Chapter 1

1The Song of Songs, which is Solomon's.   אשִׁ֥יר הַשִּׁירִ֖ים אֲשֶׁ֥ר לִשְׁלֹמֹֽה:
The Song of Songs, which is Solomon’s: Our Rabbis taught (Shevu. 35b): Every Solomon (for they were at a loss to explain why Scripture did not mention his father, as it did in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes) mentioned in the Song of Songs is sacred (refers to God), the King to Whom peace (שָׁלוֹם) belongs. It is a song that is above all songs, which was recited to the Holy One, blessed be He, by His congregation and His people, the congregation of Israel. Rabbi Akiva said: The world was never as worthy as on the day that the Song of Songs was given to Israel, for all the Writings are holy, whereas the Song of Songs is the holiest of the holy. Rabbi Eleazar ben Azariah said: To what can this be compared? To a king who took a se’ah of wheat and gave it to a baker. He said to him, “Extract for me so much fine flour, so much bran, so much coarse bran, and you shall produce enough fine flour for one white loaf, sifted and superior.” So are all the Writings holy and the Song of Songs the holiest of the holy, for it is all comprised of fear of Heaven and the acceptance of the yoke of His kingdom.   שִׁיר הַשִּׁירִים אֲשֶׁר לִשְׁלֹמֹה: שָׁנוּ רַבּוֹתֵינוּ: "כָּל שְׁלֹמֹה (דְּקָשֶׁה לָהֶם לָמָּה לֹא מְיַחֲסוֹ אַחַר אָבִיו כְּמוֹ בְמִשְׁלֵי וְקֹהֶלֶת) הָאֲמוּרִים בְּשִׁיר הַשִּׁירִים קֹדֶשׁ, מֶלֶךְ שֶׁהַשָּׁלוֹם שֶׁלּוֹ". שִׁיר שֶׁהוּא עַל כָּל הַשִּׁירִים, אֲשֶׁר נֶאֱמַר לְהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא מֵאֵת עֲדָתוֹ וְעַמּוֹ, כְּנֶסֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל. אָמַר רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא: "לֹא הָיָה הָעוֹלָם כְּדַאי כַּיּוֹם שֶׁנִּתַּן בּוֹ שִׁיר הַשִּׁירִים לְיִשְׂרָאֵל, שֶׁכָּל הַכְּתוּבִים קֹדֶשׁ וְשִׁיר הַשִּׁירִים קֹדֶשׁ קָדָשִׁים". אָמַר רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר בֶּן עֲזַרְיָה: "לְמָה הַדָּבָר דּוֹמֶה? לְמֶלֶךְ שֶׁנָּטַל סְאָה חִטִּים וּנְתָנָהּ לְנַחְתּוֹם. אָמַר לוֹ: 'הוֹצֵא לִי כָךְ וְכָךְ סֹלֶת, כָּךְ וְכָךְ סֻבִּין, כָּךְ וְכָךְ מֻרְסָן, וְסָלִיתָ לִי מִתּוֹכָהּ גְּלֻסְקִיָּא אַחַת, מְנֻפָּה וּמְעֻלָּה'. כָּךְ, כָּל הַכְּתוּבִים קֹדֶשׁ, וְשִׁיר הַשִּׁירִים קֹדֶשׁ קָדָשִׁים, שֶׁכֻּלּוֹ יִרְאַת שָׁמַיִם וְקִבּוּל עֹל מַלְכוּתוֹ"
2"Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth, for your love is better than wine.   ביִשָּׁקֵ֨נִי֙ מִנְּשִׁיק֣וֹת פִּ֔יהוּ כִּֽי־טוֹבִ֥ים דֹּדֶ֖יךָ מִיָּֽיִן:
Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: She recites this song with her mouth, in her exile and in her widowhood: “If only King Solomon would kiss me with the kisses of his mouth as of old,” because in some places they kiss on the back of the hand or on the shoulder, but I desire and wish that he behave toward me as he behaved toward me originally, like a bridegroom with a bride, mouth to mouth.   יִשָּׁקֵנִי מִנְּשִׁיקוֹת פִּיהוּ: זֶה הַשִּׁיר אוֹמֶרֶת בְּפִיהָ בְּגָלוּתָהּ וּבְאַלְמְנוּתָהּ: "מִי יִתֵּן וְיִשָּׁקֵנִי הַמֶּלֶךְ שְׁלֹמֹה מִנְּשִׁיקוֹת פִּיהוּ כְּמוֹ מֵאָז, לְפִי שֶׁיֵּשׁ מְקוֹמוֹת שֶׁנּוֹשְׁקִין עַל גַּב הַיָּד וְעַל הַכָּתֵף, אַךְ אֲנִי מִתְאַוָּה וְשׁוֹקֶקֶת לִהְיוֹתוֹ נוֹהֵג עִמִּי כַמִּנְהָג הָרִאשׁוֹן, כְּחָתָן אֶל כַּלָּה, פֶּה אֶל פֶּה":
for… is better: your love [is better] to me more than any wine banquet and more than any pleasure and joy. In the Hebrew language, every banquet of pleasure and joy is called after the wine, as it is stated (Esther 7:8): “to the house of the wine feast;” (Isa. 24:9): “In song they shall not drink wine;” (ibid. 5:12): “And there were harp and lute, tambourine and flute, and wine at their drinking feasts.” This is the explanation of its apparent meaning. This figure of speech was used because He gave them His Torah and spoke to them face to face, and that love is still more pleasant to them than any pleasure, and they are assured by Him that He will appear to them to explain to them the secret of its reasons and its hidden mysteries, and they entreat Him to fulfill His word, and this is the meaning of “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth.”   