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The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary
   

Shir Hashirim - Song of Songs - Chapter 2

Shir Hashirim - Song of Songs - Chapter 2

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Rashi's Commentary:

Chapter 2

1. "I am a rose of Sharon, a rose of the valleys."   א. אֲנִי חֲבַצֶּלֶת הַשָּׁרוֹן שׁוֹשַׁנַּת הָעֲמָקִים:
a rose: Heb. חֲבַצֶלֶת. This is a rose (שּׁוֹשַׁנָה).  
a rose of the valleys: This is prettier than the rose of the mountains because it is always moist, since the sun has no strength there.  
2. "As a rose among the thorns, so is my beloved among the daughters."   ב. כְּשׁוֹשַׁנָּה בֵּין הַחוֹחִים כֵּן רַעְיָתִי בֵּין הַבָּנוֹת:
As a rose among the thorns: which pierce it, but it remains constant in its beauty and its redness, so is my beloved among the daughters. They entice her to pursue them to stray like them after strange gods, but she remains firm in her faith.  
3. "As an apple tree among the trees of the forest, so is my beloved among the sons; in his shade I delighted and sat, and his fruit was sweet to my palate.   ג. כְּתַפּוּחַ בַּעֲצֵי הַיַּעַר כֵּן דּוֹדִי בֵּין הַבָּנִים בְּצִלּוֹ חִמַּדְתִּי וְיָשַׁבְתִּי וּפִרְיוֹ מָתוֹק לְחִכִּי:
As an apple tree among the trees of the forest: When an apple tree is among trees that do not bear fruit, it is more beloved than them all, for its fruit is good in both taste and fragrance.  
so is my beloved among the sons: among the young men. The allegory is that so is the Holy One, blessed be He, chosen above all the gods. Therefore, in His shade I delighted and sat. The Midrash Aggadah (Song Rabbah), [states]: This apple tree-all flee from it because it has no shade. So did all the nations flee from the Holy One, blessed be He, at the giving of the Torah, but I in His shade I delighted and sat.  
4. He brought me to the banquet hall, and his attraction to me [was symbolic of his] love.   ד. הֱבִיאַנִי אֶל בֵּית הַיָּיִן וְדִגְלוֹ עָלַי אַהֲבָה:
He brought me to the banquet hall: The Tent of Meeting, where the details and the explanations of the Torah were given.  
and his attraction to me [was symbolic of his] love: And his gathering, that he gathered me to him, that was love to me. I still remember his love. וְדִגְלוֹ is attrait in French.  
5. Sustain me with flagons of wine, spread my bed with apples, for I am lovesick.   ה. סַמְּכוּנִי בָּאֲשִׁישׁוֹת רַפְּדוּנִי בַּתַּפּוּחִים כִּי חוֹלַת אַהֲבָה אָנִי:
Sustain me: now as is the manner of the sick, with flagons of grape wine or with cakes of pure white flour.  
spread my bed: Spread my bed around me with apples for a good fragrance, in the manner of the sick, for I am sick for his love, for I thirst for Him here in my exile. רְפִידָה is an expression of a couch, like (Job 41:22): “where he lies (יִרְפַּד) is gold upon the mire.”  
6. His left hand was under my head, and his right hand would embrace me.   ו. שְׂמֹאלוֹ תַּחַת לְרֹאשִׁי וִימִינוֹ תְּחַבְּקֵנִי:
His left hand was under my head: in the desert.  
and his right hand would embrace me: He traveled a three-days’ journey; to search out a rest for them [as in Num. 10: 33], and in the place of the rest, He brought down manna and quails for them. All this I remember now in my exile, and I am sick for His love.  
