א עַל מִשְׁכָּבִי בַּלֵּילוֹת בִּקַּשְׁתִּי אֵת שֶׁאָהֲבָה נַפְשִׁי בִּקַּשְׁתִּיו וְלֹא מְצָאתִיו.
1 Upon my bed at night
I sought the One whom my soul loves;
Him I sought but I did not find.
ב אָקוּמָה נָּא וַאֲסוֹבְבָה בָעִיר בַּשְּׁוָקִים וּבָרְחֹבוֹת אֲבַקְשָׁה אֵת שֶׁאָהֲבָה נַפְשִׁי;
בִּקַּשְׁתִּיו וְלֹא מְצָאתִיו.
2 Let me rise and roam through the city,
In the square and the street,
I will seek to meet
The One whom my soul loves,
Him I sought but I did not find.
ג מְצָאוּנִי הַשֹּׁמְרִים הַסֹּבְבִים בָּעִיר אֵת שֶׁאָהֲבָה נַפְשִׁי רְאִיתֶם.
3 They found me
The watchmen patrolling the city.
‘Did you see
The One whom my soul loves?’
ד כִּמְעַט שֶׁעָבַרְתִּי מֵהֶם עַד שֶׁמָּצָאתִי אֵת שֶׁאָהֲבָה נַפְשִׁי
אֲחַזְתִּיו וְלֹא אַרְפֶּנּוּ עַד שֶׁהֲבֵיאתִיו אֶל בֵּית אִמִּי וְאֶל חֶדֶר הוֹרָתִי.
4 I had just moved on from them
When I found the One whom my soul loves,
I will grasp Him and not let Him leave
Until I bring Him to my mother’s home,
To the chamber where I was conceived.
ה הִשְׁבַּעְתִּי אֶתְכֶם בְּנוֹת יְרוּשָׁלִַם בִּצְבָאוֹת אוֹ בְּאַיְלוֹת הַשָּׂדֶה
אִם תָּעִירוּ וְאִם תְּעוֹרְרוּ אֶת הָאַהֲבָה עַד שֶׁתֶּחְפָּץ.
5 ‘Daughters of Jerusalem, you must make your vows,
By the gazelles or the hinds of the leas,
That you not arouse,
Nor stir up the love, until He shall so please.’
ו מִי זֹאת עֹלָה מִן הַמִּדְבָּר כְּתִימְרוֹת עָשָׁן מְקֻטֶּרֶת מֹר וּלְבוֹנָה מִכֹּל אַבְקַת רוֹכֵל.
6 But who is this
Ascending from the wilderness?
Like smoke in a plume
Scented with myrrh and frankincense,
And all the powders
Of the vendor of perfume.
ז הִנֵּה מִטָּתוֹ שֶׁלִּשְׁלֹמֹה שִׁשִּׁים גִּבֹּרִים סָבִיב לָהּ מִגִּבֹּרֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל.
7 Behold the bed of Solomon
The King to whom Peace belongs,
Which sixty mighty men enclose
From among Israel’s heroes.
ח כֻּלָּם אֲחֻזֵי חֶרֶב מְלֻמְּדֵי מִלְחָמָה אִישׁ חַרְבּוֹ עַל יְרֵכוֹ מִפַּחַד בַּלֵּילוֹת.
8 All of them gripping a sword
Skilled in the art of the fight,
Each of them with a sword on his thigh
Because of the fear of the night.
ט אַפִּרְיוֹן עָשָׂה לוֹ הַמֶּלֶךְ שְׁלֹמֹה מֵעֲצֵי הַלְּבָנוֹן.
9 A Royal Palace He made for Himself, did the King to whom peace belongs,
From the towering trees of Lebanon.
י עַמּוּדָיו עָשָׂה כֶסֶף רְפִידָתוֹ זָהָב מֶרְכָּבוֹ אַרְגָּמָן תּוֹכוֹ רָצוּף אַהֲבָה מִבְּנוֹת יְרוּשָׁלִָם.
10 Pillars of silver He made,
With gold overlaid
His chariot of royal purple
The interior inlaid with love
From the daughters of Jerusalem above.
יא צְאֶינָה וּרְאֶינָה בְּנוֹת צִיּוֹן בַּמֶּלֶךְ שְׁלֹמֹה בָּעֲטָרָה שֶׁעִטְּרָה לּוֹ אִמּוֹ
בְּיוֹם חֲתֻנָּתוֹ וּבְיוֹם שִׂמְחַת לִבּוֹ.
11 Come out now and see
O Daughters of Zion
The King of peace with the crown
That his mother gave him
On the day of his wedding
The day of joy in his heart.
The third chapter of Shir HaShirim deals with the period of time spanning from the Egyptian exile until the Third Temple will be rebuilt, and even the time of the Resurrection of the Dead
3:1 עַל מִשְׁכָּבִי בַּלֵּילוֹת… בִּקַּשְׁתִּיו וְלֹא מְצָאתִיו – Upon my bed at night I sought Him… but I did not find
Rabbi Elazar began: ‘Upon my bed at night I sought…’ Why does the verse use the expression ‘Upon my bed’? Shouldn’t it have said, ‘In my bed’? What is the meaning of upon my bed? However, the answer is this: Knesset Yisrael the collective community of the Jewish People, also referring to the sefirah of malchut or the Shechinah that represents the entire Jewish People, speaks before the blessed Holy One pleading with Him about the exile which is compared to night, since she malchut /the Shechinah dwells in the exile with her children. When the Jewish People go into exile, so does the Shechinah. And there she lies in the dust, but since she lies in a foreign land, which is spiritually impure, she states ‘Upon my bed’ for ‘I am pained by the exile’ in which I cannot get comfortable, and therefore I am only upon my bed, and not in it. And in reference to this ‘I beseeched the One whom my soul loves’ to take me out of the exile. ‘I sought Him but I did not find Him’ since it is not His custom to commune with me other than in His palace the Holy Temple, which we do not have during the time of exile.
(Zohar III, 42a)
3:1 בִּקַּשְׁתִּי אֵת שֶׁאָהֲבָה נַפְשִׁי – I sought the One whom my soul loves
The Shechinah declared: During every exile that the Jewish People have suffered, the Shechinah (malchut) becomes separated from her ‘husband’ ze’ir anpin – He leaves me and goes back to his mother’s house, i.e. ze’ir anpin ascends to binah and does not illuminate malchut. I inquired about Him from every passerby from every Tsaddik – those whose righteous deeds bring about the intimacy of ze’ir anpin and malchut. I sought Him, and with the help of the Tsaddikim, He came to me and we were intimate for a short while, during the Sabbath and Festival days, but not continually, since this was still the time of exile.
(Tikunei Zohar Addenda, Tikun 6, 144a)
3:2בַּשְּׁוָקִים וּבָרְחֹבוֹת אֲבַקְשָׁה אֵת שֶׁאָהֲבָה נַפְשִׁי – I sought the One whom my soul loves… in the square and the street
Much of this verse is a repetition of what was stated in the previous verse and what will be explained in verse 4. The Zohar does not offer an explanation of “Let me rise and roam through the city, in the square and the street.”
However, later works explain that the word ‘love’ in the verse for ‘whom my soul loves’ is written with a kametz under the aleph שֶׁאָהֲבָה – indicating the past tense, for this love was initially embedded in the soul when “Israel arose in Primordial Thought” even before they were created. However, there are those for whom the whereabouts of this love is unknown; it is in a state of exile and must be searched for. Regarding this our verse states, “I sought the One whom my soul loves.” And where did I seek Him? “In the square and the streets” – in the place where is was lost, the reshut harabim – the public domain, the domain of division and multiplicity i.e. the areas of the world where Godliness is not manifest, as opposed to the reshut hayachid (the private domain), literally, “the domain of Oneness,” where the One whom my soul loves is to be found.
