Thursday, September 30, 2010

Rosh Ha-Shanah, New Year

In recognition of the recent conclusion of the Jewish New Year 5771 observances, Rosh Ha-Shanah, and the High Holy days occurring annually about September each year, the Simple Mind revisits a most beautiful piece of literature contained within the Jewish Cannon, Sh'ir Ha-sh'irim also known as the Song of Songs or the Song of Solomon. Each new year is commenced by days of reflection, alms giving and repentance. The observance of Rosh Ha-Shanah, itself is also a reflective time for believers. As a covenental faith, Judiaism proclaims a just and merciful G-d, a passionate, loving G-d as reflected in the 'Song.'

"The author of the Song, using the same literary figure, paints a beautiful picture of the ideal Israel, the chosen people of the Old and New Testaments, whom the Lord led by degrees to an exalted spiritual union with himself in the bond of perfect love. When the Song is thus interpreted, there is no reason for surprise at the tone of the poem which employs in its descriptions the courtship and marriage customs of the author's time. Moreover, the poem is not an allegory in which each remark, in the dialogue of the lovers, has a higher meaning. It is a parable in which the true meaning of mutual love comes from the poem as a whole."

"Although the poem is attributed to Solomon in the traditional title, the language and style of the work, among other considerations, point to a time after the end of the Babylonian Exile, 538 B.C as that in which an unknown poet composed this masterpiece. The structure of the Song is difficult to analyze; it is regarded as a lyric dialogue, with dramatic movement and interest. The Lord speaks of Israel as a new spiritual people, purified by the Babylonian captivity and betrothed anew to her divine Lover "in justice and uprightness, in love and mercy."
Quoted text source: various authors, USCCB.

Song of Songs, Sh'ir Ha-Sh'irim, Chapter 2

    I am a flower of Sharon,
    a lily of the valley.
     As a lily among thorns,
    so is my beloved among women.

     As an apple tree among the trees of the woods,
    so is my lover among men.
    I delight to rest in his shadow,
    and his fruit is sweet to my mouth.

      He brings me into the banquet hall
    and his emblem over me is love.

    Strengthen me with raisin cakes,
    refresh me with apples,
    for I am faint with love.

    His left hand is under my head
    and his right arm embraces me.

    I adjure you, daughters of Jerusalem,
    by the gazelles and hinds of the field,
    Do not arouse, do not stir up love
    before its own time.
     Hark! my lover-here he comes
    springing across the mountains,
    leaping across the hills.

    My lover is like a gazelle
    or a young stag.
    Here he stands behind our wall,
    gazing through the windows,
    peering through the lattices.

    My lover speaks; he says to me,
    "Arise, my beloved, my beautiful one,
    and come!
    "For see, the winter is past,
    the rains are over and gone.

    The flowers appear on the earth,
    the time of pruning the vines has come,
    and the song of the dove is heard in our land.

    The fig tree puts forth its figs,
    and the vines, in bloom, give forth fragrance.
    Arise, my beloved, my beautiful one,
    and come!
    "O my dove in the clefts of the rock,
    in the secret recesses of the cliff,
    Let me see you,
    let me hear your voice,
    For your voice is sweet,
    and you are lovely."

Translation: New American Bible

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