The wisest of all men – King Solomon shares with us a secret about the relationship between the Jewish people and God. He writes the most beautiful words fitting for a relationship between two lovers, in his classic Song of Songs. Here, he includes the ups and downs of any relationship. What keeps the relationship strong, is a unique love. Even during the “downs”, the relationship is sealed by something quite mysterious!
In chapter 5:2, Shlomo HaMelech says, “אֲנִי יְשֵׁנָה וְלִבִּי עֵר קוֹל דּוֹדִי דוֹפֵק פִּתְחִי־לִי אֲחֹתִי רַעְיָתִי יוֹנָתִי תַמָּתִי שֶׁרֹּאשִׁי נִמְלָא־טָל קְוֻּצּוֹתַי רְסִיסֵי לָיְלָה׃”, “I was asleep, but my heart awake. The sound of my beloved knocks, ‘Open for me my sister, my beloved, my perfect dove, because my head is filled with dew, my locks with the dampness of night'”
The Torah constantly refers to the Jewish people as the dove. The dove is unique in that it has only one mate. The Baal HaTurim, Rabbi Yaakov, the son of the Rosh makes a fascinating comment in Parshat Tazria. In Leviticus 12:6 in discussing the commandment for a woman who has just given birth that she is to bring an offering, she should bring (a lamb and) a young pigeon or a dove. This is an unusual way of saying things since in fact the Torah always speaks about bringing the dove before a pigeon. Why here does it speak about bringing the pigeon before a dove?!
He points out that in our case, only one bird is brought. While usually the birds will be brought in pairs, here only one is brought. This could mean – the Baal HaTurim points out, that the dove is destined to lose its mate! He points out that this will cause the mate of the offered-dove dove to mourn for its mate and it will never take another mate for itself again. Once its love has left this world, it has no desire for another. Hence, the dove is mentioned only after the pigeon. Only if a pigeon cannot be found, does one bring the dove. Bringing the dove is only a last resort. The dove has a true love relationship with its partner, and we must do everything to keep it that way!
So too is the relationship between God and the Jewish people. The relationship is unique. There are no outside forces intervening between the love between God and the Jewish people. Even when one is asleep, the heart is awake. The relationship continues to hold. Isn’t it a wonder that the doves constantly fly by and rest upon the stones of the Kotel?! The dove is just another entity in existence which expresses the Jewish soul as it connects to God. It is a unique relationship. Watch the life of the dove and you will understand the life of a Jew. Watch how it talks to its mate. Watch how it looks after its young. Watch how it prepares its nest… Listen to its cooing. Listen to its love. It is unique. It is beautiful.
King David sings (Psalms 55:7), “Then I said, ‘O that I had a wing like the dove! I would fly off and find rest!”
The prophet Amos (Amos 11:11) says, “They shall flutter from Egypt like sparrows, from the land of Assyria like doves; And I will settle them in their homes —declares the Lord.”
King David speaks about the desire of the dove to find rest. The prophet speaks about God granting rest, gathering in the Jewish people and bringing them to their HOMES. We all need a home. We all seek that freedom to live in our own home…
This beautiful picture depicts just some of these themes and includes the verses of King David and the prophet Amos. Its message includes the song of Solomon. We look at the image and are reminded of the beauty of all Torah. The beauty of King David. The beauty of King Solomon. The beauty of our prophets. We see the dove and are reminded of the beauty of the Jewish people. There is the Kotel – because the Jewish people belong near it – and not when it is torn apart, but when it will have all its walls and its chambers and holy rooms in place. We reflect on what it means to be Jewish and to love the Torah and to love God. What it means to love another Jew who is connected with all these themes.
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