Perek1. Perek 2. Perek 3. Perek 4.
Perek 5. Perek 6. Perek 7. Perek 8.
sixth chapter of
Shir HaShirim is about aliyas haneshama above. Either after death or for tsaddikim even in this life…the soul in Gan Eden in this world and after death? Written and Oral Torah. Deveikut of the neshama with HKB”H. Sin interferes…
א אָנָה הָלַךְ דּוֹדֵךְ הַיָּפָה בַּנָּשִׁים אָנָה פָּנָה דוֹדֵךְ וּנְבַקְשֶׁנּוּ עִמָּךְ.
1 To where has your Beloved gone,
O fairest among women?
Where did your Beloved turn?
With you we will seek
The One for whom you yearn.
ב דּוֹדִי יָרַד לְגַנּוֹ לַעֲרוּגוֹת הַבֹּשֶׂם לִרְעוֹת בַּגַּנִּים וְלִלְקֹט שׁוֹשַׁנִּים.
2 My Beloved went down to His garden,
To the fragrant spices in beds,
To tend those in the gardens,
And roses there to collect.
אֲנִי לְדוֹדִי וְדוֹדִי לִי הָרֹעֶה בַּשּׁוֹשַׁנִּים.
3 I am my Beloved’s
And my Beloved is mine,
He set us among the roses to dine.
ד יָפָה אַתְּ רַעְיָתִי כְּתִרְצָה נָאוָה כִּירוּשָׁלִָם אֲיֻמָּה כַּנִּדְגָּלוֹת.
4 You are fair My love, and as desired,
As Jerusalem in its beauty,
Like troops of angels, awe-inspired.
ה הָסֵבִּי עֵינַיִךְ מִנֶּגְדִּי שֶׁהֵם הִרְהִיבֻנִי שַׂעְרֵךְ כְּעֵדֶר הָעִזִּים שֶׁגָּלְשׁוּ מִן הַגִּלְעָד.
5 Turn your eyes towards Me,
For they increase My desire;
Your locks are like flocks of goats,
Cascading down from Mount Gilead.
ו שִׁנַּיִךְ כְּעֵדֶר הָרְחֵלִים שֶׁעָלוּ מִן הָרַחְצָה שֶׁכֻּלָּם מַתְאִימוֹת וְשַׁכֻּלָה אֵין בָּהֶם.
6 Your teeth are arrayed like a flock of lambs
Having just come up from their wash,
All of them in harmony
And none have gone awry.
ז כְּפֶלַח הָרִמּוֹן רַקָּתֵךְ מִבַּעַד לְצַמָּתֵךְ.
7 Like a slice of pomegranate is your brow
From behind your veil.
ח שִׁשִּׁים הֵמָּה מְּלָכוֹת וּשְׁמֹנִים פִּילַגְשִׁים וַעֲלָמוֹת אֵין מִסְפָּר.
8 Sixty are the children of royalty,
And the offspring of consorts are eighty,
And maidens without number.
ט אַחַת הִיא יוֹנָתִי תַמָּתִי אַחַת הִיא לְאִמָּהּ, בָּרָה הִיא לְיוֹלַדְתָּהּ רָאוּהָ בָנוֹת וַיְאַשְּׁרוּהָ מְלָכוֹת וּפִילַגְשִׁים וַיְהַלְלוּהָ.
9 One is she, My dove, My perfect one.
There is no other
From her mother;
She is pure to the one who bore her.
Daughters look at her laud her,
Royal offspring and consorts applaud her.
י מִי זֹאת הַנִּשְׁקָפָה כְּמוֹ שָׁחַר יָפָה כַלְּבָנָה בָּרָה כַּחַמָּה אֲיֻמָּה כַּנִּדְגָּלוֹת.
10 Who is this that appears like the dawn,
Comely as the moon, clear as the sun
Like troops of angels, inspired with awe.
יא אֶל גִּנַּת אֱגוֹז יָרַדְתִּי לִרְאוֹת בְּאִבֵּי הַנָּחַל לִרְאוֹת הֲפָרְחָה הַגֶּפֶן הֵנֵצוּ הָרִמֹּנִים.
11 To the nut-garden I descended,
To see the trees by the stream,
To see if the vine was in bloom,
Did the pomegranates begin to plume.
יב לֹא יָדַעְתִּי נַפְשִׁי שָׂמַתְנִי מַרְכְּבוֹת עַמִּי נָדִיב
12 I did not even know
That my soul had placed me on the markava,
Of my royal Father
6:1 אָנָה הָלַךְ דּוֹדֵךְ הַיָּפָה בַּנָּשִׁים – Where has your Beloved gone, O fairest among women?
In this verse, when the Jewish People are in exile in foreign lands they address the Shechinah (the immanent Divine Presence): What does Israel the Jewish People say to her to the Shechinah? Where has your Beloved gone, O fairest among women? In the time of exile the Shechinah (in technical terms, the sefirah of malchut) is not in a state of yichud – unity and oneness – with her Beloved (in technical terms, Ze’ir Anpin), as the verse in Zechariah (14:9)וְהָיָה יְהֹוָה לְמֶלֶךְ עַל־כָּל־הָאָרֶץ בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא יִהְיֶה יְהֹוָה אֶחָד וּשְׁמוֹ אֶחָד: alludes to, describing the future, when the immanent Divine Presence and the transcendent, all-encompassing Divine reality will be understood as one: “G-d will be King over all the land; on that day, G-d will be One and His Name [malchut] will be One.” The Talmud (Pesachim 50a) asks: “Is it so that nowadays He [and His Name] are not One?” The Talmud then goes on to offer several explanations of how this is indeed the case as far as we are concerned.
