Gershon Hepner

Not Explaining the Song of Songs

Reading commentaries before you read Bible text

is comparable to reading program notes before

you hear a piece of music, or feeling far more highly sexed

by fantasies about a partner you adore

than by reality of him or her with whom you will

be making love, the fantasy of music that you’ll hear

and that of making love both ones that you will spill,

once you have drained both of these pleasures which are extremely dear.


The fallacy of reading commentaries of the Song

of Songs is: that even when they are fantastic, all inter-

pretations are both hypothetical and wrong,

“no comment” the best commentary to words that stir

the soul solely

since they’re holy.

Inspired by “A Cellist Breaks Music Into ‘Fragments,’ Then Connects Them: Alisa Weilerstein’s latest project is a series of staged solo recitals that weave Bach’s cello suites with newly commissioned works,” NYT, 3/24/23, in which David Allen writes:

When the cellist Alisa Weilerstein found herself cooped up with her family at the start of the pandemic, her first instinct, like that of so many classical musicians, was to find some way — any way — to communicate.

She joined the artists who found solace on social media, streaming a movement of Bach’s cello suites each day, for 36 days in a row. “I just want to have a kind of outpouring of music, of thoughts, and everything else,” she told The New York Times then. “Right now all I really want to do is give.”

About the Author
Gershon Hepner is a poet who has written over 25,000 poems on subjects ranging from music to literature, politics to Torah. He grew up in England and moved to Los Angeles in 1976. Using his varied interests and experiences, he has authored dozens of papers in medical and academic journals, and authored "Legal Friction: Law, Narrative, and Identity Politics in Biblical Israel." He can be reached at
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