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Dvar for Shir Hashirim 5764
 (last days of Pesach)

By Rabbi Yehudah Prero

We read the Megillah of Shir HaShirim (the Song of Songs) on the last days of Pesach (Passover). In the Tractate of Yodayim (3:5) the Mishna states: "...the whole world is not as worthy as the day on which the Song of Songs was given to Israel; for all the Writings are holy but the Song of Songs is the Holy of Holies." What do we find contained in this holiest of all books? Praises of the human body! Our Sages have told us that the praise of each body part is focused on the specific act that these parts perform in the service of G-d. Still, why does the body deserve such praise?

Rav Nosson Finkel explained that we know that G-d created man in G-d's image. Each component of the body is a part of this holy image. With each good deed done by or with an organ or limb, we see the splendor of creation, and the holiness of G-d is evident. When we use our bodies for the service of G-d, we are assuring that our bodies, our images of G-d, are acting as the conduits of holiness that they should be. Every person has the innate ability to fill the world with the splendor of G-d by using his or her body properly, in a way which brings honor to G-d.

Pesach is a holiday on which we celebrate our freedom. We were freed from physical enslavement and from spiritual bondage as well. Rabbi Yehudah Prero explains that perhaps it is because of the dual aspect of our freedom that we read Shir HaShirim on Pesach. Once G-d released the nation of Israel from Egypt, they were free to serve G-d with both body and soul. On Pesach, we focus on using our power of speech, which is the prime example of the convergence of physical and spiritual. Shir HaShirim contains many praises of the body, but only when our physical body is used spiritually!

Quotation of the Week (thanks to Martin Bodek):
"Well done is better than well said." - Benjamin Franklin

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Last Updated: Monday, October 03, 2005