7. I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or by the hinds of the field, that you neither awaken nor arouse the love while it is desirous.   ז. הִשְׁבַּעְתִּי אֶתְכֶם בְּנוֹת יְרוּשָׁלַ ִם בִּצְבָאוֹת אוֹ בְּאַיְלוֹת הַשָּׂדֶה אִם תָּעִירוּ | וְאִם תְּעוֹרְרוּ אֶת הָאַהֲבָה עַד שֶׁתֶּחְפָּץ:
I adjure you: you nations.  
by the gazelles or by the hinds: that you will be abandoned and preyed upon like gazelles and hinds.  
that you neither awaken nor arouse the love: that is between my beloved and I, to change it and to alter it and beg me to be enticed to follow you.  
while it is desirous: as long as it is thrust in my heart, and he desires me.  
while it is desirous: Heb. עַד, like (1: 12): “While (עַד) the king was at his table,” [i.e.,] while (בְּעוֹד) the king was still at his table.  
that you neither awaken: Heb. תָּעִירוּ, if you cause hatred, like (I Sam. 28:16): “and has become your adversary (עָרֶ) ” ; (Dan. 4:16): “and its interpretation for Your foes (לְעָרָ).”  
nor contest: Heb. תְּעוֹרְרוּ, like (Keth. 13:6): “one who contests the ownership (הָעוֹרֵר) of a field,” chalon[j]èr in Old French, to contest, claim. There are many aggadic midrashim but they do not fit the sequence of the topics, for I see that Solomon prophesied and spoke about the Exodus from Egypt and about the giving of the Torah, the Tabernacle, the entry to the Land, the Temple, the Babylonian exile, and the coming of the Second Temple and its destruction.  
8. The sound of my beloved! Behold, he is coming, skipping over the mountains, jumping over the hills.   ח. קוֹל דּוֹדִי הִנֵּה זֶה בָּא מְדַלֵּג עַל הֶהָרִים מְקַפֵּץ עַל הַגְּבָעוֹת:
The sound of my beloved: The poet returns to earlier topics, like a person who was brief with his words and later said, “I did not tell you the beginning of the matter.” He commenced by saying, “The king brought me into his chambers,” but did not tell how He remembered them in Egypt with an expression of affection, and now he returns and states: This attraction that I told you about, that my beloved drew me and I ran after him, came about as follows: I had despaired of the redemption until the completion of the four hundred years that were foretold [in the Covenant] between the Segments.  
The sound of my beloved! Behold, he is coming: before the end, as one skipping over the mountains and jumping over the hills.  
9. My beloved resembles a gazelle or a fawn of the hinds; behold, he is standing behind our wall, looking from the windows, peering from the lattices.   ט. דּוֹמֶה דוֹדִי לִצְבִי אוֹ לְעֹפֶר הָאַיָּלִים הִנֵּה זֶה עוֹמֵד אַחַר כָּתְלֵנוּ מַשְׁגִּיחַ מִן הַחֲלֹּנוֹת מֵצִיץ מִן הַחֲרַכִּים:
My beloved resembles a gazelle: in the swiftness of his running, for he hastened to come like a gazelle and like a fawn of the hinds. עֹפֶר is a young hind.  
behold, he is standing, etc.: I had expected to remain detained for many more days, and behold, he informed me that he was standing and peering from the windows of heaven at what was being done to me, as it is written (Exod. 3:7): “I have indeed seen the affliction of My people, etc.”  
10. My beloved raised his voice and said to me, 'Arise, my beloved, my fair one, and come away.   י. עָנָה דוֹדִי וְאָמַר לִי קוּמִי לָךְ רַעְיָתִי יָפָתִי וּלְכִי לָךְ:
raised his voice: Heb. עָנָה, an expression of answering and [sometimes] an expression of a loud cry, and the following is the precedent for them all (Deut. 27: 14): “And the Levites shall raise their voices (וְעָנוּ).”  
and said to me: through Moses.  
Arise: (Exod. 3:17): “I will bring you up from the affliction of Egypt.”  
11. For behold, the winter has passed; the rain is over and gone.   יא. כִּי הִנֵּה הַסְּתָו עָבָר הַגֶּשֶׁם חָלַף הָלַךְ לוֹ:
behold, the winter has passed: There is no difficulty in traveling now. סְתָיו is winter. The Targum of חֹרֶף (Gen. 8:22) is סִתְוָא.  
