Shir Hashirim Zohar Perek One

Perek1. Perek 2. Perek 3. Perek 4.

Perek 5. Perek 6. Perek 7. Perek 8.

The singing Rabbi Dudu Drery

singing Perek One



Yehuda Tenenbaum Reading the First Perek



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Persian shir hashirim


1:1 Song of Songs


Chapter 1

Perek One with Hebrew Trop

א שִׁיר הַשִּׁירִים, אֲשֶׁר לִשְׁלֹמֹה.

1 A Song of Songs

For He to Whom peace belongs.



ב יִשָּׁקֵנִי מִנְּשִׁיקוֹת פִּיהוּ, כִּי טוֹבִים דֹּדֶיךָ מִיָּיִן.

2 He will kiss me, from His mouth to mine,

For Your love is better than wine.



ג לְרֵיחַ שְׁמָנֶיךָ טוֹבִים, שֶׁמֶן תּוּרַק שְׁמֶךָ; עַל כֵּן, עֲלָמוֹת אֲהֵבוּךָ

3 Like the fragrance of Your oils wafts about,

Your Name flows forth like oil poured out.

Therefore maidens adore You.



ד מָשְׁכֵנִי, אַחֲרֶיךָ נָּרוּצָה; הֱבִיאַנִי הַמֶּלֶךְ חֲדָרָיו, נָגִילָה וְנִשְׂמְחָה בָּךְ

נַזְכִּירָה דֹדֶיךָ מִיַּיִן, מֵישָׁרִים אֲהֵבוּךָ.

4 Draw me to You, after You we will run.

The King has brought me into His sanctum,

We will rejoice and in You be glad,

We’ll remember with wine the love that You had.

Therefore the upright adore You.



ה שְׁחוֹרָה אֲנִי וְנָאוָה, בְּנוֹת יְרוּשָׁלִָם; כְּאָהֳלֵי קֵדָר, כִּירִיעוֹת שְׁלֹמֹה.

5 Dark I am, but comely.

The daughters of Jerusalem are

Like the tents of Kedar,

And like the drapes of He

To Whom peace belongs.



ו אַל תִּרְאוּנִי שֶׁאֲנִי שְׁחַרְחֹרֶת, שֶׁשְּׁזָפַתְנִי הַשָּׁמֶשׁ; בְּנֵי אִמִּי נִחֲרוּ בִי,

שָׂמֻנִי נֹטֵרָה אֶת הַכְּרָמִים; כַּרְמִי שֶׁלִּי, לֹא נָטָרְתִּי.

6 Do not gaze upon me, at how dark I’ve become,

I’ve been blackened by the sun,

And my mother’s children depleted me.

They set me to guard,

Their vineyard,

But my own I did not oversee.



ז הַגִּידָה לִּי, שֶׁאָהֲבָה נַפְשִׁי, אֵיכָה תִרְעֶה, אֵיכָה תַּרְבִּיץ בַּצָּהֳרָיִם;

שַׁלָּמָה אֶהְיֶה כְּעֹטְיָה, עַל עֶדְרֵי חֲבֵרֶיךָ.

7 Tell me, Beloved of my soul,

How You pasture your fold,

And in the heat of the day how she lies?

Why should a veil cover my eyes

Among the flocks your dear ones hold?


ח אִם לֹא תֵדְעִי לָךְ, הַיָּפָה בַּנָּשִׁים; צְאִי לָךְ בְּעִקְבֵי הַצֹּאן, וּרְעִי אֶת גְּדִיֹּתַיִךְ,

עַל מִשְׁכְּנוֹת הָרֹעִים.

8 If you don’t know, O fairest of women,

Go and search for the downtrodden sheep,

And pasture your kids and lambs

Beside the tents where the shepherds sleep.




ט לְסֻסָתִי בְּרִכְבֵי פַרְעֹה, דִּמִּיתִיךְ רַעְיָתִי.

9 To a mare

Of the chariots of Pharaoh

I compare

You My dear.



י נָאווּ לְחָיַיִךְ בַּתֹּרִים, צַוָּארֵךְ בַּחֲרוּזִים.

10 Your cheeks are exquisite with ornaments

Your neck with jewelry;



יא תּוֹרֵי זָהָב נַעֲשֶׂה לָּךְ, עִם נְקֻדּוֹת הַכָּסֶף.

11 Bands of gold,

We will make for thee,

Together with silver embroidery.



יב עַד שֶׁהַמֶּלֶךְ, בִּמְסִבּוֹ, נִרְדִּי, נָתַן רֵיחוֹ.

12 While at His banquet the King reclined,

And the fragrance of my nard He did find.




יג צְרוֹר הַמֹּר דּוֹדִי לִי, בֵּין שָׁדַי יָלִין.

13 A bunch of myrrh is my Beloved to me

Between my breasts He shall rest.



יד אֶשְׁכֹּל הַכֹּפֶר דּוֹדִי לִי, בְּכַרְמֵי עֵין גֶּדִי.

14 A cluster of henna is my Beloved to me,

In the vineyards of Ein-Gedi.



טו הִנָּךְ יָפָה רַעְיָתִי, הִנָּךְ יָפָה עֵינַיִךְ יוֹנִים.

15 Behold you are beautiful, My love;

You are so beautiful, with eyes like a dove.



טז הִנְּךָ יָפֶה דוֹדִי אַף נָעִים, אַף-עַרְשֵׂנוּ רַעֲנָנָה.

16 You are handsome, my beloved,

A pleasing figure;

Even our bed is full of vigor.



יז קֹרוֹת בָּתֵּינוּ אֲרָזִים, רַהִיטֵנוּ[1] בְּרוֹתִים.

17 The beams of our houses are cedar,

And our panels of juniper.


* * *



1:1 Song of Songs


A song of the supernal angels,[2] a song that includes all instruction[3] and wisdom, power and might; what was, and what will be in the future.

(Zohar II, 18b)


Alternatively, when the First Temple was built by King Solomon another Temple was built together with it in the higher worlds, and it existed throughout the worlds – indeed each world has its own Temple (the malchut of each of the worlds[4]). The entire world became rectified (literally, “fragrant,”[5]) and all the supernal doors were opened and light shone forth. There was never such a joyous time as on that day.[6] Then those above the angels and those below the Levites in the Temple began singing. This is alluded to in the words Shir HaShirim which can be read as both Shir HaSarim (שיר השַֹרִים) the song of the Angels, called sarim, and Shir HaSharim (שיר השַׁרִים) – “the song of the singers” – the Levites, who formed the Temple choir. Together they sang the song of the singers to the Holy One blessed be He.

(Zohar II, 143a)



1:1 Song of Songs to He Whom peace[7] belongs


Rabbi Yose began his discourse: “Song of Songs to He Whom peace belongs”[8] The name Shlomo (Solomon) is a composite of shalom (peace) shelo (is to him) – “to whom peace belongs.” This could be understood simply as the name David prophetically gave his son, since peace would reign when Solomon was king. Alternatively, it refers to the King (God) to Whom “peace” belongs, meant here in the sense of wholeness or completeness (sheleimut). The Zohar intends both meanings: King Solomon was aroused to sing this song when he finished building the Temple and all of the worlds above and below were brought to completion, since the purpose of creation – to make a dwelling place for God upon earth[9] – was now fulfilled. Although the chevraya[10] disagree about this, some maintaining that the Song of Songs was not composed at the completion of the building of the Temple, but later on,[11] nevertheless, this song was recited only when the moon was full. This is meant metaphorically, alluding to the sefirah of malchut (symbolized by the moon) that received the full measure of light from the sun, a metaphor for ze’ir anpin (the group of sefirot from chesed to yesod) such that ze’ir anpin and malchut were of the identical stature.[12] This was accomplished during the era when the Temple on earth was built in accordance with the Temple above.[13] This means that the revelation of God in this world was identical to the revelation in the higher worlds. Since the day of Creation there was never such great joy before the Holy One, blessed be He, as the day that the building of the Temple was completed below. When Moses built the Sanctuary in the desert for the Shechinah (the indwelling Divine Presence) to descend into, on that same day another Sanctuary was also erected together with it – above in the higher worlds. This was expounded on the verse, “It was in the first month of the second year, on the first of the month, that the Sanctuary was erected.” (Exodus 40:17).[14] And the following verse (v. 18) also states, “Moses erected the Sanctuary.” It is not repetitious, for the latter verse refers to the Sanctuary that Moses erected, whereas the former verse refers to another Sanctuary that was erected simultaneously – the Sanctuary pertaining to the angel Metatro’n, the Angel of the Presence, and nothing higher[15] i.e., only the level of ze’ir anpin of the world of Beriah.[16] This was because the Sanctuary was built in the desert, and was only a temporary structure. But when the First Temple was built, in the Holy Land “in the place God would choose” (Deuteronomy 12:14, 23), another First Temple was built simultaneously, and existed in all the worlds including Atzilut,[17] so that all the worlds were illuminated, the world of Assiyah became fragrant,[18] and all the skylights spiritual channels opened up so that they could beam the light forth. There was never such joy in all the worlds as on that day. Then from above the angels and from below Solomon and the Jewish People began singing, and that is why it is called Song of Songs.

(Zohar II, 143a)


There are five levels alluded to here in the verse in order to bond with[19] the World to Come:[20] The first level is alluded to in the word “song.” “Of songs” denotes another two levels since “songs” is in the plural – making a total of three. “To whom” – a fourth level; “peace belongs” – a fifth level… the secret of the Jubilee.[21] Come and see: the unification[22] above that King Solomon achieved was beyond his capabilities. However, he was able to achieve it since the unification below was already accomplished, the unification that Moses brought about, so that the Shechinah would be manifest in this world.[23] However, the unification achieved by Moses was affected only in the lower sefirot – ze’ir anpin and malchut. Nevertheless, if not for that unification down below, it would not have been possible to achieve the unification above – the unification of the higher sefirot, chochmah and binah. This is a secret for the wise of heart.

(Zohar II 145a)






1:1-2 Song of Songs to He Whom peace belongs; He will kiss me, from His mouth to mine


Rabbi Rechumai began his discourse: In connection with the Messiah/Mashiach the verse (Isaiah 11:2) states: “The spirit of God will rest upon him, a spirit of wisdom and understanding, a spirit of counsel and strength, a spirit of knowledge and the awe of God.” Since the word for spirit ruach (which also means breath) is mentioned four times, we deduce that there are four spirits that no person has merited as yet, and no one other than Mashiach will merit them. But if you question this, since it is written (Ezekiel 37:9), “Come from the four directions, O spirit…” – implying that four spirits will bring the people to life? The verse does not say, ‘four’ but ‘from four’ implying that they are all one spirit coming from four directions – a complete spirit with four aspects combined.

