Shir Hashirim – A Jewish Love Story
A Jewish Love Affair – Shir Hashirim
Behold, thou art fair, my love; though art fair; thou hast doves eyes in front of your braids: thy hair is like a flock of goats that cascades down from mount Gil’ad.(Shir Hashirim 4 – 1)
When The Jewish people were freed from enslavement in Egypt we entered into a romantic love affair with the Master of the Universe. Like most love affairs each lover loves the bodies of the other. This is expressed in Shir Hashirm which is a poetic allegory of this affair. It includes the ups and downs of each relationship including their separation and subsequent rejuvenation of the relationship.
This allegory has many meanings. For almost every pasuk in Shir Hashirm our Rabbis of Blessed Memory have told us many explanations. Although these are often contradictory when we examine them we can see that they are all correct. We know that there are seventy faces to the Torah.
Torah Temimah on the above Pasuk Quotes:
Rabbi Yochanan says that this refers to Israel at Mount Sinai. They were as a flock which was not light headed when they were in front of Mount Sinai. In front of your braids is similar to the concentration of hair in a braid. Similarly, the people of Israel concentrated their thoughts to hear each commandment and were not light headed. Instead, they were filled with awe, trembling and sweat. That cascades down from mount Gil’ad: refers to Mount Sinai which Israel cascaded from. It is a testimony against idolaters.
(Shir Rabah 4-1)
Another Pasuk in the same chapter says:
Thy two breasts are like two fawns, twins of a gazelle, which feed among the lilies.
(Shir Hashirim 4 – 5)
Here too Torah Temimah quote the Midrash:
This refers to Moshe and Aharon. Breasts are the glory, splendor, beauty, honor and praise of a woman. Similarly Moshe and Aharon are the glory, splendor, beauty, honor and praise of Israel. Breasts are filled with milk. Similarly Moshe and Aharon fill Israel with Torah. Everything a woman eats her baby eats through her breasts. Similarly, all of the Torah which Moshe learned he taught to Aharon… A woman’s two breasts are the same size. Similarly, Moshe and Aharon are equals in their Torah knowledge.
(Shir Rabah 4 – 5)