Shir ha-Shirim XVI Part Three: Sefirah 22
“Let Him kiss me from the Kisses of His mouth.” Rabbi Yitzchak said: It is as if a king was eating pieces of sweetmeats, and when his son came he gave him from his own hand. The Rabbis said: It is as if a king was eating pieces of meat, and when his son came he gave him from his own hand. Some say, he took it out of his mouth, and gave it to him, as it says, “For God gives wisdom, out of his mouth comes knowledge and discernment (Proverbs 2:6).” (Shir haShirim Rabbah 1.2:5, Part Three)
Rabbi Yitzchak describes God giving the Torah “From the kisses of His mouth” as taking a special dish prepared exclusively for the King that He shares with His son. Rabbi Yitzchak views the Torah shared so intimately with us as not just spiritual food that is available to all, but to His Torah, which is the expression of His Infinite Being, accessible only to God, Who can fully comprehend its meaning. God “kissed us with His mouth,” and granted us access to Torah as He studies it.
Each time we approach Torah study we can approach it, not as the text as we know, but as God’s Torah, with the opportunity to delve into her wisdom from God’s Infinite perspective, as long as we appreciate our Torah study as an opportunity to relive Sinai. “Ha-melamed Torah l’Amo Yisrael,” “Who teaches Torah to His nation Israel,”means that God teaches us His Perspective of Torah when we approach as His nation Israel standing at Sinai.
The Rabbis do not, as does Rabbi Yitzchak, see two Torahs; God’s Torah and Torah as we know it. They see the “dish of meat” prepared for everyone at the table. The King takes first, and that which He takes becomes special because it is His portion. God takes Torah and studies it, and that wisdom of the Torah is transformed as it is studied by God, Who then shares His portion in Torah with Israel. When we approach Torah as, “Ha-melamed Torah l’Amo Yisrael,” “Who teaches Torah to His nation Israel,” we are asking God to teach us His portion in Torah.
We have all experienced the difference between studying a text with greater and lesser master teachers. I have an entirely different experience of studying a verse, Talmud, or Rambam, when studying with my father zt”l than what I experience listening to anyone else. The text is transformed when taught by a great master. We have the opportunity to study Torah with God’s reading of the text. We begin by reconnecting to Sinai.
Some say, he took it out of his mouth, and gave it to him, as it says, “For God gives wisdom, out of his mouth comes knowledge and discernment (Proverbs 2:6).” We approach “Ha-melamed Torah l’Amo Yisrael,” “Who teaches Torah to His nation Israel,” as experiencing Torah as God “experiences” Torah, “the food directly from His mouth,” as a means of fully connecting to God.
When I was little, the most comfortable bed in the house was my father’s. When my parents bought new mattresses and my mother tbcl”c asked me to take the old mattresses outside to the garbage, I threw out my mattress and kept my father’s. It just wasn’t the same; it was lumpy, and miserable. His new mattress felt exactly the way his old one felt. It wasn’t the mattress; it was that it was my father’s mattress. We can go “to the mattresses,” study Torah, as our own, or as an opportunity to feel the extra pleasure and security of our Father’s mattress; God’s taste of Torah.