One of the group of students asked him: How does this come about that the four spirits become one? He replied by way of an analogy: This comes through a kiss of love. A kiss of love is only by mouth from mouth to mouth, where the breath of the lover joins with breath of the beloved, so that each of them has two breaths or spirits in the analog – his breath and the breath of his beloved – when they kiss his breath conjoins with hers, and hers with his, so that each has two breaths, their own and that of their beloved. this is the secret of zivug neshikin – the unification of breath to breath, or spirit to spirit. Thus both of them together comprise four breaths or spirits. How much more so is this this true in the analog of the male partzuf of ze’ir anpin and the female partzuf of nukvah (malchut) at the time of their intimacy when there are four spirits together. And the child that come from them is the spirit that comes from the four directions, as the verse states, “Come from the four directions, O spirit…” and this is a complete spirit. The Arizal explains[24] that this zivug neshikin is the mystery of the yichud (conjoining and merging) of chochmah and binah of ze’ir anpin itself, as well as the yichud of chochmah and binah of nukvah (malchut).

(Zohar Chadash, Shir Hashirim 74a)



Another explanation of this verse: Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai began his interpretation: In the verses, “Then Moses and Israel sang this song…” (Exodus 15:1), and “then Israel sang this song” (Numbers 21:17) the word for song is expressed in the feminine form shira (שירה), because in these verses the song is from the feminine aspect, the sefirah of malchut, the feminine principle.[25] However, here in our verse the masculine form of song is used – shir (שיר) – because the song is from the male aspect the sefirah of tiferet, the masculine principle.[26] This alludes to the mystery of the union of body and of spirit, so that body fuses with body and spirit communes with spirit. The latter – where spirit fuses spirit – is referred to in Kabbalah (based on this verse) as zivug neshikin. It is a far higher level of intimacy than the spiritual union of body with body. Technically, the lower type of union is called yichud zu”n (the coupling of ze’ir anpin and malchut), while the union of spirit with spirit is called yichud abba v’imma (the union of chochmah and binah). In a deeper sense, this refers to zivug ha-ohrot – the merging of two different levels of ohr (light),[27] which is the higher union, and zivug ha-keilim (the conjoining of two different types of vessels (keilim).[28]


The verse should therefore be interpreted as follows: “Song of songs” – this is the union of body with body; “He will kiss me, from His mouth to mine” – this is the bonding of spirit to spirit in the secret of supernal love – God’s love revealed to, or infused in man. It was King Solomon’s task to bring about this communion through Divine Inspiration,[29] so that everything could be joined in one unity, through love, and bond together to form a single entity. For Solomon is the King to Whom peace (shalom) belongs, “peace” here is also meant in the sense of wholeness or completeness.[30] When the Divine Presence permeates existence, everything is brought to completion and wholeness. Accordingly, all the praises in the Song of Songs are to the King to Whom all peace [all power of unification] belongs. The communion described throughout the Song of Songs is all in this spiritual sense…


When the spirit of holiness[31] rested upon King Solomon he sought to bind all things in the proper manner, out of great longing, and unite everything in love and fervor so that they should be one above and below. This is the mystery referred to in the verse, “God will be One and His Name One.”[32] However, this will only take place fully in the future, because now, in the current exile, ze’ir anpin and malchut are called friends, who only couple every now and then. But abba and imma are called lovers, since their yichud is constant. But in the future that aspect of Divine revelation that is manifested in ze’ir anpin, depicted by the name Havaye, and that aspect of Divine revelation that is manifested in nukvah/malchut and is called ‘His Name’ will be one.[33]


(Zohar Chadash [Margolis] 63a)


1:2 He will kiss me, from His mouth to mine

Rabbi Yitzchak began his explanation: The collective soul of the Jewish People[34] expresses their longing to be united with God in this way: “He will kiss me from His mouth to mine.” But why “He will kiss me,” rather than “He will love me?” But this is what we have learned[35]: What is meant by the Divine kiss? The cleaving of Breath as in the verse “and He blew into his nostrils a living soul”[36] to breath, so that “every breath praises You.”[37] All of creation was brought into existence through Divine speech, “with Ten Utterances the world was created,”[38] excluding man, who was brought to life with God’s “breath,” the inner source of speech. Thus the love expressed through “cleaving of breath to breath” is far greater than love that can be expressed through speech.[39] ….Rabbi Yehuda said: It is written, “Jacob kissed Rachel, and wept out loud” (Genesis 29:11). Why did he cry? Because his soul embraced hers in a way that his heart could not bear. The word for “breath” here ruach also signifies “soul” or “spirit,”[40] as explained above.

(Zohar II, 124b)


Rabbi Elazar said: Anyone who occupies himself with Torah study for its own sake will not die through the yetzer hara the impulse to self-harm and self-destruction (which is synonymous with the snake that caused death to descend upon the world,[41] and the Angel of Death[42]). Instead they will pass on with a Divine kiss, as is written, “He will kiss me from His mouth,” that is the mouth of God revealed in a transcendent state, indicated by the Ineffable Name Y-H-V-H (י-ה-ו-ה).  This was the way in which Aaron, Moses and Miriam died.[43] This kiss is the cleaving of the soul to its root above, which is “part of God above.”[44] Here, the intention is not death as such, but the annulment of self in the mystical experience of the soul cleaving to its essence above. This is one of the most elevated forms of Divine Inspiration (ruach hakodesh).[45]

(Zohar I, 168a)



“Moses would speak and God would respond to him with a voice” (Exodus 19:19) when they were bonded in communion of kiss to kiss. Solomon (in the name of the Jewish People) is therefore requesting the communion symbolized by a kiss.

(Zohar II, 253b)



Rabbi Abba said: The word yeshakeni (“He will kiss me”) also means yefarneseni – “He will nourish me,”[46] for the Jewish People are nourished only by their delight in and imbibing of the radiance from Above. Receiving this radiance from Above is receiving a kiss from God.

(Zohar I, 137a)



1:2 For Your love is better than wine

Why is it necessary to mention wine? Is it not written, “For they too have erred because of wine…”? (Isaiah 28:7). And it is also written, “Do not drink intoxicating wine, you Aaron and your sons…” (Leviticus 10:9) from which it follows that intoxicating wine and Divine Service are contradictory? So why is wine mentioned here as if it is beneficial in Divine Service? Rabbi Chiya replied: Your love is better than the wine of Torah, meaning the secrets of the Torah.[47] Note that the gematria[48] of the word for “wine” and the word for “secret” are identical. Although understanding the secrets of the Torah causes the soul great delight, nevertheless, the unification of the soul with God’s Essence, the theme of Song of Songs, is even greater.[49] Rabbi Chizkiya said: This is the intention of the verse, “Wine gladdens the heart of man” (Psalms 104:15), but “Your love is better than wine” that gladdens the heart, for it delights Me more than anything else.


(Zohar II, 124b)


There is no good other than the good that derives from the aspect of the original light, as it is written, “And God saw that the light was good” (Genesis 1:4). Now that everything in Creation came to completion and wholeness with the building of the Temple, as explained above, so that right chesed, the revelation of God’s Infinite Light (the Or Ein Sof) and left gevurah, severity or restrictive power, limiting and concealing the Infinite Light so that each created being can receive according to its capacity, merged into one. When the First Temple was erected the Or Ein Sof was revealed within the finite world without nullifying it at all, as with the Ark containing the Torah that had explicit physical dimensions but took up no physical space.[50] Accordingly, “Your love is better than wine” because it partakes of the original light.


(Zohar Chadash, Shir HaShirim 63d)


1:3 Like the fragrance of Your oils wafts about


Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai began: “Like the fragrance of Your oils…” I looked into this verse, and this is its meaning: “Like the fragrance” – what fragrance is the verse referring to? The fragrance of the incense, which is more refined, exalted and inner directed[51] than anything else. When that scent – the secret of binah – rose up to become bound up with the anointing oil that flows forth in a stream from the spring of chochmah, so that they join together and are bound to one another, then the oil is good for it has the power to illuminate. When chochmah and binah unite, together they are able to illuminate the lower sefirot, which they are not capable of doing on their own.[52] When the upward-seeking quest for communion with God (the quest of binah) meets up and merges with the outpouring of Divine wisdom flowing down from chochmah, this is the true source of illumination.[53]

(Zohar III, 58b)


1:3 Your Name flows forth like oil poured out


It is written, “A good name is better than good oil” (Ecclesiastes 7:1). This is the literal understanding of the verse. However, it can also be interpreted as follows: The holy Name, synonymous with the “good name” mentioned in the verse, issues forth from “oil” to bless and illuminate the holy lamps the souls of the righteous. What oil is this? As it is written, “and a stream flowed forth from Eden, the sefirah of chochmah,[54] to water the Garden”[55] – the sefirah of malchut.[56] Thus, there is an integral connection between the Name of God and oil.


(Zohar II, 87b)


Another explanation: Many miracles took place with oil: Sarah’s Sabbath candle burned the entire week;[57] the oil belonging to the wife of one of the deceased disciples of the prophet Elisha miraculously increased,[58] and the Chanukah oil lasted for eight days instead of one.[59] This is because physical oil, used primarily as a source of light, is imbued with the power of “oil” above – the sefirah of chochmah:[60] Rabbi Yehudah began his discourse: Elisha said to her the impoverished widow of his disciple, “What can I do for you? Tell me what you have in the house.” From this we learned[61] that blessing does not dwell on a bare table or on empty thing, or Elisha would not have asked her what she had in the house. She replied, “Your maidservant has nothing in the house except for a jar of oil.” He said, “This the fact that you have oil is certainly helpful for a miracle to occur, since oil is from the aspect of chochmah, and so it is in the proper place, for chochmah is the origin of miracles and from there miracles issue forth and descend.” The sefirah of chochmah transcends the limitations of creation, “for chochmah emerges from nothingness” (Job 28:12) i.e., from a level transcending Creation,[62] and it is therefore the source of miracles that also transcend Creation in that they defy the laws of nature. “Go and borrow vessels for yourself from outside your house, from all your neighbors, empty vessels….” What is written next? “They brought vessels to her and she kept on pouring” the oil into all the borrowed vessels. Her jar did not empty out until the last vessel was filled. Now the verse states, she kept on pouring,” not “the woman kept on pouring,” indicating that chochmah kept on pouring forth so that a miracle took place.[63] Thus, “Your Name” is indicative of an outpouring of revelation from chochmah.