3:3 מְצָאוּנִי הַשֹּׁמְרִים הַסֹּבְבִים בָּעִיר – They found me, the watchmen patrolling the city
The blessed Holy One made the holy city of Jerusalem above in the heavens, just like the holy city of Jerusalem below, in this world. Commentaries explain that this alludes to the Garden of Eden above, in the world of Beriah, which is designed along the lines of the Garden of Eden below, in the world of Asiyah, with walls and towers and gates, barring entry to those who do not belong there. And on those walls and in the towers are sentries who guard the gates, as the verse (Isaiah 62:6) states “Upon your walls, O Jerusalem, I placed sentries…” Those sentries guarding the gates of Jerusalem above are under the authority of the High Priest i.e. the Archangel Michael. When the soul leaves this world, if it is worthy it ascends to the Garden of Eden of this world that the blessed Holy One planted for the ruchot – plural of ruach, the second of the five levels of the soul of the righteous. This is like the Garden of Eden above, which the blessed Holy One planted for the neshamot – plural of neshamah, the third of the five levels of the soul of the righteous. It is there in the Garden of Eden that all the tsaddikim from this world dwell. When their soul leaves this world she first passes through the Cave of the Patriarchs Ma’arat HaMachpelah for this is where the gate to the Garden of Eden is placed, and there the soul meets with Adam and the Patriarchs. If she is worthy, they rejoice in that soul and open the gate for her. But if not, she is rejected.
And what does she say if she is rejected? מְצָאוּנִי – ‘They found me out; they discerned that I was as yet unworthy of entering that holy place, הַשֹּׁמְרִים הַסֹּבְבִים בָּעִיר – ‘the watchmen patrolling the city.’ That soul then leaves. Now before it came into this world, a light was placed above its head, as the verse (Job 29:3) states, בְּהִלּוֹ נֵרוֹ עֲלֵי רֹאשִׁי – “His candle would shine over my head, and I could walk in darkness by His light.” I could have navigated this dark world with the light God provided to the soul. Thus when the soul is rejected all those souls in the Garden of Eden who see her are astounded and ask, “Is this Naami” (Ruth 1:20), to which she replies, “Do not call me Naami from the word meaning ‘pleasant’ but Mara from the word meaning ‘bitter’ (ibid.). I went to that place to this world fully equipped, but I returned empty-handed, without Torah and good deeds, and so I was turned away…
But if the soul is worthy it enters the Garden of Eden and is clothed in an ethereal body similar to the form of the body as it was purified and sanctified in this world, and there it experiences the spiritual delights of the Garden, commensurate with the spiritual levels it achieved in this world. And from there is ascends from level to level…
(Zohar I 80b-81a, Sitrei Torah)
3:4-5 כִּמְעַט שֶׁעָבַרְתִּי מֵהֶם עַד שֶׁמָּצָאתִי אֵת שֶׁאָהֲבָה נַפְשִׁי הִשְׁבַּעְתִּי אֶתְכֶם בְּנוֹת יְרוּשָׁלִַם … אִם תָּעִירוּ וְאִם תְּעוֹרְרוּ אֶת הָאַהֲבָה עַד שֶׁתֶּחְפָּץ – I had just moved on from them, when I found the One whom my soul loves… Daughters of Jerusalem, you must make your vows… that you not arouse, nor stir up the love, until He shall so please
כִּמְעַט שֶׁעָבַרְתִּי מֵהֶם “I had just moved on from them” refers to the first two exiles, in Egypt, and then, after the destruction of the First Temple, Babylon. Now the Second Temple has been built, and I found the One whom my soul loves, for then, with the building of the Second Temple, ze’ir anpin and malchut were once again intimate. But subsequently, after the destruction of the Second Temple and He left me again, there were times when I heard not a word from Him, for prophecy ceased and the Jewish People had no prophetic guidance at all. So I made the entire city of Jerusalem, referred to here as בְּנוֹת יְרוּשָׁלִַם – ‘the daughters of Jerusalem’, alluding to the righteous tsaddikim there, swear an oath to me אִם תִּמְצְאוּ אֶת דּוֹדִי מַה תַּגִּידוּ לוֹ שֶׁחוֹלַת אַהֲבָה אָנִי – “if they will find my Beloved, what will you tell Him? That I am sick with love” (below 5:8). In other words, instead of letting matters take their natural course, as initially suggested, “you must make your vows…that you not arouse, nor stir up the love, until He shall so please” – she asks the tsaddikim to arouse her Beloved through their good deeds, so this would bring about their communion and intimacy. But at other times, upon my bed at night I sought the One whom my soul loves, so that He would commune with me (as explained in verse 3:1), but no one could tell me where I could find Him – there was no one who could arouse this communion and intimacy, until He Himself came of His own initiative, on the Sabbath and Festival days, as explained in greater detail below.
(Tikunei Zohar Addenda, Tikun 6, 144a)
3:4 אֲחַזְתִּיו וְלֹא אַרְפֶּנּוּ עַד שֶׁהֲבֵיאתִיו אֶל בֵּית אִמִּי וְאֶל חֶדֶר הוֹרָתִי – I will grasp Him and not let Him leave, until I bring Him to my mother’s home, to the chamber where I was conceived
Regarding the night of the Sabbath it states (below 5:5) “I arose to open up for my Beloved” – this is on Sabbath when ze’ir anpin comes to conjoin intimately with malchut. But when the Sabbath is over the Shechinah states, “my Beloved ze’ir anpin slipped away and was gone” (below, 5:6). At that time, says the Shechinah, “I sought Him, but did not find Him; I called Him, but He did not answer me” (below 5:6) – because after the Sabbath the revelation from above, called gadlut hamochin (higher consciousness) ascends, and only a lower level of consciousness (katnut hamochin) remains. And the same pattern is true on the macro-scale: when the Temples are extant, this is a time of gadlut hamochin, but when we no longer have them, only the lower level of consciousness (katnut hamochin) remains. This continues until I made an oath that the next time He comes to me, i.e. in the future with the Messianic redemption, “I will grasp Him by the hand, and I will not let Him leave. When the redemption arrives, the intimate union (yichud) of ze’ir anpin and malchut will be complete, as alluded to in the verse (Zechariah 14:9): וְהָיָה ה’ לְמֶלֶךְ עַל כָּל הָאָרֶץ בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא יִהְיֶה ה’ אֶחָד וּשְׁמוֹ אֶחָד – ‘On that day God [as manifested in ze’ir anpin] will be [visibly] One and His Name [malchut] will be One. This is the meaning of אֲחַזְתִּיו וְלֹא אַרְפֶּנּוּ עַד שֶׁהֲבֵיאתִיו אֶל בֵּית אִמִּי – “I will grasp Him and not let Him leave until I bring Him to my mother’s home.” ‘My mother’s home’ is the supernal Temple, binah which is called the Temple on High. There the initial communion of ze’ir anpin and malchut will be ‘back-to-back’ i.e. an incomplete or immature yichud, which later will be replaced by a complete yichud, face-to-face, when the Third Temple will be built. This is the meaning ofוְאֶל חֶדֶר הוֹרָתִי – ‘to the chamber where I was conceived.’ This is the concept of gadlut hamochin – mature intellect, where one is constantly in communion with the blessed Holy One – as explained at length by the Arizal.
The Shechinah further declared: At the time of the final redemption, אֲחַזְתִּיו וְלֹא אַרְפֶּנּוּ – I will grasp His hand and not let go, unlike the previous times. With all the previous redemptions, such as the redemptions from Egypt and from Babylon, He came to me to the Temple (the Bet HaMikdash) where His Presence was revealed, and then He left me, with the destruction of the Temple and the exile of the Jewish People, with whom the Shechinah was also exiled. But with the final redemption, I will be unified with Him with Godliness as manifested in ze’ir anpin, and I will be bound to Him with a number of bonds of love alluding to binding tefillin on the arm and the head. These will never move from me, for there will never be another exile after the coming redemption.
