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Shir ha-Shirim XX: Sefirah 45

“Your ointments have a goodly fragrance.” Rabbi Acha said in the name of Rabbi Tanchum the son of Rabbi Chiya: the reference is to the two oils of anointment, the oil of priesthood and the oil of kingship. The Rabbis say: The reference is to the two Torahs, the Written Torah and the Oral Torah. (Shir Hashirim Rabbah


People must come to the Kohen and to the king to experience their “fragrance,” or the influence of being in their presence. They are anointed only once with oil, and they step into their roles. Both the Kehuna and the kingship are forever.

The two Torahs however, are everywhere, open to be experienced by all. We can take it with us, but their “fragrance” can fade if we stop learning.

Rabbi Acha focuses on the oils of anointment, to stress the importance of the numerous roles played by different people and positions in the Covenant of Torah. He believes that someone who will go to experience the fragrance will become a person transformed, and will take that experience and begin to study Torah. Rabbi Acha wants us to take the sense of having been in the presence of greatness with us whenever we study Torah.

I cannot forget what it was like to be in the presence of great people; My grandfather zt”l, Rav Moshe zt”l, my father zt”l, and ybcl”c my Rebbi shlit”a, and others. I remember those experiences when I learn, and they remind me of how much Torah can affect me.

The Rabbis however, focus on the Crown of Torah that is open and possible to all. They believe that the belief in Torah’s ability to transform each of us is what opens the perfume bottle to spread Torah’s fragrance. The Rabbis want us to add Torah’s fragrance, i.e. its ability to elevate each of us, to our environment, for this is the only way that each of us will be attracted to Torah.

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