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Shir ha-Shirim XI: Part Five: A Song of Life: Sefirah 4

Rabbi Levi said: The numerical value of the word Shir (510) corresponds to that of the years of the Patriarchs along with the Ten Statements: Abraham lived 175, Isaac lived 180, and Jacob lived 147 = 502 + 10 = 512. Should you object that the second is (two) more, deduct one year of famine in Abraham’s lifetime, and one year of famine in Isaac’s; famine years that are not considered years of life, and which do not count. (Shir Hashirim Rabbah 1.1:11, part five)


Rabbi Levi understands the Song of Songs as the Song of Life, just as the Torah is Torat Chaim, a Living Torah. He counts the lifetimes of the Patriarchs as years of life; when they gave life to the world through their service of God. That life continued to give us life until we received the Ten Statements at Sinai.

Rabbi Levi reminds us that our Torah study must also be a Song of Life; study with the awareness that this is how God gives life to the world, and how we, as the Patriarchs, nurture that life and continued existence.

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