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Shir ha-Shirim VII: Part Two: The Explorer

“The heart of the wise teaches his mouth, and adds learning upon his lips (Proverbs 16:23).” “Upon his lips,” in Hebrew, “Al,” the learning Solomon added to the words of the Torah exalted him, as it says, “And I applied my heart to seek and to explore, ve-latur, by wisdom “Ecclesiastes 1:13).”


What is meant by “ve-latur?” Solomon sought to become an explorer of wisdom (to explore all aspects of Torah, or that he was always on the lookout for someone from whom he could learn, or, he sought other wisdom in addition to that of the Torah [Rashash]), as it is written, “and they explored, “va-yaturu,” the land (Numbers 13:21).” If a man taught the Scripture well, he went to Solomon; if one taught the Mishnah well, he went to Solomon, as it says, “and to explore wisdom.” (Shir ha-Shirim Rabbah 1:1.7 part two)

Why did people go to Solomon? Why did the expert teachers go to Solomon? They went because he was and Explorer! Ironically, we compare his “explorations” to that of the infamous spies who returned from their “explorations” with an evil report about the Land of Israel!

This midrash is addressing the apprehension many have about becoming an explorer. Rather than say that exploration is dangerous because of what happened with the spies, this midrash is telling us that when seeking wisdom we should seek it as an Explorer.

Every time we sit down at the Pesach Seder we should be as one who is seeking wisdom. We explained in the previous midrash that it is possible to merit a special Pesach Divine Inspiration that will allow us to articulate hidden wisdom. This midrash is developing that point, and telling us that in order to find the wisdom and insights that are in our hearts, we must approach the Pesach story as explorers. We must delve into the story to discover new levels of meaning. We must explore every detail of the story to find something that no one before has found. If we work to merit the Pesach Divine Inspiration, our explorations will be successful, and will avoid the risks that led to the downfall of the spies.

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