapped at sea as if in the cleft of the rock, concealment of the terrace. Show Me your prayerful gaze, let Me hear your supplicating voice, for your voice is sweet and your countenance comely.”
The commentary says “This verse refers to the time shortly after leaving Egypt, when Pharaoh was pursuing the Jews and found them encamped at the sea. The Jews were trapped, with the sea before and the Egyptian army behind them. What did they resemble? A dove which was fleeing a hawk. It flew into the cleft of a rock, and found a serpent lurking there. It could not enter because of the snake nor turn back because of the hawk. HaShem then said ‘Show Me your countenance i.e. to whom do you turn to when in trouble? Let Me hear your voice of despair which I had already heard in Egypt for your voice is sweet.”
HaShem reminding future generations of His constant hearing of the voice of His Bride Israel even while in exile. We can be assured He will hear our cries for help and come to rescue us!
Shir HaShirim 2:15 says “Seize for us the Egyptian foxes, even the small foxes who spoiled Israel’s vineyards while our vineyards had just began to blossom.”
HaShem is using the picture of an Egyptian Fox to describe the cunning of the Egyptians. The Midrash cites that “The Jewish women, to avoid Pharaoh’s harsh decree (To throw Jewish male children into the Nile River) would hide their infant sons in basements. The wicked Egyptians would take their own young children into the Jewish houses and pinch them to make them cry. In response to these cries, the Jewish children would commence crying and their hiding places would be discovered, resulting in their being cast into the river, as well as the adults, were implicated in murdering our children.”
Shir HaShirim 2:16 says “My Beloved is mine, He fills all my needs and I seek from Him and none other. He grazes me in rose like bounty.”
The commentary says “HaShem makes demands upon me, that He makes upon no other nation, for example to offer the Paschal (Pesach/Passover) sacrifice, sanctify the first born, construct the Tabernacle, and sacrifice burnt offerings and I in turn rely on none other but Him!”
“He is my Elohim and I am His nation; He is a father to me and I am His son; He is my shepherd, and I am his flock; He sang of me and I sang of Him; when I required something I sought it only from Him and when He required anything He sought it only from me.”
“HaShem is the One Who grazes His sheep amid scenes of tranquil beauty i.e. rose like bounty.”
Shir HaShirim 2:17 says “Until my sin blows His friendship away and sears me like the midday sun and His protection departs, my sin caused Him to turn away. My Beloved, You became like a gazelle or a young hart on the distant mountains.”
This verse connects with the previous verse in that HaShem’s blessings are abundant and the relationship is intimate, however, when sin comes onto the scene then the relationship is broken and His Divine Presence is removed and His protection is lost and He departs. The commentary ends this chapter of Shir HaShrim by saying “Until the day of redemption comes about and the shadows of oppression fade, we beseech You, Beloved Elohim, that You continue to cast Your providence upon us and like a gazelle or a hart skip over the mountains of transgressions separating us!”
May it be so very, very soon the Final Redemption comes about and we ALL can go home to the Land and live in His sight and engage in the intimate relationship with Him at the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem!
Hope this Op was a blessing.
- The Chumash with the Teachings of the Talmud by Artscroll
- Shir HaShirim Artscroll Tanach Series
- The Kleinman Edition The Midrash Rabbah Shir HaShirim by Artscroll
- The Steinsaltz Talmud Bavli by Koren
- The Song of Songs Judaica Press