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Shir ha-Shirim XVI Part Four: Sefirah 23

“Let Him kiss me –  Yishakeini – with the kisses of His mouth.” Rabbi Abbahu, or, as some say, Rabbi Yehudah, and Rabbi Nechemia explained the word, Yishakeini. Rabbi Nechemiah said: if two scholars argue over a law and each one adduces a general principle to support his view, the Holy One, Blessed is, says, “Their source, shukyoton, comes from Me.”


Rabbi Yehuda says: Even of the breath which issues from his mouth, as it says, “But Job does open his mouth with a breath [in vanity] (Job 35:16),” the Holy One, Blessed is He, says, “Their source is from Me.”

The Rabbis say: The souls of the righteous will be taken away with a kiss.

Said Rabbi Azariah: We find that the soul of the Aaron was taken away only with a kiss, as it says, “And Aaron the priest went up into Mount Hor at the mouth of God and died there (Numbers 33:38).” How do we know that was the same with the soul of Moses? Because it says, “So Moses the servant of God died there according to the mouth of God (Devarim 34:5).” How do we know it of Miriam? Because it is written, “And Miriam died there (Numbers 20:1).” Just as “there” in the other text implies “by the mouth of God,” so here, too, only it is not stated expressly as this would be disrespectful.

How do we know the same of all other righteous persons? Because it says “Let Him kiss me with the kisses of His mouth.” If you have occupied yourself with words of Torah so that your lips are well armed, Menushakot, with them, in the end all will kiss, Menashkin, you on your mouth. (Shir Hashirim Rabbah1.2:5, Part Four)

There is the case of wisdom. There is the case of breath. There is the case with which the soul is summoned from the body. There is the case of Torah that makes one beloved to all, who want to kiss him.

The midrash is describing a relationship with God, nurtured by Torah study, that expresses itself with a gift of wisdom experienced as a kiss from God. One who begins to appreciate the intimacy of the gift of understanding, wisdom, and insight, will find that all that he does will have similar intimacy, a case from God. He will experience the intimacy in all that he does. The person who leaves with this sense of intimacy with God, merits that his death will be as that of Aaron, Moses, and Miriam; a case summoning the soul from the body.

Torah study is to be experienced as intimacy with God; intimacy that will expand and express itself through every life experience and every moment, even until the final moment of life on this Earth.

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