(Zohar III, 34a)



1:3 Therefore maidens (alamot) adore You


Therefore maidens (alamot) adore you what is the meaning of alamot? Do not read it as alamot, but rather as olamot the finite worlds of Beriah, Yetirah and Asiyah, as we have explained elsewhere. Alternatively, interpret alamot as in the verse (Psalms 46:1) “For the conductor… on the alamot” – these are the voices of ‘young maidens’ i.e. a certain class of angels that sing together with malchut. These are the angels who are present in the seven chambers of the World of Beriah, who are referred to as ‘the seven maidens who attended Queen Esther. They sing because they too receive the outflow that suffuses ze’ir anpin. Thus it is all one thing – the maidens stated in the verse, and the ‘maidens’ i.e. angels referred to in the Zohar, are all one concept.[64]


(Zohar III, 58b)


A saintly tzadik,[65] even though he passes away from this world, does not pass away or expire from all the worlds, for he is to be found in all of the worlds more than in his lifetime.[66] For in his lifetime he was found in this world only, but afterwards after his passing, he is constantly found in the three worlds, Assiyah, Yetzirah and Beriah,[67] as it is written, “therefore alamot (maidens) adore You.” Do not read it as alamot (maidens), but as olamot (worlds), for a tzadik’s love for God permeates all of the worlds, and brings the inhabitants of those worlds to also love God.[68]


(Zohar III, 71b)


1:4 Draw me to You, after You we will run


Rabbi Yitzchak said: When one reads the Shema prayer which expresses the unity of God with proper concentration before going to sleep, one’s soul soars up and immerses itself[69] in the Land of Life.

(Zohar Chadash, Lech Lecha 24a ff.)


Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai began his discourse: It is written, “I will place My Sanctuary among you” (Leviticus 26:11). “My Sanctuary” – Mishkani (משכני) has the identical letters in Hebrew as “draw me after You” – mashcheini (משכני). Come and see: The Holy One blessed be He placed his Shechinah[70] from the same root as Mishkani and mashcheinimashach (מ-ש-ך) among the Jewish People, so that it should settle upon them like a mother bird upon her children, protecting them from all sides. As long as this “holy mother” the Shechinah,[71]the sefirah of malchut, is settled upon them, the Holy One, blessed be He referring to Godliness as manifested in ze’ir anpin[72] comes to dwell among them. (This is the intention of the above verse, “I will place My Sanctuary among you”). For the Holy One never forsakes her the Shechinah, since all the love above is for her. Therefore He gave her as a security-deposit mashkon, another cognate of mashach (מ-ש-ך), among the Jewish People, to inform them that He would not forget them and forsake them, because His security-deposit mashkon, i.e. the Shechinah, was among them. But after the building of the Temple, she the Shechinah says to the Holy One, “I was a security-deposit for You in the lower worlds when they were in exile,[73] now I will be their security-deposit with You, so that You will not forget my children, and I will come up to You,[74] and I and my children will run after You. This explains why the verse begins in the singular (“draw me” – the Shechinah) but ends in the plural (“we will run,” referring to the Shechinah and the Jewish People together).

(Zohar Chadash, Shir HaShirim 65b)


When the incentive comes from below i.e., when the motivation to commune with God stems from the Jewish People, not from a stimulus from Above, which is the secret of the sacrifice, as the verse states, “a pleasing scent to God” (Exodus 29:18), then she the Shechinah rises up and says to her Beloved, “draw me after You,” stretch out Your right hand chesed to me and receive me, and raise me up through the outflow from chochmah to gevurah.[75]

(Zohar Chadash, Shir HaShirim 65b)


Alternatively, first draw me to You, so that I can be motivated from the place that every will is drawn, and then, “we will run after You.” These two approaches to Divine service, the motivation from below, where we initiate the relationship, is termed itaruta d’letata in the Zohar,[76] and the stimulus from Above, where God initiates the relationship is termed itaruta d’l’eila. They represent the “female” and “male” approaches respectively to divine service. Although itaruta d’letata (the female approach) is more limited than itaruta d’l’eila (the male approach), since it is restricted to the ability and talents of the recipient, nevertheless it has a permanence that is lacking in the male approach, since it is perfectly suited to the level of the recipient, whereas the male approach is according to the abilities of the donor.[77] However, both approaches are valid.

 (Zohar Chadash, Shir HaShirim 65b)



1:4  After You We will run

What is the non-literal meaning of the word narutza (נרוצה), which translated literally means, “we will run?” It means, “let us be pleasing” to God, from the same root letters ratzah (ר-צ-ה) as in the verse, “and it shall be acceptable for him (nirtzeh – נרצה), to atone for him” (Leviticus 1:4), and as it is written, “and they pulled him (Joseph) up (vayeritzuhu – וירצוהו) from the dungeon” (Genesis 41:14), what does vayeritzuhu mean? “They appeased him” with pleasant words, with words of good will, for he was dispirited from being in that dungeon. Similarly, narutza here means, “let us be pleasing” to God, so that He accepts us willingly in the best manner possible through the scent of the sacrificial offerings and the incense.

(Zohar Chadash, Shir HaShirim 65b)



1:4  The King has brought me into His sanctum


Rabbi Shimon wept and said: If only it was in my power to reveal these lofty secrets, for this causes joy to the Holy One when the secrets of Torah are revealed, because it is His will to reveal supernal mysteries in this generation. Know then that there is no apparent connection between these verses this verse and the previous one. Since it states “Draw me after You,” in the second person, indicating a direct relationship, what is the meaning of, “the King has brought me into His sanctum?” in the third person, indicating an indirect relationship. It should have said, “Draw me after You; bring me into Your sanctum,” and then, “we will rejoice in You and be glad.” However, the answer is that the upper levels and lower levels and all the worlds depend upon the secret of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. The letters of the alphabet are the building-blocks of creation, according to the Zohar.[78] Each letter represents a unique quantum of Divine energy. The combinations and permutations of these letters formed the Ten Utterances through which the world was created.[79]  What follows is the secret of the letter aleph, which is comprised of three sections when written by a scribe – a yud ( י ) a vav ( ו ) and another yud ( י ). The first yud is above the diagonal line of the vav, which lies at a 45° angle with its upper tip in the top left corner and its lower tip in the bottom right corner. The second yud is situated upside down and below the diagonal line, as in the diagram below:





The connection between these two verses is that they are said by malchut symbolized by the lower yud of the aleph in praise of the light that illuminates her, and in regard to it she says to her husband ze’ir anpin, the six sefirot from chesed to yesod, symbolized by the vav of the aleph “draw me to you.” But even though she said this (“draw me to you”) she still wished to point out that she is more praiseworthy than ze’ir anpin, despite the fact that she is below him malchut is below ze’ir anpin, in a state of subservience, since she is the lower yud lying below the diagonal line of the aleph. She says to him: I am not so lowly, for although this is my position in relation to you (malchut is situated below ze’ir anpin) nevertheless, “the King has brought me into his sanctum” I am important and beloved to the supernal King, without subservience, and therefoe He has brought me into His sanctum. Malchut, represented by the last letter hai of the Ineffable Name Yud-Hai-Vav-Hai, is brought into the inner sanctum, binah, the first letter hai of the Ineffable Name, which is loftier than ze’ir anpin.[80] Alternatively, malchut, represented by the lower inverted yud of the letter aleph, is below the diagonal line of the vav and is thus lower than ze’ir anpin. Nevertheless malchut is also called chochmah tata’a and is connected to the upright yud which represents chochmah ila’a.[81] The upper yud However This will be explained further below.


(Zohar Chadash, Shir HaShirim 65c)


Into His sanctum: This refers to the chambers of the Garden of Eden. Now if you will say that the chambers of the Garden of Eden are themselves the Garden of Eden, therefore why the expression “the chambers of the Garden of Eden?” We can answer that these are the chambers from which the Garden of Eden is nourished. The Garden itself is the level of malchut; Eden is chochmah, as explained previously. Chochmah flows into binah and together they irrigate malchut, as the Zohar[82] explains on the verse “And a river (binah) flowed from Eden to water the Garden” (Genesis 2:10) Thus the chambers from which the Garden is nourished are chochmah and binah.[83]


The Garden of Eden (Gan Eden) is a state of spiritual bliss experienced by the soul after its separation from the body. Conversely, wicked people experience Gehinom – hell, a state of spiritual dislocation or alienation.


In addition, they are not only states that the soul rises or descends to after life in this world (and as a result of the way one lived it), they are also states of being while a person is alive in this world. In other words, a person could be in the Garden of Eden  or Gehinom, or somewhere between, while alive in this world! The proof of this is from the verses describing the events that took place when Jacob went in to his father Isaac to receive the blessing that Isaac had intended to give to Esau. Isaac, being blind, could not see who had entered his tent, but he did sense that it was not Esau. He asks the person before him to lean over and give him a kiss. When Jacob (disguised as Esau) does so, Isaac remarks, “See, the fragrance of my son is like the fragrance of a field that God has blessed.” (Genesis 27:27).


Rashi comments: “This teaches us that the scent of Gan Eden entered with him.” For this was indeed Jacob’s spiritual state. He was in Gan Eden, and Gan Eden was within him.


Similarly, when Esau eventually returned from the hunt and came to bring Isaac some food, the verse states: “Isaac trembled with great fear…” (Genesis 27:33). Rashi again comments: “Isaac sensed Gehinnom open beneath Esau.” This was because Esau was in fact in the spiritual state of alienation from God that  Gehinom is all about.


Elsewhere[84] the Zohar explains that there are in general two levels of the Garden of Eden – the upper Garden of Eden, and the lower Garden of Eden. The difference between them is that the aspect of Godliness revealed in the lower Garden of Eden is from the seven lower sefirot (supernal emotional qualities), whereas the aspect of Godliness revealed in the upper Garden of Eden is from the three upper sefirot (supernal intellectual qualities), a far greater illumination. Furthermore, the souls in the lower Garden of Eden experience the revelation of Godliness as the emotional revelation of love and awe, whereas the souls in the upper Garden of Eden experience the revelation of Godliness as profound and inspirational insight into Divine Truth.

(Zohar Chadash, Shir HaShirim 65c-d)



1:4 We will rejoice and in You be glad


The faith and aspirations of the righteous are as is written in the verse, “We will rejoice and in You be glad,” not in food and drink and other bodily pleasures.


(Zohar I, 136a)


The following section interprets the verse as follows: “We will rejoice with you and be glad”


Malchut as Knesset Yisrael, the collective soul of the Jewish People, declares to ze’ir anpin (the six sefirot from whence the angels issue forth): If the King will bring me into His sanctum (binah) then we will rejoice with you and be glad. Why is the first part of the verse in the singular, “will bring me,” whereas the continuation is in the plural, “we will rejoice?” The answer is this that the latter part of the verse refers to me malchut and all the angels. As we have learned, when Knesset Yisrael rejoice and are blessed, the entire host of angels rejoices and is blessed together with them, and there is no strict judgment in the world.


