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Shir ha-Shirim XVI Part Five: Sefirah 24

“Let Him kiss me – Yishakeini – with the kisses of His mouth.” Let Him arm me; let Him purify me; let Him male me attach to Him. “Let Him are me,” compared to, “They were armed – noshkei – with bows, and could use both the right hand and the left (I Divrei haYamim 12:2).”


Rabbi Shimon bar Nachman said: The words of Torah can be likened to a weapon; just as a weapon serves its owner in time of battle, so the words of Torah serve well all who labor in them with all their needs. Rabbi Chana bar Acha derives it from here, “Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand (Psalms 149:6).” Just as the sword cuts on both sides, so the Torah confers life both in this world and the next. (Shir Hashirim Rabbah 1.2:5, Part Five)

Rabbi Shimon takes an expression of intimacy, “Let Him kiss me,” and reads it as something seemingly much different, “Let Him arm me.”

Rabbi Shimon is not simply describing a sword, but, “My sword, my weapon,” that becomes an extension of my hand. He compares Torah to the intimate connection between the soldier and his weapon. We must toil in Torah so that our learning becomes a natural extension of our hand; it becomes our Torah, always ready to help us wage life’s battles.

Rabbi Acha demands even more of our Torah study. True intimacy with Torah is possible only with the awareness that Torah addresses both this world and the Coming World. It speaks to us of how to practically deal with life as we know it, even as it also addresses eternal life. We must toil in Torah; work to understand how it addresses both worlds. We must work at applying its laws and wisdom to this world, and  toil to derive its lessons for developing our eternal lives. We must do both, a “two-edged sword,” in order for Torah to always be ready to help us face the battles of life; the mundane and the spiritual.

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