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Shir ha-Shirim VIII: Part Two: Penetrating Barriers

Rabbi Nachman gave another illustration: imagine a thicket of reeds which no one could penetrate, until one clever man came and took a scythe and cut some down, and then all began to enter through the clearing. This is what Solomon did. (Shir ha-Shirim Rabbah 1:1.8, part two)


Rabbi Nachman is teaching us that the purpose of Solomon’s parables was to clear a path for us between what was, until then, impenetrable. When we approach the Pesach story, and the idea that God sent us into exile, that God had warned Abraham that this would happen, that our suffering was in response to a question asked by Abraham, we are dealing with an impenetrable thicket of ideas and concepts that can easily confuse us and cause us to lose our way. How are we to penetrate this barrier? How are we to understand these complex ideas? How are we to learn how to apply these ideas in a practical way to our own lives?

Rabbi Nachman is teaching us to study the Pesach story, the story of all our exiles, as parables. We begin by understanding the basic story, imagining ourselves living through those situations, and extrapolating idea was that we can then practically apply to our lives. We cannot be satisfied by answering some questions, nor by coming up with numerous ideas explaining the Pesach story, for once we understand the story, we must look at it as a parable and then seek practical and meaningful applications.

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