א אֲנִי חֲבַצֶּלֶת הַשָּׁרוֹן שׁוֹשַׁנַּת הָעֲמָקִים
1 I am a flower of Sharon, a flower of the glen;
ב כְּשׁוֹשַׁנָּה בֵּין הַחוֹחִים כֵּן רַעְיָתִי בֵּין הַבָּנוֹת
2 Like a flower among thorns,
Is My beloved among the maidens.
ג כְּתַפּוּחַ בַּעֲצֵי הַיַּעַר כֵּן דּוֹדִי בֵּין הַבָּנִים בְּצִלּוֹ חִמַּדְתִּי וְיָשַׁבְתִּי וּפִרְיוֹ מָתוֹק לְחִכִּי
3 As an apple-tree in a forest, is my Beloved among men.
In His shade I delighted and there I sat,
And his fruit was sweet to My palate.
ד הֱבִיאַנִי אֶל-בֵּית הַיָּיִן, וְדִגְלוֹ עָלַי אַהֲבָה.
4 He has brought me into the chamber of wine,
And his banner of love flies up above.
ה סַמְּכוּנִי בָּאֲשִׁישׁוֹת רַפְּדוּנִי בַּתַּפּוּחִים כִּי חוֹלַת אַהֲבָה אָנִי.
5 ’Sustain me with flasks, refresh me with apples,
For I am sick with love.’
ו שְׂמֹאלוֹ תַּחַת לְרֹאשִׁי וִימִינוֹ תְּחַבְּקֵנִי.
6 His left hand is under my head, and his right arm embraces me.
ז הִשְׁבַּעְתִּי אֶתְכֶם בְּנוֹת יְרוּשָׁלִַם בִּצְבָאוֹת אוֹ בְּאַיְלוֹת הַשָּׂדֶה
אִם תָּעִירוּ וְאִם תְּעוֹרְרוּ אֶת הָאַהֲבָה עַד שֶׁתֶּחְפָּץ.
7 ‘Daughters of Jerusalem, you must make your vows,
By the gazelles and the hinds of the lea,
That you not rouse,
Nor stir up the love, until He shall so please.’
ח קוֹל דּוֹדִי הִנֵּה זֶה בָּא מְדַלֵּג עַל הֶהָרִים מְקַפֵּץ עַל הַגְּבָעוֹת.
8 The voice of my Beloved is coming swiftly,
Hopping on mountains, skipping on hills.
ט דּוֹמֶה דוֹדִי לִצְבִי אוֹ לְעֹפֶר הָאַיָּלִים הִנֵּה זֶה עוֹמֵד אַחַר כָּתְלֵנוּ
מַשְׁגִּיחַ מִן הַחֲלֹּנוֹת מֵצִיץ מִן הַחֲרַכִּים.
9 My beloved is like a gazelle
Or a young deer;
Here he stands, behind our wall,
He gazes through the windows, through the lattice He peers.
י עָנָה דוֹדִי וְאָמַר לִי קוּמִי לָךְ רַעְיָתִי יָפָתִי וּלְכִי לָךְ.
10 My Beloved called out, and said to me: ‘Arise, My love, My fair one,
And go forth.
יא כִּי הִנֵּה הַסְּתָיו עָבָר הַגֶּשֶׁם חָלַף הָלַךְ לוֹ.
11 For, the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone.
יב הַנִּצָּנִים נִרְאוּ בָאָרֶץ עֵת הַזָּמִיר הִגִּיעַ וְקוֹל הַתּוֹר נִשְׁמַע בְּאַרְצֵנוּ.
12 The blossoms appeared upon the earth,
It’s the time of the birds’ melody,
The cooing of the dove is heard in our land;
13 Figs sprout forth from the fig-tree,
The vines in bloom give off their bouquet.
Arise, My love, My fair one,
And come away.
יד יוֹנָתִי בְּחַגְוֵי הַסֶּלַע בְּסֵתֶר הַמַּדְרֵגָה הַרְאִינִי אֶת מַרְאַיִךְ הַשְׁמִיעִינִי אֶת קוֹלֵךְ כִּי קוֹלֵךְ עָרֵב וּמַרְאֵיךְ נָאוֶה.
14 My dove is in clefts of the rocks,
In places hidden from view;
‘Show Me your face,
Your voice let Me hear;
For your voice is sweet,
And your appearance has grace.’
טו אֶחֱזוּ לָנוּ שׁוּעָלִים שׁוּעָלִים קְטַנִּים מְחַבְּלִים כְּרָמִים וּכְרָמֵינוּ סְמָדַר
15 ‘Catch the foxes and their cubs that spoil the vines;
Our vineyards are in bloom.’
טז דּוֹדִי לִי וַאֲנִי לוֹ הָרֹעֶה בַּשּׁוֹשַׁנִּים.
16 My beloved is mine,
And I am His,
He feeds us among the roses.
יז עַד שֶׁיָּפוּחַ הַיּוֹם וְנָסוּ הַצְּלָלִים סֹב דְּמֵה לְךָ דוֹדִי לִצְבִי
אוֹ לְעֹפֶר הָאַיָּלִים עַל הָרֵי בָתֶר.
17 Before the day wafts away,
And the shadows flee,
Turn, my beloved, and be
Like a gazelle or a young hart
Upon the mountains far apart.
The second chapter of Shir HaShirim deals with the period of time spanning…
‘A flower chavatzelet of Sharon’ is Knesset Yisrael the collective soul of the Jewish People who are imbued with the splendor of the Garden of Eden. And they are called Sharon because she sings (shara) to and praises the Supernal King.
A chavatzelet of Sharon, a flower of the glen: Come and see: initially this flower is referred to as a chavatzelet, with pale yellow or whitish yellow petals, but later she is referred to as a flower with pink and white petals. Why the change in terminology? The Zohar explains: She is referred to initially as chavatzelet, when she wishes to be in communion with the King. Afterwards, when she cleaves in communion to the King, with those kisses described elsewhere, she is called shoshana, for it is written, ‘His lips are like roses’ (Shir HaShirim 5:13)
Alternatively, ‘I am a chavatzelet of Sharon’ the Divine Presence, or Shechinah, malchut as manifested in this world which needs to be watered by streams from the depths, from the well-springs from which the streams flow, from the depths of binah as the verse states, “The parched land will become a lake” (Isaiah 35:7), after “the Sharon became a desert” (Isaiah 33:9).
‘Chavatzelet of Sharon’ – a flower of that place from which all the streams flow forth and which never ceases to flow.
‘A flower of the glen’ – a flower deep in the valley, for she is found in that deepest of all places, which is alluded to in the verse ‘From the depths I call out to You, O G-d’ (Psalms 130:1).
(Zohar I, 221a; Zohar III, 107a)
2:1 Like a flower among thorns
Rabbi Yose began his discourse saying: ‘Like a flower among thorns is My beloved among the maidens’ – the Holy One, blessed be He, wished to make the Jewish People in the likeness of the higher worlds, so that there would be a flower upon earth like the one in the higher worlds the Schechinah. The shoshana is unique in that its fragrance surpasses that of all other flowers in the world, and yet it grows only among thorns adversity makes it thrive. The descendants (progeny?) of those seventy, the seventy souls who went down to Egypt with Jacob (Deut. 10:21) lived among the thorns the Egyptians, who tried to make life intolerable for the Israelites. As soon as those seventy were there, the thorns produced branches and leaves and dominated the world with the fragrance of their good deeds.