(Tikunei Zohar p. 40a)
6:1 אָנָה פָּנָה דוֹדֵךְ וּנְבַקְשֶׁנּוּ עִמָּךְ – To where did your Beloved turn? With you we will seek the One for whom you yearn
We will seek Him with you to reunite the transcendent Holy One blessed is He with the Shechinah – the manifestation of His radiance in the immanent worlds – by beseeching Him in many prayers, by fulfilling the Commandments of tzitzit the fringes worn on a four-cornered garment, tefillin phylacteries worn by men on the arm and the head, and by observing the Sabbath and Festivals. Regarding these, the verse (Exodus 31:17)
בֵּינִי וּבֵין בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אוֹת הִוא לְעֹלָם כִּי־שֵׁשֶׁת יָמִים עָשָׂה יְהוָֹה אֶת־הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֶת־הָאָרֶץ וּבַיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי שָׁבַת וַיִּנָּפַשׁ: states, “Between Me and the Jewish People it [each of these] is an eternal sign.” There are three Commandments referred to as eternal signs of the Covenant: the sign of circumcision, the signs of Sabbath and Festivals, and the sign of tefillin (phylacteries). In reference to these the verse (Psalms 32:6) עַל־זֹאת יִתְפַּלֵּל כָּל־חָסִיד ׀ אֵלֶיךָ לְעֵת מְצֹא רַק לְשֵׁטֶף לְעֵת מְצֹא רַק לְשֵׁטֶף :states, “Regarding this, every pious person will pray at opportune times…” The Tikunei Zohar then goes on to explain that the prayer and fulfilling the Commandments restore the Shechinah to her proper place.
(Tikunei Zohar p. 40a)
6:2 דּוֹדִי יָרַד לְגַנּוֹ לַעֲרוּגוֹת הַבּוֹשֶׂם – My Beloved went down to His garden, to the fragrant spices in beds
‘His garden’ – this refers to Knesset Yisrael the collective souls of the Jewish People for they are like a bed of spices in that she includes all types of perfumes and scents of the World-to-Come. When the Holy One, blessed is He, descends to this garden the Garden of Eden at midnight, i.e. when Ze’ir Anpin communes with malchut, the Shechinah, then the souls of all the righteous Tsaddikim are crowned there, and all give off their scent i.e. the Torah that they studied and the mitzvot (Commandments) they fulfilled in this world are a delightful scent to the Holy One blessed is He, as the verse (above, 4:10) states, “And the scent of your oils Torah study and fulfilling the Commandments are suffused with spice” – these are the souls of the righteous Tsaddikim who are referred to as fragrant spices in our verse. For Rabbi Yitzchak explained that the souls of all the righteous who were already in this world, and all those would who will in the future descend into this world, all of them are in that Garden.
(Zohar II, p. 11a; Matok MiDevash)
6:2 וְלִלְקֹט שׁוֹשַׁנִּים – And roses there to collect
Come and see: Chanoch Enoch, the great-grandfather of Noah, was a worthy and sin-free person. But the Holy One, blessed is He, saw that he would eventually sin, due to the very unfavorable spiritual stature of his generation. So He gathered him in before he could sin. This is the meaning of our verse, “and roses there to collect” which refers to Chanoch. Because Chanoch gave off a scent pleasing to the Holy One, blessed is He, He plucked him before he would give off a stench the stench of sin. This is why the verse (Gen. 5:24)states וַיִּתְהַלֵּךְ חֲנוֹךְ אֶת־הָאֱלֹהִים וְאֵינֶנּוּ כִּי־לָקַח אֹתוֹ אֱלֹהִים:“And Chanoch walked with God; then he was no more, for God had taken him.” ‘He was no more’ – he did not live the life-span of the rest of mankind in those time, for they had extended life-spans. Why did he not live as long as most of his generation? Because the Holy One, blessed is He took him before his time.
(Zohar I, p. 56b)
Alternatively, we can explain the idea of ‘collecting roses’ in the following way: When a person comes to fulfill the Commandment of unifying the Name of the blessed Holy One by reciting the Shema prayer twice daily, he should invest his heart and his will into that unification (yichud), as we have explained elsewhere. This includes uniting all of his limbs in this yichud by way of his will – the will to devote his life to G-d, as the verse (Deut. 6:5) וְאָהַבְתָּ אֵת יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ בְּכָל־לְבָבְךָ וּבְכָל־נַפְשְׁךָ וּבְכָל־מְאֹדֶךָ:states “…with all your will [nafshecha]” so that the person takes upon himself to devote his very life to G-d. Because just as a person invests all of his limbs i.e. his entire body in the secret of Oneness, since he has accepted to even give up his life for the sake of G-d’s unity, so too, above – all of the supernal ‘limbs’ i.e. the sefirot become unified in that unity produced by reciting the Shema prayer, so that all of them the sefirot are in a state of unity.
Now when a person comes to unify the Name of the blessed Holy One in fulfilling the commandment of reciting the Shema twice daily, all of the hosts of heaven stand in line in order to be rectified by and included in that unity, and to reside in the mystery of unity together with the Israelites below, for with this declaration of unity, all of them are established or rectified in the proper manner, and they all receive their proper spiritual sustenance, as appropriate for each of them.
At that time when a person is reciting the Shema prayer, a certain ministering angel appointed for this mission of serving in 248 worlds corresponding to the 248 positive commandments takes up his duties. All these worlds are called the ‘limbs of the body’ of Ze’ir Anpin, the six sefirot from chesed to yesod, and he fulfills his duty to emulate that unity engendered by an Israelite reciting Shema with the proper intentions. This is the concept of collecting roses mentioned in our verse, which are the limbs of the body of Ze’ir Anpin. In other words, the 248 words of the Shema disencumber and elevate the sparks of holiness buried within creation and this rectifies the 248 ‘limbs’ – the vessels of the sefirot – of Ze’ir Anpin…
The secret of ‘roses’ (שׁוֹשַׁנִּים, sometimes written without the vav = שֹׁשַׁנִּים– pronounced shoshanim) specifically i.e. why this process of disencumbering and elevating the sparks of holiness buried within creation is called ‘plucking roses’ is this: when all the limbs are merged into a single unity, which is the secret of the sacrifices brought onto the Altar in the Temple, then the blessed Holy One adorns Himself with a crown made of pure gold (פָּז in Hebrew, transliterated: paz), so that He is crowned with glory, as is proper. And this is the secret of ‘roses’ shoshanim, the secret of all the ‘limbs’ above and below, together with the crown paz. In other words, the numerical value of the word שֹׁשַׁנִּים, written without the vav, is 700. This is the sum total of the 613 Commandments in the Torah, together with the numerical value of the word פָּז = 87 (613+87=700=Shoshanim, roses), which is elicited when the 613 Commandments are fulfilled with the proper intention.