כִּי טוֹבִים: לִי דוֹדֶיךָ מִכָּל מִשְׁתֵּה יַיִן וּמִכָּל עֹנֶג וְשִׂמְחָה. וְלָשׁוֹן עִבְרִי הוּא לִהְיוֹת כָּל סְעֻדַּת עֹנֶג וְשִׂמְחָה נִקְרֵאת עַל שֵׁם הַיַּיִן, כְּעִנְיָן שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר "אֶל בֵּית מִשְׁתֵּה הַיַּיִן", "בַּשִּׁיר לֹא יִשְׁתּוּ יָיִן", "וְהָיָה כִנּוֹר וָנֶבֶל תֹּף וְחָלִיל וָיַיִן מִשְׁתֵּיהֶם". זֶהוּ בֵאוּר מַשְׁמָעוֹ. וְנֶאֱמַר דֻּגְמָא שֶׁלּוֹ עַל שֵׁם שֶׁנָּתַן לָהֶם תּוֹרָתוֹ וְדִבֵּר עִמָּהֶם פָּנִים אֶל פָּנִים. וְאוֹתָם דּוֹדִים עוֹדָם עֲרֵבִים עֲלֵיהֶם מִכָּל שַׁעֲשׁוּעַ. וּמֻבְטָחִים מֵאִתּוֹ לְהוֹפִיעַ עוֹד עֲלֵיהֶם לְבָאֵר לָהֶם סוֹד טְעָמֶיהָ וּמִסְתַּר צְפוּנוֹתֶיהָ, וּמְחַלִּים פָּנָיו לְקַיֵּם דְּבָרוֹ. וְזֶהוּ: "יִשָּׁקֵנִי מִנְּשִׁיקוֹת פִּיהוּ":
3Because of the fragrance of your goodly oils, your name is 'oil poured forth.' Therefore, the maidens loved you.   גלְרֵ֨יחַ֙ שְׁמָנֶ֣יךָ טוֹבִ֔ים שֶׁ֖מֶן תּוּרַ֣ק שְׁמֶ֑ךָ עַל־כֵּ֖ן עֲלָמ֥וֹת אֲהֵבֽוּךָ:
Because of the fragrance of your goodly oils: A good name is referred to by the expression, “good oil.”   לְרֵיחַ שְׁמָנֶיךָ טוֹבִים: שֵׁם טוֹב נִקְרָא עַל שֵׁם 'שֶׁמֶן טוֹב':
Because of the fragrance of your goodly oils: that those dwelling at the ends of the earth smelled, [i.e.,] those who heard of Your good fame when You performed awesome deeds in Egypt.   לְרֵיחַ שְׁמָנֶיךָ טוֹבִים: שֶׁהֵרִיחוּ בָהֶם אַפְסֵי אֶרֶץ אֲשֶׁר שָׁמְעוּ שִׁמְעֲךָ הַטּוֹב בַּעֲשׂוֹתְךָ נוֹרָאוֹת בְּמִצְרָיִם:
your name is ‘oil poured forth.’: Your name is [thus] called. It is said about you that you are oil that is constantly being poured forth so that your fragrant scent wafts forth to a distance, for so is the nature of fragrant oil. As long as it is in a sealed bottle, its scent does not carry. If one opens it and pours the oil into another vessel, its scent carries.   שֶׁמֶן תּוּרַק: נִקְרָא שְׁמֶךָ, לִהְיוֹת נֶאֱמַר עָלֶיךָ, "אַתָּה שֶׁמֶן אֲשֶׁר תּוּרַק תָּמִיד לִהְיוֹת רֵיחַ עָרֵב שֶׁלְּךָ יוֹצֵא לְמֵרָחוֹק", שֶׁכֵּן דֶּרֶךְ שֶׁמֶן עָרֵב, בְּכָל עֵת שֶׁהוּא בִצְלוֹחִית חֲתוּמָה, אֵין רֵיחוֹ נוֹדֵף, פּוֹתְחָהּ וּמֵרִיק שַׁמְנָהּ לִכְלִי אַחֵר, רֵיחוֹ נוֹדֵף:
Therefore, the maidens loved you: Jethro came at the sound of the news and converted; also Rahab the harlot said, (Josh. 2:10f.): “For we have heard how the Lord dried up, etc.,” and thereby, “the Lord your God, He is God in heaven, etc.”   עַל כֵּן עֲלָמוֹת אֲהֵבוּךָ: בָּא יִתְרוֹ לְקוֹל הַשְּׁמוּעָה וְנִתְגַּיֵּר. אַף רָחָב הַזּוֹנָה אָמְרָה "כִּי שָׁמַעְנוּ אֵת אֲשֶׁר הוֹבִישׁ וגו'", וְעַל יְדֵי כֵן "כִּי ה' אֱלֹהֵיכֶם הוּא אֱלֹהִים בַּשָּׁמַיִם וגו'":
maidens: virgins, since the text compares Him to a youth whose beloved holds him dear, and according to the allegory, the maidens are the nations.   עֲלָמוֹת: בְּתוּלוֹת, לְפִי שֶׁהַדִּבּוּר דִּמָּהוּ לְבָחוּר שֶׁאֲהוּבָתוֹ מְחַבַּבְתּוֹ. וּלְפִי הַדֻּגְמָא: הָ"עֲלָמוֹת" הֵן הָאֻמּוֹת:
4Draw me, we will run after you; the king brought me to his chambers. We will rejoice and be glad in you. We will recall your love more fragrant than wine; they have loved you sincerely.   דמָשְׁכֵ֖נִי אַֽחֲרֶ֣יךָ נָר֑וּצָה הֱבִיאַ֨נִי הַמֶּ֜לֶךְ חֲדָרָ֗יו נָגִ֤ילָה וְנִשְׂמְחָה֙ בָּ֔ךְ נַזְכִּ֤ירָה דֹדֶ֨יךָ֙ מִיַּ֔יִן מֵֽישָׁרִ֖ים אֲהֵבֽוּךָ:
Draw me, we will run after you: I heard from your messengers a hint that you said to draw me, and I said, “We will run after you to be your wife.”   מָשְׁכֵנִי אַחֲרֶיךָ נָרוּצָה: אֲנִי שָׁמַעְתִּי מִשְּׁלוּחֶיךָ רֶמֶז שֶׁאָמַרְתָּ לְמָשְׁכֵנִי, וַאֲנִי אָמַרְתִּי, "אַחֲרֶיךָ נָרוּצָה" לִהְיוֹת לְךָ לְאִשָּׁה:
the king brought me to his chambers: And even this very day, I still have joy and happiness that I cleaved to you.   הֱבִיאַנִי הַמֶּלֶךְ חֲדָרָיו: וְגַם הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה, עוֹדֶנָּה לִי גִילָה וְשִׂמְחָה אֲשֶׁר נִדְבַּקְתִּי בָךְ:
