Saturday of Passover

“How to bring the Creator closer to us?”

Rabbi Benzion Zilber

On the Saturday of Passover, Shir Ha-shirim (Song of Songs) is read. This emotionally rich work colorfully demonstrates the connection between the Almighty and the people of Israel. Here is what my father, Rav Yitzchak Zilber, of blessed memory, wrote about this:

In the Song of Songs, the relationship between G‑d and the Jewish people is figuratively represented as the pure friendship of a boy and a girl who, even in separation, remain faithful to each other. The girl is the Jewish people, and her chosen one is the Creator and Ruler of the world. Many people persuade the girl: why are you waiting for your beloved, he left you long ago and forgot. “What makes your friend better than others?” (Song of Songs 5:9). “Where has your friend, the most beautiful of women, gone?” (6:2). Many people persuade Jews: forget about the One G-d, leave your laws, behave like everyone else. You have so many talents, and being Jewish only hinders you. The people's response: “I adjure you... when you find my friend, tell him that I am sick with love” (5:8). “I belong to my friend, and my friends belong to me” (6:3).

In the TANAKH, the relationship between the Almighty and the Jews is compared either to the relationship between father and son, or to the relationship between the groom and the bride. The main difference between the latest model is the direct relationship between the warmth of the girl’s relationship with the guy and the response. The more interest the groom shows in the bride, the more warmth she experiences towards the groom. From time immemorial there has been an unbroken connection between G-d and the Jews. However, the fact that it is conducted according to the bride and groom model emphasizes reciprocity. The attitude of the Almighty towards us directly depends on our attitude towards the Creator. When we are faithful to the Almighty in all situations, both joyful and sad, He shows similar loyalty to us. The Song of Songs gives two versions of G-d's observation of the people of Israel, more and less thorough: “(He) looks through the window, flashes through the bars” (Song of Songs 2:9).

The closeness of the Almighty to us is an unstable quantity. During the Temple, intimacy was stronger; in exile, it was weaker. But it should be remembered that the Almighty’s close monitoring of what is happening with the Jewish people, its hardships and problems is a direct result of our attitude towards Him. It is in our power to make the Creator watch the people of Israel more closely. It is we who, by following His commands and desires, can strengthen His closeness to us.