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Shir ha-Shirim VIII: Part Four: Too Hot to Handle

Rabbi Shelah said: Imagine a large jug full of of water with no handle by which it could be carried, until someone came and made a handle for it, so that it began to be carried by its handle. (Shir ha-Shirim Rabbah 1:1.8, part four)


The Torah was “too hot to handle,” until Solomon came and allowed us to access its lessons as explorers, without the danger of being burned by making mistakes. Rabbi Shelah is taking us back to the comparison between Solomon’s explorations and those of the spies. The Torah was not a Song that was easily sung. Its notes and keys were so lofty that we feared to seeing as we were. That is, until Solomon came and taught the most complex ideas of Torah by way of parables; teaching us that not only is the Torah accessible, and not only can we graphs it as a whole, but it is so practical in its application to our daily lives, that we understand that once we apply its lessons to our lives we need not fear being burned by mistakes.

Imagine an entire generation of newly freed slaves being granted Revelation! They experienced the greatest heights. They were exposed to the deepest depths. Their introduction to Torah at Sinai was so lofty that they pulled back in fear. It was Solomon who taught us that Torah is a Song of Life, a Song of Songs that encapsulates all of existence, including our individual experiences. We began to feel comfortable singing; to living our lives by Torah as a Song of Praise to the Creator.

When we delve into the Pesach story and recall how basic human experiences played such an important role in the original Pesach, and every Pesach that followed, even to the point of a person waking up with extra white here in his beard is important, we begin to understand that our lives are an important part of this Song of Songs; the Song of Torah, the Song of Life.

If we properly use the Pesach Seder and appreciate the significance of everything that happens in our lives, and that they are all part of the Whole Story, we need not fear being burned by Torah, but can feel comfortable singing our song.

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