For the week ending 3 June 2023 / 14 Sivan 5783

Perek Shira: The Song of the Bear

by Rabbi Reuven Lauffer
Become a Supporter Library Library

The Bear says:

“Let them raise [their voices], the wilderness and its cities, the fenced areas of Kedar. The dwellers of stone will exult; they will call from the mountaintops. They will attribute glory to Hashem, and His praise will be related in the islands!” (Yeshayah 42:11-12)

The winter is symbolic of the exile of the Jewish People, which will conclude with the resurrection of the dead that will take place in spring. The bear survives the winter in a state of death-like hibernation, after which it rises and conducts itself in the opposite manner, with liveliness and constant activity. It thus sings of the time that “the dwellers of stone will exult,” that is, when those buried in the ground will rise and praise Hashem. The restored Land of Israel will then raise its voice in jubilant song, and the celebration will resound throughout the wilderness, the fenced areas, the mountains, and even in distant islands.

Although the bear sings about a time in the future, it indicates a lesson that pertains even now. In the same way that the bear is constantly hungry and searching for food and drink, a Jewish soul ought to search for spiritual sustenance. The Sages teach that Torah scholars have no rest neither in this world nor the next, for they continually rise from level to level, becoming greater and greater to no limit. Until the world has reached its rectified state and Hashem’s Presence has returned to its holy resting place, a Jew cannot be fully at rest. We should never feel bored, for every moment of life is call for action, and every action is a song to our Creator.

  • Sources: Shir HaShirim 2:11; Tur, OC 490; Shocher Tov 104:23; Mechon Shivtecha; Perek B’Shir, citing the Vilna Gaon; Berachos 64a

*In loving memory of Harav Zeev Shlomo ben Zecharia Leib

© 1995-2023 Ohr Somayach International - All rights reserved.

Articles may be distributed to another person intact without prior permission. We also encourage you to include this material in other publications, such as synagogue or school newsletters. Hardcopy or electronic. However, we ask that you contact us beforehand for permission in advance at [email protected] and credit for the source as Ohr Somayach Institutions www.ohr.edu

« Back to @OHR

Ohr Somayach International is a 501c3 not-for-profit corporation (letter on file) EIN 13-3503155 and your donation is tax deductable.