Trumah: Chapter 31

"The song of songs, which is Solomon's"


Rabbi Yosi says that King Solomon was inspired to create this song when the Temple was built, and all the worlds above and below were completed in one action, but only when the moon (Malchut) was first fully completed. Moses made the tabernacle in the wilderness so that the Shechinah could descend to earth, and on that day another tabernacle, that of the youth Metatron, was erected above. Everything was completed the day that the Song of Songs (Shir Hashirim) was revealed to the world, and so it is considered to be the Holy of Holies, the chamber in the Temple, the portal to the upper world, that only the High priest may enter.

The text goes on to tell of the Cup of Blessing, and the significance of the right and left hands which take the cup. Then we read that the Shir Hashirim includes everything, the history and story of everything there ever was or will be. Another explanation offered suggests that the Hashirim are the Patriarchs, which represent the Holy Chariot. At this time, we learn of a deeper secret, that if one dreams of black grapes growing (but not in the growing season) it is known that a decree of death has been declared against the dreamer.

Then Rabbi Yosi tries to understand how if everything below is mirrored above, the serpent and death can possibly be above. Returning to "A song of ascents," he explains that this means the songs of the Supreme Angels, who are divided into ascents and levels, and they sing to David, who is Malchut, to demand of him food and sustenance. As soon as King Solomon came, he recited a song that the great ones of the Upper World recite to the Supreme King. The songs of all the people of the world were in the lower chariots, but only King Solomon's song was in the Supreme Chariots. King David and his son Solomon sang their songs differently; David endeavored to correct the worlds and to beautify the Queen with them, while Solomon endeavored to bring her to the groom, introducing words of love between them in order to join them together. David was paired with the Queen in this world below; while Solomon was paired with the Queen in a perfect union above.

The passage speaks then of three thousand proverbs, three thousand parables, a thousand and five poems, and the number five. In the end, the reason that prayers and petitions are necessary is so that the place from whence the Light emerges, which is Zeir Anpin, should illuminate and become prepared, because when that place is restored, then everything below, in Malchut, is readied for the appearance of God.


Days, weeks, months, years could be spent trying to interpret this one extremely long and complex passage. Yet perhaps its complexity is its message, to release us from our stubborn adherence to the intellect and turn us toward the divine languages of music and poetry, which are better able than ordinary language to speak of deep things. We know that the Zohar's narrative arouses the spiritual forces of which it speaks. Thus, references to the serpent and death ignite sacred sparks that safeguard us from these deadly forces.

And the Angel of Death, himself, dies through the Light that shines here. We draw sustenance in the name of David, ending poverty. Protection and the Light of the Final Redemption are aroused through the Temple. Blessing is bestowed upon us at the hand of the Cup of Blessing. We ignite untold joy by virtue of Solomon's Song of Songs. And we propagate goodness throughout the world through the medium of the white grapes.