(Zohar II, 189b)
‘Like a flower among thorns’ alludes to Rivkah Rebecca, wife of Isaac (Isaac) who was like a rose among the thorns – the Arameans among whom she grew up, including the wicked Betuel and Lavan.
(Zohar III, 278b)
Why is it that she is ‘among the thorns’? When the Temple was destroyed and the land became chaos and void, then the flower fell among the thorns, alluding to the lower worlds of Beriah, Yetzirah and Assiya. The implication here is that the natural place of the shoshana, i.e. malchut, is together with the other sefirot, residing in holiness in the world of Atzilut, instead of ‘her feet descend into [the realm of] death’ (Proverbs 5:5). However, when the Temple was destroyed malchut fell to become entangled in the kelipot (the aspects of spiritual impurity, compared here to thorns, which the verse in Proverbs compares to descending into death). But when the redemption comes she will be like a morning flower regarding which the verse states, “the morning grew light.” Morning is the time when the attribute of chesed illuminates the world [as in the verse, “The kindness (chesed) of God is all day long” (Psalms 52:3)] and the powers of harsh judgment are banished, just as in the future, when the redemption will come.
Five verses about light mentioned in Genesis, at the beginning of Creation, correspond to the five petals of the shoshana above in the higher worlds, malchut of Atzilut. The first verse is “And God said, ‘There shall be light…’ ” (Genesis 1:3); the second verse is “And there was light” (ibid.); the third, “And God saw that the light was good” (Genesis 1:4); the fourth, “And God separated between the light and the darkness (ibid.); the fifth, “And God called the light, ‘day’” (Genesis 1:5).
These are all the outer petals. And there are thirteen inner petals, corresponding to the verse, “There was evening and there was morning, one day” (ibid). ‘One’ – אחד echad in Hebrew – has the numerical value of thirteen. Accordingly, the inner dimension of the flower, the inner cup of thirteen petals, corresponding to echad (=13), is the inner dimension of the shoshanah in the lower world, i.e. the Divine Presence as manifested in the lower world. Similarly, there is an inner cup of thirteen petals in dimensions beyond the created world as well. Thus far the analogy; now the analog in the spiritual worlds:
When echad – the inner core of the lower shoshana, and echad the inner core of the transcendent world – the two flowers together form י-ה-ו-ה the Ineffable Name. That Name has the numerical value of 26, the sum of the numerical value of the word echad mentioned twice in the following verse: “On that day God will be One and His Name will be One…” (Zechariah 14:9). This means that the created world will not conceal the Divine Presence; on the contrary, it will reveal the Divine Presence.
(Tikunei Zohar, Tikun 26)
2:2 Is My beloved among the maidens
Come and see: ‘Like a flower among the thorns is My beloved among the maidens’ – ‘a flower’ here refers to the collective souls of the Jewish People, called Knesset Yisrael, residing among the nations, like a flower among the thorns. The secret of the matter is this: Isaac Isaac came from Abraham Abraham who epitomized the aspect of supernal chesed – love and kindness, as in the verse, “Abraham who loved Me” (Isaiah 41:8) – and who performed kindness to all creatures. Nevertheless he fathered Isaac who epitomized the severities as the verse suggests “The Fearsome One of Isaac” (Genesis 31:42). Rivkah Rebecca too originated in the aspect of severity in that she was the daughter of Betuel, who represents the harshness of kelipah, but she emerged from them and bonded with Isaac. Now even though she was from the aspect of severities, she was of the mild ones chesed of gevurah, and a thread of kindness extended from her. Isaac was from the strict severities, and she was from the mild ones, like a flower among the thorns. Had she not been of the mild variety, the world could not have withstood the strict severities of Isaac. In this manner the Holy One, blessed be He, arranges partners – one strict an aspect of gevurah and the other mild an aspect of chesed in order to rectify them all so that the world can become fragrant. A rectified world exudes the fragrance of “an aroma pleasing to the Lord” (Leviticus 1:9, 13, 17).
(Zohar I, 137a)
2:3 As an apple-tree in a forest… In His shade I delighted… His fruit was sweet to My palate
‘An apple-tree’ refers to the Holy One, blessed be He, who is as desirable as an apple-tree in a forest of non-fruit bearing trees, adorned with more colors than all the other trees, so that there is none like Him. Technically this alludes to the sefirah of tiferet which combines and harmonizes chesed (white) and gevurah (red) and is often depicted as multi-colored.
(Zohar I, 85a)
‘In His shade’ – the shade of the Holy One, blessed be He – ‘I delighted and there I sat’ on the day that He was revealed upon Mount Sinai, and the Israelites received the Torah, and we said ‘we will do first, even if we don’t understand why, and we will come to understand later’ (Exodus 24:7). ‘His fruit was sweet to my palate’ refers to the words of Torah, regarding which the verse states, ‘…sweeter than honey and nectar.
‘In His shade I delighted’ and not in the shade of any emissary or ‘officeholder’ – referring to angels. When did this relationship begin? From the time that Abraham was in the world, for he desired and loved the Holy One exclusively, as the verse states “Abraham who loved Me” (Isaiah 41:8). ‘His fruit was sweet to My palate’ refers to Isaac, who was holy fruit he became a holy offering (see Genesis chap. 22). Note that the Zohar understands ‘his fruit’ as a reference to Abraham and his son (the fruit of Sarah’s womb), Isaac.
Alternatively, ‘in His shade I delighted and there I sat’ refers to Jacob. ‘His fruit was sweet to My palate’ – refers to the saintly Joseph who produced holy fruit children in this world, regarding which the verse states, “These are the descendants of Jacob: Joseph…” (Genesis 37:2). Jacob counted both of Joseph’s sons, Ephraim and Menashe, as his own progeny (see Genesis 48:5). And it is for this reason that the Israelites are sometimes called Ephraim, as in the verse, “Ephraim, My beloved son” referring to the Israelites in general.
(Zohar I, 85b)
2:4 He has brought me into the chamber of wine, and His banner of love flies up above.
Although the Zohar does not comment directly on this verse, on another verse in Shir Hashirim (7:10) the Zohar explains that that wine is “the wine of Torah,” which is good in every way, in this world and in the World to Come. In the merit of this wine with which a person satiates himself, he will merit the World to Come and will arise at the time of the Resurrection of the Dead. Commentaries explain that the wine of Torah alludes to the secrets of the Torah, i.e. the esoteric explanation called ‘sod.’ Indeed the numerical value of the Hebrew for wine, yayin, is identical to the numerical value of the word sod. Accordingly, the verse can be interpreted as the soul being brought into the chamber where the secrets of Torah are available, and that is a sign (“banner”) of G-d’s love. The Midrash suggests that we read the word ודגלו (“His banner”) as ודילוגו (“His jumping over”) – for His love for His people is so powerful that He skipped the regular protocols (so to speak) and granted access to the secrets of Torah, and to the communion that they afford, without the usual prior preparation.