(Tikunei Zohar Addenda, Tikun 6, 144a)
3:4 וְאֶל חֶדֶר הוֹרָתִי – To the chamber where I was conceived
The young boy began speaking again, citing the verse (Exodus 24:12): וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל מֹשֶׁה עֲלֵה אֵלַי הָהָרָה – And God said to Moshe, ‘Ascend to Me to the mountain… and I shall give you the stone Tablets and the Torah and the Commandment that I have written to teach them (אֲשֶׁר כָּתַבְתִּי לְהוֹרֹתָם)’ – ‘the Torah’ refers to the Written Torah (i.e. Scripture), ‘and the commandment’ refers to the Oral Torah, ‘to teach them’ לְהוֹרֹתָם is written in the ‘defective’ form alluding to our verse, as it states וְאֶל חֶדֶר הוֹרָתִי – to the chamber where I was conceived. The word לְהוֹרֹתָם (i.e. missing the vav between the reish and the tav) is written in defective form in order to suggest that it also means ‘conception,’ impregnation (from the root הָרָה).
Now this needs to be examined. Who does ‘conceived’ here refer to? If you say it refers to the Jewish People i.e. the root of the Jewish soul in malchut above, this cannot be so, since Israel is not mentioned at all in this verse. Rather, it must refer to the conception of Torah and the Oral Torah, referred to as the commandment – ze’ir anpin and malchut. And who is she the chamber (womb) where they were conceived? This is the place of wine that is safeguarded (יָיִן הַמְשׁוּמָר) in its grapes from the six days of Creation – binah which is the ‘womb’ in which the Written Torah ze’ir anpin of this world is conceived. For the all writing of Scripture above – takes place there in binah. The Author of the Sefer (the One who writes, i.e. conceives) is Abba-chochmah, and the place of writing-conception is Imma-binah. See Sefer Yetzirah 1:1 – (He) created His universe with three sefarim – the author (sofer), the book (sefer) and the story (sippur), corresponding to chochmah, binah, da’at. Together they conceive the Torah in ze’ir anpin and from there the Torah emerges into this world. This aspect is what we call the written Torah, and therefore it statesאֲשֶׁר כָּתַבְתִּי לְהוֹרֹתָם – ‘to conceive’ the Torah.
But the Oral Torah malchut is a different aspect – it is sustained by the mouth. What is the mouth? This is da’at which is the mouthpiece of Scripture Abba-chochmah and writing Imma-binah – thus it is referred to as the Oral Torah for it is established on the basis of that Mouth, the Written Torah which is how chochmah is expressed in binah. This is supported by the verse, (Malachi 2:7) כִּי שִׂפְתֵי כֹהֵן יִשְׁמְרוּ דַעַת וְתוֹרָה יְבַקְשׁוּ מִפִּיהוּ – “For the lips of the Kohen should safeguard knowledge (da’at); and people should seek teaching from his mouth.”
(Zohar III 40b)
3:5 הִשְׁבַּעְתִּי אֶתְכֶם בְּנוֹת יְרוּשָׁלִַם בִּצְבָאוֹת אוֹ בְּאַיְלוֹת הַשָּׂדֶה אִם תָּעִירוּ וְאִם תְּעוֹרְרוּ אֶת הָאַהֲבָה עַד שֶׁתֶּחְפָּץ – Daughters of Jerusalem, you must make your vows by the gazelles or the hinds of the leas; that you not arouse, nor stir up the love, until she shall so please
There is fear of one sort and there is fear of another sort. There is love of one sort and there is love of another sort. One sort of fear is when a person fears that if he sins the blessed Holy One will diminish his possessions due to his transgressions, and so he is careful not to transgress. Another sort of fear is that if he sins his offspring will pass on in his lifetime, and so again he is careful not to sin. Accordingly, if either of these events takes place – if his possessions were diminished, or if one of his offspring would pass away in his lifetime, Heaven forfend, he would no longer have that fear, since what he most feared had already come to be. Similarly, when a person’s love for the blessed Holy One is because He blessed him with children or wealth, or both, then if his possessions were diminished, or if one of his offspring would pass away in his lifetime his love would be diminished. Such fear and love is not comparable to the true awe and love of the Almighty, since their basis is merely his own benefit. But real awe and love are whether circumstances are good or bad, since he is not worshipping God based on rewards or punishments, but for its own sake. It is for this reason that the former types of fear and love are referred to as fear and love on condition of reward (עַל מְנַת לְקַבֵּל פְּרָס), or to avoid punishment. It is for this reason that the blessed Holy One states, ‘O Daughters of Jerusalem, you must make your vows by the gazelles and the hinds of the leas that you not arouse, nor stir up the love, the love that is incomplete or self-seeking in any way. But only arouse that love that displays total willingness and commitment, with an inner love and desire for Me through the Torah and mitzvot I have commanded you – until she the love shall so please shall be pleasing to Me – which is unconditional love.
(Tikunei Zohar Tikun 30, p. 73b-74a)
3:5 בִּצְבָאוֹת אוֹ בְּאַיְלוֹת הַשָּׂדֶה – By the gazelles or the hinds of the leas
The Talmud understands the word tzva’ot (צְבָאוֹת) here as the plural of tzvi (צְבִי) – a gazelle. The Zohar, however, relates the term to the word tzva’ot (צְבָאוֹת), singular tzava, meaning hosts of angels: A righteous Tsaddik is called tzva’ot (צְבָאוֹת). Why? Because all the hosts of heaven and their various camps emerge from him since he is the aspect of the sefirah of yesod (foundation), as in the verse (Proverbs 10:25), וְצַדִּיק יְסוֹד עוֹלָם – “and a tsaddik is the (yesod) foundation of the world.” See the story of Jacob who was met by camps of angels (Genesis 32:3).
(Zohar I, 21b)
3:5 הִשְׁבַּעְתִּי אֶתְכֶם בְּנוֹת יְרוּשָׁלִַם בִּצְבָאוֹת אוֹ בְּאַיְלוֹת הַשָּׂדֶה – Daughters of Jerusalem, you must make your vows by the gazelles or the hinds of the leas
An alternative explanation: I have made you swear an oath by the tzva’ot – this is the king (or the Messiah) who is called tzva’ot (צְבָאוֹת) down here on earth, or the hinds of the leas – these are the ministers and other members of the king’s court in this world. I have made you swear an oath by your king (or by the Messiah) and his court that you will not arouse the love, which is the right hand of redemption, until she that lies in the dust – the Shechinah during the exile – is desired by the King i.e. ‘until He shall so please.’
(Zohar II, 9a)
3:5 אִם תָּעִירוּ וְאִם תְּעוֹרְרוּ אֶת הָאַהֲבָה עַד שֶׁתֶּחְפָּץ – That you not arouse, nor stir up the love, until He shall so please.
If the Jewish People arouse that love, the love the blessed Holy One has for them, “which is as intense as death” or “strong until death”, leading to the advent of Mashiach (the Messiah) before his time, for they pray for the fulfillment of the second half of the verse (Isaiah 60:22) בְּעִתָּהּ אֲחִישֶׁנָּה – “In its time I will hasten it” then you must arouse it in the proper manner. The proper manner is to acquire tremendous merit from diligent Torah study and the fulfillment of mitzvot and good deeds with love and awe. In this manner you will merit the speedy advent of Mashiach and the Redemption – “I will hasten it”. But if not, if you do not have this great merit, do not arouse it, because the side of impurity – primarily referring to Amalek, as below – will only strengthen itself, knowing that its end is near as soon as Mashiach arrives. This is the meaning of our verse, “Daughters of Jerusalem, you must make your vows, by the gazelles and the hinds of the leas, that you not arouse, nor stir up the love, until He shall so please.” According to the Talmud the blessed Holy One made Israel swear that they will not push for the redemption before its time. However, the Zohar suggests that this is only if the Jewish People do not have sufficient merit, then they should wait for the redemption “until He shall so please” – until God decides that it is the proper time.
