Of Love and Memory

By Cantor Lorna Wallach

Only two more days of Matzah…but there’s more to look forward to than that for the last two days of Passover!

This year, because there was no Shabbat in the middle of Passover, we will read the Biblical book of Shir Hashirim, the Song of Songs, on the 8th day (Saturday). This series of poems, traditionally attributed to King Solomon, is chanted in a special trope melody and sings of the love of a man and a woman, but allegorically it describes the love between God and the Jewish people. In addition to its detailed descriptions of physical love, it is also full of vivid depictions of nature. The fact that the action of the book takes place in the spring is the main reason why it is read on Passover – we mainly think of Passover as the Festival of Freedom but it is also known as Hag Ha’Aviv (Festival of Spring).

The Talmud (in Berachot 43b) includes a special blessing to be said when you see blossoming trees. “Blessed are You Adonai who left nothing amiss in this world.blossoming-trees You created marvelous creatures and beautiful trees to give human beings pleasure.” Why not find an appropriate moment sometime this weekend to say this blessing? And come to CBI to enjoy the reading of Shir Hashirim this Shabbat morning. We will also say Yizkor on Saturday. It will be a day of love and memory and appreciating the beauty in our world.