Contact Us
The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary

Shir Hashirim - Song of Songs - Chapter 6

Shir Hashirim - Song of Songs - Chapter 6

 Email
Rashi's Commentary:
Show content in:

Chapter 6

1"Where has your beloved gone, O fairest of women? Where has your beloved turned, that we may seek him with you?"   אאָנָה הָלַ֣ךְ דּוֹדֵ֔ךְ הַיָּפָ֖ה בַּנָּשִׁ֑ים אָ֚נָה פָּנָ֣ה דוֹדֵ֔ךְ וּנְבַקְשֶׁ֖נּוּ עִמָּֽךְ:
Where has your beloved gone: The nations taunt and provoke Israel, “Where has your Beloved gone?” Why has He left you abandoned like a widow?  
Where has your beloved turned: When He returned and caused His spirit to rest on Cyrus, and sanctioned the rebuilding of the Temple, and they commenced to build, they came and said to them, “Where has your Beloved turned?” If He is returning to you, we will seek Him with you, as is stated (Ezra 4: 1f): “Now the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the people of the exile were building a Temple, etc. And they approached Zerubbabel, etc.: Let us build with you, for like you we seek your God, etc.” But their intention was for evil, in order to stop the work. And they replied to them:  
2"My beloved has gone down to his garden, to the spice beds, to graze in the gardens and to gather roses.   בדּוֹדִי֙ יָרַ֣ד לְגַנּ֔וֹ לַֽעֲרֻג֖וֹת הַבֹּ֑שֶׂם לִרְעוֹת֙ בַּגַּנִּ֔ים וְלִלְקֹ֖ט שֽׁוֹשַׁנִּֽים:
My beloved has gone down to his garden: He commanded us to build His Temple, and He will be there with us.  
to the spice beds: to the place where the incense is burned.  
to graze in the gardens: And further, He went down to pasture His flocks in the gardens where they were scattered, i.e., those who did not come up from the exile. He causes His Shechinah to rest upon them in the synagogues and in the study halls.  
and to gather roses: He listens and hearkens to those who speak of His Torah, to collect their merits and to inscribe them in a memorial book before Him, as it is stated (Mal. 3:16): “Then the God-fearing men spoke…[and a book of remembrance was written before Him…]” Now, concerning your request to seek with us and to build with us, “I am my Beloved’s,” but you are not His, and you shall not build with us, as it is stated (Ezra 4:3): “It is not for you and for us to build a House for our God,” and Scripture states further (Neh. 2:20): “and you have no portion or right or memorial in Jerusalem.”  
3I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine, who grazes among the roses."   גאֲנִ֤י לְדוֹדִי֙ וְדוֹדִ֣י לִ֔י הָֽרוֹעֶ֖ה בַּשּֽׁוֹשַׁנִּֽים:
who grazes among the roses: who pastures his flocks in a calm and goodly pasture.  
4"You are fair, my beloved, as Tirzah, comely as Jerusalem, awesome as the bannered legions.   דיָפָ֨ה אַ֤תְּ רַעְיָתִי֙ כְּתִרְצָ֔ה נָאוָ֖ה כִּירֽוּשָׁלָ֑ ִם אֲיֻמָּ֖ה כַּנִּדְגָּלֽוֹת:
You are fair, my beloved, as Tirzah: And the Holy One, blessed be He, praises her for this: You are fair, my beloved, when you are desirable (רְצוּיָה) to me. So it is expounded in Sifrei (Deut. 6:9).  
comely: are you now as at first in Jerusalem.  
awesome as the bannered legions: the legions of angels. I will cast your awe upon them (upon your adversaries) so that they should not wage war and stop you from the work, as is stated in Ezra (ch. 5).  
5Turn away your eyes from me, for they have made me haughty; your hair is like a flock of goats that streamed down from Gilead.   ההָסֵ֤בִּי עֵינַ֨יִךְ֙ מִנֶּגְדִּ֔י שֶׁ֥הֵ֖ם הִרְהִיבֻ֑נִי שַׂעְרֵךְ֙ כְּעֵ֣דֶר הָֽעִזִּ֔ים שֶׁגָּֽלְשׁ֖וּ מִן־הַגִּלְעָֽד:
Turn away your eyes from me: as a young man whose betrothed is dear and sweet to him, and her eyes are comely, and he says to her, “Turn away your eyes from me, for when I see you, my heart becomes haughty and proud, and my spirit becomes arrogant, and I cannot resist.”  
they have made me haughty: Heb. הִרְהִיבֻנִי. They made my heart arrogant, like (Ps. 90: 10): “but their pride (וְרָהְבָּם) is toil and pain” ; (Isa. 30:7): “They are haughty (רַהַב) , idlers,” asoijer in Old French, to make proud. The allegorical meaning is as follows: The Holy One, blessed be He, said: In this Temple, it is impossible to restore to you the Ark, the Ark cover, and the cherubim, which made Me proud in the First Temple, to show you great affection, until you betrayed Me.  
your hair is like a flock of goats: in the small, the tender, and the slight ones among you, there is much praise.  
6Your teeth are like a flock of ewes that came up from the washing, all of which are perfect and there is no bereavement among them.   ושִׁנַּ֨יִךְ֙ כְּעֵ֣דֶר הָֽרְחֵלִ֔ים שֶֽׁעָל֖וּ מִן־הָֽרַחְצָ֑ה שֶׁכֻּלָּם֙ מַתְאִימ֔וֹת וְשַׁכֻּלָ֖ה אֵ֥ין בָּהֶֽם:
Your teeth are like a flock of ewes: The officers and the mighty men among you are all [devoted to] goodness.  
like a flock of ewes: This ewe is entirely devoted to holiness: its wool is for the blue thread, its flesh for a sacrifice, its horns for shofaroth, its thighs for flutes, its intestines for harps, its hide for a drum; but the wicked were likened to dogs, for they have nothing to offer to holiness.  
7Your temple is like a split pomegranate from beneath your kerchief.   זכְּפֶ֤לַח הָֽרִמּוֹן֙ רַקָּתֵ֔ךְ מִבַּ֖עַד לְצַמָּתֵֽךְ:
8There are sixty queens and eighty concubines, and innumerable maidens.   חשִׁשִּׁ֥ים הֵ֨מָּה֙ מְלָכ֔וֹת וּשְׁמֹנִ֖ים פִּֽילַגְשִׁ֑ים וַֽעֲלָמ֖וֹת אֵ֥ין מִסְפָּֽר:
There are sixty queens: Abraham and his descendants (Song Zuta). The sons of Keturah are sixteen. Ishmael and his sons are thirteen. Isaac and his sons are three. The sons of Jacob are twelve. The sons of Esau are sixteen, thus totaling sixty. And if you say that Timna should be excluded because she was a woman, then count Abraham in the number.  
and eighty concubines: Noah and his sons until Abraham, all the generations of those who left the Ark (Song Zuta)-you will find them to be eighty. And just as the queens, who are the kings’ wives, are superior in greatness to the concubines, so were Abraham and his descendants of great esteem, and superior in their esteem over everyone, as you will see. Hagar was the daughter of kings [and became Sarah’s maidservant (Gen. Rabbah 45:1)]. Timna was the daughter of rulers and became Esau’s concubine (ibid. 82:15), and Scripture says (Gen. 14:17): “to the Valley of Shaveh (שָׁוֶה), etc.” They all unanimously (הֻשְווּ) resolved to make Abraham king over them.  
and innumerable maidens: All these were divided into many families.  
9My dove, my perfect one, is but one; she is one to her mother, she is the pure one of she who bore her; daughters saw her and praised her, queens and concubines, and they lauded her;   טאַחַ֥ת הִיא֙ יֽוֹנָתִ֣י תַמָּתִ֔י אַחַ֥ת הִיא֙ לְאִמָּ֔הּ בָּרָ֥ה הִ֖יא לְיֽוֹלַדְתָּ֑הּ רָא֤וּהָ בָנוֹת֙ וַֽיְאַשְּׁר֔וּהָ מְלָכ֥וֹת וּפִֽילַגְשִׁ֖ים וַֽיְהַֽלְלֽוּהָ:
My dove is but one: And of all of them, one is My chosen one as a perfect dove, for she is wholehearted with her mate.  
she is one to her mother: to her assembly. Many controversies exist in the study halls. All of them stem from the desire to understand the Torah in a well founded manner and according to its true meaning.  
she is the pure one of she who bore her: Jacob perceived that perfect bed without any blemish, and he thanked and praised the Omnipresent, as it is said (Gen. 47:31): “And Israel prostrated himself because of the esteem of the bed.”  