(Zohar III, Raya Mehemna p. 263a, GRA and commentaries)
6:3 אֲנִי לְדוֹדִי וְדוֹדִי לִי הָרֹעֶה בַּשּׁוֹשַׁנִּים – I am my Beloved’s, and my Beloved is mine, He set us among the roses to dine
What is the meaning of שׁוֹשַׁנִּים – the roses mentioned in the verse, and specifically in the plural? However, the first rose is the higher Shechinah the sefirah of binah, which is the Shema prayer of the morning, when the attribute of kindness (chesed) is aroused, and the second rose is the Shema prayer of the evening, when the attribute of severity or withholding (gevurah) is aroused, and the lower Shechinah the sefirah of malchut. This one binah is to the right, and the other one malchut is to the left, since it is built primarily through gevurot, the harsher or more constricted attributes, and the other one the cluster of sefirot from chesed to yesod, forming the partzuf of Ze’ir Anpin, represents the middle column. Thus binah nourishes Ze’ir Anpin, which in turn passes a radiance of this light on to malchut and facilitates the yichud of the two of them.
(Tikunei Zohar p. 71a)
6:4 יָפָה אַתְּ רַעְיָתִי כְּתִרְצָה נָאוָה כִּירוּשָׁלִָם אֲיֻמָּה כַּנִּדְגָּלוֹת – You are fair My love, and as desired, as Jerusalem in its beauty, like troops of angels, awe-inspired
She herself the Jewish People claims that she is ugly, as in the verse above (1:5) “Dark I am” – dark from the exile, as the Zohar explained there. To which He the blessed Holy One responds: ‘You are beautiful!’ Indeed, the most beautiful of women, with the highest level of beauty, as our verse states, “You are fair My love” – for she is beautified by her Torah and mitzvot and good deeds, which illuminate her with a G-dly light, as the verse (Proverbs 6:23) כִּי נֵר מִצְוָה וְתוֹרָה אוֹר – “for the mitzvah is a candle and the Torah a great light.” See also the commentary at the end of this chapter.
(Zohar III, p. 197b)
6:5 הָסֵבִּי עֵינַיִךְ מִנֶּגְדִּי שֶׁהֵם הִרְהִיבֻנִי – Turn your eyes towards Me, for they increase My desire
The love of the Holy One, blessed is He, is directed towards her towards malchut, the attribute of King David that symbolizes the entire Jewish People, in order to sweeten her severities. Then out of His overwhelming love of her, the Holy One, blessed is He, says to her, “Turn your eyes towards Me, and look at Me” for this will arouse His love and desire for her, since they your eyes are beautiful in every way.
(Zohar III, p. 84a in Raya Mehemna)
Alternatively, this can be understood in the opposite way: At that time at the time of yichud He says to her to malchut: “Turn your eyes away from Me,” and don’t look at Me, “for they increase My desire” your eyes scorch me with their fiery love and arouse in Me overwhelming love for you, but the time for the redemption has not yet arrived.
At this point, Eliyahu Elijah the Prophet, the teacher of mystical wisdom to Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (Rashbi), declared: Holy lamp! He referred to the Rashbi this way because Rabbi Shimon was the purveyor of mystical wisdom to the generations, thereby illuminating their paths. The two eyes mentioned in our verse as the eyes of the Shechinah (or of malchut) are the two precious Tablets on which the Ten Commandments are written, regarding which the verse (Exodus 31:18) וַיִּתֵּן אֶל־מֹשֶׁה כְּכַלֹּתוֹ לְדַבֵּר אִתּוֹ בְּהַר סִינַי שְׁנֵי לֻחֹת הָעֵדֻת לֻחֹת אֶבֶן כְּתֻבִים בְּאֶצְבַּע אֱלֹהִים:states, “Two tablets of stone, written with by the finger of G-d.” For the compassion of the Holy One, blessed is He, is aroused when His children study His Torah and He is moved to redeem them from their exile.
(Tikunei Zohar p. 145a)
6:5 שֶׁגָּלְשׁוּ מִן הַגִּלְעָד – Cascading down from Mount Gilead
The Zohar does not comment on these words, but see our commentary to 4:5 where we stated: The Arizal explains that the verse alludes to Moshe (Moses) and his conversations with God (consistent with the explanations offered above): There are 15 occasions that the Torah states וַיְדַבֵּר ה’ אֶל מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר (“And God spoke to Moshe saying…”) Now the word וַיְדַבֵּ”ר has the gematria of 222, the same numerical value as the word רכ”ב (vehicle or chariot), indicating that Moshe was the vehicle through which the word of God would reach the people. And 15 X 222 = 3,330, the numerical value of גל”ש, the root word of גָּלְשׁוּ – cascading down (where theג represents 3,000). Accordingly, this verse about the locks of hair cascading down to us alludes to the myriad laws of the Torah, as both the Talmudic Sages and the Zohar explain on a later verse (Shir HaShirim 5:11) קְווּצּוֹתָיו תַּלְתַּלִּים שְׁחֹרוֹת כָּעוֹרֵב – “His locks are curly, and black as a raven” – these are the piles upon piles of halachot (Jewish Law).
(Arizal, Sefer HaLikutim, Zot haBeracha, 2)
6:6 שִׁנַּיִךְ כְּעֵדֶר הָרְחֵלִים שֶׁעָלוּ מִן הָרַחְצָה שֶׁכֻּלָּם מַתְאִימוֹת וְשַׁכֻּלָה אֵין בָּהֶם – Your teeth are arrayed like a flock of lambs, having just come up from their wash. All of them in harmony, and none have gone awry
The following is more or less a repetition of our commentary to 4:2, a very similar verse.