We will recall your love: Even today, in living widowhood, I recall your early love more than any banquet of pleasure and joy.   נַזְכִּירָה דֹדֶיךָ: גַּם הַיּוֹם בְּאַלְמְנוּת חַיּוּת, תָּמִיד אַזְכִּיר דּוֹדֶיךָ הָרִאשׁוֹנִים מִכָּל מִשְׁתֵּה עֹנֶג וְשִׂמְחָה:
they have loved you sincerely: a strong love, a straightforward love, without crookedness (Heb. עקיבה) or deceit (Heb. רכסים), [after Isaiah 40:4: and the crooked terrain (הֶעָקֹב) shall become a plain and the rugged mountains (וְהָרְכָסִים) a valley], that my ancestors and I loved you in those days. This is its simple meaning according to its context, and according to its allegorical meaning, they mention before Him the loving kindness of [their] youth, the love of [their] nuptials, their following Him in the desert, a land of aridness and darkness, and they did not even prepare supplies for themselves, but they believed in Him and in His messenger, and they did not say, “How will we go out into the desert, which is not a land of seed or food,” but they followed Him, and He brought them into the midst of the chambers of the encompassment of His clouds. With this, they are still joyful today and happy in Him despite their afflictions and distress, and they delight in the Torah, and there they recall His love more than wine and the sincerity of their love for Him.   מֵישָׁרִים אֲהֵבוּךָ: אַהֲבָה עַזָּה, אַהֲבַת מִישׁוֹר בְּלִי עֲקִיבָה וּרְכָסִים (לְשׁוֹן פָּסוּק "וְהָיָה הֶעָקֹב לְמִישׁוֹר וְהָרְכָסִים לְבִקְעָה"). אֲשֶׁר 'אֲהֵבוּךָ' אֲנִי וַאֲבוֹתַי בְּאוֹתָן הַיָּמִים. זֶהוּ פְשׁוּטוֹ לְפִי עִנְיָנוֹ. וּלְפִי דֻגְמָתוֹ, הֵם מַזְכִּירִים לְפָנָיו חֶסֶד נְעוּרִים, אַהֲבַת כְּלוּלוֹת, לֶכְתָּם אַחֲרָיו בַּמִּדְבָּר, אֶרֶץ צִיָּה וְצַלְמָוֶת, וְגַם צֵדָה לֹא עָשׂוּ לָהֶם, וְהֶאֱמִינוּ בוֹ וּבִשְׁלוּחוֹ, וְלֹא אָמְרוּ: "הֵיאַךְ נֵצֵא לַמִּדְבָּר, לֹא מְקוֹם זֶרַע וּמְזוֹנוֹת"? וְהָלְכוּ אַחֲרָיו, וְהוּא הֱבִיאָם לְתוֹךְ חַדְרֵי הֶקֵּף עֲנָנָיו. בְּזוּ, עוֹדָם הַיּוֹם גָּלִים וּשְׂמֵחִים בּוֹ אַף לְפִי עָנְיָם וְצָרָתָם, וּמִשְׁתַּעְשְׁעִים בַּתּוֹרָה, וְשָׁם מַזְכִּירִים דּוֹדָיו מִיַּיִן וּמִישׁוֹר אַהֲבָתָם אוֹתוֹ:
5I am black but comely, O daughters of Jerusalem! Like the tents of Kedar, like the curtains of Solomon.   השְׁחוֹרָ֤ה אֲנִי֙ וְֽנָאוָ֔ה בְּנ֖וֹת יְרֽוּשָׁלָ֑יִם כְּאָֽהֳלֵ֣י קֵדָ֔ר כִּֽירִיע֖וֹת שְׁלֹמֹֽה:
I am black but comely, etc.: You, my friends, let me not be light in your eyes even if my husband has left me because of my blackness, for I am black because of the sun’s gaze, but I am comely with the shape of beautiful limbs, and if I am black as the tents of Kedar, which are blackened by the rain, for they are constantly spread out in the deserts, I am easily cleansed to be like the curtains of Solomon. The allegory is that the congregation of Israel says to the nations: I am black in my deeds, but I am comely in the deeds of my ancestors, and even some of my deeds are comely. If I am guilty of the iniquity of the [Golden] Calf, I can counter it with the merit of the acceptance of the Torah (Song Rabbah). He calls the nations the daughters of Jerusalem because she [Jerusalem] is destined to become the metropolis for them all, as Ezekiel prophesied (16:61): “and I shall give them to you for daughters,” like (Josh. 15:45): “Ekron, with her towns (וּבְנוֹהֶיהָ).”   שְׁחוֹרָה אֲנִי וְנָאוָה וגו': אַתֶּם רַעְיוֹתַי, אַל אֵקַל בְּעֵינֵיכֶם אַף אִם עֲזָבַנִי אִישִׁי מִפְּנֵי שַׁחֲרוּת שֶׁבִּי, כִּי שְׁחוֹרָה אֲנִי עַל יְדֵי שְׁזִיפַת הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ, וְנָאוָה אֲנִי בְחִתּוּךְ אֵבָרִים נָאִים. אִם אֲנִי שְׁחוֹרָה כְּאָהֳלֵי קֵדָר הַמַּשְׁחִירִים מִפְּנֵי הַגְּשָׁמִים, שֶׁהֵם פְּרוּסִים תָּמִיד בַּמִּדְבָּרוֹת, קַלָּה אֲנִי לְהִתְכַּבֵּס לִהְיוֹת כִּירִיעוֹת שְׁלֹמֹה. דֻּגְמָא הִיא זוּ: אוֹמֶרֶת כְּנֶסֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל לָאֻמּוֹת: "שְׁחוֹרָה אֲנִי בְמַעֲשַׂי וְנָאָה אֲנִי בְמַעֲשֵׂה אֲבוֹתַי, וְאַף בְּמַעֲשַׂי, יֵשׁ מֵהֶם נָאִים, אִם יֵשׁ בִּי עֲוֹן הָעֵגֶל, יֵשׁ בִּי כְנֶגְדּוֹ זְכוּת קַבָּלַת הַתּוֹרָה". וְקוֹרֵא לָאֻמּוֹת "בְּנוֹת יְרוּשָׁלַיִם" עַל שֵׁם שֶׁהִיא עֲתִידָה לֵעָשׂוֹת מֶטְרוֹפּוֹלִין לְכֻלָּן, כְּמוֹ שֶׁנִּבָּא יְחֶזְקֵאל "וְנָתַתִּי אֶתְהֶן לָךְ לְבָנוֹת", כְּמוֹ "עֶקְרוֹן וּבְנֹתֶיהָ":