(Tikunei Zohar, Tikun 22 p. 68a)
3:6 מִי זֹאת עֹלָה מִן הַמִּדְבָּר כְּתִימֲרוֹת עָשָׁן מְקֻטֶּרֶת מוֹר וּלְבוֹנָה מִכֹּל אַבְקַת רוֹכֵל But who is this ascending from the wilderness like smoke in a plume, scented with myrrh and frankincense, and all the powders of the vendor of perfume?
Rashi and others explain that this verse refers to the nations of the world expressing their astonishment at the greatness of the Israelites (that a pillar of cloud by day and fire by night preceded them in their travels through the desert). “Who is this” therefore refers to the Israelites. However, the feminine form here – mi zot (מִי זֹאת) is puzzling in this context, since the Israelites are generally referred to in the masculine form. Accordingly, the Zohar offers a different explanation – that this refers to the Shechinah, the Divine Presence manifested through the sefirah of malchut, also called nukvah, the feminine element: Rabbi Yose began: ‘But who is this ascending…’ – Come and see: when they were journeying in the wilderness the Shechinah went before them and they the Israelites followed her, as the verse (Exodus 13:21) states וַה’ הֹלֵךְ לִפְנֵיהֶם יוֹמָם בְּעַמּוּד עָנָן לַנְחֹתָם הַדֶּרֶךְ וְלַיְלָה בְּעַמּוּד אֵשׁ לְהָאִיר לָהֶם – “And the Lord – the Divine Presence in the form of the Shechinah – went before them in a pillar of cloud to lead them on the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light…” And therefore the verse (Jeremiah 2:2) states, זָכַרְתִּי לָךְ חֶסֶד נְעוּרַיִךְ אַהֲבַת כְּלוּלֹתָיִךְ לֶכְתֵּךְ אַחֲרַי בַּמִּדְבָּר – “Thus says the Lord, ‘I recall for you the kindness of your youth, the love of your nuptials, your following Me into the wilderness…” The Shechinah went before them and all the Clouds of Glory that surrounded the Israelites and protected them went with her. When the Shechinah rose up from over the Tabernacle and began traveling then the Israelites also packed up their camp and began traveling, as the verse (Numbers 9:17) states: וּבְהֵעָלוֹת הֶעָנָן מֵעַל הַמִּשְׁכָּן יִסְעוּ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל – “And when the cloud was lifted up from atop the Tent, then the Children of Israel would journey…”
Now when that cloud that was on top of the Tabernacle rose up on high, all of the nations of the world saw it and asked ‘But who is this – i.e. in whose merit is this cloud – ascending from the wilderness like smoke in a plume…?’ This was the Shechinah in the cloud that looked like smoke. Why like smoke? Because of the fire that Abraham lit when he prepared the altar in the account of the binding of Isaac at the Akeidah (Genesis 22). Abraham’s son, Isaac, became bonded to that fire and never budged from it – from the attribute of gevurah, the sefirah that characterized him. When that fire of the Akeidah bonded with her – with malchut, the Shechinah – then smoke ascended from malchut, from the aspect of the fire of gevurah (Isaac) within malchut. This is why the Shechinah, malchut looked like a plume of smoke.
Nevertheless, although the Shechinah looked like a plume of smoke, and therefore should have been characterized primarily (or even exclusively) by gevurah (severity), as malchut generally is, that is not so in this case. Instead, she is scented (מְקֻטֶּרֶת) with myrrh and frankincense. What does ‘scented’ mean here? The word mekuteret (translated here as ‘scented’) is related to the word for ‘bound’ or ‘knotted’ – mekusheret. She is bound to two opposite qualities – the cloud of Abraham on the right the aspect of chesed/loving-kindness, and the cloud of Isaac on the left the aspect of gevurah/restrain, withdrawal, severity. Myrrh represents Abraham, while frankincense represents Isaac. The vendor of the powders for perfume is Jacob, the attribute of tiferet, by which the Shechinah bonds to chesed and gevurah. Jacob is referred to as the merchant purveying the powders used to make perfume because he is the source of all of the illuminations with which malchut is endowed. The verse therefore informs us that when the Israelites were in the wilderness and the Shechinah arose in a column of cloud like smoke, this indicated that she was bound to all three Patriarchs who sweetened the aspects of severity within her, represented by the smoke.
Alternatively, ‘the vendor of perfume’ refers to the righteous Joseph whose casket traveled through the desert alongside the Ark upon which the Shechinah rested. Note that the Hebrew word for ‘casket’ and for ‘Ark’ is identical – אָרוֹן (aron). Midrash Tanchuma explains that the sea split only when it saw the casket of Joseph. Why was he called ‘a vendor of powders for perfume?’ Because he told his father rechilut – words that were almost slanderous about his brothers (see Genesis 37:2) – the word for vendor rochel, and the word for slander rechilut have the same root ר’כ’ל. However, they were not fully slanderous and are therefore referred to here as avkat rochel – the ‘powders’ of slander, as in the expression ‘avak lashon hara’ – the ‘dust’ of slander. Commentaries explain that Joseph’s intentions were to bring the severities aroused by his brothers in the sefirah of malchut to their father, Jacob, so that he could ‘sweeten’ them, since he was on the level of tiferet. This is called hamtakat hadinim – a well-known concept in Kabbalah. One of the ways in which this is achieved is by utilizing the proper kavanot on the verse (Numbers 28:13) עֹלַת תָּמִיד הָעֲשֻׂיָה בְּהַר סִינַי לְרֵיחַ נִיחֹחַ אִשֶּׁה “a pleasing scent to God,” which relates to our verse regarding incense (although incense is not mentioned in this verse).
Alternatively, ‘the vendor of perfume’ refers to Joseph because just as a merchant keeps a full stock of elixirs and powders for healing at hand, so too, Joseph is called a ‘vendor’ because he kept the full stock of Torah laws when he was in Egypt. And even though the complete Torah had not yet been given to the Patriarchs, only a few commandments, all of the Torah’s commandments are bound to one who guards the holy covenant of circumcision as Joseph did (see Genesis 39). And for this reason too, the Shechinah also bonded with Abraham and Isaac, who are hinted to in the words myrrh and frankincense, as explained above. 
(Zohar I, 176b)
3:7 הִנֵּה מִטָּתוֹ שֶׁלִּשְׁלֹמֹה – Behold the bed of Solomon, the King to whom Peace belongs
The Talmud (Shvu’ot 35b) declared: Any mention of the name Solomon (Shlomo – שלמה) appearing in Shir haShirim refers to מֶלֶךְ שֶׁהַשָּׁלוֹם שֶׁלּוֹ – the King to whom Peace (shalom) belongs, to Hakadosh Baruch Hu, excluding the verse (Song of Songs 8:12) “My vineyard is before me, the thousand [sins] belong to you, Shlomo…” And some say that this verse too: “Behold the bed of Solomon…”
However, regarding our verse, Rabbi Yehuda explained: ‘Behold the bed’ – this is the Shechinah. ‘Of Solomon’ this is the King to whom peace belongs – technically, Ze’ir Anpin, the King of Peace, because in Ze’ir Anpin the contrasting (and possibly conflicting) powers of several sefirot – such as chesed and gevurah – are synchronized into a single harmonious partzuf.
(Zohar II, 5a)
3:7 מִטָּתוֹ שֶׁלִּשְׁלֹמֹה – The bed of Solomon
Explaining the previous teaching in greater detail, Rabbi Shimon began: ‘Behold the bed of Solomon…’ What aspect is called ‘his bed’? This is the Throne of Glory malchut of the King, which is called a bed when she (malchut) descends to the World of Beriah at night, where she becomes the throne and bed for the radiance of the World of Atzilut that descends there from Ze’ir Anpin. Thus the verse (Mishlei 31:11) states regarding Ze’ir Anpin when malchut is in the World of Beriah: בָּטַח בָּהּ לֵב בַּעְלָהּ – “Her husband trusts her in His heart” Ze’ir Anpin trusts that the external forces of impurity in Beriah and the lower worlds into which she descends will not latch onto malchut, since in truth she belongs in Atzilut and she descended to Beriah for the sake of elevating the sparks of holiness from there, as Mishlei itself declares four verses later (31:15): וַתָּקָם בְּעוֹד לַיְלָה וַתִּתֵּן טֶרֶף לְבֵיתָהּ –“She arises while it is still night, and gives food to her household…” – referring to malchut during the six days of the week descending into Beriah at night in order to elevate the fallen sparks.