12. The blossoms have appeared in the land, the time of singing has arrived, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.   יב. הַנִּצָּנִים נִרְאוּ בָאָרֶץ עֵת הַזָּמִיר הִגִּיעַ וְקוֹל הַתּוֹר נִשְׁמַע בְּאַרְצֵנוּ:
The blossoms have appeared in the land: The days of summer are near, when the trees blossom and the travelers enjoy seeing them.  
the time of singing has arrived: when the birds give forth their song, and the sound is pleasant for travelers.  
and the voice of the turtledove: Heb. הַתּוֹר. According to its apparent meaning, this is a term referring to turtledoves and young pigeons. It is customary for the birds to sing and chirp in the days of Nissan.  
13. The fig tree has put forth its green figs, and the vines with their tiny grapes have given forth their fragrance; arise, my beloved, my fair one, and come away.   יג. הַתְּאֵנָה חָנְטָה פַגֶּיהָ וְהַגְּפָנִים | סְמָדַר נָתְנוּ רֵיחַ קוּמִי לָכְי רַעְיָתִי יָפָתִי וּלְכִי לָךְ:
The fig tree has put forth its green figs: [This is to be explained] according to its apparent meaning.  
and the vines with their tiny grapes: When the blossom falls, and the grapes are separated from one another, and each grape is recognizable by itself, it is called סְמָדַר. This entire episode, according to its simple meaning, is an expression of the affection of enticement, i.e., a young man appealing to his betrothed to follow him. So did my beloved do to me.  
[10] My beloved raised his voice: through Moses.  
and said to me: through Aaron.  
Arise, my beloved: Hurry (Exod. 11:2): “and let each man borrow from his neighbor.”  
[11] For behold, the winter has passed: These are the four hundred years. I skipped them by counting them from Isaac’s birth.  
the rain: which is the hardship of winter, is over and has gone away; i.e., eighty-six years of harsh slavery were decreed upon you, and they have gone away. From the time that Miriam was born, the Egyptians intensified the bondage upon Israel; therefore, she was called Miriam, because they made it bitter (מַר) for them.  
[12] The blossoms have appeared in the land: Behold Moses and Aaron are prepared for you to fulfill all your needs.  
the time of singing has arrived: you are destined to recite the Song by the Sea.  
and the voice of the turtledove: Heb. הַתּוֹר, the great guide (תַּיָר). Another explanation: קוֹל הַתּוֹר means the voice [announcing] that the time of your exodus from Egypt has arrived. [תּוֹר is explained to mean time, as in Esther (2:12,15).]  
[13] The fig tree put forth its green figs: The time to bring the first fruits has arrived, for you will enter the Land.  
and the vines with their tiny grapes: The time of the wine libations has drawn near. Another explanation: The pious among you ripened and blossomed good deeds before Me and emitted a pleasant scent.  
arise: Heb. קוּמִי לָכִי. A superfluous “yud” is written. Arise to receive the Ten Commandments. Another explanation: “The fig tree has put forth its green figs” -These are the transgressors of Israel, who perished during the three days of darkness.  
and the vines with their tiny grapes gave forth their fragrance: Those who remained of them repented and were accepted. So it is interpreted in Pesikta (Rabbathi 15:11, 12; Pesikta d’Rav Kahana, p. 50).  
14. My dove, in the clefts of the rock, in the coverture of the steps, show me your appearance, let me hear your voice, for your voice is pleasant and your appearance is comely.'   יד. יוֹנָתִי בְּחַגְוֵי הַסֶּלַע בְּסֵתֶר הַמַּדְרֵגָה הַרְאִינִי אֶת מַרְאַיִךְ הַשְׁמִיעִנִי אֶת קוֹלֵךְ כִּי קוֹלֵךְ עָרֵב וּמַרְאֵיךְ נָאוֶה:
My dove, in the clefts of the rock: This is said concerning that time when Pharaoh pursued them and overtook them camping by the sea with no avenue of escape before them because of the sea, and they could not turn because of the wild beasts. What did they resemble at that time? A dove that fled from a hawk and entered the clefts of the rocks, and a snake was hissing at her. Should she enter within, there was the snake. Should she go outside, there was the hawk. The Holy One, blessed be He, said to her, “Show Me your appearance,” the propriety of your deeds, to whom you turn in time of trouble.  