6Do not look upon me [disdainfully] because I am swarthy, for the sun has gazed upon me; my mother's sons were incensed against me; they made me a keeper of the vineyards; my own vineyard I did not keep.   ואַל־תִּרְאֻ֨נִי֙ שֶֽׁאֲנִ֣י שְׁחַרְחֹ֔רֶת שֶׁשְּׁזָפַ֖תְנִי הַשָּׁ֑מֶשׁ בְּנֵ֧י אִמִּ֣י נִֽחֲרוּ־בִ֗י שָׂמֻ֨נִי֙ נֹֽטֵרָ֣ה אֶת־הַכְּרָמִ֔ים כַּרְמִ֥י שֶׁלִּ֖י לֹ֥א נָטָֽרְתִּי:
Do not look upon me: Do not look upon me disdainfully [like (I Sam. 6:19) “for they had gazed upon the Ark of the Lord”].   אַל תִּרְאֻנִי: אַל תִּסְתַּכְּלוּ בִי לְבִזָּיוֹן כְּמוֹ "כִּי רָאוּ בַּאֲרוֹן ה'":
because I am swarthy: For my blackness and my ugliness are not from my mother’s womb, but from tanning from the sun, for that blackness can easily be whitened by staying in the shade.   שֶׁאֲנִי שְׁחַרְחֹרֶת: לְפִי שֶׁאֵין שַׁחֲרוּתִי וְכִעוּרִי מִמְּעֵי אִמִּי, אֶלָּא עַל יְדֵי שְׁזִיפַת הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ, שֶׁאוֹתוֹ שַׁחֲרוּת נוֹחַ לְהִתְלַבֵּן כְּשֶׁיַּעֲמֹד בַּצֵּל:
my mother’s sons were incensed against me: These are the Egyptians among whom I grew up, and they went up with me in the mixed multitude; they were incensed against me with their enticement and their seduction until they made me…   בְּנֵי אִמִּי נִחֲרוּ בִי: הֵם בְּנֵי מִצְרַיִם שֶׁגָּדַלְתִּי בָהֶם, וְעָלוּ עִמִּי בְעֵרֶב רַב, הֵם נִחֲרוּ בִי בַהֲסָתָתָם וּפִתּוּיָם עַד שֶׁשָׂמוּנִי,
a keeper of the vineyards: and there the sun tanned me and I became blackened; i.e., they made me a worshipper of alien gods, but my own vineyard, which I had from my forefathers, I did not keep. We find that in the Scripture, leaders are called by an expression of vineyards, as it is said (Hos. 2:17): “And I will give to her her vineyards from there,” which the Targum renders: “And I will appoint her leaders for her.” And similarly (Job 24:18): “he will not turn by the way of the vineyards.”   נֹטֵרָה אֶת הַכְּרָמִים: וְשָׁם שְׁזָפַתְנִי הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ וְהֻשְׁחַרְתִּי, כְּלוֹמַר: נְתָנוּנִי עוֹבֶדֶת אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים, וְכַרְמִי שֶׁהָיָה שֶׁלִּי מֵאֲבוֹתַי, לֹא נָטָרְתִּי. מָצִינוּ פַּרְנָסִים נִקְרָאִים בַּמִּקְרָא בִּלְשׁוֹן "כְּרָמִים", שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר "וְנָתַתִּי לָהּ אֶת כְּרָמֶיהָ מִשָּׁם" וּמְתַרְגְּמִינָן: "וַאֲמַנֵּי לָהּ יַת פַּרְנָסָהָא", וְכֵן "לֹא יִפְנֶה דֶרֶךְ כְּרָמִים":
7Tell me, you whom my soul loves, where do you feed, where do you rest [the flocks] at noon, for why should I be like one who veils herself beside the flocks of your companions?"   זהַגִּ֣ידָה לִּ֗י שֶׁ֤אָֽהֲבָה֙ נַפְשִׁ֔י אֵיכָ֣ה תִרְעֶ֔ה אֵיכָ֖ה תַּרְבִּ֣יץ בַּֽצָּֽהֳרָ֑יִם שַׁלָּמָ֤ה אֶֽהְיֶה֙ כְּעֹ֣טְיָ֔ה עַ֖ל עֶדְרֵ֥י חֲבֵרֶֽיךָ:
Tell me, you whom my soul loves: The Divine Spirit repeatedly compares her to the flock that is beloved to the shepherd. The congregation of Israel says before Him as a woman to her husband, “Tell me, You Whom my soul loves, where do You feed Your flock among these wolves in whose midst they are, and where do You rest them at noon, in this exile, which is a distressful time for them, like noon, which is a distressful time for the flock?”   הַגִּידָה לִּי שֶׁאָהֲבָה נַפְשִׁי: עַכְשָׁיו רוּחַ הַקֹּדֶשׁ חוֹזֵר וּמְדַמֶּה אוֹתָהּ לְצֹאן הַחֲבִיבָה עַל הָרוֹעֶה. אוֹמֶרֶת כְּנֶסֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל לְפָנָיו כְּאִשָּׁה לְבַעְלָהּ: "הַגִּידָה לִּי שֶׁאָהֲבָה נַפְשִׁי אֵיכָה תִרְעֶה צֹאנְךָ בֵּין הַזְּאֵבִים הַלָּלוּ אֲשֶׁר הֵם בְּתוֹכָם, וְאֵיכָה תַּרְבִּיצֵם בַּצָּהֳרָיִם" בַּגָּלוּת הַזֶּה, שֶׁהִיא עֵת צָרָה לָהֶם כַּצָּהֳרַיִם שֶׁהִיא עֵת צָרָה לַצֹּאן"?