3:7 שִׁשִּׁים גִּבֹּרִים סָבִיב לָהּ מִגִּבֹּרֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל – Sixty mighty men enclose, from among Israel’s heroes
These are the six-hundred thousand supernal angels – soldiers of the Shechinah – who went down to Egypt with Jacob. But does it not say from among Israel’s heroes, and not soldiers of the Shechinah? However, this refers to the supernal Israel, Ze’ir Anpin, who assigned troupes of angels to protect malchut, the Shechinah. This is alluded to in the verse (Exodus 1:1) וְאֵלֶּה שְׁמוֹת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל הַבָּאִים מִצְרָיְמָה אֵת יַעֲקֹב – “These are the names of the children of Israel” who accompanied Jacob down to Egypt – “each man and his household came” – they the chief angels corresponding to six primary sefirot of Ze’ir Anpin and their servants, the hosts of angels that were assigned to malchut to protect her.
(Zohar II, 5a)
The above explanation raises a question: if the number of troupes of angels correspond to the children and grandchildren of Jacob, as the straightforward understanding of the verse (Exodus 1:5) clearly indicates: וַיְהִי כָּל נֶפֶשׁ יֹצְאֵי יֶרֶךְ יַעֲקֹב שִׁבְעִים נָפֶשׁ– “And all the persons who emerged from Jacob’s loins were seventy souls” – why were there only sixty who accompanied the Shechinah down to Egypt, as in our verse: …sixty mighty men enclose, from among Israel’s heroes? The answer is that ten of them are hidden. These are the ten angels that are assigned to the ten nations which dwelt in the immediate vicinity of Israel – seven of whom were conquered by the Israelites on their return from Egypt, and three of whom (the Keini, Kenizi and Kadmoni) will be conquered by the Israelites in the future. These were the seventy angels who surrounded the Holy Land above, which corresponds to malchut, and correspondingly there were 70 below, but only sixty escorted the Israelites to Egypt, while ten angels remained behind to guard malchut and the Holy Land.
(Zohar II, 30b)
כֻּלָּם אֲחֻזֵי חֶרֶב מְלֻמְּדֵי מִלְחָמָה – All of them gripping a sword, skilled in the art of the fight
All missions that the King wishes to accomplish He sends out via the house of the Queen. Technically, any outflow that Ze’ir Anpin of Atzilut wishes to shower upon the lower worlds, must go through malchut. Similarly, any message from below to the King must first go through the house of the Queen, and from there to the King. All prayers that emanate from the lower worlds can enter the King’s presence only through Malchut. Thus it turns out that the Queen Malchut is the emissary for everyone, from above to below, from Ze’ir Anpin to all the Worlds, and from below to above! This is why every angel, who is nothing more than an emissary, is called a messenger, as the verse (Exodus 14:19) states, ‘The angel of the Lord who had been going in front of the camp of Israel…’ – the word for ‘angel’ in the verse, mal’ach, also means ‘emissary,’ and refers to malchut. She was situated in front of the Israelites in order to elevate their prayers to Israel – the Israel above, i.e. Ze’ir Anpin. This also as is written (Exodus 13:21) וַה’ הֹלֵךְ לִפְנֵיהֶם יוֹמָם בְּעַמּוּד עָנָן לַנְחֹתָם הַדֶּרֶךְ וְלַיְלָה בְּעַמּוּד אֵשׁ לְהָאִיר לָהֶם – ‘And God went before them by day in a pillar of cloud and in pillar of fire by night,’ as the Zohar explained above on the words of this same verse, ‘so that they could travel by day and by night’ – ‘day’ refers to Ze’ir Anpin and ‘night’ refers to Malchut. The Zohar there also explains that the seemingly extraneous word ‘and’ (וַה’ – ‘and God…’) indicates that it was He, and also His Heavenly Court. In other words, just as that verse above alludes to Him and His emissary, so too here, the angel (which is malchut) is the emissary, and ‘of the Lord’ refers to Him, as revealed in Ze’ir Anpin.
Now according to the above we might be under the impression that malchut acts exclusively as an emissary. Therefore the question is posed in the form of an analogy: Is it the glory of the king for the queen to go and wage war as his emissary? The Zohar answers, continuing the analogy: This may be compared to a king who marries a noble and dignified woman. When he compares his queen to other queens he declares: “All of them are like concubines compared with my queen, for her qualities far surpass all of them. What shall I do for her to show her how much I honor and respect her?” Said the king, “I will place my entire palace, and all those in it, in her hands to do with as she sees fit.” So the king sent out a proclamation that from then on all royal matters would go through the queen. What else did he do? He placed all of his weaponry under her authority, as well as all the warriors and all the precious stones in the treasury to reward those who deserved it. And he said: “From now on, whoever needs to speak with me, cannot do so unless they make an appointment via the queen.”
So too the blessed Holy One – out of His abundant love and compassion for her, for Knesset Yisrael the collective soul of the Jewish People, which is malchut in the sefirot. He places everything in her hands. He declares, “All of the rest of them the supernal angels and all the hosts of heaven are extraneous compared with her.” And therefore the verse below (6:8-9), praising Knesset Yisrael/malchut, states: שִׁשִּׁים הֵמָּה מְּלָכוֹת וּשְׁמֹנִים פִּילַגְשִׁים וַעֲלָמוֹת אֵין מִסְפָּר “There are sixty princesses, eighty concubines, and innumerable maidens, אַחַת הִיא יוֹנָתִי תַמָּתִי and my pure dove – Knesset Yisrael/malchut – is but one. Said the blessed Holy One, “What shall I do for her to show her my love for her? I will place my entire palace, and all those in it, in her hands.” So the King the blessed Holy One sent out a proclamation that from then on all royal matters are in the hands of the queen. What else did he do? He placed all of his weaponry under her authority – spears and longswords and bows and arrows and two-edged swords, and catapults of wood and their cannonballs of stone. All of these allude to various aspects of Divine service. E.g. romach (spear) alludes to the ramach (248) Positive Commandments; longswords and bow allude to prayers and requests to God; two-edged swords allude to the Shema prayer, etc. These are the ‘weapons’ that protect malchut and Knesset Yisrael.
And He also gave placed under her authority all the warriors, as our verse statesשִׁשִּׁים גִּבֹּרִים סָבִיב לָהּ “Behold the bed of Solomon that sixty mighty men surround. כֻּלָּם אֲחֻזֵי חֶרֶב מְלֻמְּדֵי מִלְחָמָה – All of them gripping a sword, and skilled in the art of the fight.”
Said the King: “From now on, all My battles are in your hands; My weapons and men of war are yours. From now on, you will guard Me, as the verse (Psalms 121:4) states, “the guardian of Israel” – for she (Knesset Yisrael) now guards Ze’ir Anpin who is called Israel. Note that the usual translation of this verse renders this as follows: He is “the Guardian of Israel” – the blessed Holy One protects the Jewish People.
And from now on whoever needs to speak with me, cannot do so unless they make an appointment via the queen, as the verse (Leviticus 16:3) states, בְּזֹאת יָבֹא אַהֲרֹן אֶל הַקֹּדֶשׁ “With this – with the power of malchut which is called ‘this’ – shall Aaron come into the Sanctuary” to Ze’ir Anpin.
