Monday, May 01, 2006

Shir HaShirim

Followup to the previous post: None of the major rishonim seem to answer my question about the shiur of milk outright, but a number of them also use the term achilah to refer to milk. Perhaps during the time of the mishnah (continuing into the time of the rishonim) milk was not often imbibed in its liquid form, due to spoilage problems, but rather was first processed into some thicker form, like a yogurt or somesuch. This would explain why milk is still included amongst the list of liquids, as it does originate in liquid form, but since its use was often in a semisolid form, it carried a more stringent shiur than other liquids.

New business: If it's considered a siman tov when two aspects of one's learning intersect (as my chavrusa often mentions), what's to be said in the case when one's learning just misses such an intersection? Such is the case with the Nach yomi schedule that said chavrusa and I are working on, in which this week we finished Shir HaShirim and are now moving through Rus.

I found the ending of the sefer to be a very interesting one. The book is comprised of a dialogue between two lovers (specifically, the dod and the ra'ayah) who express their love and longing for one another, both to each other and to a third party (the "b'nos Yerushalayim", in the case of the ra'ayah). At the end, the ra'ayah says to the dod: "B'rach dodi, ud'mei l'cha litzvi o-l'ofer ha-ayalim al harei vater" - "Flee, my beloved, and be like a deer or a gazelle upon the mountains". Rashi understands this as a wish that HaShem (the dod) should "flee" from the galus, and bring the ge'ulah. Metzudas David explains this passuk and the previous one as an exchange in which the dod tells the ra'ayah to whisper to him while they are in the public garden, so that no one else can hear her words of love, to which she responds that it would be even better for them to go to a more private place (i.e., the mountains = the Beis HaMikdash), where they will be able to privately share their love without having to resort to whispering.

In any event, the last passuk is a very dissonant ending, as the sefer does not end with the dod and ra'ayah finally uniting, but rather ends with the hope that they will eventually unite. This highlights the fact that the book is analogous to Eicha, in that it is devoted to a lament for something that is lost (in this case, the closeness of the dod and the ra'ayah), which can only end with a heartfelt request that the gap quickly be filled - as, in truth, since the Dod and ra'ayah are still separated by the breadth of the galus, a happy ending is not yet possible.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home