 (Zohar III, 59a)



1:4 Draw me to you, after you we will run, The King has brought me into His sanctum, we will rejoice and in you be glad


Some of the disciples of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai were sitting and studying the mysteries together. As they were studying they entered a state of ecstasy, their souls flew out and saw what they saw, and then they awoke from their ecstatic state. They said to each other: let us not remain here, for we are not worthy of this. Only an angel can experience this glory! Rabbi Dostai asked: What was the experience that caused them fear? He answered his own question: They saw the angels pushing them away, until the soul of Rabbi Elazar ben Arach chased them the angels away, and they were rescued. Rabbi Dostai now goes on to explain in greater detail: They saw the angelic High Priest, who is the archangel Michael coming to receive the teachings of Rabbi Elazar. He the angel Michael said: Holy Rabbi come up, come up.


He Rabbi Elazar replied: “Draw me to you, after you we will run.”


Then he the angel Michael said: Who are the others with you, since you mentioned, “we will run?”


He Rabbi Elazar replied: They are some of the great men of the generation.


The angel Michael responded: I have no permission to accept them, for the Holy One blessed be He told me to receive only you and bring you before Him, as it is written, “let the King bring me into His sanctum” me in the singular. And because of your holy life, all the hosts of Heaven “will rejoice in you and be glad.” This is yet another interpretation – “you” here refers to Rabbi Elazar, in whom the angels will delight as he expounds Torah in the Heavenly Academy.


Rabbi Yitzchak said: The Holy One blessed be He does the same for all righteous tzadikim – He commands Metatro”n the Angel of the Presence to raise their souls above. He Metatro”n says to the soul: “Rise up, rise up.” And the soul replies: “Draw me to you, after you we will run. Let the King bring me into His sanctum,” for it is His will that I enter into the highest chambers of Heaven. Accordingly, “we will rejoice and in you be glad” – in Metatro”n.


(Zohar Chadash 26a)

1:4 We’ll remember with wine the love that You had


Rabbi Yitzchak said to Rabbi Yehudah: It is written, “Remember the Sabbath day to make it holy” (Exodus 20:8). We have learned[85] that this means remember it over wine during the kiddush ceremony on Friday night. But why over wine? Since holiness is a function of chochmah, why is kiddush recited over wine, which is binah?[86]


Rabbi Yehudah replied: Because wine is the joy of Torah[87] binah causes ze’ir anpin to rejoice in the illumination that she elicits. When the lower emotional sefirot receive illumination from the higher intellectual sefirot they enter into a state of joyfulness as in the verse, “the mother (binah) of children (ze’ir anpin) causes them joy”[88] (Psalms 113:9). This is therefore a function of binah rather than of chochmah. And the wine of Torah true understanding, also a function of binah, brings joy to all the worlds. This wine gives joy to the King (“wine that delights God and man” Judges 9:13) and adorns Him with His crown, binah crowns ze’ir anpin with transcendent intellect faculties it does not possess on its own,[89] as it is written, “Go out and see, daughters of Zion, King Solomon with the crown that his mother (binah) has crowned him” (Song of Songs 3:11). And we have learned[90] – in all of his actions a person must have the intention (kavanah) to unify the sefirot above, so that his actions will elicit illumination from the higher sefirot, for holiness chochmah is not manifested other than through wine binah.[91] This is the meaning of the verse “for Your love is made even better through wine”[92] – God’s holiness and love (manifested in chochmah) is drawn down to us through wine (binah). That is why this verse states “with wine,” and why the Sabbath is sanctified with wine.[93]

 (Zohar III, 95a)


1:5 Dark I am, but comely


“Dark,” signifies a dull looking-glass[94] the level of prophecy stemming from malchut, attained by Prophets other than Moses. Their prophecy is called dark or dull since they experienced prophecy as a vision, or heard a voice as in a dream.[95] Moses’ prophecy, however, was clear and direct, stemming from tiferet, the “luminous looking-glass,”[96] as in the verse, “Mouth to mouth I speak to him, in a clear vision and not in riddles.”[97]

(Zohar I, 49a)


Rabbi Yehudah said: This refers to Knesset Yisrael, the collective soul of the Jewish People, who are dark from the exile, but beautiful, for she is beautified with Torah and mitzvot and good deeds.

(Zohar II, 14a)



1:5 Like the tents of Kedar, and like the drapes of He to Whom peace belongs


Although they have become dark as the tents of Kedar (the descendents of Ketura, Abraham’s concubine[98]) through being in exile, their deeds are like the drapes of He to Whom peace belongs – their deeds are like the very heavens in purity[99] as it is written, “He spreads out the heavens like a curtain” (Psalms 104:2).[100]

(Zohar II, 14a)


1:6 You cannot see me, so dark I’ve become


Although the simple meaning of the verse is “do not gaze upon me,” Rabbi Yehudah began his explanation thus: “You cannot see me, so dark I’ve become…” We have learned this verse in the following way: When the moon malchut becomes obscured during the exile, she says, “You cannot see me.” The intention is not that she commands us not to look at her, which is the way the verse is usually understood, but rather that when she malchut sees the longing that the Jewish People have to see her light, she declares, “You cannot see me,” for it is not possible to see me. Why not? Because, “so dark I’ve become.”

(Zohar III, 45b)


1:6 So dark I’ve become… my mother’s children depleted me


Why “so dark?” Would it not have been enough for the verse to say simply, “dark I’ve become?” However, this is to emphasize that there are two causes of darkness: one, “I’ve been blackened because of the sun,” for the sun ze’ir anpin has ceased to illuminate and gaze upon me the moon, malchut. Although the classical commentaries explain, “I’ve been burnt black by the sun,” the Zohar understands that malchut’s darkness is caused by the lack of illumination from the sun (ze’ir anpin that illuminates malchut). The second cause of my darkness is that my mother’s children – binah, when it produces a state of immature intellectual development called mochin d’katnut[101] (literally, “small-mindedness”) which derives from the severities of binah.[102] And therefore they “withered me” (nicharu bi), as it states, “my throat was parched (nichar groni)” (Psalms 69:4). The words ‘nicharu bi’ indicates that the severities of binah have caused the stream of light that should be flowing to malchut to dry up. Accordingly, malchut has become dark, for like the moon, it has no light of its own.[103]

(Zohar III, 45b)


1:6 They set me to guard their vineyard, but my own I did not oversee


“They – the nations of the world – set me the Jewish People to guard their vineyard” for what reason? Because “I did not oversee my own vineyard” – we did not guard our spiritual inheritance that we received from our forefathers.[104]


Elsewhere[105] the Zohar interprets this verse as a statement uttered by God: “They set Me (specifically the Godliness manifested in ze’ir anpin) to guard their vineyard” – to become clothed in the level of impurity called kelipat nogah, which contains only a miniscule amount of light, so that I now nourish the spiritual roots of the seventy nations (‘vineyards’).  And the reason for this is “I did not guard My own vineyard” – I did not prevent the Jewish People from sinning, or cause them to repent and return to the ways of Torah.[106]

(Zohar III, 59b)



An alternative explanation: the nations of the world dragged the Jewish People into exile so that God would guard their vineyards – the vineyards of the nations – for the sake of the Jewish People, since G-d goes with the Jewish People into exile, so to speak.[107]

(Zohar III, 45b)



1:7 Tell me, Beloved of my soul, how You pasture your fold; and in the heat of the day how she lies, Why should a veil cover my eyes…



Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai began his discourse: “Know this day and take to heart that God is the Lord; in the heavens above and on the earth below, there is nothing else” (Deuteronomy 4:39). Fortunate are those who toil in Torah to understand the wisdom of their Master! They know and gaze at the supernal mysteries… The wisdom that a person requires can be divided into the following categories:

1) To know and investigate the secret of his Master.

2) To know himself. A person must know who he is; how he was created; from where he comes; to where he is going; how to rectify his body, and that in the future he will have to give an accounting before the King.

3) To know and scrutinize the mysteries of the soul – what is the nature of the soul within him, where it came from, and what it came to this body for, a body that came from a putrid drop,[108] here today and gone tomorrow.

4) To examine and know this world in which he finds himself and how to rectify it, and then examine the supernal mysteries of the higher world, in order to know his Master.


All of this a person must investigate deeply from within the secrets of the Torah. Now go and see: Anyone who goes to that world without knowledge of the secrets of Torah, even though he has many good deeds he will be rejected from all the gates of that world.


Have a look at what is written here: “Tell me,” the soul says to the Holy One, blessed be He, “tell me the secrets of the supernal wisdom – how You sustain and conduct the supernal world. Teach me the secrets of wisdom that I did not know and that I have not learned until now, so that I will not be humiliated when I come to those lofty levels! For until now I have not gazed upon them.”


Have a look what is written next:  The Holy One, blessed be He replies to the soul: “If you don’t know, O fairest of women…” If you have not looked deeply into wisdom the Torah’s secrets before you came here, and you do not know the secrets of the supernal worlds, then go, for you are not worthy to enter here without knowledge. “Go and search for the downtrodden sheep” return to the world to be reincarnated again[109] so that you will come to know those sheep whom people crush with their heels alluding to those humble men who some regard as worthless,[110] who know the supernal secrets of their Master. From them you will learn to look deeply and to know. From them you must learn.

(Zohar Chadash p. 70d)



Rabbi Shimon gave another explanation of this verse: It is written, “G-d created the two great luminaries, the greater luminary to dominate the day, and the lesser luminary to dominate the night…” (Genesis 1:16). The sun and the moon allude to ze’ir anpin and malchut respectively. Initially the two luminaries ze’ir anpin and malchut were equal in the sense that malchut originally received its light directly from binah, as the chevraye the circle of Rabbi Shimon’s colleagues and disciples established elsewhere.[111] When we said that malchut was as great as ze’ir anpin, it does not mean that the moon malchut was originally greater and loftier than now, but rather that as long as the moon was together with the sun partaking equally of a single mystery ­– receiving from binah it was also called “great.” Thus the verse states explicitly, “the two great luminaries.” However, although both originally received from binah, ze’ir anpin received from the chesed aspects of binah, whereas malchut received from the gevurah aspects of binah. This resulted in a situation where the light of malchut was always eclipsed by the light of ze’ir anpin and could not shine forth in its fullness, since the nature of chesed is revelation, whereas the nature of gevurah is concealment. Nevertheless, because malchut was essentially on the same level as ze’ir anpin it was also called great, for the tail of a lion is also the lion, and is referred to as the lion!  On the other hand, it remains the tail – i.e., its light was eclipsed by ze’ir anpin, and their relationship is therefore referred to as one of achoraim, back-to-back.[112]


Accordingly, the moon asked the Holy One, blessed be He: “Is it possible for a single king to use two crowns at once?  The Zohar here offers a new explanation of the “complaint” of the moon. In the Talmud[113] and elsewhere in Zohar[114] the complaint is that two kings cannot use one crown, i.e., that ze’ir anpin and malchut are two kings using a single crown – binah. However, here malchut “complains” that one king (binah) cannot use two crowns, ze’ir anpin and malchut. In other words, ze’ir anpin and malchut at that stage formed a single partzuf[115] through which binah disseminated its light. Malchut wanted to be separated from ze’ir anpin and become an independent partzuf, so that each of them should rule on its own.” Now because formed a single partzuf together with ze’ir anpin, malchut lacked completeness – it did not have the aspect of chesed. The advantage of becoming separated from ze’ir anpin was that malchut could now receive chesed, although this would not come from binah but from ze’ir anpin.[116]


He replied: “I see that you wish to be the head of foxes[117] the source of influx for the worlds of Beriah, Yetzirah and Assiyah. Go and reduce yourself, for even though you will then be their head, you will be smaller than before” for you will receive the aspects of chesed only from ze’ir anpin and not from binah. Nevertheless, malchut will now be able to unite with ze’ir anpin fact-to-face.