She is the King’s emissary in every matter, as we have explained from an analysis of the verses. Thus everything is in her hands under her authority and control and this is in the queen’s honor…
(Zohar II, 51a)
3:8 אִישׁ חַרְבּוֹ עַל יְרֵכוֹ – Each of them with a sword on his thigh
When the verse states, ‘each of them with a sword on his thigh’ this implies that the sword is not drawn, and therefore indicating that this is a time of peace, when malchut resides in peace and quiet and harsh judgment is not aroused. Contextually, we can therefore understand why King Solomon is referred to as ‘the king to whom peace belongs’, as explained above. By way of contrast, the verse (Joshua 5:13), “His drawn sword in his hand” indicates that this is a time of harsh judgment, so that swords are drawn and are ready to enact justice in the world.
(Zohar III, 54b)
3:8 מִפַּחַד בַּלֵּילוֹת Because of the fear of the night
Although the previous explanation concluded that this was a time of peace, this is true regarding external enemies. Nevertheless, there is always a concern about internal enemies – as the Sages point out: Satan is the evil inclination [within a person], and the Angel of Death. Thus, ‘the fear of the night’ is the fear of Gehinnom (Purgatory) that always stands in wait – waiting to latch onto malchut as the verse (Genesis 4:7) statesלַפֶּתַח חַטָּאת רֹבֵץ – “Sin crouches at the entrance…” so that a person must always be on his guard. For this reason, all of them the sixty mighty warriors surround her to protect her.
(Zohar II, 226a)
3:9 אַפִּרְיוֹן עָשָׂה לוֹ הַמֶּלֶךְ שְׁלֹמֹה מֵעֲצֵי הַלְּבָנוֹן – A Royal Palace He made for Himself, did the King to whom peace belongs, from the towering trees of Lebanon
This palace is the rectification tikun of the lower world by the higher world. Until the blessed Holy One built the world, His Name was concealed within Himself, and nothing else existed. But when it arose in His Will to create the world, He drew up plans and began to build the spiritual design of what it was that He wanted, but this was still prior to any existence. Then He wrapped Himself in a single radiance and created the world. Then He brought forth mighty cedars on high.
From the radiance of that supernal glow, He established His chariot from the twenty-two written letters which are used to write the Torah. These were engraved as the Ten Utterances by which the lower worlds were created, and they were set in place. This is why it states that the King made His palace from the cedars of Lebanon, as it states in the verse (Psalms 104:16) אַרְזֵי לְבָנוֹן אֲשֶׁר נָטָע – ‘The cedars of Lebanon that He planted’ in the Garden of Eden (Rashi). And from these He made His palace – for Himself. That He made it for Himself (for His own requirements) the Zohar deduces from the apparently extraneous ‘lo’ in the verse: ‘asah lo Hamelech Shlomo.’
He made this palace for Himself for the tikun He wanted, as the place in which to reveal His supernal glory, that He is One and His Name is One, as the verse (Zechariah 14:9) states, ‘On that day God will be One and His Name One.’ Elsewhere the Zohar explains that as long as the Jewish People are in exile, the Shechinah (the immanent limited revelation of Godliness in the finite world) accompanies them and ‘is not together with her Husband’ i.e., the transcendent revelation of God. Accordingly, He is not One, and His Name (the Shechinah) is not One – the ultimate Divine Presence is not revealed in the world. But in the future, this communion will be permanent and the transcendent Divine Presence will be revealed in the immanent world. (See also Talmud, Pesachim 50a). And another verse (Psalms 83:19) states, וְיֵדְעוּ כִּי אַתָּה שִׁמְךָ ה’ לְבַדֶּךָ – “And they will know that You – Whose Name is Havaye – are the One and only…” In the future this will all be revealed.
(Zohar I, 29a)
Commentaries explain the technical aspects of this teaching as the rectification (tikun) of malchut:
The rectification tikun of the lower world by the higher world the tikun of malchut by Ze’ir Anpin.
Until the blessed Holy One Ze’ir Anpin built the world of Atzilut.
But when it arose in His Will to create the world He drew up plans and began to build by way of the Name Ma”h hachadash. This is the Name Havaye fully iterated with the letter aleph as the milui, having the numerical value of 45 = Ma”h) that would rectify the shattered world of Tohu.
In a single radiance the light of Abba (the partzuf of chochmah) and created the world Imma (the partzuf of binah).
mighty cedars on high refers to the six sefirot of Ze’ir Anpin, which were initially concealed within Abba, and were then planted in Imma, eventually to be ‘born’ from her as Ze’ir Anpin and situated in the World of Atzilut.
From the radiance of that supernal glow from the radiance of Abba
He established His chariot from the twenty-two written letters which are used to write the Torah, and they built the vessels of Ze’ir Anpin.
and they the vessels of Ze’ir Anpin were set in place.
This is why it states that the King made His palace – malchut – from the trees of Lebanon the sefirot of Ze’ir Anpin that rectified malchut.
And from these He made His palace – for Himself Ze’ir Anpin rectified malchut for the sake of their yichud in order to sweeten the severities of malchut.
3:9 עָשָׂה לוֹ – He made for Himself
From the above teaching it would seem that He made His palace in the Garden of Eden only for Himself (technically, only for the sake of His yichud or communion with malchut), implying that He does the entire tikun of malchut Himself, from above, without any input from righteous tsaddikim. And if you say that the souls of the righteous tsaddikim also delight therein in the Garden of Eden, and thereby bring about the yichud of Ze’ir Anpin and malchut, that is certainly true. Both of them are true: the blessed Holy One initiates the yichud from above to below – technically, Ze’ir Anpin descends to malchut for the sake of the yichud and the tikun of malchut, whereas tsaddikim initiate the yichud from below to above, in the secret of ‘elevating the feminine waters’ (ha’alat mayim nukvin). This is because the royal palace which is malchut and all the souls of the tsaddikim that are included therein, are all there so that the blessed Holy One can delight in them. Technically, this means that Ze’ir Anpin established and rectified malchut in order to benefit the souls of the tsaddikim that ascend via malchut in the secret of elevating the feminine waters, as just mentioned. This arouses the supernal yichud and draws down the outflow of benefit into the world.
(Zohar II, 127b)
3:9 מֵעֲצֵי הַלְּבָנוֹן – From the towering trees of Lebanon
The trees of Lebanon are the ones which were planted – they were holy souls that were originally part of Adam (they were planted in him, so to speak), and when he sinned they fell into the layers of evil called the kelipot. The blessed Holy One uprooted them from there from the kelipot and planted them in another spot, i.e. in malchut where they are rectified and elevated when the Jewish People ‘elevate the feminine waters.’ These lofty souls are referred to in the verse (Psalms 104:16) as “the cedars of Lebanon that He planted.” The royal palace malchut is not built and perfected other than through them, because when those souls are rectified and then descend into this world, they elevate the feminine waters and bring about the yichud of Ze’ir Anpin and malchut and in this way the elecit the outflow of beneficence from above.
(Zohar II, 127b)
3:10 עַמּוּדָיו עָשָׂה כֶסֶף רְפִידָתוֹ זָהָב מֶרְכָּבוֹ אַרְגָּמָן – Pillars of silver He made, with gold overlaid, His chariot of royal purple
The royal palace mentioned in the previous verse is the tikun rectification and establishment of the world. How was the world rectified and established on a solid basis? This was through the agency of the Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – as our Sages state (Avot 1:2): ‘Upon three things the world stands – upon Torah, upon avodah (the sacrifices, or the prayers which replace them), and upon gemilut chasadim (acts of kindness).’ Torah is represented by Jacob; avodah by Isaac; and gemilut chasadim by Abraham, as the Zohar explains in a number of places.
Pillars of silver (kesef) He made – this refers to Abraham the aspect of chesed, reflected in the soul as the capacity for love, as the verse (Isaiah 41:8) states, “Abraham who loved Me.” The word kesef (silver) derives from the kosef – ‘to long for, out of love’ as in the verse (Genesis 31:30), “You yearned for your father’s house.”