2:5 Sustain me with flasks, refresh me with apples, for I am sick with love
Rabbi Akiva implored Rabbi Eliezer to teach him Torah. When Rabbi Eliezer began explaining the Work of the Chariot (Ma’aseh Merkava) a fire surrounded them. The other sages who were present at the time understood that they were not worthy of receiving these teachings so they arose and sat down outside the outer door. What then took place took place, and the fire subsided. At that time Rabbi Eliezer taught Rabbi Akiva… 216 explanations of the verses of Shir HaShirim. Rabbi Akiva’s eyes flowed with tears and the fire enveloped them again. When Rabbi Eliezer came to the verse, “Sustain me with flasks of wine, refresh me with apples, for I am sick with love,” Rabbi Akiva could not contain himself. He wept out loud and couldn’t utter a word out of awe of the Shechinah that he sensed there. At that time Rabbi Eliezer taught him the entire depth and the all the supernal secrets that there are in Shir Hashirim. Rabbi Akiva had to vow that he would not use even a single verse thereof for any purpose other than cleaving to the Divine Presence, lest the world be destroyed because of it. Because of its supernal holiness the Almighty does not want the world to misuse the secrets of Shir Hashirim.
(Zohar I, 98b)
Rabbi Yehudah began speaking: ‘Sustain me with flasks of wine, refresh me with apples…’ this verse has been well explained elsewhere. However, we can add that Knesset Yisrael the Shechinah said this verse in exile. ‘Sustain me’ – what does this imply? Only one who is falling requires support, as it is written (Psalms 145:14) ‘God supports all those who are falling.’ Therefore when Knesset Yisrael fell, as it is written (Amos 5:2) ‘She has fallen and cannot rise’ on her own, she requires support, and so she says, ‘Sustain me.’ Who is she addressing? Her children, the Israelites, who are with her in exile.
And with what should they sustain her? With flasks of wine, ashishot, these are the Patriarchs of the Jewish People, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who are sated with the wine that is preserved in its grapes from the six days of Creation. Midrash ha-Ne’elam explains that ‘the wine preserved in its grapes’ from the beginning of Creation refers to the deepest secrets of the Torah which were not revealed from that time (except to exceptional individuals) but will come to light in the future. When they are sated with that wine then blessings devolve upon her upon the sefirah of malchut, which represents both the Shechinah and the Jewish People, from that level called tzadik, the sefirah of yesod. Whoever knows how to unify the Holy Name, even when blessing is not abundant in the world, is able to support and sustain Knesset Yisrael in exile.
(Zohar III, 40a)
The first word of the Torah, Bereishit (בראשית), can be divided into two words: there are two fires (תר”י א”ש). These are the two fires mentioned in the blessing recited over fire after the Sabbath during the Havdalah ceremony “… blessed are You who creates the lights of fire” – lights in the plural. In regard to them the verse states ‘Sustain me with ashishot,’ with two ishot – with two fires. Why does it say ‘sustain me’ in regard to these two fires? Because with the onset of the Sabbath an extra soul descends in order to support the lower Shechinah malchut which is in exile because of its descent into this world as the soul in the body. In regards to her the lower Shechinah, malchut, the verse states, (Amos 5:2) ‘She has fallen and cannot rise’ on her own. And therefore she needs the support of extra soul that descends on the Sabbath. But when the Sabbath is over the extra soul ascends and no longer sustains the soul down below. At that time she the soul down below says to the Israelites, “sustain me with ashishot” – with the two lights of fire. What are these? The two Torahs the Written Torah and the Oral Torah which are hewn out of fire, as in the verse, “for them, a fiery law” which is the Name Elokim, the attribute of gevurah.
(Tikunei Zohar p. 143b)
His left hand is under my head, and His right arm embraces me
Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai posed this question: Regarding Isaac the verse states (Genesis 24:67) “Isaac married Rebecca. She became his wife and he loved her.” Now since the verse states “She became his wife,” don’t we already know that he loved her? Every man in the world loves his wife! Why then in regard to Isaac in particular does it state this – “and he loved her”? However, the explanation is that arousing a man’s love for a woman is from the left side the side of gevurah, the attribute of Isaac, as it is written, “His left hand is under my head.” This is in addition to the embrace expressed in the verse, “His right arm – chesed – embraces me.” Now darkness – the aspect of gevurah – and night – malchut – are as one, since the development of malchut (binyan hamalchut) is by way of the strength of gevurah and the left side (gevurah) arouses love constantly for the female aspect, i.e. malchut and unites with her. In this matter, even though Abraham loved Sarah, it is not written explicitly that he loved her. This is only written in regard to Isaac since it is the aspect of gevurah that arouses love for malchut. Now if you will say that concerning Jacob there is also a verse that states that he loved his wife (Genesis 29:18), “And Jacob loved Rachel” even though he was not of the aspect of gevurah, but rather from tiferet, the answer is that this is the aspect of Isaac i.e. gevurah in him in Jacob that brought this about since tiferet – Jacob’s attribute – is an amalgamation of chesed and gevurah. Come and see the proof thereof: When Abraham saw Sarah he only embraced her with his right arm (chesed embraced malchut), but did not yet accomplish full unification with her. But Isaac – gevurah – united with Rebecca bringing about a greater degree of yichud (unification) of gevurah and malchut. This is evident from the fact that he placed his left hand (gevurah) under her head, as our verse states, “His left hand is under my head, and His right arm (chesed) embraces me.” This is a more complete unification than Abraham achieved – Isaac added elevation – “His left hand is under my head – to raise the head,” compared to Abraham’s mere embrace. Subsequently after the rectifications that Abraham and Isaac had accomplished Jacob came and used his bed i.e. he brought about the complete yichud (unification) of ze’ir anpin and malchut and fathered twelve sons, who were all as they should be i.e. righteous men, and in this way Jacob rectified the merkavah of malchut.
(Zohar I, 133a)
2:7 Daughters of Jerusalem, you must make your vows… that you not rouse, nor stir up the love, until He shall so please.
Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai said to his son: Elazar, my son, all of these matters – matters they had been discussing regarding the future redemption of Israel from its state of exile – can be explained through the secret of the thirty-two paths of the Holy Name. The Sefer Yetizirah (1:1) states that the Almighty (using the name Ya”h – the first two letters of the Ineffable Name Yud-Hai-Vav–Hai) engraved thirty-two paths of wondrous wisdom. Elsewhere the Zohar explains that there are in fact two dimensions of wisdom (chochmah, pl. chochmot), each of which flows into 32 paths. This is alluded to in the verse “Wisdoms (chochmot) sing out in the open” (Proverbs 1:20) – alluding to a higher wisdom and a lower wisdom, which are Divine wisdom (i.e. the wisdom of Torah) and the wisdom of Creation respectively. The 32 paths that spread out from the lower wisdom are the 32 times that the name Elokim appears in the account of Creation. The 32 paths of the higher wisdom elicit and draw down the knowledge and awareness that there is nothing other than the Infinite One, whereas the 32 paths of the lower wisdom bring about the concealment of the Infinite Light (Or Ein Sof) so that there can be a physical existence. Specifically, Ramak (Rabbi Moshe Cordovero) explains that the 32 paths of the lower wisdom flow from malchut of Atzilut into the worlds of Beriah, Yetzirah and Assiya, whereas the 32 paths of the higher wisdom connect chochmah (the letter Yud) to binah (the letter Hai, forming the Name Ya”h) in the world of Atzilut itself.
Until these wonders are manifested in the world – the miracles that will take place at the future redemption, as the verse states, “I will show you wonders, just as in the days of the Exodus from Egypt” (Micha 7:15) – the secret of the Holy Name will not be complete, as in the verse, “For the hand is on the throne of God [the Name Ya”h is used here]; God wages war against Amalek from generation to generation” (Exodus 17:16). On this verse our Sages teach: “The Name [spelled Yud-Hai here, rather than Yud-Hai-Vav–Hai] and the Throne [spelled caf, samech without the aleph] are incomplete until Amalek is completely wiped out, as will happen in the future.” And then the Name will be complete Yud-Hai-Vav–Hai, and the 32 paths of the higher wisdom will be fully manifested and will be accessible to human awareness. The Name will then include the Vav and the Hai, indicating that the transcendent Yud-Hai will be drawn into (represented by the Vav) and received by the world (represented by the Hai).
