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SONG OF SONGS: CHAPTER SIX (Song Five)

Among the multitude, the sixty queens and eighty concubines, this maiden stood apart, an enigma, unique and irreplaceable in his heart, her essence resonating with a depth and purity unmatched.

by Rabbi Boruch Merkur

In the heart of Jerusalem, where tales of old resonate with the hustle and bustle of the present, there emerged an inquiry that stirred the souls of its residents. The women of the city, drawn to the allure of an enigmatic presence, voiced their longing: “Whither has your beloved gone, O fairest of women? Whither has your beloved turned? Let us seek him with you.”


At the end of days, it was foretold that the Beloved would come to the maiden openly. The daughters of Jerusalem and even the king himself would plead with her not to part from them. Yet, fortified by the intensity of her love, the maiden would venture into the wilderness, never to return, signifying the unstoppable nature of true love – a love so profound that the mightiest rivers could not extinguish it.


Recognizing the significance of the Beloved and the invaluable nature of this love, the daughters of Jerusalem agreed to join the maiden in her search. They inquired, not just of his whereabouts but also of the direction in which he turned, indicating their intent to seek him earnestly.


As the narrative unfolds, there's a profound undercurrent that speaks of Solomon's impending end. At this pivotal moment, even the faculties of the body recognize the superiority of the divine Beloved and the soul's deep yearning to unite with him. As Solomon's soul prepares to rejoin its divine source, all the forces of the body gather around the heavenly maiden, signaling their readiness to ascend with her. Their query, “Whither has your beloved gone?” highlights moments when the soul perceives the Divine through prophecy and spiritual visions, seeking the exact location of the Divine presence.


There are times when the soul seeks the Divine through introspection and inquiry. Such pursuits can sometimes lead the soul astray, making it imperative to find the right path to perceive the Divine face. This deep yearning, this quest for connection, symbolizes humanity's eternal search for the Divine, a search that finds expression in every heart and soul throughout the ages.


In the serene garden, where the fragrant air is rich with the scent of spices, the Beloved descends from the majestic mountains of Bether. The garden is vast and filled with myriad wonders, but he is drawn to one particular spot: the beds of spices. These beds represent his beloved, the one who emanates a fragrance that captivates his senses more than any other in the garden. She is like a unique spice, offering an aroma so distinct and pure that it stands out amidst all the other fragrances.


It's evident that he is not here just for any part of the garden. He moves with purpose, seeking to pasture among the verdant expanses, where he might tend to his flock. Yet, when it comes to picking, he chooses only the lilies, the symbols of his one true love and the desire of his heart. To him, these lilies epitomize the love and beauty of his cherished one.


Parallelly, the soul of Solomon senses an intimate connection, feeling as if the divine Beloved is drawing closer from His sacred abode. This feeling is profound and overwhelming, like a spiritual beckoning. The soul proclaims, "Behold, now the Beloved has descended to his garden!" But not just any part of the garden. Among all the faculties and souls present, he gravitates towards the bed of spices. This bed represents the divine soul, a spiritual entity imbued with the essence of the Creator. It's like a fertile plot where five seeds are sown, corresponding to the five blessings of the soul that King David spoke of in relation to God and the divine spirit. This very essence rises, offering an aroma pleasing to the divine.


When he pastures in the gardens, it signifies the gardens of the body, the physical faculties and growths which, through the process of life and death, purify and return to their elemental forms. Over time, these elements undergo transformations and reincarnations, gradually building a new structure. But the lilies, which symbolize the holy souls, are picked and stored in His treasuries, safeguarded for eternity.


Here our tale offers insights into life's journey and the soul's ascent, especially during the passing of the righteous. In this story, the garden is life itself — filled with challenges and blessings. The lilies represent the pure-hearted souls navigating this journey. Through such tales, we gain clarity about our relationship with the Divine and the purpose of our time on Earth.


In the soft glow of the twilight, she stands amid a fragrant field of blossoms, a vision of serenity and devotion. The lilies sway gently, brushing against her garments, a silent testament to her unyielding bond. "I am my Beloved’s," she whispers, the breeze carrying her declaration forward, "And my Beloved is mine."


Her heart, now fervently drawn towards the Divine, finds itself intertwined in a union so sacred — a kind of death by a kiss, where her soul becomes one with her celestial counterpart. The intensity of her longing for the Divine grows each moment, a passionate yearning, so raw, so real. And in this beautiful communion, the Supreme Shepherd presents to her lilies, not mere flowers, but symbols of her righteous deeds and virtuous actions, each petal releasing an aroma of approval. Each bloom stands as a testament to her purity and dedication, echoing the love and commitment she shares with her Beloved. In this sacred meadow, the essence of her virtues takes root, and her love story with the Divine unfurls, one petal at a time.


In the midst of a city that gleamed with the wisdom of ages, she stood radiant and resplendent. "You are beautiful, my darling, as Tirzah, comely as Jerusalem, awesome as bannered hosts," he proclaimed, his voice echoing with genuine admiration. It wasn't just the allure of Tirzah that she embodied, but the magnetism that came with willingly returning to him, reigniting the flame of their bond. The grandeur of Jerusalem, revered by all, was mirrored in her. Every alley, every stone of that sacred city, found its reflection in her. She was, among the city's daughters, the most luminous.


And then there was her formidable presence, reminiscent of vast armies with their banners unfurled, a force that drew all in reverence. The Supreme David, addressing the essence of Solomon, recognized her transcendent beauty. It wasn't merely physical allure; her deeds had endeared her, and past wrongs had been absolved. In her, he saw the entirety of Jerusalem, both its tangible streets and its allegorical essence. The wisdom she embraced, rooted in the Torah, surrounded her with an assembly of celestial beings. Guardian angels, ever-watchful, ensuring no harm would come her way. Her aura was such that it set boundaries, ensuring only the worthy approached.


In the vibrant heart of the city, her Beloved stood, an emblem of authority and wisdom. The air shimmered with the weight of prophecy, every whisper echoing with revelations. He turned to her, his eyes revealing an almost unbearable intensity. "Turn your eyes away from me," he implored, "For they overwhelm me!" The impact of her gaze held an untold power, one that reached into the core of his being.


Such was the depth of her insight, a vision that had once wandered the corridors of Solomon's chambers, viewing her Beloved from a distance, observing from the periphery. Yet now, the distance had been bridged. No longer were her eyes directed towards Solomon's chambers; they were fixed solely on him. Her eyes were beams of light that shone and magnified his presence in the world. Her gaze testified to his grandeur and dominion.


She possessed a beauty, not just in appearance but in essence. "Your hair is like a flock of goats streaming down from Gilead." Every strand of her hair symbolized the various spiritual concepts and contemplations she had attained – a tangible representation of her spiritual insights and the very core of her soul.


However, a pivotal moment had arrived. The need to look beyond mere physicality and connect more profoundly with her spiritual core became paramount. The externalities, symbolized by her neck and bosom which represented the earthly passions and desires, were to be transcended. For she was on the precipice of surpassing material bounds, forsaking the constraints of the physical to embrace the limitless expanse of the spiritual realm. The journey she embarked upon was not just of love but of profound introspection and enlightenment.


In the meadow, the maiden looks to her Beloved. "Your teeth," she observes, "are like a flock of ewes climbing up from the washing pool. Each gleaming, aligned, all bearing twins. Just as those ewes never lose their young, your smile holds a flawless unity."


He understands her deeper meaning. Beyond the physical resemblance, she speaks of unity, strength, and unwavering support. The surrounding nature seems to mirror their connection, and the insights from the Song of Songs guide them further.


Amidst the beauty that surrounds them, she turns to her Beloved and says, "Your teeth are like a flock of ewes climbing up from the washing pool. Each one paired in symmetry, none without its match." The analogy paints a picture of perfection and unity, much like their bond.


In the soft glow of the setting sun, he notices her, her brow shining behind the veil. "Your brow," he remarks gently, "gleams like a pomegranate split open, vibrant and radiant." The intimate moment lingers, the beauty of the pomegranate reflecting the deep connection between them.


In the midst of a grand assembly, she finds herself surrounded by a multitude of onlookers. The city is alive with whispers of her presence, and the daughters of Jerusalem gather to bear witness. Among them, she can't help but notice the grandeur and opulence that surrounds her.


There are sixty queens, she observes to herself, considering the power and prestige of the kings' consorts. "And eighty concubines," she adds, thinking of the secondary wives with roles less elevated than the queens, yet still significant. Her eyes drift further, finding young maidens, countless in number, each possessing a unique allure and charm. These damsels, though innumerable, have their own stories and significances.


Turning her attention back to her Beloved, she ponders aloud, addressing the daughters of Jerusalem, "Why does he need another when he already has so much? My love, my connection with him is unique. It stands out even in this vast sea of beauty and grandeur."


In the greater cosmic landscape, her statement holds even deeper significance. As the soul gazes upon the forces of the body, represented by the daughters of Jerusalem, it perceives the myriad powers and energies that animate the physical realm. The soul recognizes Solomon, embodying the ruling force of the body, surrounded by various energies. Sixty principal forces rule the body, while eighty lesser forces, akin to concubines, play their part. Beneath them lies an infinite array of attributes, traits, and energies, so vast that they are beyond enumeration.


Yet, amidst all these forces and energies, the soul's connection to the Divine remains unparalleled. It seeks not just to be another force among many, but to be the singular, unique bridge between the material and the spiritual, forging an unbreakable bond with the Divine.


In a tranquil grove, surrounded by nature's serenity, she beholds the male figure with profound admiration. To her, he is her Beloved, unparalleled and unique. "Only one is my dove, my perfect one, the only one of her mother, the delight of her who bore her." As these words linger in the air, others notice the singular beauty of this dove — the pure and holy soul. It is not just any entity; it stands distinguished from the rest of the world's creations.


The journey of the soul is a marvel. It remains untainted despite the multitude of physical forces and influences. This soul is singular, even in the eyes of her 'mother,' the physical body. It is as if the body bore many offspring, various desires and inclinations, but this soul — this dove — remains its crowning achievement. Its brilliance is so evident that even the maidens, queens, and concubines, representing various worldly and spiritual forces, recognize its worth. They acclaim and praise her, acknowledging that among the diverse creations and inclinations, this soul shines with unparalleled splendor.


Through her, the world glimpses true happiness, understanding that she alone is the true portion of the Divine in this world. Even the very forces that often oppose or challenge the soul, symbolized as the queens and concubines, cannot help but sing her praises. She is the epitome of understanding and wisdom, unmatched by any other force bound to the body.


In the heart of Jerusalem, the early rays of dawn painted a soft glow across the ancient city walls. A hushed whisper spread among the city's inhabitants: "Who is she that shines through like the dawn?" It was a sight that held everyone in awe.


She was the embodiment of a moment suspended between day and night. Like the horizon during the earliest hours, when the last shimmer of the moon lingers while the sun begins its ascent, she seemed to exist in two worlds at once. Her radiance was reminiscent of the moon, softly glowing and drawing all eyes to her, but she also had the clear brightness of the sun, fierce and undeniable. And above all, there was something about her that was as formidable and captivating as a vast, bannered army, echoing the myriad stars and celestial constellations that twinkle at dawn.


The powers of the world felt a profound change; it was as if the soul of Solomon was parting from its earthly form. "Who is she, glimpsing through the windows, emerging from the earthly realm?" they questioned. Her essence, peering from the confines of the physical, was reaching out, yearning to transcend its worldly limitations. She stood at the threshold, a border between the temporary darkness of earthly existence and the eternal light of an everlasting dawn.


While her soul had resided in this world, confined by the material, she resembled the moon, which, though beautiful, does not possess its own light. Instead, the moon reflects the sun's radiant beams. Similarly, the soul, during its time on earth, does not shine with its intrinsic luminance. It derives its glow from the greater light, the Divine illumination that pierces through the layers of existence. Yet, as she was on the verge of returning to her divine origin, she mirrored the sun, embodying a light that was innate, pure, and self-sustaining.


At this pivotal moment of separation from the physical world, she was akin to the dawn, a time when both the major luminaries - the moon and the sun - coexist. Her beauty, once reflected like the moon, now shone with an intrinsic brilliance, radiant and full of promise, echoing the eternal journey of the soul back to its celestial home.


In a serene moment, she finds herself venturing into the nut grove. This place, laden with symbolic resonance, represents the physical realm where layers upon layers of meaning veil the innermost truths. Just as the nut is surrounded by shells, so too is the material world, with its layers obscuring deeper spiritual realities.


She isn't merely here on a whimsical stroll. Her purpose is clear. She seeks to observe the young shoots in the brook, yearning to discern what her life in this physical form can salvage and redeem when the inevitable separation arrives. As her eyes trace the lush vegetation, they settle upon the vines. They symbolize contemplation and intellectual pursuits – the wine it yields is akin to the intoxication of profound understanding. But her gaze doesn't stop there; it shifts to the budding pomegranates. These fruits, bursting with seeds, hint at the 613 commandments, the foundation of her spiritual journey.


She reflects upon her own existence, her body akin to the nut grove. What has she achieved in terms of understanding? What has her devotion brought forth? As the day progresses, she contemplates these questions, seeking to carry forward the fruits of her earthly sojourn into an eternal embrace.


In the tranquility of the nut grove, her introspection deepens. Her surroundings fade as her inner thoughts take over, pulling her into a new realm of reflection. She muses, "Before I knew it, my desire set me mid the chariots of Ammi-nadib."


Lost in her thoughts, she feels a gentle tug at her consciousness. It isn't a conscious decision she recalls making but rather the call of her soul, her Beloved shepherd, guiding her journey. This call, imbued with prophecy, sets her among the chariots of her noble people. This sudden transport isn't about a change of physical location but rather a shift in spiritual perspective. The chariots symbolize her ascent to a higher state of being, to align herself with the noble ones of her lineage, no longer confined to the chambers of Solomon.


This mysterious transport isn't rooted in her own volition. As she contemplates her earthly actions, the impermanence of life, and her deeds' lasting impact, a realization dawns upon her. It feels as if her soul, represented by the Divine, has now set her upon a chariot. This chariot, blazing with fire and led by horses of flame, carries her swiftly toward the heavens, toward the community of the righteous, the souls that have ascended before her. With this profound understanding, she recognizes her place among the noble souls, redefining her spiritual journey and purpose on earth.

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