for why should I be like one who veils herself: And if you ask, “What does it concern you?” It is not dignified for you that I should be like a mourner, with a veil over my lip, weeping for my flock.   שַׁלָּמָה אֶהְיֶה כְּעֹטְיָה: "וְאִם תּאמַר: "מָה אִכְפַּת לָךְ"? אֵין זֶה כְבוֹדְךָ שֶׁאֶהְיֶה כַאֲבֵלָה עוֹטָה עַל שָׂפָה, בּוֹכִיָּה עַל צֹאנִי":
beside the flocks of your companions: beside the flocks of the other shepherds, who pasture flocks as you do; i.e., among the flocks of the heathens, who rely on pagan deities, and who have kings and princes who lead them.   עַל עֶדְרֵי חֲבֵרֶיךָ: אֵצֶל עֶדְרֵי שְׁאָר הָרוֹעִים שֶׁהֵם רוֹעִים צֹאן כְּמוֹתְךָ, כְּלוֹמַר: בֵּין גְּדוּדֵי הָאֻמּוֹת הַסְּמוּכִים עַל אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים וְיֵשׁ לָהֶם מְלָכִים וְשָׂרִים מַנְהִיגִים אוֹתָם:
8"If you do not know, O fairest of women, go your way in the footsteps of the flocks and pasture your kids beside the shepherds' dwellings.   חאִם־לֹ֤א תֵֽדְעִי֙ לָ֔ךְ הַיָּפָ֖ה בַּנָּשִׁ֑ים צְֽאִי־לָ֞ךְ בְּעִקְבֵ֣י הַצֹּ֗אן וּרְעִי֙ אֶת־גְּדִיֹּתַ֔יִךְ עַ֖ל מִשְׁכְּנ֥וֹת הָֽרֹעִֽים:
If you do not, etc.: This is the shepherd’s reply: If you do not know where you should go to feed your flock, you, O fairest of women, for the shepherd has ceased pasturing them.   אִם לֹא תֵדְעִי לָךְ: זוּ הִיא תְשׁוּבַת הָרוֹעֶה: "אִם לֹא תֵדְעִי לָךְ לְהֵיכָן תֵּלְכִי לִרְעוֹת צֹאנֵךְ, אַתְּ הַיָּפָה בַּנָּשִׁים, שֶׁחָדַל הָרוֹעֶה מִלְּהַנְהִיג אוֹתָם:
go your way in the footsteps of the flocks: Look at the footsteps, the way that the flocks went, and the heels are discernible, traces in French, tracks. There are many similar instances in Scripture, e.g. (Ps. 77:20): “and Your steps (וְעִקְבוֹתֶיךָ) were not known;” (Jer. 13:22): “your steps (עֲקֵבָיִךְ) were cut off;” (Gen. 49:19): “and his troops will return in their tracks (עָקֵב).” He will return in his tracks; now go that way.   צְאִי לָךְ בְּעִקְבֵי הַצֹּאן: הִסְתַּכְּלִי בִפְסִיעוֹת דֶּרֶךְ שֶׁהָלְכוּ הַצֹּאן, וְהָעֲקֵבִים נִכָּרִים, טראצי"ט בְּלַעַ"ז, וְכֵן הַרְבֵּה בַמִּקְרָא, "וְעִקְּבוֹתֶיךָ לֹא נוֹדָעוּ", "נֶחְמְסוּ עֲקֵבָיִךְ", "וְהוּא יָגֻד עָקֵב", יָשׁוּב עַל עֲקֵבָיו. וְאוֹתוֹ הַדֶּרֶךְ לֵכִי: וּרְעִי אֶת גְּדִיֹּתַיִךְ
and pasture your kids beside the shepherds’ dwellings: among the dwellings of the other shepherds beside whom you are, and this is the allegory: If you do not know, My assembly and My congregation, O fairest of women, [the fairest] of the nations, where you will pasture and be saved from the hand of those who oppress you, to be among them, and that your children should not perish, ponder the ways of your early ancestors, who received My Torah and kept My watch and My commandments, and go in their ways, and as a reward for this, you will pasture your kids beside the princes of the nations, and so did Jeremiah say (31:20): “Set up markers for yourself… put your heart to the highway, etc.”   עַל מִשְׁכְּנוֹת הָרֹעִים: בֵּין מִשְׁכְּנוֹת שְׁאָר הָרוֹעִים שֶׁאַתְּ אֶצְלָם. וְזֶה הַדֻּגְמָא: אִם לֹא תֵדְעִי לָךְ, כְּנֵסִיָּתִי וַעֲדָתִי, הַיָּפָה בַּנָּשִׁים, בִּשְׁאָר אֻמּוֹת, אֵיכָה תִרְעִי וְתִנָּצְלִי מִיַּד הַמְּצִיקִים לָךְ לִהְיוֹת בֵּינֵיהֶם וְלֹא יֹאבְדוּ בָנַיִךְ, הִתְבּוֹנְנִי בְּדַרְכֵי אֲבוֹתַיִךְ הָרִאשׁוֹנִים שֶׁקִּבְּלוּ תוֹרָתִי וְשָׁמְרוּ מִשְׁמַרְתִּי וּמִצְוֹתַי, וּלְכִי בְדַרְכֵיהֶם. וְאַף בִּשְׂכַר זֹאת תִּרְעִי גְדִיּוֹתַיִךְ אֵצֶל שָׂרֵי הָאֻמּוֹת. וְכֵן אָמַר יִרְמְיָה "הַצִּיבִי לָךְ צִיֻּנִים. . . שִׁתִי לִבֵּךְ לַמְסִלָּה וגו'":
9At the gathering of the steeds of Pharaoh's chariots have I silenced you, my beloved.   טלְסֻֽסָתִי֙ בְּרִכְבֵ֣י פַרְעֹ֔ה דִּמִּיתִ֖יךְ רַעְיָתִֽי:
At the gathering of the steeds of Pharaoh’s chariots have I silenced you, my beloved: Heb. לְסֻסָתִי. This “lammed” is like the “lammed” of (Jer. 10:13): “At the sound of (לְקוֹל) His giving a multitude of waters,” and like (above verse 3): “At the fragrance of (לְרֵיחַ) your oils.” At the gathering of many steeds, for I gathered my camps to go forth toward you in the chariots of Pharaoh to save you, as it is said (Hab. 3:15): “You trampled in the sea with your steeds,” many steeds. There I silenced you, my beloved. I silenced you from your cry, as it is written (Exod. 14:14): “and you shall be silent.” I saw this in Aggadic works (Song Rabbah). Another explanation: דִמִיתִ רַעְיָתִי -There I demonstrated to all that you are my beloved.   לְסֻסָתִי בְּרִכְבֵי פַרְעֹה דִּמִּיתִיךְ רַעְיָתִי: למ"ד זוֹ כְּמוֹ למ"ד "לְקוֹל תִּתּוֹ הֲמוֹן מַיִם" וּכְמוֹ למ"ד "לְרֵיחַ שְׁמָנֶיךָ". לִקְבוּצַת סוּסִים הַרְבֵּה שֶׁאָסַפְתִּי מַחֲנוֹתַי לָצֵאת לִקְרָאתֵךְ בְּרִכְבֵי פַרְעֹה לְהוֹשִׁיעֵךְ, כְּמוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר "דָּרַכְתָּ בַיָּם סוּסֶיךָ", סוּסִים הַרְבֵּה. שָׁם 'דִּמִּיתִיךְ רַעְיָתִי', שִׁתַּקְתִּיךְ מִצַּעֲקָתֵךְ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר "וְאַתֶּם תַּחֲרִשׁוּן". זֹאת רָאִיתִי בְּסִפְרֵי אַגָּדָה. דָּבָר אַחֵר: דִּמִּיתִיךְ רַעְיָתִי. שָׁם הֶרְאֵיתִי לַכֹּל שֶׁרַעְיָתִי אַתְּ:
steeds: Heb. לְסֻסָתִי, means a gathering of horses, and in the French language, chevalchie, troop of horses, cavalcade. דִמִיתִ is adesmay in Old French, like (Jud. 20:5): “Me they intended (דִמוּ) to kill,” for there I adorned you with beautiful ornaments.   לְסֻסָתִי: קְבוּצַת סוּסִים וּבִלְשׁוֹן לַעַ"ז קבלייש"א דִּמִּיתִיךְ אדישמא"י בְּלַעַ"ז כְּמוֹ "אוֹתִי דִּמּוּ לַהֲרֹג", כִּי שָׁם קִּשַּׁטְתִּיךְ בְּקִשּׁוּטִים נָאִים:
10Your cheeks are comely with rows, your neck with necklaces.   ינָאו֤וּ לְחָיַ֨יִךְ֙ בַּתֹּרִ֔ים צַוָּארֵ֖ךְ בַּֽחֲרוּזִֽים:
Your cheeks are comely with rows: rows of earrings and a golden forehead plate.   נָאווּ לְחָיַיִךְ בַּתּוֹרִים: שׁוּרוֹת נִזְמֵי אֹזֶן וּמִצְחַת זָהָב:
your neck with necklaces: necklaces of gold with pearls strung on golden threads of the plunder of the sea.   צַוָּארֵךְ בַּחֲרוּזִים: עֲנָקֵי זָהָב וּמַרְגָּלִיּוֹת חֲרוּזוֹת בִּפְתִילֵי זָהָב שֶׁל בִּזַּת הַיָּם:
11We will make you rows of gold with studs of silver."   יאתּוֹרֵ֤י זָהָב֙ נַֽעֲשֶׂה־לָּ֔ךְ עִ֖ם נְקֻדּ֥וֹת הַכָּֽסֶף:
We will make you rows of gold: I and My tribunal decided before the arrival of Pharaoh that I should entice him and strengthen his heart to pursue you with all the best of his hidden treasures, so that we should make rows of golden ornaments for you.   תּוֹרֵי זָהָב נַעֲשֶׂה לָּךְ: נִמְלַכְנוּ אֲנִי וּבֵית דִּינִי לִפְנֵי בֹא פַרְעֹה, שֶׁאַשִּׁיאֶנּוּ וַאֲחַזֵּק אֶת לִבּוֹ לִרְדֹּף אַחֲרַיִךְ עִם כָּל שֶׁבַח גִּנְזֵי אוֹצְרוֹתָיו, כְּדֵי שֶׁנַּעֲשֶׂה לָךְ תּוֹרֵי קִשּׁוּטֵי הַזָּהָב:
with studs of silver: that were already in your possession, that you took out of Egypt, for the plunder at the sea was greater than the plunder in Egypt.   עִם נְקֻדּוֹת הַכָּסֶף: שֶׁהָיָה בְיָדֵךְ כְּבָר, שֶׁהוֹצֵאת מִמִּצְרַיִם, שֶׁגְּדוֹלָה הָיְתָה בִזַּת הַיָּם מִבִּזַּת מִצְרָיִם:
studs: silver objects studded and decorated with stripes and hues.   נְקֻדּוֹת: כְּלֵי כֶסֶף מְנֻקָּדִים וּמְצֻיָּרִים בַּחֲבַרְבּוּרוֹת וְגַוָּנִים:
12"While the king was still at his table, my spikenard gave forth its fragrance.   יבעַד־שֶׁ֤הַמֶּ֨לֶךְ֙ בִּמְסִבּ֔וֹ נִרְדִּ֖י נָתַ֥ן רֵיחֽוֹ:
While the king was still at his table: The congregation of Israel replies and says, “All this is true. You bestowed good upon me, but I repaid You with evil, for while the king was still at the table of his wedding banquet…”   עַד שֶׁהַמֶּלֶךְ בִּמְסִבּוֹ: מְשִׁיבָה כְנֶסֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאוֹמֶרֶת: "כָּל זֶה אֱמֶת, טוֹבָה גְמַלְתַּנִי וַאֲנִי גְמַלְתִּיךָ רָעָה, כִּי בְעוֹד הַמֶּלֶךְ עַל הַשֻּׁלְחָן מְסִבַּת חֻפָּתוֹ,