However, make sure that you not rouse, nor stir up the love, until He shall so please – do not attempt to force the redemption, which is an expression of God’s love for His people, before its time. (Alternatively, do not stir up the love in your own heart until it is completely altruistic, not seeking any reward.) As the beginning of this verse states: daughters of Jerusalem referring to Torah scholars, or to the souls of saintly tzadikim or to the Twelve Tribes – you must make your vows God made the Jewish people vow by the gazelles tzva’ot (sg. tzvi) – gazelles or deer, alluding to the King who is called Tzva’ot the King of the hosts of Heaven, as in the verse (Isaiah 47:4) “the Lord of Hosts (Tzvaot) is His Name, the Holy One of Israel.” Technically, this refers to ze’ir anpin.
And the hinds of the lea deer of the fields, alluding to other hosts and camps of angels from lower levels. God made Israel swear by all of these hosts, since these angels accompany them into the exile, that they Do not rouse, nor stir up the love from the right side which is the Holy One’s right hand so to speak, i.e. the attribute of chesed which is called ‘love.’ Do not arouse this love until He so shall please – until He seeks out she who lies in the dust – the Shechinah throughout the Exile – as in the verse (Isaiah 52:2) “Shake yourselves from the dust, arise…” And His love for her is awakened. Fortunate is the person in this world who merits to live in that generation. He is worthy in this world and in the World-to-Come.
(Zohar II, 9a)
2:8 The voice of my Beloved is coming swiftly, hopping on mountains, skipping on hills
The holy snake, alluding to Mashiach (the Messiah), rushes and jumps up 370 levels in order to draw forth the radiance of the 370 illuminations that shine forth from the countenance of Arich Anpin that will be revealed in the future Messianic era. Thus this verse continues the theme of the previous verse.
This therefore suggests that the Zohar’s view is that Mashiach will arrive אחשינה (swiftly and miraculously, i.e. rushing and jumping), rather than slowly, in the course of nature (בעתה). Note that one of the interpretations in the Midrash (Shir HaShirim Rabba) on this verse interprets it in the past, “The voice of my Beloved came swiftly.” This refers to the Exodus from Egypt, which was also in a miraculous manner, and was by virtue of the righteousness of the Patriarchs (mountains) and the Matriarchs (hills).
However, there is not necessarily a contradiction between these two views, as the Alshich points out – the future redemption will also be due to the merit of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs.
Another explanation is that the 370 illuminations refer to the full iteration of the sefirot. The full iteration of the first three sefirot, which will be manifested only in the Messianic era, comprises 10×10 for each of them = 300 (3x10x10) the value of ש. But the next 7 sefirot are iterated only x10 = 70 the value of ע since their light is only secondary compared with the primary revelation in the first three sefirot.
(Zohar III, 179a)
2:9 My beloved is like a gazelle or a young deer; here He stands, behind our wall, He gazes through the windows, through the lattice He peers.
Rabbi Yitzchak began his discourse: “My beloved is like a gazelle or a young deer; here He stands…” Fortunate is Israel the Jewish People, for they have merited having this security the holy Shechinah deposited with them by the Supernal King. For even though they are in exile, the Holy Blessed One comes every New Month, Sabbath, and Festival to gaze upon the surety that He deposited with us, for that is His great yearning. To what can this be compared? To a king whose queen transgressed in some minor way, but the laws of the kingdom demanded that she be banished, and he drove her out of the palace. She took their son with her, their beloved child, and because he intended to allow her back after the designated period of banishment, he left the child in her hands. But because he yearned to see the queen and his son he jumped up to the towers and jumped down the steps and climbed over walls to get a glimpse of them from the chinks in the wall. But when he saw them in their lowly state and in their suffering, he wept, and then went back to the palace, as the law required.
So too, Israel – even though they have been driven out of the King’s palace after the destruction of the Temple, He did not leave them without a surety for He sent the Shechinah with them. And when the Holy King longs for the Queen and His son i.e. at certain auspicious times, such as Shabbat and the Festivals, He jumps up to the towers an allusion to binah to elicit the Divine outflow to jump down the levels, and climb over walls circumventing the barriers that prevent the Jewish People from receiving any of this outflow due to the exile, and He gazes upon and watches over them from between the cracks in the wall separating Him from us, giving us enough to survive the exile. But because He cannot give us everything He wants to (since we do not yet deserve it) He weeps and waits for the day when He can reappear in all His glory. This then is the meaning of our verse My beloved is like a gazelle or a young deer – jumping up to the towers and jumping down the steps and climbing over walls.
(Zohar III, 114b)
He stands behind our wall
Alternatively, this refers to synagogues and houses of study, the atmospheres of which are filled with the light of the Shechinah.
He gazes through the windows
A synagogue must certainly have windows, as the Talmud (Berachot 31a, 34b) also requires, based on the verse in Daniel 6:11 “He had windows open in his upper story, facing Jerusalem, and three times a day he fell to his knees and prayed there…” Rashi (commentary on the Talmud 34b) explains: [Having windows] aids a person’s concentration, for he can gaze upwards at the heavens and his heart will be subdued.
Through the lattice He peers
In order to oversee them and guide them with His Divine Providence hashgacha pratit.
2:10 Arise, My love, My fair one, and go forth
As soon as the conditions specified in the next verses are fulfilled, then ‘Arise…and go forth’ from your state of exile into the state of redemption in the Messianic era. Commentaries point out that the expression used here וּלְכִי לָךְ, translated here as ‘and go forth,’ literally means ‘and go to yourself.’ For although the elevation of the Godly soul is via the rectification of the animal soul, nevertheless at its peak the elevation of the Godly soul reaches higher than the root of the animal soul, hence ‘go to yourself’ – to your essential self.
(Zohar II, 121a)
2:12 The blossoms appeared upon the earth
Rabbi Yose began his discourse: ‘The blossoms appeared upon the earth’ – the blossoms are the mystical secret of the six levels of ze’ir anpin, the composite profile of the six sefirot from chesed to yesod that stand upon the earth i.e. malchut which is the seventh. These six levels are Abraham – chesed, Isaac – gevurah, Jacob – tiferet, Yachin and Boaz – these were the names of the two pillars in the Temple courtyard, corresponding to netzach and hod, and Joseph – yesod. They are also hinted to in the letters of the Hebrew for ‘the blossoms’ הנצנים. The letter hai alludes to Abraham who had the letter hai added to his name (originally he was named Abram). Nun alludes to Isaac since the numerical value of nun is 50 – the fifty gates of binah from which the severities of gevurah are aroused. Tzadi alludes to Joseph, who is called ‘Joseph the Tzaddik’; the second nun alludes to Jacob – tiferet is the fifth sefirah from the bottom up, and every sefirah comprises ten sub-levels = 50; yud is the first letter of Yachin; mem is the first letter of Moshe’s (Moses) name, regarding who the verse (Bamidbar 27:20) states “Invest him with some of Your splendor (hod).” All of them appear upon the earth – in malchut.