With gold overlaid – this refers to Isaac the aspect of gevurah reflected in the soul as the capacity of awe or fear, as in the verse (Genesis 31:42), “And the One whom Isaac feared was with me.” Note that the Midrash identifies the gold mentioned in this verse as the gold overlay upon the wooden beams of the Tabernacle (as in Exodus 26:29).
His chariot of royal purple – this refers to Jacob, the ‘chariot’ upon which the aspect of tiferet rides, blending both sides – chesed and gevurah – together. Tiferet is reflected in the soul as the attribute of rachamim (compassion or mercy) as in the explanation of the verse (Genesis 29:11) “And Jacob… lifted up his voice and wept” – he lifted up his voice to arouse supernal compassion in its source, the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy. This chariot that he Jacob rides is called ahavah zuta – the lower level of love since it is associated with Jacob, before he was renamed Israel. This is love for God that is generated by deep intellectual inquiry and contemplation of the Godliness invested in Creation, and therefore it remains limited. However, ahavah rabba (which the Zohar discusses in the next section) transcends human intellect and is granted as a gift from above.
(Zohar Chadash, Chukat62b, Margolis edition)
3:10 תּוֹכוֹ רָצוּף אַהֲבָה – The interior inlaid with love
This is ahava rabba, great love, the higher level of love, which is the inner dimension of love where souls are at the inner core of binah, a far higher level of love.
(Zohar Chadash, Chukat 62b, Margolis edition)
3:10 מִבְּנוֹת יְרוּשָׁלִָם From the daughters of Jerusalem above
These are the souls that have been deemed worthy of entering Yerushalayim Jerusalem above, and are therefore called ‘the daughters of Yerushalayim above’ since they have achieved the level of yirah sh’leima – complete or perfect awe – the word Yerushalayim is an elision of these two words yirah sh’leima, and this gives us its true meaning!
Elsewhere the Zohar explains that the daughters of Jerusalem are the souls of the righteous who receive their vitality from Yerushalayim above, which is the sefirah of malchut. Some commentaries explain that these are souls who have never descended into bodies in this world.
(Zohar I, 122a)
3:11 צְאֶינָה וּרְאֶינָה בְּנוֹת צִיּוֹן בַּמֶּלֶךְ שְׁלֹמֹה בָּעֲטָרָה שֶׁעִטְּרָה לּוֹ אִמּוֹ – Come out now O daughters of Zion and see… the King of peace with the crown that his mother gave him
‘Come out now and see’ – who is it that can see King Shlomo, alluding to the King of kings, to Whom peace belongs? Is He not hidden away from even the heavenly hosts, about which the verse (Isaiah 64:3) states, עַיִן לֹא רָאָתָה אֱלֹקִים זוּלָתְךָ that place “no eye has ever seen, other than Yours, O lord.”? And yet this verse declares, ‘Come out now O daughters of Zion and see’ that that which cannot be seen or apprehended? Regarding even His glory His kavod, which is a mere radiance from malchut, the supernal angels ask, ‘Where is the place of His glory? How much more so can the King Himself not be apprehended at all!
However the answer is this: when the verse states, ‘Come out now O daughters of Zion and see the King of peace’ the intention is not that they can gaze upon the King Himself, but rather this is stated regarding the crown, the radiance of the Shechinah which is called specifically atara, the radiance of malchut, and not keter which transcends even chochmah. And this is why it does not state, ‘Come out and see the King in His crown’ which would imply that one could see the King as well. Nevertheless, anyone who is deemed worthy enough to see that crown – the radiance of the Shechinah – will also apprehend thereby the pleasantness of the King to Whom peace belongs in some measure.
(Zohar II, 100b)
3:11 צְאֶינָה וּרְאֶינָה בְּנוֹת צִיּוֹן – Come out now O daughters of Zion
This verse also alludes to the time of the Resurrection of the Dead: Come out from under the earth in which you were buried, awake from your slumber, daughters of Zion – ‘Zion’ צִיוֹן in Hebrew can also be read as צִיוּן (tziyun – a gravestone), as in the verse (II Kings 23:17) “What is this tombstone הַצִיוּן that I see?” Rabbi Pinchas said: Meritorious are those tsaddikim who will in the future gaze upon the radiance of the supernal glory of the Holy King, the One to Whom all peace belongs. By what merit will they be granted this reward? By merit of ‘the crown that his mother gave Him’ – because of that crown with which the tsaddikim crowned Him – with Torah study and practice in this world.
(Zohar Chadash, Midrash haNeelam 15b [Margolis])
3:11 בָּעֲטָרָה שֶׁעִטְּרָה לּוֹ אִמּוֹ – With the crown that his mother gave him
Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (Rashbi) said: At the time that Israel the Jewish People received the Torah the yovel crowned the blessed Holy One. Yovel is the 50th or Jubilee year, when slaves are freed and the land is required to lie fallow. In the Zohar’s terminology however, yovel symbolizes binah since there are fifty different levels of binah, called in Zohar the nun shaarei binah – the fifty ‘gates’ of binah (the gematria of the letter נ is 50). These are fifty ascending levels of understanding, where the fiftieth level is so lofty that even Moshe Rabeinu did not receive it until the day of his passing.
Who does ‘his mother’ refer to? This is the yovel binah (as explained above) and she too is crowned – but with joy which is the quality that exemplifies binah, with love the quality of chochmah which heads the right-hand column of the sefirot, the aspect of chesed and love; and with perfection the quality of keter, as the verse (Psalms 113:9) states: “The mother of children rejoices…” Who is the mother of children in this latter verse? Said Rabbi Shimon: This is the yovel binah, as we explained earlier. And therefore ‘this was the day of joy in his heart.’
(Zohar II, 84a)
3:11 בְּיוֹם חֲתֻנָּתוֹ וּבְיוֹם שִׂמְחַת לִבּוֹ – Come out now and see… On the day of his wedding, the day of joy in his heart
Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (Rashbi) taught: In the future, the blessed Holy One will make a chuppah, a wedding, in Yerushalayim for all who are worthy. As the verse (Jeremiah 33:11) states: קוֹל שָׂשׂוֹן וְקוֹל שִׂמְחָה קוֹל חָתָן וְקוֹל כַּלָּה – “the sound of joy and the sound of gladness, the sound of the groom and the sound of the bride…” – when the queen the Jewish People return to the King the blessed Holy One He will make her a wedding, and this is the meaning of “Come out now and see the King of Peace … on the day of his wedding, the day of joy in his heart.”
‘On the day of his wedding’ was the day the Torah was given. The verse (Deuteronomy 33:4) states:תּוֹרָה צִוָּה לָנוּ מֹשֶׁה מוֹרָשָׁה קְהִלַּת יַעֲקֹב – “The Torah that Moshe commanded us is the heritage (morasha) of the congregation of Jacob.” On the word morasha our Sages in the Talmud (Pesachim 49b) comment: ‘Do not read it as מוֹרָשָׁה (morasha – a heritage), but rather as מְאוּרָסָה (me’urasa – betrothed).
‘The day of joy in his heart’ was the day the Beit HaMikdash (the Temple) was built, may it be rebuilt speedily in our days.
(Zohar I, 215a)
 Note that ‘lea’ means field; ‘leas’ – fields.
 See Zohar II 163b; Zohar III 22a, 67b, 238b (in Raya Mehemna); Tikunei Zohar, Tikun 21 (49b).
 The word בקשתי here can mean both ‘I sought’ and ‘I beseeched.’
 I.e. Godliness as manifested in Ze’ir Anpin.
 Likutei Torah (Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi) Re’eh, p. 32d.
 See Bereishit Rabba 1:4.
 Cited in Matok MiDevash.
 See Zohar Chadash 75a. A different interpretation can be found in Zohar Chadash 83a which explains that the soul is illuminated with the light above its head and studies Torah etc. in the Garden of Eden, and then must come down to be born into this world of darkness and bitterness.