This then is what the moon said: “Tell me, Beloved of my soul, how You pasture your fold?” How is it possible to run the world with two crowns as one simultaneously? “And in the heat of the day how she lies” – for when the sun shines at its brightest then it is not possible for the moon to shine. Only one of the luminaries can rule at a time. You cannot run the world with two crowns at the same time, with the sun and the moon, because what light does the moon have during the day? Therefore You cannot use both crowns simultaneously. “Why should a veil cover my eyes” – how can I function when I am concealed during the day, as the great light of the sun get stronger. I will be veiled in shame in its presence and I will not be able to serve You. So how will You be able to run the world while using two crowns simultaneously?


The Holy One, blessed be He replied: I understand you. Now go and reduce yourself. “If you don’t know, O fairest of women,” when you said that it is not possible for Me to run the world with two crowns at the same time, so go and reduce yourself and become the head of foxes. “Go and search for the downtrodden sheep” – go and become king over the inhabitants of the lower worlds who are like downtrodden sheep, and guide each one according to its needs. You will surely rule at night, so go and reduce yourself, for that is proper for you.

(Zohar Chadash p. 70d-71a)


“How… how” twice, in Hebrew “eichah… eichah,” the first word of each chapter of Lamentations (Eichah) recited on the Ninth of Av (Tisha b’Av) over the destruction of the First and Second Temples. The verse therefore alludes to the two destructions – of the First Temple and the Second Temple. Thus, “how you pasture” refers to the First Temple; “how she lies” refers to the Second Temple.


(Zohar Chadash p. 70c)


“How You pasture your fold… how she lies”: “Pasture” (תרעה – tire’h) and “lay down” (תרביץ – tarbitz) do not have the same connotation. What is the difference between them? The Babylonian Exile after the destruction of the First Temple lasted for a relatively short time (seventy years from 423-353 BCE[118]) and therefore the expression “pasture” is used. But the Roman exile after the destruction of the Second Temple endures for a very long time (from 69 CE[119] until today) and so the expression “lay down” is used.


Another question: Why are the feminine forms of the word used – tire’h, tarbitz? They should have been in the masculine form yire’h, yarbitz since it refers to the Israelites (ישראל – “Israel” takes the masculine form). The verse should thus have read, “Where will you [the Jewish People] graze; where will you [the Jewish People] lie down…” However, it was the Shechinah (the Divine Presence as manifested in this world) speaking about herself to the Holy One, blessed be He: “How shall Your bride the Shechinah nourish her children spiritually during the Exile, when they are scattered among the other nations? How shall she let them lie down in the afternoon – how shall she shower them with dew and water the outpouring of chesed in the heat of the afternoon when strict justice rules?[120]

(Zohar III p. 197a)



1:7-8 Among the flocks Your dear ones hold. If you don’t know, O fairest of women, go and search for the downtrodden sheep, and pasture your kids and lambs beside the tents where the shepherds sleep.


“The flocks” refers to the Jewish People, the descendants of the Patriarchs, “Your dear ones” who are the supernal holy chariot the vehicle through which the Holy One reveals His Godliness in the world.

(Zohar III, 17b)


When Knesset Yisrael the collective soul of the Jewish People went into exile she said before Him: “Tell me, Beloved of my soul” – You God the object of all my soul’s love, if You do not commune with me, where will You pasture Your fold, the Jewish people? Furthermore, how will You sustain Yourself from the depth of the stream whose outflow never stops?[121] How will You nourish Yourself from the radiance of Eden above?[122] “And in the heat of the day how she lies” – how will You sustain all of those others the various worlds that are watered by You? Although these questions are directed to God, who is obviously able to do anything He wishes, the intention is this: Once God has decreed exile upon Himself, so to speak, together with the exile He decreed upon the Jewish People, how will He overcome the limitations He has set for Himself as regards His interaction with the soul and with the world?


The Holy One replied to her Knesset Yisrael: Leave My affairs alone! For My affairs are hidden and cannot be made known. But, “if you don’t know,” for yourself, here is some advice: “Go and search for the downtrodden sheep” these are the righteous saintly people who in their humbleness are trampled beneath the heels of the arrogant. For their sake you will be given the strength to survive. “And pasture your kids and lambs” refers to young children who study Torah in their teacher’s house, for the world continues to exist for their sake, and they give strength to the Jewish People throughout the exile.[123] “Beside the tents where the shepherds sleep” these are the houses of study in which Torah is always found, taught by the shepherds – the saintly leaders and teachers of the people.[124]


(Zohar III, p. 17b)



We have translated the verse as, “Beside (על – al) the tents where the shepherds sleep.” However (על – al) also means above, referring to the Heavenly Academy of the Angel Metatron,[125] to where the souls of saintly leaders of the Jewish People (called shepherds) ascend after they pass away from this world.

(Zohar III, 197b)



1:9 To a mare in the chariots of Pharaoh I compare you…


Rabbi Yose said: Come and see. There are chariots[126] means through which spiritual levels are revealed on the left side – the secret of the “other side,” the dark side, the unholy side, and there are chariots on the right side, the supernal secret of holiness. One is opposite the other. Those of the side of holiness are qualities of compassion, while the others of the unholy side are qualities of harshness. When the Holy One, blessed be He, carried out harsh judgments against Egypt, every harsh act was in exactly the same way that the chariots of spiritual impurity had done to the Israelites. For example: Just as that side killed and took away life, so too the Holy One responded in kind, as it is written, “And God killed all the first born” (Exodus 13:15), even though His ways are those of compassion,[127] in response to Pharaoh’s command to his people, “Every son that will be born [to the Israelites] you shall cast into the river” (Exodus 1:22). Indeed, everything He did in Egypt was in exactly the same way that the Egyptians had done to the Israelites. That is why it is written, “I compare you…”

(Zohar I, 211b)



Why does the verse compare the Jewish People to “a mare in the chariots of Pharaoh?” Come and see: When Pharaoh chased after the Israelites what did he do? He took female horses and harnessed them in the first row of horses pulling the chariots. Then he harnessed stallions behind them so that the stallions would chase passionately after the mares which tried to run away from the stallions. Thus they all ran at great speed. But when they came near to the Israelites, Pharaoh he took the mares and placed them behind the stallions, in order to harm the Israelites and wage war against them. For war purposes stallions are stronger than mares. Similarly, “God went before them by day in a pillar of cloud” (Exodus 13:21), corresponding to tiferet, and afterwards the Shechinah the Divine Presence as manifested in the world, corresponding to malchut, went behind the Israelites, as it is written, “the angel of God moved and went behind them” (Exodus 14:19). Therefore, “I compare you My dear one…”


(Zohar II, 47a)


1:10 Your cheeks are beautifully adorned…


Come and see: All the facets that there are within a person and all the thoughts and desires of his heart are all visible in the face. Who a person is can be seen from his face – if his actions are good or bad, as the verse states, “Their countenance testifies against them…” (Isaiah 3:9). When everything is properly rectified, with uprightness and proper action, then “your cheeks are beautifully adorned” for the beauty of what is inside can be seen in the face, and there is no shame at all.


All of this actually took place when the Temple was built, and all the worlds rejoiced because the Shechinah resided within the Temple, for this was the purpose of creation of all the worlds,[128] so that there was joy above and below. Then the faces alluding to the supernal partzufim[129] were fully rectified, so that ze’ir anpin and malchut conjoined face to face, as they should be. This is the meaning of, “your cheeks are beautifully adorned.”


But doesn’t the verse state, “Your cheeks,” not “your face?” and according to what we have just learned, it should have said “your face.” However, it is all the same intention, only that the cheeks are rectified through songs of prayer and words of Torah in a visible way.


(Zohar Chadash 72a-b)



1:10 Your cheeks are exquisite with ornaments


“Your cheeks” (לחייך) is in the plural – two cheeks – one for this world; and one for the World to Come. “Ornaments” (torim – תורים) is also in the plural, indicating that there are two torim, alluding to two dimensions of Torah[130]: the Torah we received on Mount Sinai, and the hidden dimension of Torah (Kabbalah) that will be revealed in the future. The hidden dimension of Torah is referred to as “new” Torah as the sages explain in Midrash.[131] Although Torah was only given once and will not be given again the “new Torah” refers to the inner dimension of the Torah given on Mount Sinai, it is still called new because when the Messianic era dawns, knowledge will be renewed in the world, and Torah will shine forth to everyone, as it is written, “All will know me from the smallest among them to the greatest among them” (Jeremiah 31:33). Accordingly, both cheeks (this world and the World to Come) are exquisitely adorned with Torah – the Torah that was given to us on Mount Sinai, and the new dimension of the Torah that will be revealed with the advent of Mashiach (the Messiah).


(Zohar Chadash 53a)


1:10 Exquisite with ornaments


The word torim (תורים), translated here as “ornaments,” alludes to the Torah (תורה). Accordingly, how beautiful are all your garments, how beautiful they are with Torim, for they the Jewish People received the Torah. Now the word Torim is in the plural, and therefore alludes to the two aspects of Torah – the written Torah and the Oral Torah, with which the Jewish People is adorned.[132] Although grammatically the plural of Torah is Torot, not Torim, nevertheless, there are two aspects to the Torah, the male and the female,[133] the male aspect of Torah as it emanates from chochmah, and the female aspect of Torah as it emanates from binah[134] (or alternatively, from ze’ir anpin and malchut). Since the primary origin is from chochmah, which is then given structure in binah they may collectively be referred to as Torim. But this was not so before – the beauty of the Jewish soul was not revealed before they received the Torah. In fact, before the Jewish People received the Torah you were naked and desolate, since you were not dressed in the garments of Torah.

(Zohar Chadash 71d)



1:10 Your neck with jewelry


For your Holy Temple below is designed in the likeness of the supernal structures the sefirot in the higher worlds, and the manner in which they are configured.[135] Many saints and pious people ascend there to the Temple. Now that you the Temple are completely bedecked with your garments,[136] fashioned from the praises and prayers of the Jewish People, all of the supernal sources with all of the levels and their branches are aligned directly above you to accept you and endow you with supernal garments. The Temple below is thus compared to a person’s neck connecting the head (the Temple above) and the heart the Temple below).[137] It is bedecked with the praises and prayers, calledחרוזים  (charuzim – translated here as “jewelry,” but also meaning “rhyming verses”), that the Jewish People utter to God. Accordingly, the Temple is now ready for the Divine Presence (the Shechinah) to descend into it.

(Zohar Chadash 71d-72a)


1:11 Bands of gold we will make for thee,


Who sustains the world and causes the Patriarchs the highest of the supernal attributes that generate all the others, i.e. keter, chochmah and binah[138] to become revealed? The voices of young children occupied with Torah study.[139] The world is saved in the merit of those children. Corresponding to them, “bands of gold” – these are young children, as the verse states, “and you shall make two keruvim cherubs of gold” (Exodus 25:18ff). Each extremity of the lid of the Ark was fashioned from gold hammered out into the likeness of angels with the faces of young children,[140] one male and one female.[141] These correspond to netzach and hod respectively. It was from between these keruvim that the voice of God issued forth to Moses.[142] Accordingly, the fulfillment of the vision of the Patriarchs, and hence their fullest revelation, is through the manifestation of Prophecy (deriving from netzach and hod [143]) as revealed to Moses.[144]

(Zohar I, 1b)


Bands of gold in the plural – alludes to two dimensions of Torah. Similar to the explanation offered above (commentary to 1:10) the word Torei (תורי) – bands – is expounded as the construct plural form of Torah (תורה). The revealed dimension of Torah was given in the days of Pharaoh. The esoteric dimension is the new knowledge that will be revealed in the Messianic era.


(Zohar Chadash 53a)



We will make for thee

We will make,” not I will make.  Now that all of the supernal sources on all levels are aligned directly above the Temple to endow it with supernal garments (as explained above 1:10), we will make them the supernal garments from the tip of the uppermost point chochmah of Atzilut to the very foundation yesod of ze’ir anpin.[145] The Temple itself corresponds to malchut. Accordingly, the plural form “we” is used to indicate that the garments are fashioned from a multitude of levels. Since the Temple is fully endowed with all of the supernal garments, the Divine Presence (the Shechinah) can now descend into it.[146]


(Zohar Chadash 71a)


Together with silver beads


We have learned: Bands of gold, deriving from the aspect of gevurah[147](severity, strict justice) we will make for thee, together with silver beads, which derive from the aspect of chesed [148](loving kindness), so that strict justice can be tempered with compassion, and there is no severity without mercy. The sefirot were initially emanated as pure points of intense light so that chesed was pure chesed with no admixture of gevurah, and gevurah was pure gevurah, with no admixture chesed, and so on. However, precisely because of the purity and intensity of the light, the vessels of the sefirot were unable to contain them and they shattered. This prior form of creation is called Tohu (Chaos) and is alluded to in Genesis 1:2. Subsequently the sefirot were emanated in mutually supporting, interdependent arrays where chesed and gevurah harmonize and blend, so that a proper mixture of the two will result in a bearable and stable revelation of chesed and gevurah to finite created beings.  This is called the world of Tikun. The Temple was the embodiment of this harmonizing principle.[149]

(Zohar III, 143b)



1:12 While[150] at His banquet the King reclined; and the fragrance of my nard He did find


Rabbi Abba began his discourse: This verse has been explained[151] by the chevraya as referring to the time when the Holy One blessed be He was prepared and ready to give the Torah to the Jewish people on Mount Sinai. At that time, “the fragrance of my nard He did find” – for the Jewish people exuded an exquisite scent[152] that remains and protects them for all generations to come, when they said, “Everything that God spoke of we will do and then we will understand” (Exodus 24:7) – they accepted God’s commandments without first demanding to understand them,[153] and that is the fragrance that G-d found so pleasing.



But now we will explain the verse according to the secret wisdom – Kabbalah. Come and see: It is written, “A river issues forth from Eden to water the Garden” (Genesis 2:10). Rabbi Abba begins to explain the secret of zivug, literally finding and marrying one’s mate. In Kabbalah this signifies the intimate relationship between the sefirot, or groups of sefirot, called partzufim[154] whereby they become united. This river the outflow from binah issues forth to malchut when Eden the sefirah of chochmah bonds with binah via the path that is not known above or below yesod of chochmah, as it states in the verse: “A path unknown to the eagle” (Job 28:7). In other words, when chochmah and binah unite in an intimate bond, in a loving relationship, the result is an outflow of springs and streams from binah to the six sefirot of ze’ir anpin, so that they crown the holy prince with all of those crowns. Regarding this it is written “with the crown that his mother crowned him” (Shir HaShirim 3:11). “His mother” refers to binah, who “crowned “him – ze’ir anpin. At that moment, the son ze’ir anpin receives his inheritance from his father chochmah and mother binah, and he revels in that delight and care. This is thus the mystical explanation of the previous comment: When the Jewish People bond with the King purely out of love, without demanding to understand His commands and His reasoning first, this awakens the outflow of creative power within the King, which he then bestows upon them, in the manner mentioned above. Thus we have learned that the verse “while at His banquet the King reclined,” means when the Supernal King, adorned with His crown, sits amidst His royal delights His delight in the selfless commitment of those who are devoted to Him, then “the fragrance of my nard He did find,” yesod the sefirah associated with the outflow of goodness from Above – gives forth blessings for the union of the holy king chochmah and the queen binah. The result is that blessing is granted to all the worlds, higher and lower….[155]

(Zohar III, 61b)


It is written, “While at His banquet the King reclined” – in order to dwell within the lower kingdom malchut. This is the mystical secret of the love and care found in the Supernal Eden chochmah of Atzilut that flows down that blocked and hidden path unknown to man, so that it binah becomes filled from it. Nevertheless, since the primary purpose is “to dwell within the lower kingdom” (malchut), it is necessary that it binah should flow out via known channels. “And the fragrance of my nard He did find,” refers to process called elevating mayin nukvin, literally, “female waters,” whereby the recipient (malchut, the feminine element) spurs herself on to a more elevated and intimate relationship with God, usually resulting in a commensurate response from Above.  Since the lower kingdom malchut, through which the lower worlds were created, is in the likeness of the upper worlds, a pleasing scent wafts upwards as the result of her desire to elevate herself to a more intimate relationship, and she is granted the capacity and ability to be illuminated by the supernal light.[156]

(Zohar I, 30a)




1:13 A bunch of myrrh is my Beloved to me. Between my breasts He shall rest


The stone tablets upon which the Ten Commandments were engraved were kept in the Ark that was situated in the Holy of Holies. When the Tabernacle was dismantled during the journeys of the Jewish people in the desert, the Ark was carried by way of two long poles that were permanently fixed into rings in its sides. When stationary, these poles had to remain fixed in position. They were so long that they protruded somewhat into the curtain separating the Holy of Holies from the remainder of the Tabernacle. These protrusions looked like breasts.[157] “Between my breasts He shall rest” therefore refers to the manifestation of the Divine Presence (the Shechinah) above the cover of the Ark, between the poles. The Shechinah is therefore His prison, so to speak. Because of His God’s love for her the Shechinah, He is “imprisoned” within her. This is the mystical secret of the verse, “a bunch of myrrh is my Beloved to me. Between my breasts He shall rest.” This can be explained in the following way: Elsewhere[158] the Zohar explains that the world was created for the express purpose of coming to know G-d, which is made possible through the manifestation of the Divine Presence (the Shechinah) in the world. Since the Divine Plan is invested in the Shechinah, it may be said to be “imprisoned within her,” so to speak.

(Tikunei Zohar, tikun 6 p. 21b)


1:14 A cluster of henna is my Beloved to me


“A cluster” refers to imma ila’a binah of Atzilut, the source of repentance and forgiveness. Just as a cluster of grapes is adorned with leaves and hangs down from a number of branches of the grape vine for the Jewish People to eat, so too the supernal Shechinah the Divine Presence as manifested in binah of Atzilut is adorned with ornaments – such as the eight garments of the High Priest that he wears on the holiest day of the year, Yom Kippur[159]  (the Day of Atonement). The Hebrew word used for henna here is kofer (כפר), the root-word of kappara (כפרה) – forgiveness. The service of the High Priest achieves forgiveness for the transgressions of the people, so that the Shechinah can dwell among them. His garments may therefore be regarded as “ornaments” of the Shechinah – “ornaments” in the sense of vessels or receptacles, rather than decorations.[160] Accordingly, when binah illuminates malchut (when the clusters of grapes hang down from the vine) at propitious times, as during the era of King Solomon’s reign, then forgiveness prevails and it is brought forth through the service of the High Priest who wears eight garments.[161] However, there are “a number of branches” of the grape vine, alluding to several means of obtaining atonement, as the Zohar goes on to explain: The supernal Shechinah is also adorned with various sacrifices and other ornaments (again in the sense of vessels or receptacles) of atonement for her children, and she stands adorned with them before the King. Then, immediately, “I shall look upon it the rainbow to remember the everlasting covenant” (Genesis 9:16), and I will give them what she asks according to the blessings expressed in the prayers that the rabbis established. At that time, all the harsh qualities of the lower level of Shechinah malchut, associated with strict justice, are transformed into compassion. Thus the last part of the verse, “In the vineyards of Ein-Gedi” should be understood as “He has multiplied His forgiveness to me.”

(Zohar II, Tosefta p. 27b)



1:15 Behold you are beautiful, My love; you are so beautiful, with eyes like a dove.