(Zohar I 39b)
2:12 upon the earth
This is the holy city in the Land of Israel – Jerusalem, which corresponds to malchut. And all of the six levels mentioned are invested in malchut of Atzilut which descends in order to animate the worlds of Beriah, Yetzirah and Asiyah. (And therefore precisely those mentioned explicitly are all buried in the Land of Israel, in malchut, excluding Aaron and Moshe – who correspond to netzach and hod – who are not explicitly mentioned here since they were not buried in Israel).
2:12 The blossoms appeared upon the earth
Rabbi Chiya began his discourse: When the blessed Holy One created the world, He embedded in the earth all the powers that were fitting for her. All of those powers were there. But they did not emerge until Adam was created. As soon as Adam was created they were ready to emerge, and the earth brought forth all of her fruits and powers that had been invested in her at the time of creation. Similarly, the heavens did not give their powers to the earth in the form of rain until Adam appeared, as the verse (Genesis 2:5) states: “All the plants did not yet exist on the earth, and all the grasses of the field had not yet sprouted because God had not yet brought rain upon the earth, since there was no man to work the land.” There was no man to pray for rain – this teaches us that the Holy One longs for the prayers of the righteous. All of this potential had not yet been manifested in in the world for only one reason: there was as yet no conscious being that could recognize what they were good for. And so everything was in a state of suspended animation. But as soon as man appeared, immediately “the blossoms appeared upon the earth,” and all the powers of the earth came into revelation. And then “it’s the time of the birds’ melody.” See the interpretation next.
(Zohar I 97a)
2:12 It’s the time of the birds’ melody;
The time had come for the ministering angels to establish the ritual order of song and praise of the blessed Holy One. This too did not take place until Adam was created. Not only did lower forms of life depend on the creation of man, but even the highest forms of life other than man, the angels, had no function until man was created. Why this is so we will see shortly.
2:12 The cooing of the dove is heard in our land
The cooing of doves is heard in the land refers to the words of the Holy One, blessed is He, which was not heard until man was created, for it was only then that the Divine command was heard, telling Adam that he could eat of all the fruits of the Garden other than the fruits of the Tree of Knowledge. Thus the verse states, ‘kol hator’ – literally, the cooing of doves, but alluding to the voice (kol) of Torah – hator has the same letters as Torah albeit in a different permutation. And the sound of Torah was first heard “in our land” – in this world. Thus when man was created, everything became reality – the reality of Torah, which is Divine communication.
2:13 Figs sprout forth from the fig-tree, the vines in bloom give off their bouquet. Arise, My love, My fair one, and come away.
‘Figs sprout forth’ refers to the masters of the Commandments of the Torah – those who are righteous tzadikim from the outset. Perhaps this is also an expression of the idea expressed in the Midrash that figs are different from all other fruits in that they produce no waste, unlike grapes that have seeds, pomegranates that have a peel etc. So too, those who follow the Commandments of the Torah from the outset do not produce any useless by-product. ‘The vines in bloom give off their bouquet’ refers to those who start off with repentance – although initially they were sinners, they begin their lives again with repentance, which gives off a scent pleasing to God. And then immediately He will say to the Jewish People, ‘arise, my love, my fair one, and come away’ from the exile into the redemption. Note that both categories of people – the righteous and those who repent after sinning – are instrumental in bringing about the redemption. And both are beloved and are called ‘My fair one.’ Nevertheless, the Zohar does not seem to imply that repentance is a precondition for the redemption, as the Talmud also concludes, but merely the best way for it to happen speedily.
(Zohar II 121a, Raya Mehemna)
2:14 My dove is in clefts of the rocks, in places hidden from view
The Zohar cites this verse regarding the Prophet Jonah, whose name in Hebrew means ‘dove’ (Yonah). Why did Jonah flee from the Holy Land to Tarshish? This is the question the Zohar addressed here,
Rabbi Abba began his discourse: The verse (Jonah 1:3) states, “Jonah arose and fled from God to Tarshish.” Woe to one who tries to hide from the blessed Holy One, regarding Whom it states (Jeremiah 23:24), “‘I fill the heavens and the earth’ God declares.” And Jonah tried to flee from Him? How could he even think that this was possible? The Zohar answers: ‘My dove is in clefts of the rocks, in places hidden from view.’
‘My dove’ is Knesset Yisrael the Shechinah, the Divine Presence, is ‘in the clefts of the rock’ this is Jerusalem. ‘In places hidden from view’ – this is the place called the Holy of Holies, the heart of the entire world, and this is why it is hidden from view, because it is there that the Shechinah conceals itself, spreading to the area of the Temple, and from there to the Holy Land, but not outside of it, like a modest woman who reserves herself for her husband and does not venture outdoors, as the verse (Psalms 128:3) states, “Your wife will be like a fruitful vine in the inner chamber of your home.” So too, Knesset Yisrael the Shechinah does not venture outside of her hidden place, the Holy of Holies.
The intention here is that Divine Prophecy emanates from the Holy of Holies and the precincts of the Temple, from which it spreads out to the prophets in the Holy Land, but not outside of it. It was for this reason that the Prophet Jonah fled from the Holy Land, so that prophecy would not overpower him and he could avoid the task of repeatedly warning of death and destruction to deaf ears.
But during the time of exile, the Shechinah is exiled with together with the Jewish People, and therefore the Shechinah followed Jonah to Tarshish and made him prophesy there. And indeed the people of Tarshish listened to his words and repented of their ways.
(Zohar I 84b)
An alternative interpretation of Knesset Yisrael is that it refers to the Jewish People: Rabbi Yose began his discourse: ‘My dove’ is Knesset Yisrael the Jewish People who are compared to a dove in that just as a dove does not abandon its partner ever, so too the Jewish People will never abandon the blessed Holy One.
In clefts of the rocks: refers to Torah scholars who do not live an easy life in this world.
In places hidden from view: these are the Torah scholars who comport themselves with modesty, and so they hide and conceal their spiritual achievements and downplay their righteousness. They are the pious ones from whom the Shechinah never budges, unlike the rest of us who can achieve a more elevated spiritual status only at certain times, such as on the Sabbath or Festival days. And thus the Almighty, in His longing to find a perch among His creations, declares: ‘Show Me your face’ referring to the masters of good deeds and piety, ‘your voice let Me hear’ – the voice of those occupied with Torah study.
(Zohar III 61a)
2:14 For your voice is sweet: No voice is heard above in the Heavenly Court, other than the voices of those occupied in studying the Torah – the Divine Law.
2:14 For your voice is sweet, and your appearance has grace: We learned in a Beraita – all those who toil in studying the Torah by night, their likeness is engraved above before the blessed Holy One, and He delights in them throughout the day. He gazes upon them and illuminates their souls with a wondrous light. Their voices pierce through all the heavens and rise before Him, technically to the level of Ze’ir Anpin, and thus it states, ‘your voice is sweet, and your appearance has grace.’
