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Shir ha-Shirim XI: Part Two: Learning to Sing the Torah: Sefirah 1

We have learned: Rabbi Akiva said: “Far be it from anyone in Israel to dispute that the Song of Songs renders the hands unclean (the Rabbis ruled that scrolls of the Bible should render the hands unclean, so as to prevent them being handled disrespectfully. With respect to the Song of Songs, however, some hold that there was a dispute), for the whole world only existed, so to speak, for the day on which the Song of Songs was given to it. Why so? Because all of the Writings are Holy, and this is Holy of Holies. (Shir Hashirim Rabbah 1.1:11, part two)


On the second night of Pesach we begin to count the Omer, the 49 steps that take us from Pesach to Shavuot, the day of the Revelation at Sinai. Rabbi Akiva is reminding us that God refers to the Torah itself as a Song, and just as the world exists only in the merit of Torah, so too, the world exists only in the merit of those being able to sing the Song of Torah, the Song of Songs with the same joy they Torah was sung by God to Israel at Sinai.

On this, the first night of the counting of the Omer, we commit ourselves to strive over the next 49 days to join in the Song of Torah, the Song of Songs.

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