Shir ha-Shirim XII: Part Three: God’s Song: Sefirah 8
It was taught in the name of Rabbi Nathan: The Holy One, Blessed is He, said it in the excellence of His Majesty, as it says, “The song of songs which is Solomon’s,” that is, that the King to whom all peace belongs.
Rabban Gamliel said: The ministering angels said it; “the song of songs,” that is, the song which the singers on high uttered.
Rabbi Yochanan said: It was said on Sinai, as it says, “Let Him kiss me with the kisses of His mouth.”
Rabbi Meir said: it was said in the Tent of Assembly. He bases his view on this verse: “Awake, O North, and come, you, oh South (Song of Songs 4:16).” “Awake, O North,” the case is the burnt offering which was killed on the north side of the Altar; “and come, oh South,” this refers to the peace offerings which were killed on the south side. “Below, my garden,” this refers to the Tent of Assembly. “Let his spices flow,” this refers to the incense offering. “Let my beloved come to his garden,” this is the Divine Presence. “And eat his delicious fruits,” these are the offerings.
The Rabbis say it was said in the Temple, and proven also from this verse. “Awake, O North,” this refers to the burnt offering which was killed on the north side. “And come, oh South,” this refers to the peace offerings which were killed on the south side. “Below, my garden,” this refers to the Temple. “Let his spices flow,” this refers to the incense offering. “Let my beloved,” this refers to the Divine Presence. “And he eat of his delicious fruit,” this refers to the offerings.
The Rabbis also hold that all the succeeding verses refer to the Temple.
Rabbi Acha said: The verse, “A palanquin,” and what follows refers to the Temple. The Rabbis, however, make these an introduction to, “And it came to pass on the day that Moses completed setting up the Mishkan (Numbers 7:1).”(Shir HaShirim Rabbah 1.2:1, part two)
Who sang the Song of Songs? Where was it first sung? Was it God who sang this song? Was it the ministering angels? Was it first sung at Sinai? In the Mishkan? In the Temple? Was part of it Sunday at the time of the dedication of the Mishkan, the rest celebrating the regular service?
At the Revelation at Sinai, the Children of Israel were privileged to see what no other human beings, before or after, saw. They heard God speak directly to them. They saw God as the ministering angels perceive Him. This song of the Angels is a direct reflection of what they perceive. This is what Israel heard and saw at Sinai. Their challenge was to really create eight the Sinai experience in the Mishkan they built. Even after they completed their building, and successfully brought God’s Presents down to earth, they continued to have a challenge: Would they be able to maintain that level of connection as part of the regular service. The Rabbis saw an even greater challenge: Would future generations, many hundreds of years later be able to re-create that experience in the Temple, even in its newly service?
The Song of Songs is God’s song accompanied by the Angels, sung at Sinai, sung again at the completion of the Mishkan, continued throughout the course of the Mishkan’s existence, and recreated at the dedication of the Temple, and again, continued to be sung as part of its service.
The Song of Songs is Israel’s carrying the Sinai experience with them throughout the ages. It was Israel continuing to sing along with God and the angels the same song they heard at Sinai.
The Song of Songs is the Song of Torah. It is our statement that we continue to sing the same song that was overheard at Sinai. It is our bringing the Sinai experience with us wherever we go, whenever we live.
Torah is our opportunity to sing God’s song as if we are standing at Sinai. When we learn to sing Torah’s words with the same joy and connection that the Children of Israel experienced at Sinai, we access all the gifts of Revelation.