2:16 My beloved is mine, and I am His; He feeds us among the roses: My beloved is mine, and I am His: Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai began his discourse with this verse My beloved is mine, for I chose Him exclusively, and I am His, for He chose me from among all the nations and tongues; He feeds us among the roses He sustains us with good pasture that is as pleasant and beautiful as roses – said Rabbi Shimon: Woe to the creatures who do not pay attention to and are not aware of the tremendous opportunity they have, since everything was created for their sake, because the moment it rose in the blessed Holy One’s thoughts to create His world, then all of the worlds arose in a single thought – this is the secret of chochmah, and with this thought all were created, as it states (Psalms 104:24) “Everything You created with wisdom” indicating that the lower worlds are just as important to Him as the upper worlds, since with this single thought, the aspect of chochmah, He created this world and the world above – the same quality that created the higher worlds created the lower worlds as well. He stretched out His right hand the symbol for chesed, the attribute of revelation that characterizes higher planes of reality and created the higher worlds; He stretched out His left hand the symbol of withholding revelation in order to create a finite, limited world – in this case referring to the attribute of malchut that created this world. Thus it is written (Isaiah 48:13), “My hand laid the foundation of the earth, and My right hand measured out the heavens. I call to them and they stand together.” ‘My hand’ refers to the left hand symbolically, since the right hand is stated specifically. Even from the non-kabalistic point of view, it is clear that this anthropomorphic image is not to be taken literally. “And they stand together” – all aspects of creation are bound together, and all of them were created together in a single moment. Although the process of creation spanned six days, as the first chapter in Genesis states, the creation of matter ex nihilo took place in a moment.
He created this world corresponding to the world above, so that for everything above there is a corresponding creation below… As it is written (Genesis 9:6) “He made man in the Divine image,” and it is written (Psalms 8:6), “You made him a little less in intelligence than the angels…” And yet He chose Israel, for the supernal angels He did not call ‘My children’, whereas the ones below – the Jewish People – he did refer to as ‘My children,’ as the verse (Deuteronomy 14:1) states, “You are God’s children,” and they call Him ‘Father’ as it is written (Isaiah 63:16) “For You are our Father.” And this is the meaning of our verse, “My beloved is mine, and I am His” – for He chose us, and we chose Him.
(Zohar I, 20a)
2:17 Before the day wafts away, and the shadows flee, turn, my beloved, and be like a gazelle or a young hart
Rabbi Yochanan began his discourse: This is a warning to every person while they are still in this world, which is for but the blink of an eye. Come and see what is written in the verse (Ecclesiastes 6:6) “Even if he lives a thousand years twice over, but didn’t find the good, don’t we all go to the same place?” – the grave. Because on the day of a person’s death, he regards his entire life as if it were a single day – the day wafts away in the blink of an eye – since he did not find spiritual contentment. Therefore one should know that repentance and good deeds in this world are worth incomparably more than the physical delights of this world.
Rabbi Shimon said: A person’s soul warns his body saying, ‘before the day wafts away’ for the days allotted to you will quickly pass, as if in the blink of an eye. So, while you are still in this world, even at your last moment, when the shadows flee – when your life, compared to a shadow, is about to flee from you, as the verse (Job 8:9) states, ‘our days upon the earth are but a shadow.’ And the soul pleads with the body while it is still alive, ‘turn, my beloved,’ return and repent swiftly, like a gazelle…’
(Zohar I, 99b Midrash Ne’elam)
An alternative interpretation: Rabbi Isaac began his discourse: This verse refers to the exile of the Jewish People who are enslaved literally or figuratively in exile until the day that the domination of the nations of the world over us ceases – this is the explanation of ‘before the day wafts away,’ which he interprets as ‘until the day wafts away.’ For we learned in a Beraita a rabbinical teaching: Rabbi Isaac said that the dominion of all the nations over Israel lasts for only a thousand years. But because of our transgressions (which give power to the unholy side) they were given more and more time, so that there is no nation that has not dominated Israel at one time or another. That thousand years is a single day to Him, as it is written (Zechariah 14:7) “It will be a unique day, it will be known as the Lord’s day… and towards evening there will be light” for it is known only to God when that day will come to an end and the great light of the Messianic era will begin.
(Zohar II, 17a)
1:17 Upon the mountains far apart
Come and see: The world is engraved with 42 letters of the Divine Name and this is how it exists. The four letters of the Name Havaye (י-ה-ו-ה) plus the 10 letters of the milui (i.e. when the four letters comprising the Name are fully iterated into their 10 sub-components – יו”ד-ה”א-וא”ו-ה”א, and these in turn are again iterated into their sub-components יו”ד, וא”ו, דל”ת; ה”א, אל”ף; וא”ו, אל”ף, וא”ו; ה”א, אל”ף = 42 letters when taken all together. These letters on high become the expanded inner consciousness of ze’ir anpin, and they descend below to form the limited consciousness of malchut. When they form the crown of the four sides – these are the secret of chohmah, binah, chesed, gevurah – of the world of ze’ir anpin then it is able to thrive.
But after this the letters combine to form the 42 letter Name, and emerge to create the upper world and the lower world the upper world of Atzilut, and the lower worlds of Beriah, Yetzirah and Asiyah. Atzilut is the World of Unity since it reveals Godliness, since both the lights and vessels of the sefirot are in a state of oneness with the Ohr Ein Sof (the Infinite Divine revelation) there. And the Worlds of Separation, the lower worlds of Beriah, Yetzirah and Asiyah, are called the ‘mountains far apart’ or the ‘mountains of separation,’ since these worlds do not reveal Godliness.
(Zohar II, 234b)
1:17 Like a gazelle or a young hart, upon the mountains far apart
After the letters combine to form the 42 letter Name, as explained above, they emerge to create the upper world of Atzilut and the lower worlds Beriah, Yetzirah and Asiyah. Atzilut is the World of Unity, and Beriah, Yetzirah and Asiyah are the Worlds of Separation, called the ‘mountains far apart’ or the ‘mountains of separation,’ since these worlds do not reveal Godliness. Now in order for Godliness to be revealed in the worlds of separation, this is by means of the ‘gazelle’ or ‘hart,’ both of which are is very swift and agile, and due to their swiftness and agility humans cannot ride them. The analog above is that those attributes that have some likeness to the structure of a person cannot be ascribed to the Infinite Divine revelation called the Ohr Ein Sof, as the verse (I Samuel 15:29) states, “He is not a man.” The only Divine Revelation that can be drawn down into the separated worlds is exclusively the Ohr Ein Sof that is not manifested in discernable form – and this is what is drawn into the world by the ‘gazelle’ or ‘hart,’ for only the most transcendent level has the ability to descend into the mountains of separation.
The word for hart is עֹפֶר which has the same letters as עָפָר – dust. One who humbles himself like the dust, like Abraham who said “I am dust and ashes” (Genesis 18:27), also elicits the Ohr Ein Sof. Dust of course has no shape or form, and thus relates to He who has no shape or form.
The word for gazelle is צְבִי the initials of צַדִּיק בֶּאֱמוּנָתוֹ יִחְיֶה – “a righteous person (tsaddik) lives by his faith” (Habbakuk 2:4). He is able to elicit Ohr Ein Sof due to his righteousness. Furthermore, the vowels of the word יִחְיֶה (‘lives by’) in the verse can be read as יְחַיֶה – ‘animate’, ‘give life to’ – meaning that the tsaddik draws the Ohr Ein Sof into the disconnected world of ‘the mountains far apart.’
(Zohar II, 234b)
 This is the kri, whereas the ketiv is הסתו.
 This is the kri, whereas the ketiv is לכי
 The flower referred to here, chavatzelet, is translated by some as rose; by others as daffodil, and by yet others as lily (see Ibn Ezra). The Midrash (Shir HaShirim Rabba 2:3) explains that the flower is called chavatzelet because it thrives hidden in shadow (שחבויה בצלה). We have translated it simply as ‘flower.’