daughters saw her: Israel in her greatness.  
and they lauded her: And what was their praise?  
10Who is this who looks forth like the dawn, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, awesome as the bannered legions?"   ימִי־זֹ֥את הַנִּשְׁקָפָ֖ה כְּמוֹ־שָׁ֑חַר יָפָ֣ה כַלְּבָנָ֗ה בָּרָה֙ כַּֽחַמָּ֔ה אֲיֻמָּ֖ה כַּנִּדְגָּלֽוֹת:
Who is this who looks forth: upon us. [Looking] from a high place to a low place is called הַשְּׁקָפָה. So is the Temple higher than all lands.  
like the dawn: which progressively lights up little by little; so were the Israelites in the Second Temple. In the beginning, Zerubbabel was the governor of Judah, but not a king, and they were subjugated to Persia and to Greece, and afterwards, the house of the Hasmoneans defeated them and they became kings.  
awesome as the bannered legions: awesome among the mighty men as the bannered legions of kings. All this the Holy One, blessed be He, praises the congregation of Israel, “You are fair, my beloved, as Tirzah,” and the entire matter until here.  
11"I went down to the nut garden to see the green plants of the valley, to see whether the vine had blossomed, the pomegranates were in bloom.   יאאֶל־גִּנַּ֤ת אֱגוֹז֙ יָרַ֔דְתִּי לִרְא֖וֹת בְּאִבֵּ֣י הַנָּ֑חַל לִרְאוֹת֙ הֲפָֽרְחָ֣ה הַגֶּ֔פֶן הֵנֵ֖צוּ הָֽרִמֹּנִֽים:
I went down to the nut garden: This too is included in the words of the Shechinah: “Behold I came to this Second Temple to you.”  
to see the green plants of the valley: what moisture of good deeds I would see in you.  
whether the vine had blossomed: whether you caused Torah scholars, scribes, and teachers of Mishnah to blossom.  
the pomegranates were in bloom: [This refers to] those who fulfill the commandments, who are full of merits. Why were the Israelites compared to a nut? Just as this nut-all you see is wood, and what is inside is not discernible, and you crack it and find it full of sections of edible food, so are the Israelites modest and humble in their deeds, and the students among them are not discernible, and they do not boast by announcing their [own] praise. But if you examine him, you find him full of wisdom. There are many additional homiletic interpretations of this matter. Just as if this nut falls into the mud, its interior does not become sullied, so are the Israelites exiled among the nations and smitten with many blows, but their deeds are not sullied.  
12I did not know; my soul made me chariots for a princely people."   יבלֹ֣א יָדַ֔עְתִּי נַפְשִׁ֣י שָׂמַ֔תְנִי מַרְכְּב֖וֹת עַמִּ֥י־נָדִֽיב:
I did not know: The congregation of Israel laments: I did not know to beware of sin, that I should retain my honor and my greatness, and I erred in the matter of groundless hatred and controversy, which intensified during the reign of the Hasmonean kings, Hyrcanus and Aristobulus, until one of them brought the kingdom of Rome and received the kingship from their hand and became their vassal, and since then, my soul made me to be chariots, that the nobility of other nations ride upon me.  
a princely people: Heb. עַמִי נָדִיב like:. עַם נָדִיב, the “yud” being superfluous, like the “yud” of (Deut. 33:16): “the One Who took up His abode (שֹּׁכְנִי) in the thornbush” ; (Gen. 31:39): “stolen (גְנֻבְתִי) by day” ; (Lam. 1:1): “populous (רַבָּתִי עַם).”  
my soul made me: I myself appointed them over me, as it is stated (Jer. 13:21): “and you accustomed them to be princes over you as head.”  
 Email
The text on this page contains sacred literature. Please do not deface or discard.