let me hear your voice: (Exod. 14:10): “And the Children of Israel cried out to the Lord.”  
in the clefts of: Heb. בְּחַגְוֵי, in the clefts; this is a term referring to a breach, and similar to this is (Ps. 107:27): “They were frightened (יָחוֹגוּ) and staggered” ; (Isa. 19:17): “And the land of Judah will be to Egypt for a dread (לְחָגָא),” and in the plural Scripture calls them חַגְוֵי. Similarly, from קֵץ (end) קַצְוֵי, and so, (II Sam. 10:4): “and he cut off their garments (מַדְוֵיהֶם).”  
steps: Heb. מַדְרֵיגָה, échelons, in French, steps. When they make a ditch around the towers and pour the earth from above to raise the mound roundabout, they make it [in] many steps, one above the other.  
in the coverture of the steps: There are sometimes holes in them, and reptiles and birds enter therein.  
15. Seize for us the foxes, the little foxes, who destroy the vineyards, for our vineyards are with tiny grapes.   טו. אֶחֱזוּ לָנוּ שׁוּעָלִים שֻׁעָלִים קְטַנִּים מְחַבְּלִים כְּרָמִים וּכְרָמֵינוּ סְמָדַר:
Seize for us the foxes: The Holy One, blessed be He, heard their voice, commanded the sea, and it inundated them. That is the meaning of “Seize for us” these “foxes,” the little ones with the big ones, for even the little ones were destroying the vineyards, when our vineyards were still with סְמָדַר, when the grapes were tiny. When a Jewish woman gave birth to a male and hid him, the Egyptians entered their houses and searched for the males, but the baby was concealed, and he was a year or two old. So they would bring a baby from an Egyptian home; the Egyptian baby would speak, and the Jewish baby would answer him from his hiding place; and they would seize him and cast him into the Nile. Now why does he call them foxes? Just as the fox looks to turn around to flee, so did the Egyptians look behind them, as it is written (Exod. 14:25): “I shall flee from before Israel.”  
little foxes: Heb. שֻּׁעָלִים. It is written without a “vav”, because He punished them with water, which was measured with the gait (בְּשָּׁעֳלוֹ) of the Omnipresent.  
16. My beloved is mine, and I am his, who grazes among the roses.   טז. דּוֹדִי לִי וַאֲנִי לוֹ הָרֹעֶה בַּשּׁוֹשַׁנִּים:
My beloved is mine, and I am his: He demanded all His needs from me; He commanded only me: Make a Passover sacrifice, hallow the firstborn, make a Tabernacle, sacrifice burnt offerings, and He did not demand these things of any other nation.  
and I am his: All my needs I demanded of Him, and not of other deities.  
who grazes: his flock among the roses, in a good, pleasant, and beautiful pasture.  
17. Until the sun spreads, and the shadows flee, go around; liken yourself, my beloved, to a gazelle or to a fawn of the hinds, on distant mountains."   יז. עַד שֶׁיָּפוּחַ הַיּוֹם וְנָסוּ הַצְּלָלִים סֹב דְּמֵה לְךָ דוֹדִי לִצְבִי אוֹ לְעֹפֶר הָאַיָּלִים עַל הָרֵי בָתֶר:
Until the sun spreads: This refers back to the preceding verse: “My beloved is mine, and I am his,” until the time that the iniquity caused the sun to darken me in the heat of the day, and the heat to intensify.  
and the shadows flee: We sinned with the Calf; we sinned with the Spies, and the shadows fled, the merits that protected us. We broke off His yoke.  
go around, liken yourself, my beloved: I caused him to leave me on mountains distant from me.  
distant: Heb. בָתֶר, an expression of separation and distancing.  
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