It is possibly of the genus pancratium, of the Amaryllis family, possibly pancratium sickenbergeri, which grows naturally in the Middle East. (However all the known species of pancratium have six outer petals, not the five mentioned in the Zohar below). It has white or pale yellow flowers, is highly scented, and is very hardy – hence the scientific name pancratium, derived from the Greek meaning ‘all-strength,’ probably referring to the strength of this plant which can tolerate extreme climates.
 Note that the Midrash (Shir HaShirim Rabba 2:3) opines that chavatzelet and shoshana are one and the same flower, except that the term chavatzelet is reserved for when the plant is budding and shoshanah for when it is blooming. Many translate shoshana as ‘rose.’
 Glen: a small, narrow, secluded valley.
 R. Menachem Recanati comments that this is also supported by the verse “O Jerusalem, praise God” (Psalms 147:12), referring to Jerusalem above, in the higher worlds.
 Explained above 1:1, and below 5:13.
 Pardes (23, 8).
 Pardes (23, 8); Sha’ar Mamarei Rashbi (Arizal), Sifra d’Tzniuta chap. 1.
 See Shemot (1:2) “The more they afflicted them the more they increased and grew in stature” – וְכַאֲשֶׁר יְעַנּוּ אֹתוֹ כֵּן יִרְבֶּה וְכֵן יִפְרֹץ; וַיָּקֻצוּ מִפְּנֵי בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל. And see Rashi’s commentary on וַיָּקֻצוּ; Kli Yakar.
 See Yalkut Shimoni to Bereishit 24:55.
 Cf. Bereishit 1:2.
 Kisei Melech.
 Cf. Bereishit 44:3.
 תהלים (נב, ג): מַה־תִּתְהַלֵּל בְּ֭רָעָה הַגִּבּוֹר חֶ֥סֶד אֵ-ל כָּל הַיּוֹם
 Kisei Melech.
 בראשית (א, ג) וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹקִים יְהִי אוֹר…
 בראשית (א, ג) … וַיְהִי אוֹר
 בראשית (א, ד) וַיַּרְא אֱלֹהִים אֶת הָאוֹר כִּי טוֹב…
 בראשית (א, ד) …וַיַּבְדֵּל אֱלֹקִים בֵּין הָאוֹר וּבֵין הַחֹשֶׁךְ
 בראשית (א, ה) וַיִּקְרָא אֱלֹקִים לָאוֹר יוֹם…
 בראשית (א, ה) וַיְהִי עֶרֶב וַיְהִי בֹקֶר יוֹם אֶחָד…
 זכרי’ (יד, ט) …בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא יִהְיֶה יְהוָה אֶחָד וּשְׁמוֹ אֶחָד
 As explained in Tanya (Iggeret HaKodesh 25): “Now, though ‘G‑d is one and His Name is one,’ i.e., [though] His speech and the “breath of His mouth,” which in the sacred Zohar (Tikunei Zohar, tikun 22) is referred to as His Name, is singularly and uniquely one, nevertheless, the radiation and efflux of life-force which issues forth from His mouth, divides into four different levels. These are the Four Worlds – Atzilut, Beriah, Yetzirah and Asiyah. The difference is due to (many) contractions and screens that veil and obscure the light and the life-force, so that it will not radiate in Beriah as much as in Atzilut; and in Yetzirah [the opaqueness is thickened] by means of further contractions and screens; and so on, [i.e., how much more so in the world of Asiyah]. Nevertheless, there is no change whatever, heaven forfend, in the essence of the Shechinah, which is the “word of God” and the “breath of His mouth.” Also, as regards the radiation and efflux of life-force [that issues from the “word of God,”] the radiation which is in Atzilut pierces the screen and vests itself in Beriah. Likewise from Beriah to Yetzirah, and from Yetzirah to Asiyah. Hence the Infinite Light [the Or Ein Sof] which is in Atzilut is also present in Asiyah, and [even] in this material world, by being invested in the [sefirah of] malchut of Beriah, Yetzirah and Asiyah, as fully explained in the writings of R. Isaac Luria, of blessed memory.” And this will be revealed in the future.
 ישעי’ (מא, ח): וְאַתָּה יִשְׂרָאֵל עַבְדִּי יַעֲקֹב אֲשֶׁר בְּחַרְתִּיךָ זֶרַע אַבְרָהָם אֹהֲבִי
 בראשית (לא, מב): לוּלֵי אֱלֹקֵי אָבִי אֱלֹקֵי אַבְרָהָם וּפַחַד יִצְחָק הָיָה לִי
 Matok Midvash, in the name of R. Chaim Vital and other commentaries.
 ויקרא (א:ט, יג, יז) ועוד.
 Rashi, Metzudat David.
 Literally, “crowned.”
 Ramak, Mikdash Melech.
 Pardes (1:2): שלשה גוונים, שהם חיוור מצד החסד ואדום מצד הגבורה והירוק מורכב משניהם שהוא המזג הנמזג ע”י איש הבינים תפראת. See also Pardes Sha’ar haGevanim (10:3).
 ישעי’ (מא, ח): אַבְרָהָם אֹהֲבִי.
 בראשית (לז, ב): אֵלֶּה תֹּלְדוֹת יַעֲקֹב יוֹסֵף
 בראשית (מח, ה): וְעַתָּה שְׁנֵֽי־בָנֶיךָ הַנּוֹלָדִים לְךָ בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם עַד בֹּאִי אֵלֶיךָ מִצְרַיְמָה לִי־הֵם אֶפְרַיִם וּמְנַשֶּׁה כִּרְאוּבֵ֥ן וְשִׁמְע֖וֹן יִֽהְיוּ לִֽי.
 ירמיהו (לא, יט): הֲבֵן יַקִּיר לִי אֶפְרַיִם…
 שיר השרים (ז, י): וְחִכֵּךְ כְּיֵין הַטּוֹב הוֹלֵךְ לְדוֹדִי לְמֵישָׁרִים דּוֹבֵב שִׂפְתֵי יְשֵׁנִים.
 Zohar III, p. 39a ff.
 Biurei HaZohar p. 31a. The Tikunei Zohar (Tikun 28) also declares that wine represents the 70 facets of Torah (the gematria of “wine”– יי”ן is 70), regarding which the verse states “The secrets of G-d are to those who hold Him in awe” (Psalms). The gematria of “secret”– סו”ד is also 70. This is also alluded to in the Talmudic dictum (Eruvin 65a): “When the wine goes in, the secrets come out.” See also Sanhedrin 38a: יין נתן בע’ אותיות, וסוד נתן בע’ אותיות, נכנס יין יצא סוד
 See Introduction p. ??
 יי”ן = 70; סו”ד =70
 Bamidbar Rabbah (2:3). See Ateret Tzvi vol. 1, p. 97.
 אשישות (ashishot) is sometimes translated as ‘cakes’ or ‘dainties.’ However, Metzudat David, Malbim and others understand it to mean ‘flasks of wine’. This is clearly the Zohar’s understanding as well.
 See Introduction p.
 איתא באוצר המדרשים (אייזנשטיין) פסיקתא עמוד 491: “מאי עין לא ראתה? אמר רבי יהושע בן לוי: זה יין המשומר בענביו מששת ימי בראשית”. וראה גם: במדבר רבה (יג, ב).
 Zohar vol. 1 (p. 135b).
 The Tikunei Zohar examines the various permutations of the word בראשית (Bereishit), one of which is תרי אש (‘two fires’ – תרי in Aramaic means ‘two’). Here it seems that the Zohar regards the remaining letter – ב (“in, with, by”) – as one of the בכ”ל group of letters used as an inseparable proposition (a preposition that is prefixed to the beginning of a noun and can’t stand on its own).
