Saturday, April 1, 2017

The Song of Songs: The Love Story of God and Israel (XXXIII)

“Set Me as a seal upon your heart, and as a seal upon your arm. For love is strong as death, jealousy is hard as the grave. Its flames are flames of fire that is the flame of God.” (Song of Songs 8:6)

God continues addressing Israel, asking her to seal their mutual love. First in her heart, for it encompasses love expression, good judgment, good feelings, and passionate intensity that invite positive thinking. Second in her arm, for it is the means to bring love into concrete actions and deeds. Thus we realize that thought, feeling, emotion, passion and deeds encompass the fulfillment of one single principle that is love.

The second sentence of this verse is intricate, yet one of the most profound principles revealed in the Song of Songs. Its complexity comes from introducing love “as strong as death”, both with equal powers by virtue of the comparative “as”. Although, in spite of this, it wants to tell us that indeed love is stronger than death as we will see in the culmination and end of the poem.

The statement evokes in our imagination two equally strong contenders in a long lasting fight in which one defeats the other and prevails forever. Here we recall Jacob’s all night-long fight with the angel of Esau (Genesis 32:24-29), ending up overcoming and emerging as Israel, the one who fights with and for God. We see Jacob/Israel as the embodiment of love and life who defeated Esau as the embodiment of evil and death.

He has swallowed up death in victory, and has wiped the Lord God the tear from off all faces. And the reproach of His people He has turned aside from off all the earth, for the Lord has spoken.” (Isaiah 25:8)

Thus we see that after a long confrontation of thousands of years, God will make love prevail as our final redemption to reign forever in His promised Messianic era. After this statement turned into prophecy, the verse reaffirms the bonding love of God and Israel echoing the fundamental declaration of Judaism.

“Hear [understand] Israel, the Lord is your God, the Lord is One [and Unique].” (Deuteronomy 6:4)

This declaration is a sealing kiss that makes “love as strong as death”, for we recite it from the moment we return to life in our awakening in the morning and in the moment after closing our eyes to sleep. These two moments also reflect life and death in the Jewish tradition; hence we thank God when we wake up, for bringing us back to life.

The third sentence of the verse tells us that “jealousy” is part of love, for it shields and protects from anything threatening or harmful to whom or what we love. Thus we also realize that estrangement is as painful (“hard”) as death (“the grave”), for it ends the reason and purpose of love.

The fire of God’s love makes the bonding eternal as His flame that gives life and sustenance to His entire creation. We understand this “jealousy” as the burning exclusivity God’s love demands from our love for Him.

And those who love Him are as the going out of the sun in its might.” (Judges 5:31)

Jealousy does not allow anything to meddle or interfere with whom or what we love, and its “fire” burns whatever is different or against the purpose of God’s love and the love He wants us to live. Thus we understand how He reveals Himself to us, and we ask Him so in our Jewish daily prayers to be with Him in love.

“(…) and give us an understanding heart to comprehend and to discern, to perceive, to learn and to teach, to observe, to practice, and to fulfill all the instructions of Your Torah in love.”

“(…) For You have chosen us from among all the nations and languages, and have brought us our King to the greatness of Your Name in love, to thank You and to proclaim Your Oneness, and to love Your Name. Blessed You are Lord, who chooses His people Israel in love.

It is so, because the goodness of love is the context of God’s creation, and the purpose of life is to exist in it. As the essence and destiny of our life, love is the freedom that leads us to make it prevail in all facets, aspects and dimensions of life.

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From the Book's Foreword

Let's reexamine our ancestral memory, intellect, feelings, emotions and passions. Let's wake them up to our true Essence. Let us engage in the delightful awareness of Love as the Essence of G-d. The way this book is written is to reaffirm and reiterate its purpose, so it presents its message and content in a recurrent way. This is exactly its purpose, to restate the same Truth originally proclaimed by our Holy Scriptures, Prophets and Sages. Our purpose is to firmly enthrone G-d's Love in all dimensions of our consciousness, and by doing it we will fulfill His Promise that He may dwell with us on Earth forever. Let's discover together the hidden message of our ancient Scriptures and Sages. In that journey, let's realize Love as our Divine Essence, what we call in this book the revealed Light of Redemption in the Messianic era.