What is the meaning of ‘having just come up from their wash’? From that cleansing when the radiance of the Holy Eye above the ‘eye’ of Atik Yomin shines upon them. Conceptually the eyes represent the Elders who are referred to as “the eyes of the community” (einei ha’eida), due to their insight and foresight. More specifically the holy eye refers, as in the previous verse, to Moshe, who is referred to as ‘one with a good eye…’
A previous explanation in the same section illuminates this passage, which otherwise would remain quite cryptic: We have learned that no light that illuminates the lower level of seeing – the vision of lesser sages (in technical terms, the eyes of ze’ir anpin) – alternatively, the vision of common people can wash clean and rectify this lower level of insight and foresight from its redness harsh judgment and blackness lack of insight altogether than when it is cleansed by the pure (literally ‘white’) light of the supernal ‘eye’ of Atik Yomin, which is referred to in the verse (Proverbs 22:9) טוֹב־עַיִן הוּא יְבֹרָךְ כִּי־נָתַן מִלַּחְמוֹ לַדָּל:as “One with a good eye will be blessed, for he has given of his bread to the poor.” In this same passage the Zohar suggests that we not read this as ‘will be blessed’ but rather as ‘will bless,’ because if not for ‘the good eye above’ that looks out for and cleanses the lower eye, the world could not exist for even a moment since the harsh judgments and lack of insight and foresight would render catastrophic results in the world, as the Zohar goes on to clarify.
We have learned in Sifra d’Tziniuta (‘The Book of Concealed Matters’ – a highly recondite section of the Zohar on the first parsha of the first book of the Zohar) that the lower eyes look out for the world’s benefit when the light of the upper eyes gaze upon them and illuminate them with its supernal light, for then everything is illuminated, as the verse (Numbers 14:14) states, “You, O God are in the midst of this people; You have appeared to them eye to eye…”
Returning to our text, the Zohar continues: “All of them in harmony” the array of all of the various spiritual powers and forces are harmonized with one another, and conjoin in order to manifest Divine compassion (rachamim) in the world.
(Idra Rabba Zohar III, 137a; 130a)
The following is a repetition of our commentary to 4:3, an identical verse.
6:7 כְּפֶלַח הָרִמּוֹן רַקָּתֵךְ – Like a slice of pomegranate is your brow
Like a slice of pomegranate is your brow – the word for ‘your brow’ – רַקָּתֵךְ /rakatech, is related to the word רֵיק (reik), alluding to even the ‘empty’ among the Israelites are filled with Torah and Mitzvot like a pomegranate is filled with seeds.
(Zohar Chadash [Margolias] 83b)
6:7 מִבַּעַד לְצַמָּתֵךְ – From behind your veil
The Zohar does not offer an interpretation of this phrase. However, the Midrash explains that it refers to the Israelites who diminished themselves (tzimtzmu atzman – phonetically similar to tzamatech – ‘from behind your veil’) with every word of the Ten Commandments God uttered. Rather than standing their ground arrogantly, they retreated in awe and fear and trembling. Alternatively, they squeeze together (mitztamtin) to stand in a crowded Synagogue to drink the words of Torah thirstily (b’tzama). See also the commentary at the end of this chapter
(Shir HaShirim Rabba 4:5; Midrash Aggada Bereishit, 80)
6:8-9 שִׁשִּׁים הֵמָּה מְּלָכוֹת וּשְׁמֹנִים פִּילַגְשִׁים וַעֲלָמוֹת אֵין מִסְפָּר. אַחַת הִיא יוֹנָתִי תַמָּתִי אַחַת הִיא לְאִמָּהּ… – Sixty are the children of royalty, and the offspring of consorts are eighty, and maidens without number. One is she, My dove, My perfect one. There is no other; from her mother
Rabbi Elazar began expounding our verse: “Sixty are the children of royalty, and the offspring of consorts are eighty” – the sixty children of royalty are the sixty mighty warriors above i.e. angels who surround and protect the Shechinah from alien forces. Now these mighty warriors angels above emerge from the power of gevurah of ze’ir anpin, from the outer layer of the holy beast of Israel apparently referring to the lion on one side of the Merkavah (see Ezekiel 1:10), וּדְמוּת פְּנֵיהֶם פְּנֵי אָדָם וּפְנֵי אַרְיֵה אֶל־הַיָּמִין לְאַרְבַּעְתָּם וּפְנֵי־שׁוֹר מֵהַשְּׂמֹאול לְאַרְבַּעְתָּן וּפְנֵי־נֶשֶׁר לְאַרְבַּעְתָּן: וּפְנֵיהֶם וְכַנְפֵיהֶם פְּרֻדוֹת מִלְמָעְלָה לְאִישׁwhich is the symbol of the royal tribe of Judah. Accordingly, these sixty angels are regarded as children of royalty since they emerge (albeit indirectly) from the royal tribe of Judah. Compare this with various commentators who identify these as the 60 descendants of Abraham (Rashi), or the number of military units comprising 10,000 men twenty years and older (i.e. 60×10,000) who were in the exodus from Egypt (Alshich), or the sons King Solomon fathered with his numerous wives (Metzudat David; Malbim) etc.
Rabbi Elazar continued his exposition: And eighty offspring of his consorts are those appointed as lieutenants to the former to the descendants of royalty according to their statutes of the various nations.
‘And maidens without number’ refers to the number of military units over which the lieutenants have command. Nevertheless, none of them receive directly from their commander, but only via malchut, regarding which the verse states, ‘One is she, My dove, My perfect one. There is no other from her mother,’ referring to the holy Shechinah which stands above and commands all of these subservient forces.
