Spring Awakenings: Pesach 2023

by Adam J. Rosenbaum

Pre-Game Chatter: What signs of spring are the most reassuring to you? Do you wish that spring lasted longer before the start of summer?

As the Song of Songs is read on the Shabbat of Passover, the theme of spring connects the two:

The Pitch: “My beloved spoke thus to me, ‘Arise, my darling; my fair one, come away! For now the winter is past, the rains are over and gone.” – Song of Songs 2:10-11

Swing #1: “This lyric is perhaps the most beautiful expression of love in the spring to be found in literature.” – Robert Gordis, The Song of Songs and Lamentations: A Study, Modern Translation and Commentary

Swing #2: “The meaning of this is that the period when perfection with him was impossible has passed. This was the period when the faculties of the soul turned toward the physical desires. He allegorically compared that time to the winter and the rain since at that time most plants do not produce fruit because of the great cold.” – Gersonides

Swing #3: “‘For, behold, the winter is past,’ these are the four hundred years that were decreed upon our ancestors in Egypt. ‘The rain is over and gone,’ these are the two hundred and ten years [of actual enslavement].” – Shir HaShirim Rabbah

Late-Inning Questions: What does the spring mean to our commentators? How do they feel that it’s represented in the Song of Songs? Is spring more a time of unbridled joy or a waiting room before the start of summer?

On-Deck at TBT: We’d like to offer a friendly reminder that there will not be evening services today (Wednesday) or tomorrow (Thursday) so that we can get the most out of our Seders. And since Seders often run long into the night, we’ll begin Yom Tov services on Thursday and Friday at 10:00 a.m.

The Big Inning at the End: Speaking of springtime, it amazes me that Major League Baseball does not yet schedule early-season games in domes or cities where it doesn’t rain. Don’t we want the start of the season to move forward without the threat of postponements?

Chag Sameach and, soon, Shabbat Shalom!