He began his discourse saying: “Master of the Worlds! With Your permission, I will reveal some of Your hidden mysteries. ‘Unveil my eyes, that I may see wonders from Your Torah’ (Psalms 119:18) and praise your bride the Shechinah,[162] dressed in these garments[163] and all those that depend on her the Shechinah, and those that are affected by her, for she is the gateway through which to enter to You, to see Your countenance, which is tiferet, beauty. It is in this regard that the verse states, “Behold you are beautiful, my love, you are so beautiful with eyes like a dove.” Like a dove for sure since doves’ bodies appear as if embroidered because of their wings.[164] Because of this patterning they are clearly distinguishable from other birds, just as the Jewish People is distinguishable from other nations of the world due to their distinctive behavior patterns, woven from the 613 mitzvot.[165] Furthermore, “like a dove” for there are none among the birds that are as faithful to their spouse as doves. So too, the Jewish People are faithful to God, the One and Only whom they worship.[166]


Zohar Chadash Yitro 31c


1:16 You are handsome, my Beloved, a pleasing figure


Razie’l[167] the guardian of the secrets is appointed over all those secrets that can only be uttered from one mouth to another,[168] as if kissing one another with great love, so close is the cleaving one to the other of those sharing the secrets.[169] Although these secrets cannot be revealed,[170] once the gates have been opened, then all the chambers and the souls that inhabit the chambers and the camps of angels are aware that the gates of the Divine Will have been opened. But only prayers and praises of the Holy One, blessed be He that have been recited with the proper intentions, and awakened holy souls can pass through those gates. This is the chamber of Moshe (Moses), and it is into this chamber that he entered in love and where he received the Divine kiss – the spirit of prophecy. It was in this chamber where “Moshe would speak and God would answer in a voice” (Exodus 19:19), – in Moshe’s voice,[171] for God’s voice was clothed within Moshe’s.[172] This is the meaning of they were cleaving kiss to kiss. Regarding this spirit of prophecy the verse states, “He will kiss me, from His mouth to mine” (Shir HaShirim 1:2).[173] There is no kiss of such joy and love other than when they cleave to one another the soul of Moshe to God, mouth to mouth,[174] spirit to spirit. Then they delight in each other in every way, with joy and illuminated by the light from above from keter.[175] Several commentaries interpret this entire paragraph as referring to the yichud of ze’ir anpin and malchut. [176]


This is also the intention of our verse: Come and see: “Moshe would speak,”[177] in praise of the Schechinah – the Divine Presence as revealed within malchut[178]as it is written, “You are beautiful my Beloved” (Shir HaShirim 1:15), and “Your lips are like a thread of scarlet” (Shir HaShirim 4:3). “And Elokim the Shechinah invested in malchut would respond to him in a voice,”[179] as it is written here, “You are handsome My beloved, a pleasing figure,” and it is written (below 5:13) “His lips are like roses shoshanim dripping with myrrh” an allusion to the Torah which is reviewed out loud repeatedly (she’shonim),[180] and was received from the God’s lips, so to speak.

(Zohar II, 253b ff.)



1:16 Our bed is full of vigor.


The Zohar does not comment on this verse.

According to the Midrash[181] “our bed” refers to the Temple, because it was in the Temple the communion between God and the Jewish People took place.

 1:17 The beams of our houses are cedar, And are with cypress covered


The Zohar does not comment on this verse, but the Midrash suggests that this alludes to the righteous men and women, and the male and female prophets who descend from Jacob,[182] perhaps alluding to the verse, “The righteous will blossom like a date-palm, and flourish like a cedar of Lebanon, planted in the house of G-d” (Psalms 92:13-14).

[1]. This is the kri version. The ketiv is רחיטנו.

[2]. “Song of Songs” in Hebrew is Shir HaShirim. But because Scriptural Hebrew is written without the vowels, it can also be read as Shir HaSarim – the song of the supernal angels.

[3]. Torah, from the word hora’a, meaning ‘instruction.’

[4] . See Zohar I Vayigash 208a; Pardes, Sha’ar Arachei haKinuim s.v. בית המקדש.

[5]. See Zohar I, 34a, 73b, 80a etc.

[6]. Cf. the Mishna’s statement (Sukkah 5, 1) that “whoever did not see the joy of the water-drawing ceremony [for Temple libations] never saw joy in his entire life.”

[7]. Perhapsשלום  could also be translated here as perfection or wholeness, rather than peace.

[8]. See also Midrash Rabbah, Exodus 52:5; Midrash Rabbah, Song of Songs 1:12; Tikunei Zohar 24b).

[9]. See below and Midrash Tanchuma, Nasso 16. See also I Kings 8:27.

[10]. The colleagues and disciples of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, the authors of the Zohar’s teachings.

[11]. Damesek Eliezer.

[12]. Mikdash Melech citing Etz Chaim, Sha’ar Miut HaYareach.

[13]. Cf. Taanit 5a. see at length Ramchal’s Mishkenei Elyon where he points out the correspondences between the Temple above and the Temple below.

[14]. See Midrash Tanchuma, Nasso 18.

[15]. See Bamidbar Rabba, Nasso 12:12.

[16]. See Etz Chaim 39:8.

[17]. This is implied by the foregoing. However, Or HaChamah cites Rabbi Chaim Vital to the effect that Metatron represents the world of Yetzirah and the First Temple the world of Beriah.

[18]. An expression indicating that the Sin of the Tree of Knowledge had been rectified. See Ramchal, Drushei Chaf Dalet Kishutei Kalah.

[19]. Literally, “cleave to.”

[20]. That level where the revelation of Godliness is experienced in full, as will be explained.

[21]. In Temple times, the Jubilee year (yovel) took place every fiftieth year. It was a year of freedom for slaves, and those dispossessed of their land received it back. In Kabbalah, the Jubilee represents the sefirah of binah, “the world of freedom.”

[22]. Unification or yichud is an important kabbalistic concept. It signifies a mystical process of uniting or interweaving forces in the spiritual realms. See Introduction.

[23]. See Shir HaShirim Rabbah 5:1.

[24]. Eitz Chaim, Sha’ar 39, 9.

[25]. Ziv HaZohar. See Introduction.

[26]. Ibid. See Introduction.

[27]. See Tal Orot 1:14. See also Sha’ar haKelalim 1:1 from Baal HaLeshem

[28]. See Pardes 4:6

[29]. Ruach hakodesh. This can also be rendered as “the spirit of holiness,” a more literal translation.

[30]. Shleimut – ‘wholeness’ – is a cognate of shalom, ‘peace.’

[31]. Divine Inspiration.

[32]. Zachariah 14:9.

[33]. Arizal Sefer Likutei Torah, Trei Asar, Zechariah 9.

[34]. Knesset Yisrael in the original.

[35]. Zohar II, 126b.

[36]. Genesis 2:6.

[37]. Bereishit Rabbah 14:9.

[38]. Avot 5:1.

[39]. Pelech HaRimon, Shir HaShirim, Rabbi Hillel of Partisch, p. 2a.

[40]. Ruach is one of the five terms used in Scripture for the soul (Bereishit Rabbah 14:9).

[41]. See Genesis 3:16, 17-19.

[42]. Cf. Bava Batra 16a.

[43]. Bava Batra 17a; Avot d’Rabbi Natan chap. 12.

[44]. See Likkutei Amarim Tanya, chap. 2.

[45]. Rabbi Chaim Vital, Sha’arei Kedushah, III:5, 7.

[46]. As in Genesis 41:40: אַתָּה תִּהְיֶה עַל בֵּיתִי וְעַל פִּיךָ יִשַּׁק כָּל עַמִּי. Pharaoh said to Joseph: “You will be in charge of my house, and my entire people will be sustained (yishak) by your word” during the famine that you have predicted. See also Genesis 15:2 וּבֶן מֶשֶׁק בֵּיתִי – “the steward of my house.”

[47]. See Bamidbar Rabbah 14:4. Cf. also Rashi in his second comment on this verse. See also Taanit 7a.

[48]. Each letter in the Hebrew alphabet is assigned a numerical value (gematria): Aleph = 1, bet – 2 and so on. When the gematria of two words is identical, this is indicative of a hidden affinity between them. Wine (yayin) is spelt yud = 10, yud = 10, nun = 50. Total = 70. The esoteric dimension of Torah, sod, is spelled samech = 60, vav = 6, dalet = 4. Total = 70. See Eruvin 65a.

[49]. Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi in Likkutei Torah, Shir HaShirim 2a-b.

[50]. See Yoma 21a; Bava Batra 99a.

[51]. For lack of a better translation of pnimi (literally, “inward”) we have used “inner directed.”

[52]. Mikdash Melech.

[53]. Mikdash Melech.

[54]. Zohar I, 247b.

[55]. Genesis 2:10

[56]. Zohar I, 26a, inter alia.

[57]. Bereishit Rabbah 60:16.

[58]. II Kings 4:1-6.

[59]. Shabbat 21b.

[60]. See also Zohar II, 147b.

[61]. Cf. Sanhedrin 92a.

[62]. See Introduction.

[63]. Ramak in Or Yakar.

[64]. Matok MiDevash.

[65]. A righteous person.

[66]. Cf. Chulin 7b.

[67]. Sulam.

[68]. See Tanya, Iggeret HaKodesh chap 27.

[69]. Literally, “swims.”

[70]. The indwelling Divine Presence.

[71]. Sulam.

[72].  The configuration of the sefirot from chesed to yesod.

[73]. See Megillah 29a: When they went into exile the Shechinah went with them.

[74]. See Chagiga 2a, 4b.

[75]. Sulam.

[76]. See Zohar I, 86a; 88a.

[77]. See Zohar III 42b, 43b, 45b. Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, Likutei Torah Tazria; Likutei Sichot vol. 12, p. 70 ff.

[78]. See Zohar I, 2b ff.

[79]. See Avot 5:1.

[80]. Sulam.

[81]. See Zohar I 26b, 207a; Pardes Rimonim sha’ar 28, end of chap. 3.

[82]. Zohar I, 247b.

[83]. Elsewhere (vol. 1, p. 26a) the Zohar explains that Eden is binah. However, this is not a contradiction since there are many levels in Eden – chochmah as it is in itself, chochmah as it unites with binah, binah as it receives from chochmah, and so on.

[84]. See Zohar I, 107a; II, 150a, 111b, 131b; III, 182b.

[85]. Pesachim 106a.

[86]. Zohar III 127a; Pardes sha’ar 8 chap. 12; Pri Etz Chaim, sha’ar HaBerachot, chap. 7. In other contexts wine is gevurah. See Pardes שער ערכי הכינוים ערך ‘יין’; Pri Etz Chaim, sha’ar HaShabbat chap 18.

[87]. See Taanit 7a.

[88]. Although the word שמחה here is generally translated as “she rejoices,” it may also be rendered in the po’el yotzei  form – “she causes others joy.”

[89]. See Etz Chaim 25:5.

[90]. Zohar III 37b.

[91]. See also Zohar III Emor, 124a. It is for this reason that chochmah and binah are referred to as “the two beloved friends who never part” (Zohar II 56a; Zohar III 4a).

[92]. Compare to the commentary above.

[93]. Or Yakar; Mikdash Melech. See Pesachim 107a: “The rabbis taught: One may make Kiddush (sanctify the day) only over wine.”