my spikenard gave forth its fragrance: This is instead of saying, “gave forth its stench.” When the Shechinah was still at Sinai, I sinned with the Calf; Scripture describes it with an expression of love, “gave forth its fragrance,” and did not write, “stank,” or “became putrid,” because Scripture speaks euphemistically. [Rashi from Shab. 88b] (According to the Tosafists, it does not say, “stank,” because of euphemism, and it does not say, “abandoned its fragrance,” because of love.)   נִרְדִּי נָתַן רֵיחוֹ: חִלּוּף לְהַבְאִישׁ, בְּעוֹד שֶׁהַשְּׁכִינָה בְסִינַי, קִלְקַלְתִּי בָעֵגֶל". וּלְשׁוֹן חִבָּה כָּתַב הַכָּתוּב, "נָתַן רֵיחוֹ", וְלֹא כָתַב "הִבְאִישׁ" אוֹ "הִסְרִיחַ", לְפִי שֶׁדִּבֵּר הַכָּתוּב בְּלָשׁוֹן נְקִיָּה. (עַיֵּן בְּרַשִׁ"י בְּמַסֶּכֶת שַׁבָּת, פֶּרֶק רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא, דְּהַטַּעַם דְּלָא כְתִיב "הִבְאִישׁ" אוֹ "הִסְרִיחַ" מִשּׁוּם חִבָּה. אָכֵן לְפֵרוּשׁ הַתּוֹסָפוֹת שָׁם, שֶׁפֵּרַשׁ: וְהָכִי קָאָמַר, מַה שֶּׁכָּתַב "נָתַן וְלֹא "עָזַב" זֶהוּ מִשּׁוּם חִבָּה, אָכֵן מַה שֶּׁלֹא כָתַב "הִבְאִישׁ" אוֹ "הִסְרִיחַ" זֶהוּ בְלַאו הָכִי, מִשּׁוּם לָשׁוֹן נְקִיָּה):
13A bundle of myrrh is my beloved to me; between my breasts he shall lie.   יגצְר֨וֹר הַמֹּ֤ר | דּוֹדִי֙ לִ֔י בֵּ֥ין שָׁדַ֖י יָלִֽין:
A bundle of myrrh is my beloved to me: My beloved has become to me as one who has a bundle of myrrh in his bosom, and he said to him, “Here, take this bundle, which will give a more fragrant scent than the first one that you lost.” So was the Holy One, blessed be He, appeased by Israel for the incident of the Calf and found them an atonement for their iniquity and said: Donate to the Tabernacle, and let the gold of the Tabernacle atone for the gold of the Calf.   צְרוֹר הַמֹּר דּוֹדִי לִי: דּוֹדִי נַעֲשָׂה לִי כְמִי שֶׁיֵּשׁ לוֹ צְרוֹר הַמּוֹר בְּחֵיקוֹ, וְאָמַר לוֹ: הֲרֵי לְךָ צְרוֹר זֶה, שֶׁיִּתֵּן רֵיחַ טוֹב מִן הָרִאשׁוֹן שֶׁאִבַּדְתָּ. כָּךְ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא נִתְרַצָּה לְיִשְׂרָאֵל עַל מַעֲשֵׂה הָעֵגֶל וּמָצָא לָהֶם כַּפָּרָה עַל עֲוֹנָם, וְאָמַר: "הִתְנַדְּבוּ לַמִּשְׁכָּן, וְיָבֹא זְהַב הַמִּשְׁכָּן וִיכַפֵּר עַל זְהַב הָעֵגֶל":
between my breasts he shall lie: Even though I betrayed him, he said to dwell there.   בֵּין שָׁדַי יָלִין: אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁמָּעַלְתִּי בּוֹ, אָמַר לִשְׁכֹּן שָׁם:
between my breasts: between the two staves of the Ark.   בֵּין שָׁדַי: בֵּין שְׁנֵי בַדֵּי הָאָרוֹן:
14A cluster of henna-flowers is my beloved to me, in the vineyards of Ein-Gedi."   ידאֶשְׁכֹּ֨ל הַכֹּ֤פֶר | דּוֹדִי֙ לִ֔י בְּכַרְמֵ֖י עֵ֥ין גֶּֽדִי:
A cluster of henna-flowers Heb.: כֹּפֶר. There is a spice called כֹּפֶר, like (below 4:12): “Henna-flowers (כְּפָרִים) with spikenard,” and it is shaped like a sort of cluster.   אֶשְׁכֹּל הַכֹּפֶר: יֵשׁ בֹּשֶׂם שֶׁשְּׁמוֹ כֹּפֶר, כְּמוֹ "כְּפָרִים עִם נְרָדִים", וְעָשׂוּי כְּעֵין אֶשְׁכֹּלוֹת:
in the vineyards of Ein-Gedi: The name of a place, and there it is common. I saw in an aggadah (Song Zuta) that those vineyards produce fruits four or five times a year, and this is symbolic of the many atonements and forgivenesses that the Holy One, blessed be He, forgave them for the many trials that they tried Him in the desert.   בְּכַרְמֵי עֵין גֶּדִי: שֵׁם מָקוֹם, וְשָׁם הוּא מָצוּי. וְרָאִיתִי בָּאַגָּדָה שֶׁאוֹתָן כְּרָמִים עוֹשִׂין פֵּרוֹת אַרְבָּעָה אוֹ חֲמִשָּׁה פְעָמִים בַּשָּׁנָה. וְדֻגְמָא הִיא לְכַמָּה כַפָּרוֹת וּמְחִילוֹת, שֶׁמָּחַל לָהֶן הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא עַל כַּמָּה נִסְיוֹנוֹת שֶׁנִּסּוּהוּ בַמִּדְבָּר:
15"Behold, you are comely, my beloved; behold, you are comely; your eyes are like doves."   טוהִנָּ֤ךְ יָפָה֙ רַעְיָתִ֔י הִנָּ֥ךְ יָפָ֖ה עֵינַ֥יִךְ יוֹנִֽים:
Behold, you are comely, my beloved: I was ashamed of my sin, but He encouraged me with appeasing words, saying, (Num. 14:20): “I have forgiven according to your words,” and you are most fair, for your eyes are like doves; i.e., a bride whose eyes are ugly-her entire body requires examination but [a bride] whose eyes are beautiful, her body requires no examination. (Song Rabbah 4). The allegorical meaning is: I forgave you for your iniquity, and behold you are fair with [your statement of] “Let us do,” and you are fair with [your statement of] “Let us hear;” fair with the deeds of your forefathers and fair with your own deeds, because…   הִנָּךְ יָפָה רַעְיָתִי: אֲנִי הָיִיתִי בוֹשָׁה בְקִלְקוּלִי, וְהוּא חִזְּקַנִי בְדִבְרֵי רִצּוּיִים, לוֹמַר "סָלַחְתִּי כִּדְבָרֶיךָ". וַהֲרֵי אַתְּ יָפָה וְיָפָה כִּי עֵינַיִךְ יוֹנִים, כְּלוֹמַר: כַּלָּה שֶׁעֵינֶיהָ כְעוּרִים כָּל גּוּפָהּ צָרִיךְ בְּדִיקָה, וְשֶׁעֵינֶיהָ נָאִים אֵין גּוּפָהּ צָרִיךְ בְּדִיקָה. וְהַדֻּגְמָא זוֹ הִיא: מָחַלְתִּי לָךְ עַל עֲוֹנֵךְ, וַהֲרֵי אַתְּ יָפָה בְ'נַעֲשֶׂה' וְהִנָּךְ יָפָה בְ'נִשְׁמָע', יָפָה בְמַעֲשֵׂה אָבוֹת, יָפָה בְמַעֲשָׂיִךְ: כִּי
