Allen S. Maller

Rumi, Sinai and the Song of Songs

From the perspective of true lovers, every human soul yearns to meet its mate; and live transformed from two souls into one. To believe that we alone can love. that no one else could ever love, or will ever love, as we do; with all our heart’s thoughts, with all our soul’s passions, and with all our will’s commitments.

Of course, not every soul will succeed in its mating, and some souls will not even try. This spiritual reality also applies to religious souls that seek to love and be loved by a Divine lover. The Holy One will love you much more than you can ever know, but you must first open yourself to yearn, trust, and believe in this spiritual reality.

As Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk said, “Where can you find God? The other sages say that God is everywhere. I say God is wherever a person lets God in.”

The one exception to this rule was at Mount Sinai: when the descendants of Prophets Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph, were all coerced into a loving partnership covenant by the One who had rescued them from slavery in Egypt.

But how can any one be coerced into a loving partnership? Is not pressure inherently a contradiction of love?

Not when it comes from being loved first. Frequently, human souls find it difficult to love, without the assurance that their own love will be returned. To love is to open oneself to the pain and disappointment of losing the one you loved so much.

Many modern souls feel that it is much better not to love and lose, and thus do not love at all. They think that to have many transitory lovers, or to love only yourself; is true wisdom.

As I already stated, individual religious souls that seek to love and be loved by a Divine lover, should trust that the Holy One will love you much more than you can ever know, but you must first read the Song of Songs repeatedly until you open yourself to yearn, trust, and believe in this spiritual reality.

In his book Embracing the Divine Feminine: Finding God through the Ecstasy of Physical Love –The Song of Songs, Rabbi Rami Shapiro asks: Who is the woman whom we meet in this erotic love poem?

Shapiro notes that like Eve, whose Hebrew name Chavah is really a title “mother of all the living,” the woman in the Song of Songs has a title, rather than a name: the Shulamite (Song of Songs 7:1).

Rabbi Shapiro notes that the root letters of Shulamite sh-l-m are the root letters of the Hebrew words shalom and shaleim; peace and wholeness. These are the qualities that can be found when your soul continually loves another soul through the ups and downs of marital and spiritual life.

Cynthia Bourgeault, who wrote the foreword to Embracing the Divine Feminine states: Somewhere between Chapter 2 and Chapter 3 of the Song of Songs, the male lover goes missing, and the woman, with full determination, confirms her fidelity to her beloved, and to the path of holy covenant love:

“I will leave my bed and wander the city, searching street and square for you, for whom my breath pants”. (Song of Songs 3:2)

Then at the beginning of Chapter 6 another separation looms, along with hints of rejection by society and family members, followed by another reunion and, finally, an impassioned affirmation:

Set me as a seal upon your heart,
as an insignia upon your arm;
for love is as strong as death,
passion as fierce as the grave;
its smallest spark is a flash of fire
igniting an inferno. (Song 8:6)

As the great Persian poet Rumi wrote:
25. Through love the earthly body soared to heaven
Nimble and swift danced the mountain

26. It was love that came to Mount Sinai’s soul
Made it drunk and Moses stunned: swooned

27. With my confidant’s lips if I pair
Like the reed flute I would tell and declare

28. Whoever splits from his native tongue
Became tongue-tied with hundred song

29. When garden faded and roses gone
Won’t hear from nightingale, nothing on

30. A lover is veil, all is Beloved
Lover is lifeless, alive is Beloved

31. How can I realize what is around me
When my beloved light is not around me

32. When he is not in love’s protection
He is like a wingless bird, what an affliction!

33. Love wants these words to be revealed
What is a mirror if it is concealed

34. You know why your mirror does not reflect?
Rust on the surface caused the defect

Translated by Wajma F.O. December 7, 2017 and sent to Dar Al-Masnavi that same day as his effort in translating the Song of Reed by Mawlana Jalaluddin Balkhi Rumi

About the Author
Rabbi Allen S. Maller has published over 850 articles on Jewish values in over a dozen Christian, Jewish, and Muslim magazines and web sites. Rabbi Maller is the author of "Tikunay Nefashot," a spiritually meaningful High Holy Day Machzor, two books of children's short stories, and a popular account of Jewish Mysticism entitled, "God, Sex and Kabbalah." His most recent books are "Judaism and Islam as Synergistic Monotheisms' and "Which Religion Is Right For You?: A 21st Century Kuzari" both available on Amazon.
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