[94]. Aspaklaria sh’eina me’ira. Sometimes translated as “a speculum that doesn’t shine.” See Yevamot 49b; Tosfot Yom-Tov, Mishnah Keilim 30:2. The intention here is that the other Prophets only saw a dim or hazy reflection, whereas Moses saw clearly.

[95]. See Numbers 12:6.

[96]. Aspaklaria haMe’ira. Sha’ar Ruach HaKodesh, Derush 1, p. 2b.

[97]. Numbers 12:8.

[98]. Zohar III, 59b.

[99]. See Exodus 24:10.

[100]. Zohar III, 59b.

[101]. Mikdash Melech.

[102]. As in the verse, “I am binah; to me is gevurah” (Proverbs 8:14).

[103]. See Zohar I, 31a, 33b etc.

[104]. See Rashi.

[105]. See also Zohar III, 74a.

[106]. Mikdash Melech.

[107]. Zohar I, 159b; Bamidbar Rabbah 7:10.

[108]. Cf. Avot 3:1.

[109]. Sulam.

[110]. See Zohar III, 17b; Sulam.

[111]. See Zohar I, 20a.

[112]. Sulam. Pardes, sha’ar 18 chaps. 2-5, however explains this in a completely different way: Malchut was originally on a much higher level and its light shone fully, although it was not as great as that of z’ir anpin to which malchut was always subservient. As a result of her “complaint,” her light was reduced…

[113]. Chulin 60b.

[114]. E.g., Zohar I, 20a.

[115]. Partzuf (pl.partzufim) –visage or profile – is a compound structure of the sefirot. A partzuf is a metaphorical figure of human likeness, used to represent the expansion of an individual sefirah (or group of sefirot) into an independent configuration with ten sefirot of its own.

[116]. Sulam.

[117]. Cf. Avot 4:15.

[118]. 3338-3408 in the Jewish calendar.

[119]. 3829 in the Jewish calendar.

[120]. Sulam.

[121]. Technically, binah.

[122]. Technically, chochmah.

[123]. Cf. Psalms 8:3.

[124]. See Rashi to Psalms 80:2.

[125]. See Bamidbar Rabba, Nasso 12:12.

[126]. In other words, the vehicle whereby something is put into effect.

[127]. Sulam.

[128]. See Midrash Tanchuma, Naso chap. 16; Tanya chap. 36.

[129]. Sg. partzuf (visage or profile). A compound structure of the sefirot. A partzuf is a metaphorical figure of human likeness, used to represent the expansion of an individual sefirah (or group of sefirot) into an independent configuration with ten sefirot of its own.  

[130]. Although the plural of Torah (תורה) in Hebrew is Torot, since Torah is a feminine noun, nevertheless we do find that Torah is sometimes referred to in the masculine form, in which case the plural would be תורים. See Maskil l’David to Deut. 30:14.

“כי קרוב” וכו’ התורה ניתנה וכו’. אפשר שרבינו הרגיש קושי גדול בפ’ דתחלה קאמר כי המצוה וכו’ לא נפלאת וכו’ ויקחה וכו’ הכל בלשון נקבה ובתר הכי קאמר כי קרוב אליך וכו’ לעשותו ושני קרא בדבוריה מנקבה לזכר ואמאי עביד הכי. אלא נראה דתחלה קאמר כי המצוה וכו’ לא נפלאת וכו’ כל זה קאי כלפי לימוד התורה שבע”פ וידוע שהיא נקרא מצוה וסודה בעלמא דנוקבא כנודע לי”ח והיינו דקאמר לא נפלאת וכו’ כלומר מי ישמיענו פירושה כדלעיל וע”ז מסיים קרא כי קרוב אליך וכו’ בלשון זכר דקאי אתורה שבכתב והיינו דרצ”ל כי קרוב אליך תשב”כ שבאמצעותו תוכל ללמדה לתשבע”פ דהויא פירושה ולכך מסיים קרא בפיך ובלבבך ר”ל תשב”כ הוא קרוב דבזה סגי שתשעבד פיך ולבבך לעשות לתשב”כ כלומר להבין ולעשות את כל דברי התורה הזאת:

[131]. Based on the verse Isaiah 51:4. See Vayikra Rabbah 13:3; Tanna d’vei Eliyahu Zuta 20.

[132]. See also Yalkut Shimoni, Shir HaShirim chap. 1, remez 983.

[133]. See Siach Yitzchak, part 1, Drush shtei nunin shel vayehi binso’a.

[134]. See Zohar II, p. 85a; Rabbi Yitzchak Luria’s Sha’ar Ma’amarei Rashbi, Pirush Sifra d’Tzniuta chap. 1.

[135]. Cf.  “Said the Holy One, blessed be He: I will not enter Jerusalem above until I have entered Jerusalem below” (Taanit 5a); “The Temple above corresponds to the Temple below” (Tanchuma, Vayakhel 7). “Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai said: The Temple (Heichal) below corresponds directly to the Temple above it” (Tanchuma, Pikudei 2). See also Zohar I, 129b in Midrash Hane’elam.

[136]. Tikunin in the original, inadequately translated here as “garments.” The word has a double meaning – both “garment” and “rectification.” The world of Tohu was a prior form of creation mentioned in Genesis 1:2. Tohu was “created in order to be destroyed, and was destroyed in order to be re-created” (R. Shneur Zalman of Liadi Maa’marim 5563 vol. 2 p. 728). The vessels (or garments) of the sefirot of Tohu shattered due to their inability to contain the intensity of the light that infused them. Subsequently, a new order, called Tikun (rectification, restoration) was created. The purpose of Tikun is to rectify, restore and uplift the shattered vessels of the world of Tohu by providing garments and vessels that will be able to contain the light that formerly illuminated Tohu. Thus, the garments are indeed the rectification.

[137]. See Zohar I, 19b.

[138]. Damesek Eliezer.

[139]. Cf. Shabbat 119b.

[140]. Succah 5b; Rashi’s commentary to Shemot 25:18.

[141]. Zohar III, 59a.

[142]. As stated explicitly in Bamidbar 7:89.

[143]. Arizal in Sha’ar Ma’amarei Rashbi, Tikunim, tikun 20.

[144]. See Damesek Eliezer.

[145]. Sulam.

[146]. See Zohar III, 74b. Also Zohar I, 241a and 129b in Midrash Hane’elam.

[147]. See Pardes, Sha’ar Arachei HaKinuyim s.v. זהב.

[148]. See Pardes, Sha’ar Arachei HaKinuyim s.v. כסף.

[149]. Based on principles elucidated in the writings of the Arizal. See Mevo She’arim, sha’ar 2, part 2, ch. 7.

[150]. Translated as understood by Metzudat Tzion.

[151]. See Zohar II, 16b, 226b.

[152]. In Midrash Shir Hashirim Rabbah on this verse Rabbi Meir offers an interpretation disparaging of the Israelites. Rabbi Yehuda responds: “Nothing in Shir HaShirim should be interpreted as disparaging of the Israelites for the entire Shir HaShirim was written in praise of them.” This positive view is also expressed in Talmud Gittin 36b.

[153]. See Talmud Shabbat 88a.

[154]. Partzufim (sg. partzuf). Visage, profile). The partzufim are compound structures of the sefirot. A partzuf is a metaphorical figure of human likeness, used to represent the expansion of an individual sefirah (or group of sefirot) into an independent configuration with ten sefirot of its own. Partzufim include Atik Yomin, Arich Anpin, Abba, Imma, Zeir Anpin (ben), Nukvah (bat).

[155]. See commentaries of Mikdash Melech, Damesek Eliezer to Zohar I, 30a.

[156]. Mikdash Melech.

[157]. See Exodus 25:10-16, Rashi.

[158]. Zohar II, p. 42a-b.

[159]. Nitzutei Orot.

[160]. Nitzutei Zohar.

[161]. Mikdash Melech.

[162]. Sulam.

[163]. The term tikunim (tikun sg.) here is inadequately translated here as “garments” or “ornaments.” The word has a double meaning – both “garment/ornament” and “rectification.” In the present context, the tikunim refer to the senses – specifically, the sense of sight, hearing, smell and speech. (According to Kabbalah there are actually twelve senses, including speech, laughter, thought etc. See Sefer Yetzirah 5:1). These tikunim are the garments through which the Divine Presence is both apprehended and disclosed to the world (e.g. through the words of a Prophet). Of course, only rectified garments can apprehend or express the Divine Presence. Thus, the garments are indeed the rectification. (See fn.115).

[164]. The wings of the Turtle Dove are patterned in a way that makes them look as if embroidered.

[165]. Cf. Metzudot David; Midrash Tanchuma Tetzaveh.

[166]. Midrash Tanchuma, Tetzaveh: מה היונה הזו משהיא מכרת את בן זוגה אינה זזה ממנה, כך ישראל משהכירו להקדוש ברוך הוא שוב אינם זזים ממנו ואין מניחין אותו.

[167]. As his name suggests – raz means secrets and E-l refers to God, hence “the guard of God’s secrets.”

[168]. Literally “spoken mouth to mouth,” as in the verse describing the uniqueness of Moses’ prophetic ability: “Mouth to mouth I will speak to him” (Numbers 12:8). (במדבר יב, ח) פֶּה אֶל פֶּה אֲדַבֶּר בּוֹ.

[169]. Ramak, Mikdash Melech, Matok MiDvash.

[170]. Because their source is the hidden keter.

[171]. Talmud Berachot 45a.

[172]. Torat Moshe (Alshich), Devarim 34:10-12, and this is the meaning of “The Shechinah spoke from Moshe’s throat” (Midrash Rabbah Shemot chap. 3; Vayikra Rabbah chap. 2; Mechilta Shemot 18:19) See Kisei David, Drush 19, Shabbat Kallah; Tanya chap. 34.

[173]. This is the meaning of the verse regarding prophecy: “The spirit of G-d spoke in me, and His words were upon my tongue” (II Samuel 23:2). See commentary above 1:2.

[174]. The spirit of Prophecy that spoke through Moses’ mouth.

[175]. Ramak.

[176]. See Matok MiDvash; Sulam.

[177]. Exodus 19:19: מֹשֶׁה יְדַבֵּר [וְהָאֱלֹקִים יַעֲנֶנּוּ בְקוֹל]

[178]. See Matok MiDvash; Sulam. Technically these words are uttered by ze’ir anpin in praise of malchut.

[179]. Exodus 19:19:… וְהָאֱלֹקִים יַעֲנֶנּוּ בְקוֹל

[180]. Talmud Shabbat 88b. See also Pesachim 117a.

[181]. Shir haShirim Rabbah 1, 16.

[182]. Shir HaShirim Rabbah 1, 70; Bereishit Rabbah 68, 1

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