(Zohar II, p. 14b)
Alternatively, this verse refers to the aspect of malchut that is known as the Oral Torah: “Sixty are the children of royalty” are the six orders of the Mishnah… which were whittled down from six hundred, and derive ultimately from six hundred thousand. Commentaries explain that 6 and 60, 600 and 600,000 all refer to the six attributes of the partzuf of ze’ir anpin but as it manifested in different sefirot. 6 is ze’ir anpin itself; 60 is when each of those sefirot is fully expressed into ten (6×10=60). 600 is ze’ir anpin in binah and chochmah, and 600,000 in keter. “And the offspring of consorts are eighty” – these are the works of the Aggadata sections of the Talmud devoted to homiletic or narrative interpretations of verses in Scripture. The Arizal stated that most of the Torah’s secrets are concealed within the Aggadata. “And maidens without number” are the halachot – the laws prescribing and proscribing how one should live one’s life according to the Torah – which are innumerable.
(Tikunei Zohar p. 144b)
6:9 אַחַת הִיא יוֹנָתִי תַמָּתִי אַחַת הִיא לְאִמָּהּ… – One is she, My dove, My perfect one. There is no other from her mother;
The blessed Holy One says this about the soul, which is called a dove, that she is unique to her mother, the Shechinah. Rabbi Elazar asked: Why is the feminine form הִיא – ‘she’ used throughout Shir HaShirim (Song of Songs) whereas the masculine form is used for the soul in the Torah i.e. in the Five Books of Moses, as the Zohar explained in the previous paragraphs? Rabbi Elazar then explained: In the Torah the masculine form for the soul is used because it is in reference to the body – the body to the soul is like the feminine to the masculine. The body receives its life-force from the soul, just like a woman receives seed from her husband. Thus in reference to the body, the soul is masculine. But the soul in reference to the One Above i.e. the Holy One, blessed is He, Who refers to the soul as ‘One is she’ the soul is like a woman to a man, and each one takes their place according to their status. I.e. when the soul is in the active mode, imparting life to the body, it is regarded as masculine; when it is in the receiving mode, being granted life by the Almighty, then the soul is regarded as feminine.
(Zohar I, p. 124b, Midrash Ne’elam)
Alternatively, “One is she, My dove, My perfect one” refers to the holy Shechinah that emerged from the twelve lights that illuminate her. These are the twelve ‘edges of a cube’ that represent the furthest reaches of the illumination from the six sefirot of ze’ir anpin (which defines space, and therefore is represented by the cube). All of them illuminate malchut of Atzilut, the Shechinah, which in turn illuminates all those worlds below. And therefore she too is called ‘mother,’ because ultimately she is the one that passes on the illumination from Imma ila’a, the upper ‘mother’ – binah of Atzilut – which nourishes the other sefirot of ze’ir anpin (her ‘children’) to the worlds below, where malchut is referred to as Imma tata’a – the lower ‘mother.’
(Zohar II, p. 14b)
6:9 רָאוּהָ בָנוֹת וַיְאַשְּׁרוּהָ מְלָכוֹת וּפִילַגְשִׁים וַיְהַלְלוּהָ – Daughters look at her and laud her, royal offspring and consorts applaud her
Rabbi Yitzchak said: when the soul is found worthy of entering through the gates Jerusalem up above the central place of worship in the Garden of Eden the great Archangel Michael comes to greet that soul and accompany it through the gates and into the city, so to speak. Other ministering angels express their amazement at the soul having purified itself sufficiently to enter that lofty level of the Garden of Eden, and they ask, “Who is this ascending from the wilderness?” (Song of Songs 3:6). “ מִי זֹאת עֹלָה מִן הַמִּדְבָּר כְּתִימֲרוֹת עָשָׁן מְקֻטֶּרֶת מוֹר וּלְבוֹנָה מִכֹּל אַבְקַת רוֹכֵל is this ascending among those on high from a dried out corpse, like a puff of nothingness?”
And he the Archangel Michael responds and says, “One is she, My dove, My perfect one” – ‘one is she’ means ‘she is completely dedicated an alternative translation of אַחַת הִיא to her mother.’ ‘Her mother’ in this context is the Throne of Glory i.e. the Shechinah which is the ‘mother’ of the soul, to whom she gave birth – the soul descends to earth from the Throne of Glory. “Daughters look at her and laud her” – this refers to other souls that are also on that level, who are called ‘daughters of Jerusalem’ and they utter the praises of the soul that ascends among them to join them there….
Rabbi Yose said… when our verse states, “Royal offspring and consorts applaud her” – the explanation is this: ‘royal offspring’ refers to the Patriarchs, for they were indeed royalty, and ‘consorts’ refers to righteous converts. All of them praise and laud her i.e. the soul of a righteous tsaddik that ascends to their place, for when a soul enters into Jerusalem above, the soul is in a state of excellence, and there it resides forever.
(Zohar I, p. 125b, Midrash Ne’elam)
6:10 מִי זֹאת הַנִּשְׁקָפָה כְּמוֹ שָׁחַר יָפָה כַלְּבָנָה בָּרָה כַּחַמָּה אֲיֻמָּה כַּנִּדְגָּלוֹת – Who is this that appears like the dawn, comely as the moon, clear as the sun, like troops of angels, inspired with awe.
Rabbi Yehuda began explaining our verse: “Who is this that appears like the dawn” – this verse is referring to the Israelites when the blessed Holy One will fulfill His promise and take us out of exile at the dawn of the redemption. Then He will open up the gate of light just a crack. Afterwards He will open it more, until He opens the gates in all four directions.
(Zohar I, p. 170a)
Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai began, “Who is this that appears like the dawn, comely as the moon, clear as the sun, like troops of angels, inspired with awe” – when the verse asks ‘who is this’, mi (who) and zot (this), these two words allude to the secret of the two worlds that join as one, regarding which the verse (Psalms 106:48) states, “From this world to the next world.” Now the word mi which is translated as ‘who’ we already explained as alluding to the supernal level above called Imma ila’a i.e. binah, called ‘who’ since it is the first partzuf that is so lofty it is generally not known, but can be asked about. The simple meaning of ‘who’ is to ask ‘who is that?’ Nevertheless, the question cannot be answered in depth since we do not have the wherewithal to describe the essence of binah, but only the activities that derive therefrom, as the verse (Isaiah 40:26) indicates: שְׂאוּ־מָרוֹם עֵינֵיכֶם וּרְאוּ מִי־בָרָא אֵלֶּה הַמּוֹצִיא בְמִסְפָּר צְבָאָם לְכֻלָּם בְּשֵׁם יִקְרָא מֵרֹב אוֹנִים וְאַמִּיץ כֹּחַ אִישׁ לֹא נֶעְדָּר“Raise your eyes on high and see Who created these [things].” In other words, binah was their source but we cannot know the essence of that source, only what emerges from it – ‘these things.’ In technical terms, this refers to ze’ir anpin.
