The Love of Their Youth

The Song of Songs and the old men, filled with longing, who sing it.
Song of Songs IV by Marc Chagall. Courtesy Wikipaintings.
Song of Songs IV by Marc Chagall. Courtesy Wikipaintings.
Atar Hadari
Observation
April 11 2014
About the author

Atar Hadari’s Songs from Bialik: Selected Poems of H. N. Bialik (Syracuse University Press) was a finalist for the American Literary Translators’ Association Award. His Lives of the Dead: Poems of Hanoch Levin earned a PEN Translates award and was released in 2019 by Arc Publications. He was ordained by Rabbi Daniel Landes and is completing a PhD on William Tyndale’s translation of Deuteronomy.


It’s a curious thing, hearing men read the Song of Songs—and in Orthodox communities it is almost invariably men who read it. Even in the most egalitarian Orthodox synagogues, where women may read from the Torah, it is usually the Torah they read from; you seldom hear an old woman, let alone a young one, singing the Song of Songs on Friday nights or at the Sabbath during Passover—even though half of the poem is made up of a girl speaking to her beloved.

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

More about: Biblical commentary, Passover, Song of Songs, Synagogue, Translation