Kenneth Cohen

Song of Songs

We read Shir Hashirim on Shabbat Chol Hamoed. The connection to the holiday of Pesach, is that it speaks of ultimate redemption for the Jewish people.

The book, known in English as “Song of songs,” was written by Shlomo Hamelech. It was only until the time of Rabbi Akiva, where there was a recognition of the depth and holiness of this book. Rabbi Akiva said that the other twenty-three books of Tanach, are holy, but Shir Hashirim is holy of holies.

He saw that the pure love between a husband and wife, is symbolic of the special love between Hashem and the Jewish people.

There is a story contained within the eight chapters of the book. It speaks of how all those that surrounded the two lovers tried to separate them, and doubted if their love was true. In the end, after a long separation, all realized and appreciated that their love was holy and pure.

The analogy is to Israel and the nations, and our long exile. The reunion of the two lovers symbolizes the ultimate redemption. This is why שיר השירים is read on Pesach.

The Rambam wrote that the goal in achieving absolute love of G-d is aided by having a relationship of absolute love between husband and wife. It is necessary to have a connection of faith, trust, and passion between two individuals, so that they will be able to have these same sentiments in their relationship with Hashem.
This was the deeper message that was seen by Rabbi Akiva, and why he saw Shir Hashirim as so special. It is a message of love, faith, and redemption, that epitomizes the Pesach holiday.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at
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