However, zot – ‘this’ – is the lower level, the lower world, the revealed world (malchut) that can be comprehended, and is therefore referred to as ‘this.’ Nevertheless, these two worlds are bound together as one, when the lower aspect of the higher world is invested in the higher aspect of the lower world and form a single bond.
(Zohar II, p. 126b)
6:11 אֶל גִּנַּת אֱגוֹז יָרַדְתִּי – To the nut-garden I descended
Rabbi Akiva said to him to Rabbi Eliezer ben Hurcanus: What is the meaning of the verse, ‘To the nut-garden I descended?’ He Rabbi Eliezer replied: Come and see. The Garden flows forth from Eden the partzuf of Abba (chochmah) and the Shechinah is called ‘Garden’ according to the mystical interpretation of the verse (Proverbs 3:19)יְהוָה בְּחָכְמָה יָסַד־אָרֶץ כּוֹנֵן שָׁמַיִם בִּתְבוּנָה: ‘G-d established the earth with wisdom,’ upon which the Zohar comments ‘the father (chochmah) establishes the daughter (malchut)’ i.e. Eden (chochmah) is the foundation and source of the Garden (malchut). The ‘nut’ mentioned in the verse refers to the holy Merkava the holy ‘chariot’ of malchut, comprising four angels Michael, Gabriel, Uriel and Raphael and their respective camps. Each of them represents a different sefirah within malchut – Michael chesed; Gabriel gevurah; Uriel tiferet; Raphael malchut. And they are the four river-heads that flow and spread out from the Garden of malchut, just like a nut (possibly a walnut) which has four sections within it.
And when the verse states, “To the nut-garden I descended” this is as we learned – ‘and so-and-so descended into the Merkava’ i.e. the person sank (‘descended’) into a deep meditation on some aspect of the Divine Presence.
Then Rabbi Akiva asked: If so if the nut alludes to the secret of the Merkavah then the verse should have said, “To the nut I descended!” Why does it say, “To the nut-garden I descended”?
Rabbi Eliezer replied: This is in order to express the praises of that ‘nut’ – the entire Garden of Eden is referred to as the ‘nut-garden’ since the holy Merkavah is its central theme and feature…
(Zohar II, p. 15b)
Alternatively, “To the nut-garden I descended” – for the sake of the nut-garden I descended, for the nut-garden is the Chamber of Love where Male alluding to G-d and Female alluding to the Jewish People cleave to one another – i.e. in the Temple where the Divine Presence was revealed on top of the Ark.
(Zohar I, p. 44b)
6:11 לִרְאוֹת בְּאִבֵּי הַנָּחַל – To see the trees by the stream
Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai said: What is the meaning of “To the nut-garden I descended to see the trees by the stream”? This alludes to what Ezekiel in his prophetic vision saw in that heavenly expanse created on the second day: “There was a likeness of an expanse above the heads of the Chaya, like the color of awesome ice, spread out over their heads from above” (Ezekiel 1:22).וּדְמוּת עַל־רָאשֵׁי הַחַיָּה רָקִיעַ כְּעֵין הַקֶּרַח הַנּוֹרָא נָטוּי עַל־רָאשֵׁיהֶם מִלְמָעְלָה: The blessed Holy One created that expanse and concealed it from all of the myriad hosts. Those worlds that the Holy One, blessed is He, delighted in, He concealed from them, and His precious glory He also hid from them. From those worlds and above is concealed, and concealed from all of them from all the angels, so that they all ask, “Where is the place of His glorious kingship?” To which the answer is, “Blessed be the glory of the Lord from its place” (Ezekiel 3:12) iוַתִּשָּׂאֵנִי רוּחַ וָאֶשְׁמַע אַחֲרַי קוֹל רַעַשׁ גָּדוֹל בָּרוּךְ כְּבוֹד־יְהֹוָה מִמְּקוֹמוֹ.e. from a place that is unknown to us (to the angels).
But now the question arises, how did King Solomon see (“to see the trees by the stream”) what even the angels could not? Rabbi Yochanan answered: Come and see: What does the verse state? “To the nut-garden I Solomon descended” – it doesn’t say “into the nut-garden” but merely “To the nut-garden…” This is like someone who descends and comes up to the garden, but does not enter in to it. And how much more so does he not come close to the central feature of the Garden, i.e. the nut, but only up to the Garden, and for sure he did not see what was inside the nut the four sections from which the four camps of angels emerge, as explained above. All the more so that the verse states “I came to see”, not “he saw.” Meaning to say, he descended and approached the outside Garden around the nut-tree to attempt to see, but the verse does not state that he actually saw even into the Garden, which surrounds the nut.
(Zohar Chadash, Bereishit p. 9b, Sulam)
שְׂאוּ־מָרוֹם עֵינֵיכֶם וּרְאוּ מִי־בָרָא אֵלֶּה הַמּוֹצִיא בְמִסְפָּר צְבָאָם לְכֻלָּם בְּשֵׁם יִקְרָא מֵרֹב אוֹנִים וְאַמִּיץ כֹּחַ אִישׁ לֹא נֶעְדָּר:
6:11 הֲפָרְחָה הַגֶּפֶן הֵנֵצוּ הָרִמֹּנִים – To see if the vine was in bloom; did the pomegranates begin to plume
The Tikunei Zohar discusses the nature of the future redemption and how it will be different from previous ones.
Several souls in the guise of wise old men came to reveal the secrets of the Torah to Rabbi Shimon. The third of these wise old souls spoke up and said: Come and see: When her (the Shechina’s) Beloved in technical terms Ze’ir Anpin comes to her, He will tell the two anointed ones Mashiach ben David and Mashiach ben Yosef, “Let us get up early and go to the vineyards” (Song of Songs 7:13) נַשְׁכִּימָה לַכְּרָמִים נִרְאֶה אִם פָּרְחָה הַגֶּפֶן פִּתַּח הַסְּמָדַר הֵנֵצוּ הָרִמּוֹנִים שָׁם אֶתֵּן אֶת־דֹּדַי לָךְ:in order to redeem the Jewish People from exile. About them the verse (Isaiah 5:7)כִּי כֶרֶם יְהֹוָה צְבָאוֹת בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאִישׁ יְהוּדָה נְטַע שַׁעֲשׁוּעָיו וַיְקַו לְמִשְׁפָּט וְהִנֵּה מִשְׂפָּח לִצְדָקָה וְהִנֵּה צְעָקָה: states, “The vineyard of G‑d, the Lord of Hosts, is the House of Israel.”
“To see if the vine is in bloom”– if the Shechinah has bloomed among them as a result of their good deeds.
And did the pomegranates begin to plume – referring to those who have not been very diligent in observing the Commandments, but are nevertheless as full of good deeds as a pomegranate is full of seeds, as our Sages note in the Talmud (Eruvin 19a): ‘Even the sinners among the Israelites are as full of good deeds as a pomegranate is full of seeds.’
Rabbi Shimon rose and said, “Venerable Sage, venerable Sage! You cited the verse, “Let us get up early and go to the vineyards” referring to vineyards owned by Jews and representing the Jewish People. But there are vineyards that do not belong to Israel, as the Shechinah herself states in the verse (Song of Songs 1:6)אַל תִּרְאוּנִי שֶׁאֲנִי שְׁחַרְחֹרֶת, שֶׁשְּׁזָפַתְנִי הַשָּׁמֶשׁ; בְּנֵי אִמִּי נִחֲרוּ בִישָׂמֻנִי נֹטֵרָה אֶת הַכְּרָמִים; כַּרְמִי שֶׁלִּי, לֹא נָטָרְתִּי
states, “They set me to guard their vineyard, but my own I did not oversee.” The Shechinah tended and enriched the vineyards of others, but her own vineyard, the Jewish People, she did not take care of – they received only the leftovers after all the nations of the world had taken the lion’s share. This is due to the admixture of the ‘mixed multitudes’ – the erev rav – other nations who were also enslaved in Egypt together with the Israelites and who fled Egypt with the Israelites at the Exodus. Moshe allowed them to join the Jewish People, but they caused endless problems. The same issue continued later with the admixture of other nations during the exiles of the Israelites.
Therefore, the blessed Holy One will come to the Shechinah in the future in the period just before the final redemption and will tell her, “Let us get up early and go to the vineyards” and see whether the vines are in bloom – whether the vines have been prevented from blossoming due to the presence of the erev rav, or whether they have succeeded in planting vineyards that have remained faithful to G-d, regarding which the verse (Isaiah 5:7) כִּי כֶרֶם יְהֹוָה צְבָאוֹת בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאִישׁ יְהוּדָה נְטַע שַׁעֲשׁוּעָיו וַיְקַו לְמִשְׁפָּט וְהִנֵּה מִשְׂפָּח לִצְדָקָה וְהִנֵּה צְעָקָה:states, “For the House of Israel is the vineyard of the Lord of Hosts.”
“Did the pomegranates begin to plume” – this refers to those who are as full of mitzvot – they fulfill as many of the Torah’s Commandments as they can – as a pomegranate is full of seeds. There among them I will place My beloved ones those saintly Tsaddikim who serve out Me of love, there I will place them for your sake for the sake of the Shechinah for they will be the ones to accompany the Shechinah out of exile, when (Song of Songs 2:11) כִּי הִנֵּה הַסְּתָיו עָבָר הַגֶּשֶׁם חָלַף הָלַךְ לוֹ“the winter is past”, alluding to the dominance of the guardian angels of the nations that will cease with the advent of the Messianic era, and when (ibid.) “the rain is over and gone” – the dominant influence of the erev rav will cease.
(Tikunei Zohar p. 144a)
6:12 לֹא יָדַעְתִּי נַפְשִׁי שָׂמַתְנִי מַרְכְּבוֹת עַמִּי נָדִיב – I did not even know that my soul had placed me on the markava of my royal Father
The Zohar does not comment on this verse, but the Midrash (Shir haShirim Rabba on the verse) offers several interpretations:
Rabbi Chiya taught: This is analogous to a royal princess [who had somehow got lost, and] was gathering leftovers among the stubble. The king happened to pass by and recognized her as his daughter. So he sent one of his noblemen to get her and he brought her to sit with him in his carriage. Her friends were amazed and said, “Yesterday you were gathering among the stubble, and now you’re sitting in the royal carriage with the king?” She replied: “Just as you are amazed at me, so am I amazed at myself!” And then she said, “I did not even know where my soul had placed me.”
So too, when the Israelites were enslaved in Egypt making clay into bricks, and were repulsive to and despised by the Egyptians, when they were redeemed and free, and became the nobility of the world, the other nations of expressed their amazement, saying: “Yesterday you were slaves making clay into bricks, and now you are free people and belong to the nobility?” And the Israelites themselves replied, “We too are amazed at ourselves!” And they said about themselves: “I did not even know where my soul had placed me.”
The Midrash goes on to explain that the same verse applies to Joseph who rose from slavery to royalty; and to David who fled for his life from Saul and then became king; and to Mordechai and the story of Purim, that yesterday he was wearing sackcloth and ashes, and today he strides in royal robes before the king. Finally this can also be said about the Jewish People at the time of the final redemption – they will have endured millennia of exile and will finally be returned to their royal palace with the building of the Third Temple.
Likutei Torah explains that “I did not even know… my soul” is because the root of the soul is so lofty that it transcends the possibility of being known.
 See Zohar I, 215a, 256a. This refers to the immanent Divine Presence.
 See Numbers 15:37-41.
 Deuteronomy 6:8.
 As the alternative reading states.
 Some translate שׁוֹשַׁנִּים as ‘lilies.’ However, since lilies have only 6 petals (or more accurately three petals and three sepals) it is hard to see how the Zohar can be referring to lilies. Some varieties of roses, however, have 10-20 petals. A rose with 13 petals or more is called a semidouble rose.
 Tikunei Zohar, Tikun 66 (p. 97b): “A person must trip away all other thoughts when he comes to unify the Holy One, blessed is He, in Shema.”
 (דברים ו, ה) וְאָהַבְתָּ אֵת ה’ אֱלֹקֶיךָ בְּכָל לְבָבְךָ וּבְכָל נַפְשְׁךָ וּבְכָל מְאֹדֶךָ
 E.g. Psalms 45:1; 80:1.
 Note that although binah is associated with the left side of the brain, it is known to control the functions of the right side of the body.
 Zohar II, 14a.
 Zohar II, 14a.
 Cf. Bava Metzia 85b. See Pardes Rimonim 24:14.
 See Eruvin end 21b; Shir haShirim Rabba on the verse, and in Zohar II, 116a; Zohar III, 140a.
 The previous passage in the Zohar makes clear that we are talking about Atik Yomin. Ateret Tzvi (and following him Matok MiDevash) explains this as referring to Arich Anpin. However, it seems that the intention here must be Atik Yomin, since only of Atik does the Zohar (vol. III, 129a) state: לית שמאלא בהאי עתיקא – ‘there is no left side [harshness, severity] in Atik’ specifically, but not of Arich.
 עיני העדה. See Numbers 15:24; Ta’anit 24a, Rashi – “These are the Sages who light up the eyes of the community.”
 Arizal, Sha’ar HaPesukim on this verse.
 Talmud Nedarim 38a; Tanchuma, Zot HaBracha 1:1.
 Idra Rabba Zohar III, 130a.
 במדבר (יד, יד): כִּי אַתָּה ה’ בְּקֶרֶב הָעָם הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר עַיִן בְּעַיִן נִרְאָה אַתָּה ה’
 The identical idea is presented in Eruvin 19a: אַל תִּיקְרֵי ״רַקָּתֵךְ״ אֶלָּא ״רֵיקָתֵיךְ״, שֶׁאֲפִילּוּ רֵיקָנִין שֶׁבָּךְ מְלֵיאִין מִצְוֹת כְּרִמּוֹן and in several Midrashim, including Bereishit Rabba 32:10
 See Genesis 49:9; Midrash Rabba Bereishit ch. 95.
 It seems from numerous verses that an army of soldiers was divided into units of 10,000. See Judges 4:6, 4:10, 20:34; Samuel I 15:4; Samuel II 18:3; Kings I 5:28.
 See Intro to Tikunei Zohar, Patach Eliyahu: מלכות פה תורה שבעל פה קרינן לה – “Malchut is [represented by] the mouth. We call her the Oral Torah.”
 According to the GRA’s amendment of the text this should read, ‘these are the sixty Tractates [of the Talmud].’
 According to the Beit Yosef, at the beginning of his Kelalei HaTalmud, originally there were six hundred Mishnaic tractates which Rabbi Yehudah haNassi reorganized into six tractates. See also Machzor Vitri, Sefer HaKana p. 81a, Sefer HaYuchasin p. 11a; Petach Einaim, Chagigah 14a.
 Perhaps 600 in binah and 6,000 in chochmah.
 An alternative explanation: 600,000 may refer to the number of letters of the Written Torah (the Five Books of Moses), which is ultimately the source of the Oral Torah. See Zohar Chadash, Shir haShirim 74d (Margolias). Although the Torah has only approximately 305,000 letters, the letters אהו”י are often replaced by vowel-nekudot (Likutei Torah, Behar 41b, 43). See also Megaleh Amukot, Ofen 186; Pnei Yehoshua Kidushin 30a ד”ה ת”ר
 See Siddur HaArizal (R. Shabtai version) in the section titled Kavanot haLimud cited also in Tanya, Iggeret HaKodesh p. 137a; Shulchan Aruch HaRav, Hilchot Talmud Torah II:2. See also Ramban’s Intro to Shir haShirim.
 See our Commentary above 5:7.
 See Talmud Shabbat 152b; Zohar I, 113a (Midrash Ne’elam); Zohar III, 29b.
 תהלים קו, מח) בָּרוּךְ יהו”ה אֱלֹקֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל מִן הָעוֹלָם וְעַד הָעוֹלָם וְאָמַר כָּל הָעָם אָמֵן הַלְלוּ יָ”הּ)
 Zohar III, 256b.
 Zohar III, 256b.
 Zohar III, 225a Raya Mehemna. There are opinions that Raphael is tiferet and Uriel is malchut.
 See Genesis 2:10: וְנָהָרּ יֹצֵא מֵעֵדֶן לְהַשְׁקוֹת אֶת הַגָּן וּמִשָּׁם יִפָּרֵד וְהָיָה לְאַרְבָּעָה רָאשִׁים
 Pirkei Heichalot 12:3, 16:3 and numerous places in Zohar.
 Jewish tradition speaks about the possibility of two Messiahs – one the descendent of Joseph and the other the descendent of Yehudah (Judah). The former, called Mashiach ben Yosef, will fight the battles of the Jewish People against their enemies and will be victorious. But he will be killed in battle and will be succeeded by Mashiach ben David, a descendent of Judah (Talmud, Sukkah 52a). The Zohar discusses this idea in numerous places, among them Zohar II 98a ff.; Zohar III 153b.
 This could be translated literally, as “Old man, old man!” But that somehow doesn’t ring quite right.
 Chukat, 64a.