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Shir ha-Shirim VII: Part One: The Gift of Articulation

Another explanation: in “The Song of Songs.” It is to this verse that the other verse says, “The heart of the wise teaches his mouth (Proverbs 16:23).” If the heart of the wise man is full of wisdom who will call attention to his wisdom and cool will demonstrate his wisdom? “His mouth.” It is his mouth that makes him wise, meaning, his mouth demonstrates that he is a wise man. “And adds learning to his lips.” Through the act of bringing forth words of Torah from his heart, he adds to his learning in the Torah.


They drew a comparison to illustrate this, to a cask which was full of precious stones and pearls, but which had a tight fitting cover and was put away in a corner, so that no one knew what was in it, until someone came and emptied it and then everyone knew what was in it. So too, the heart of Solomon was full of wisdom but no one knew what was in it, but when Divine Inspiration rested on him and he composed three books, all knew his wisdom. (Shir ha-Shirim Rabbah 1:1.7)

I find it interesting how the midrash can describe Solomon as a wise man who was not recognized as such until he composed his three books, when the verse describes the entire nation as being in awe of his wisdom, especially after the story of the two women and two babies. Obviously, the midrash is addressing an entirely different level of wisdom. People knew that Solomon was wise but they did not appreciate how wise, nor the quality of his wisdom until.…

The Divine Inspiration rested on him and he composed his three books; the Song of Songs, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes. The midrash is telling us that the Divine Inspiration allowed Solomon to articulate his wisdom. We generally think of Divine Inspiration as a level of wisdom all to its own, however, this midrash is describing Divine Inspiration as the ability to articulate one’s wisdom in a way that people can appreciate its quality.

We read the Song of Songs on Pesach, the holiday of articulation! Pesach is understood as the combination of two words, “Peh Sach,” meaning, a mouth that converses. The Children of Israel left Egypt from “Pi ha-Chirot,” the “Mouth of Freedom.” They left Egypt and entered the “Midbar,” the desert, which can also be read the, “Midaber,” the speaker! The Pesach Seder is all about speech, questions and answers, telling the story.

We read the Song of Songs, the articulation of Solomon’s wisdom, on the holiday of articulation, so that we may appreciate Pesach as an opportunity to receive then necessary Divine Inspiration to find the words to express all that we know and understand in a way that can be shared by others. We can use this gift of Pesach Divine Inspiration to transform our words into our own Song of Songs.

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