Rabbi Moshe Goldsmith
It is an ancient custom to read the Song of Songson Shabbat Cholo Moed Pesach. The Song of Songs is described by the great Rabbi Akiva, the holy of holies. Why does Rabbi Akiva place this song above all others? Rashi, in his introduction to his commentary on the Song of Songs gives us a very profound insight into why this song is deemed the holiest of all. Rashi explains that King Solomon saw in a prophetic vision, the Jewish Nation destined to suffer two exiles and two destructions. In their exile they will mourn as they recollect upon their previous relationship with Hashem while they were living as G-d’s chosen people in the land of Israel. They will say “let us go and return to our first husband.” They will repent over their sins that brought them out of the land and will remember Hashem’s kindness and the good that He promised them at the end of days. In this background, with Divine inspiration, King Solomon wrote the Song of Songs portraying a widow desiring to return to her husband as she recalls the love they shared as youngsters and admits to her sins that caused their separation. At the same time her husband feels her sorrow and remembers her kindness, beauty, and talent that first brought them together and bounded them with a burning love and informs her that this separation is not a separation for she still is his wife and he her husband and he is destined to return to her.
There are those that look upon this holy song with secular eyes not being able to see the true depth of it thus putting it on the bookshelf with other love songs. Harav Avraham Isaac Kook zt”l calls such people cross-eyed midgets that are crawling around the lowest level of stones of a fortified tower on a hill and measure the tower’s height that reaches the clouds with a mere outstretch of their short arms. They say that Rabbi Akiva called the Song of Songs the holy of holies because of his personal love story with the daughter of Kalba Savua, Rachel, and therefore it meant so much for him. Rav Kook continues that those with pure hearts will see Rabbi Akiva in his greatness. Rabbi Akiva that laughs when he sees a fox come out of the holy of holies in the temple, because as the love of G-D flowed from the depths of his heart the future was close to his uplifted soul as he pictured Rome an its pagan ways dissipate and vanish giving way to the light of Zion that will shine forever. It was Rabbi Akiva that while the Romans were combing his flesh with combs of iron was able to say “all my life I remorse over the verse that one must serve G-D with all his soul when will such an opportunity come to my hands and I will do it in his dying breath. Rabbi Akiva was able to utter the Shema Yisrael and his soul left his body while saying the word one (Achad)! Only Rabbi Akiva can say that the entire world is not worthy as the day that the Song of Song was given to Israel for all the scriptures are holy but the song of song is the holy of holies!
As we read the Song of Songs in this very generation of the bride being returned to her husband, we merit the witnessing of the fruition of prophesy. We have to be able to discern what is really happening today, and uncover all the husks that are trying to cover over this reality. The light of the Holy Land, of it’s people returned to her, will overcome all obstacles.
“Many waters cannot extinguish the love, neither can the floods drown it.”Song of Songs 8:7
Shabbat Shalom, Rabbi Moshe Goldsmith