 This paragraph is not found in all versions of the Zohar.
 Zohar I, Intro.
 Technically, this refers to the fifth level of intimacy explained in Eitz Chaim 36:2.
 See Eitz Chaim 39:1.
 GR”A and commentaries. Matok Midevash.
 See Etz Chaim 25:8.
 See Talmud, Megillah 29a.
 The context here is that Rabbi Yehudah and Rabbi Yitzchak were once travelling and they came across a young boy who was leading a donkey loaded with honey. Rabbi Yehudah asked his colleague to share a Torah insight and he did. The young boy then questioned Rabbi Yitzchak’s explanation and offered one of his own. This developed into an entire conversation and it turns out that he was the son of a sage they knew, Rabbi Ze’ira of Kfar Raamin who had since passed away.
 The plene form and the defective (or missing) form are two modes of spelling in Biblical Hebrew. The plene or full form is when a vowel (which never appears in Scripture) is marked by a consonant, as in our case where the word would be written as לְהוֹרֹותָם (with a vav between the reish and tav). However the defective form (as in the verse here) it is written as לְהוֹרֹתָם (without the vav between the reish and tav).
 As in the verse (Shoftim 13:7) וַיֹּאמֶר לִי הִנָּךְ הָרָה וְיֹלַדְתְּ בֵּן
 See Zohar I, 135b (Midrash Ne’elam)
 The Hebrew word-root s’f’r (ס’פ’ר) can have several meanings: sofer (scribe or author), sefer (book), sippur (story), sfar – number; sfor (border, boundary, limitation); sapir (sapphire), etc., as evident in different versions of the Sefer Yetzirah. Three of the versions list them as follows:
בְּסֵפֶר סְפַר וּסְפוֹר (רמ”ק); בְּסְפָר וְסֵפֶר וְסִפּוּר (רס”ג); בְּסֵפֶר וּסְפָר וְסִפּוּר (גר”א).
However, the Zohar I 37b seems to imply implies that it should be read as בְּסוֹפֵר וְסֵפֶר וְסִיפוּר – “Author, book and story,” referring to chochmah, binah and da’at (see Likutei Torah, Sukkot 80b).
 See Zohar III, 145b and Commentaries.
 Note that the translation here is ‘she’ instead of ‘He.’ The Zohar’s explanation following will make clear why this is. Grammatically, תחפוץ is either second person future “He will desire,” or in the future is in the feminine form
 As in the verse Vayikra 1:9: “… a pleasing scent to God,” on which Rashi comments: “This is pleasing to Me because I decreed and My will was done.” Note that this phrase is first used in in connection with the burnt offering – all of which was offered up on the altar (see Zevachim 85b). Similarly, the love demanded here is an all or nothing proposition.
 Ketubot 111a.
 In some versions of the text.
 Cf. “Song of the Sea” (אז ישיר) – Exodus 15:6 “Your right hand O Lord is glorified with strength; Your right hand, O Lord smashes the enemy” Rashi; Psalms 60:7 and commentaries.
 See Talmud Sanhedrin 98a.
 See Talmud Ketubot 111a.
 Ramak; Rabbi Chaim Vital; Commentaries.
 As in the expression דינא דמולכותא דינא – “The law of the land is the law” (Talmud Nedarim 27b-28a; Bava Batra 54b etc.), meaning that the law of the land has the authority of Torah (as long as it doesn’t contradict the laws of the Torah – see Tur, Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat 369:8). However, in numerous places, the Zohar identifies this phrase with the harshness (din) characteristic of malchut. See e.g. Zohar III Raya Mehemna 16b; ibid. 33a, 227a, 257b
 The letter ט in Aramaic is replaced by a שׁ in Hebrew. Thus מְקֻטֶּרֶת (scented) would become מְקֻשֶּׁרֶת (bound to).
 As Zohar III, Raya Mehemna 3b states explicitly on the verse Song of Songs 5:1’אריתי מורי‘ דא חסד דרגא דאברהם דאתמר עליה אלך לי אל הר המור…
 See Toras Shmuel 5639, vol. 1 p. 21.
 Beshalach 9.
 See Rambam, De’ot 7:4 and commentaries.
 Ramak and other Commentaries.
 See Ramaz on Zohar Bamidbar p. 593.
 See Ramak; Rabbi Avraham Galanti.
 See also Bamidbar Rabba 9:7.
 A partzuf is the anthropomorphic representation of a sefirah or cluster of sefirot that fulfills a certain function described by the parztuf. For example, the partzuf of Abba (the sefirah of chochmah) has a role among the sefirot similar to a father’s a role in the family unit. The partzuf of Imma (the sefirah of binah) has a role among the sefirot similar to a mother’s role in the family unit, and so on.
 Torah Ohr, Miketz 38a
 Likutei Torah Balak 72a; Torat Menachem vol. 5 p. 101; vol. 26 p. 74
רבוא (rivoh) is a troop of 10,000. Since there were sixty such troops there were 600,000 altogether.
 Mikdash Melech; Rabbi Avraham Galanti.
 This is the version endorsed by Ramak.
 Zohar II, 46b.
 Matok Midevash.
 Knesset Yisrael is the collective soul of the Jewish People down below, and in the sefirot above – malchut. She is called Knesset Yisrael because she gathers into herself (koneset) all the outflow from Ze’ir Anpin above, called Israel (Kehillat Yaakov).
 Ben Ish Chai, Hilchot Shana 1, Intro to Va’era.
 See Targum Onkelos to Genesis 48:22; Bava Batra 123a.
 See Talmud Berachot 5a.
 Matok Midevash.
 Bava Batra 16a.
 See a discussion of this idea in Talmud Berachot 61b.
 See Sha’at Ratzon and other commentaries.
 Cf. Bereishit Rabba 1,1: The Torah declared: ‘I was the tool with which the blessed Holy One, created the world. the custom is that when a king builds a palace, he first draws up plans and uses ledgers to record the items and quantities he’ll need), and with these he begins to build . So too, the blessed Holy One looked into the Torah and created the world…
 This phrase is omitted in some versions.
 This verse (and therefore our interpretation) is omitted in some versions.
 Zohar I, 11b.
 Ramak and Mikdash Melech.
 This is when the yichud is initiated from below, generally by way of prayer or through fulfilling the commandments. This is particularly powerful when the commandments are fulfilled with mesirut nefesh (self-sacrifice).
 Ramak and other commentaries.
 Ramak and other commentaries.
 The Zohar I, 65a explains that avodah here is the sacrificial service. Note that as a test of Abraham’s faith, Isaac was almost offered as a sacrifice on the altar (see Genesis chap. 22), and so it is fitting that he corresponds to avodah. Note however, that after the destruction of the Temple, the Anshei Knesset HaGedolah (The Sages of the Great Assembly) established prayers three times a day in place of the sacrifices (based on a verse in Hoshea 14:2).
 Zohar I, 146b; Zohar Chadash 51a (Margolis edition).
 See Tikunei Zohar p. 125b.
 Noted in numerous places in Zohar, e.g. Zohar I, 90b; 119b; 120b; Zohar III, 4a.
 See Zohar III, 4a.
 See Tanya chapter 45.
 cf. Zohar II, 43a.
 Torat Menachem vol. 5 p. 197; Tanya Iggeret HaKodesh chap. 15 etc.
 See Ramaz, Commentary on the Zohar Shemot, p. 822.
 See Bereishit Rabba 56:10; Tosefot, Taanit 16a ד”ה הר
 Zohar I, 242a; Pardes Rimonim s.v. בנות ירושלים
 Likutei Torah, Shir haShirim 6c.
 Machzor Vitri p. 155.
 E.g. Zohar I p. 4a, 101a; Zohar II, 115a; Tikunei Zohar 68b etc.
 Tikunei Zohar p. 7b
 Arizal, Sefer Likutim, Likutei Torah to Etchanan 3:26.
 Cf. Talmud Ta’anit 26b