top of page

Shir HaShirim - The Song of Songs

On Shabbat Chol HaMoed Pesach, Ashkenazim read Shir HaShirim (the Song of Songs) before the Torah reading in Shul. Shir HaShirim is essentially a poetic expression of God’s love for the Jewish people, expressed along the same lines as a man’s love for a woman. There is actually a Talmudic debate as to whether or not Shir HaShirim should be included in the Tanach, due to the fact that some of its flowery language and overt expressions of love and desire of a man towards a woman. But Rabbi Akiva responded that “All the writings are holy, but Shir Hashirim is the holy of holies,” because of how it expresses the love between the Jewish people and God.

Of course, this expression of love is very appropriate for Pesach, the holiday commemorating God’s redeeming of our people from slavery in Egypt and bringing us to freedom.

ח ק֣וֹל דּוֹדִ֔י הִנֵּה־זֶ֖ה בָּ֑א מְדַלֵּג֙ עַל־הֶ֣הָרִ֔ים מְקַפֵּ֖ץ עַל־הַגְּבָעֽוֹת:

The sound of my beloved! Behold, he is coming, skipping over the mountains, jumping over the hills. (Shir HaShirim 2:1)

During the 400 years of slavery in Egypt, Bnei Yisrael were desperately waiting for redemption, ie “the sound of my beloved”. Even though this redemption was so far away, God came and redeemed us “skipping over the mountains, jumping over the hills” as if there was no distance between us. The future redemption will occur the same way.

יג הַיּוֹשֶׁ֣בֶת בַּגַּנִּ֗ים חֲבֵרִ֛ים מַקְשִׁיבִ֥ים לְקוֹלֵ֖ךְ הַשְׁמִיעִֽנִי: יד בְּרַ֣ח | דּוֹדִ֗י וּֽדְמֵֽה־לְךָ֤ לִצְבִי֙ א֚וֹ לְעֹ֣פֶר הָֽאַיָּלִ֔ים עַ֖ל הָרֵ֥י בְשָׂמִֽים:

You, who sit in the gardens the friends hearken to your voice; let me hear [it]. Flee, my beloved, and liken yourself to a gazelle or to a fawn of the hinds on the spice mountains."

Shir HaShirim concludes by mentioning that the Jewish people are grazing in the gardens of strangers, but God hears our singing and our learning Torah regardless. While in the final verse, we are instructed to flee the exile like a gazelle in order to come closer to the eventual redemption at the “spice mountains”, an obvious reference to the mountains of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount in specific.

Similarly, we opened the door for Eliyahu HaNavi at our Seders and sang “L’Shana HaBa BiYirushalayim” (Next Year in Jerusalem). Clearly, we should all be fleeing the exile today, and coming home to Jerusalem.

Next year, may we all enjoy eating the Korban Pesach at the rebuilt Bet HaMikdash

חג שמח!



Let the posts
come to you.

Thanks for submitting!

bottom of page