 ספרא בחוקותי פ”ח: “אלה החוקים והמשפטים והתורות“, “החוקים”, אילו המדרשות, “והמשפטים”, אילו הדינים, “והתורות“, מלמד ששתי תורות ניתנו להם לישראל, אחד בכתב ואחד בעל פה
 Devarim 33:2.
 See Eitz Chaim, Sha’ar 44 (Sha’ar HaSheimot) chaps. 3, 6; Pardes, sha’ar 20 (Sha’ar HaSheimot) chaps. 5-8; 10-11. Cf. also: ‘אנכי’ ו’לא יהיה לך’ מפי הגבורה שמענום (Makot 23b), as Kisei Melech notes.
 Although gevurah is most often associated with restrictive power, the power to limit and conceal the benevolence and magnanimity of chesed, or with self-restraint, it also denotes the attribute of spiritual elevation, as commentaries note on this very verse, “His left hand is under my head – in order to raise the head” (see Torah Or, Ki Tissa 85c. Perhaps one can say that “lifting the head” is for the purpose of zivug neshikin, the spiritual communion that precedes physical intimacy, as explained in our commentary above 1:2. See Arizal, Sha’ar haPesukim, Vayera 21. See also Likutei Torah (Kehot), Chukat 66c; Zot HaBeracha 93d. See also Shir Hashirim Rabba 1, 2).
 As in the verse (Genesis 31:42): “He whom Isaac fears was with me.”
 See Eitz Chaim 35, 4.
 Ramak and commentaries.
 Sha’arei Teshuvah (Admor HaEmtza’i), Sha’ar HaTefilah 24a.
 A euphemism signifying sexual intimacy.
 Ramak and commentaries.
 י”ה… חקק… ל”ב נתיבות פליאות חכמה
 Zohar I, 141b cited in Sefer HaMaamarim 5569 p. 50; Torat Chaim Bereishit 3b ff.
 חָכְמוֹת בַּחוּץ תָּרֹנָּה (משלי א, כ)
 Zohar I, 141b cited in Sefer HaMaamarim 5569 p. 50; Torat Chaim Bereishit 3b ff.
 Sefer HaMaamarim 5572 p. 18. See also Likutei Torah, Eikev 16d.
 Torat Chaim, Bereishit vol. I, p. 1a.
 Genesis chap. 1.
 Zohar III 81b (Raya Mehemna); Zohar Chadash 94d, 96b, 211 c-d; Pardes Shaar HaNetivot (shaar 12) chap. 2. Cited in Likutei Torah, Emor 33d, Ki Teitzei 39c, etc.
 Sefer HaMaamarim 5668, p. 72; Torat Chaim, Bereishit vol. I ד”ה בראשית ברא פ”ג-ד.
 Pardes, Shaar HaNetivot (shaar 12) chap. 2.
 מיכה ז, טו: כִּימֵי צֵאתְךָ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם אַרְאֶנּוּ נִפְלָאוֹת
 שמות יז, טז: וַיֹּאמֶר כִּי יָד עַל כֵּס יָהּ מִלְחָמָה לַיהוָה בַּעֲמָלֵק מִדֹּר דֹּר
 Tanchuma, Ki Teitzei 11; Rashi on this verse: נשבע הקב”ה שאין שמו שלם ואין כסאו שלם עד שימחה שמו של עמלק כולו, וכשימחה שמו יהיה השם שלם והכסא שלם
 Eitz Chaim Hakadmat Maharchu (al Shaar HaHakdamot); see also Kohelet Rabba 12:10 (ד”ה בִּקֵּשׁ קֹהֶלֶת לַעֲמֹד עַל הַקֵּץ מָתַי); Matok MiDvash.
 Eitz Chaim Hakadmat Maharchu (al Shaar HaHakdamot).
 Shaar Maamarei Rashbi, Pekudei.
 Kehillat Yaakov s.v. בן, citing Zohar I, 242a; Or Neerav 7:1.
 ישעיהו מז, ד: גֹּאֲלֵנוּ ה’ צְבָאוֹת שְׁמוֹ קְדוֹשׁ יִשְׂרָאֵל
 Matok Midvash.
 ישעי’ נב, ב: הִתְנַעֲרִי מֵעָפָר קוּמִי
 The gematria (numerical value) of נחש (snake) is 358 and the gematria of משיח (Messiah) is also 358, indicating that the final eradication of the snake (the symbol of evil) will be done by the Messiah. See Zohar III 68a (Raya Mehemna)
 370 is the number of levels into which the inner dimension of keter spreads (see Zohar I, 4b; III 128b, 133b). In Etz Chaim (13:14) the Arizal explains that 370 degrees of light emanate from various sources – from the seventh of the thirteen Tikunei Dikna of Arich, which is the light of the countenance; from chochmah (these 370 lights are concealed); from binah (these are revealed) etc. See also Etz Chaim (15:2).
 Based on the verse Isaiah (60:22). See Sanhedrin 98a where both opinions are offered; Zohar I 116b-117a.
 See Yalkut Shimoni Shir haShirim, remez 986 (24). See also Rosha HaShana 11a.
 See Alshich, Shir Hashirim 2:7 ff.
 See Derech Mitzvotecha 144b, 170b.
 See Tanya ch. 52.
 Matok Mi’devash.
 Matok Mi’devash.
 Man is a composite of animal and Divine, as explained in Rabbi Chaim Vital’s Sha’ar HaKedusha and in Eitz Chaim 50:2.
 Ohr HaTorah, Shemini Atzeret p. 1806.
 Ramak; Ateret Tzvi; Matok MiDevash.
 See Talmud Rosh HaShana 21b; Zohar II 115a; Zohar I 101a, 103a.
 Seder Olam rabba (Leiner) ch. 30; Talkut Shimoni, Daniel #1060.
 Nitzotzei Zohar.
 Ramak; Ateret Tzvi; Matok MiDevash; Nitzotzei Zohar.
 Matok MiDevash.
 Talmud Chulin 60b.
 Rabbi Avraham Galanti and other commentaries; Matok Midevash.
 Yalkut Shimoni, Yehoshua 1:2.
 Cf. Shemot Rabba 15:1; Shir HaShirim Rabba 2:26.
 See Sanhedrin 97b in the argument between Rabbi Yehoshua and Rabbi Eliezer.
 Ramak; Rabbi Avraham Galanti and other commentaries; Matok Midevash.
 Note that the Torah should be studied out loud. See Eruvin 53a, 54a. Shulchan Aruch HaRav, Hilchot Talmud Torah 2:12.
. See Rambam Hilchot Yesodei HaTorah chapter 1:7-9.
. See Pirkei Avot 4:17.
. See Bereishit Rabba 96:2.
. As interpreted by Rabbi Tzvi Elimelech Shapiro, the Munkatcher Rebbe in his Chidushei Mahartz”a
. Matok MiDevash.
. See Zohar III 96b.
. See Tikunei Zohar, Intro. p. 3b; Tanya, Iggeret HaKodesh chapter 20.
. As the Intro to the Tikunei Zohar states in Patach Eliyahu – chesed is the right arm; gevurah is the left arm etc.
. Torat Shmuel 5627 p. 307.
. cf. Torat Shmuel 5627 p. 307.
. Shnei Luchot HaBrit, Aseret Hadibrot, Masechet Taanit, Torah Ohr 4.
. See Makkot 24a, Maharsha; Tanya chap. 33.