your eyes are like doves: There are righteous among you who clung to Me like a dove, which, as soon as it recognizes its mate, does not abandon it to mate with another. Similarly, (Exod. 32:26): “and all the sons of Levi gathered to him,” and they did not err with the Calf, and moreover, behold you are fair with the work of the Tabernacle, as it is said (ibid. 39:43): “and behold, they made it, etc. and Moses blessed them;” behold he praised them for that.   כִּי עֵינַיִךְ יוֹנִים: צַדִּיקִים יֵשׁ בְּיָדֵךְ שֶׁדָּבְקוּ בִי, כְּיוֹנָה זוּ שֶׁמִּשֶּׁמַּכֶּרֶת אֶת בֶּן זוּגָהּ אֵינָהּ מַנִּיחַתּוּ שֶׁיִּזְדַּוֵּג לְאַחֵר. כָּךְ "וַיֵּאָסְפוּ אֵלָיו כָּל בְּנֵי לֵוִי" וְלֹא טָעוּ בָעֵגֶל. וְעוֹד: הִנָּךְ יָפָה בִמְלֶאכֶת הַמִּשְׁכָּן, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר "וְהִנֵּה עָשׂוּ אֹתָהּ וגו' וַיְבָרֶךְ אֹתָם משֶׁה". הֲרֵי שֶׁקִּלְּסָם עַל כָּךְ:
16"Behold, you are comely, my beloved, yea pleasant; also our couch is leafy.   טזהִנְּךָ֙ יָפֶ֤ה דוֹדִי֙ אַ֣ף נָעִ֔ים אַף־עַרְשֵׂ֖נוּ רַֽעֲנָנָֽה:
Behold, you are comely, my beloved, yea pleasant: The beauty is not mine, but yours; you are the comely one.   הִנְּךָ יָפֶה דוֹדִי אַף נָעִים: לֹא הַיֹּפִי שֶׁלִּי אֶלָּא שֶׁלְּךָ. אַתָּה הוּא הַיָּפֶה:
yea pleasant: For You overlooked my transgression and caused Your Shechinah to rest in our midst, and this is the praise of the descent of the fire (Lev. 9:24): “and all the people saw and shouted for joy.”   אַף נָעִים: שֶׁעָבַרְתָּ עַל פְּשָׁעַי וְהִשְׁרֵיתָ שְׁכִינָתְךָ בְּתוֹכֵנוּ. וְזֶהוּ קִלּוּס שֶׁל יְרִידַת הָאֵשׁ "וַיַּרְא כָּל הָעָם וַיָּרֹנּוּ":
also our couch is leafy: Through your pleasantness, behold our couch is leafy with our sons and with our daughters, all of whom gather to You here, as it is said (ibid. 8:4): “and the congregation gathered [to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting].” The Tabernacle is called a bed, as it is said (below 3: 7): “Behold, the litter of Solomon,” and the Temple is called a bed, as it is said concerning Joash (II Chron. 22:11, II Kings 11:2): “in the bed chamber” which was in the “House of the Lord” (ibid. 3), because they [the Sanctuaries] are the source of Israel’s fruitfulness and procreation.   אַף עַרְשֵׂנוּ רַעֲנָנָה: עַל יְדֵי נְעִימוֹתֶיךָ, הִנֵּה רַעֲנָנָה עַרְשֵׂנוּ בְּבָנֵינוּ וּבִבְנוֹתֵינוּ שֶׁהֵם כֻּלָּם נִקְבָּצִים אֵלֶיךָ פֹה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר "וַתִּקָּהֵל הָעֵדָה וגו'". הַמִּשְׁכָּן קָרוּי מִטָּה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר "הִנֵּה מִטָּתוֹ שֶׁלִּשְׁלֹמֹה". וְכֵן הַמִּקְדָּשׁ קָרוּי מִטָּה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר בְּיוֹאָשׁ "בַּחֲדַר הַמִּטּוֹת" אֲשֶׁר "בְּבֵית הָאֱלֹקִים", עַל שֶׁהֵם פִּרְיָן וְרִבְיָן שֶׁל יִשְׂרָאֵל:
17The beams of our houses are cedars; our corridors are cypresses."   יזקֹר֤וֹת בָּתֵּ֨ינוּ֙ אֲרָזִ֔ים רָהִיטֵ֖נוּ (רָֽחִיטֵ֖נוּ כתיב) בְּרוֹתִֽים:
The beams of our houses are cedars: This is the praise of the Tabernacle.   קֹרוֹת בָּתֵּינוּ אֲרָזִים: שֶׁבַח הַמִּשְׁכָּן הוּא זֶה:
our corridors: Heb. רָהִיטֵנוּ. I do not know if this is a term referring to boards or a term referring to bars, but I do know that also in the language of the Mishnah, we learned (Hag. 16a): “The רָהִיטִים of a person’s house testify against him.”   רָהִיטֵנוּ: לֹא יָדַעְתִּי אִם לְשׁוֹן קְרָשִׁים אוֹ לְשׁוֹן בְּרִיחִים, אַךְ יָדַעְתִּי שֶׁאַף בִּלְשׁוֹן מִשְׁנָה שָׁנִינוּ: רָהִיטֵי בֵיתוֹ שֶׁל אָדָם הֵם מְעִידִים בּוֹ: