"And G‑d called to Moses, and spoke to him out of the Tent of Meeting saying." (Lev. 1:1) Rabbi Hiya opened with: "I came to my garden, my sister, my bride. I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk." (Song of Songs 5:1) The beginning of the verse contradicts its ending and its ending contradicts its beginning. It says, "I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk" and following this is "Eat, O dear beloved ones". One who invites others does so when the food is set before him. However, once he has eaten, how can he invite another?

Israel were fortunate that G‑d wanted to purify them [of their sins through the sacrificial offerings] and chose them from among all the nations. Having chosen them, He wanted to distance them from all persecutors in the world [through its sacrificial service] .

Come and see, the very day that the Tabernacle was erected below, another tabernacle on high was erected with it on the very same day, as is written, "the Tabernacle was erected" (Ex. 40:17), not specifying further. That day was a time of rejoicing for G‑d.

What is written once the Tabernacle was erected "And Moses was not able to enter the Tent of Meeting"? (Ex. 40:35) When G‑d saw this, He said, 'It was erected by Moses, yet he remains out of it?' Immediately, "And G‑d called to Moses." (Lev. 1:1) He said to him, 'Moses, what does a housewarming dedication consist of? A feast!' And thus the verse: "If any man of you bring an offering to G‑d." (Ibid. 1:2) [Therefore G‑d commanded to bring sacrifices, to provide a feast celebration.] This is the meaning of: "I came to my garden, my sister, my bride" (Song of Songs 5:1) [that it refers to the sacrifices].

Another explanation of "I came to my garden" refers to the upper Garden of Eden [the secret of Leah] "My sister, my bride" refers to the Congregation of Israel [who is Rachel] On that day [of the raising of the Mishkan], pairs [Leah and Rachel and all the sefirot] were coupled in all ways." Pairs were also coupled in that Garden of Eden [related to Leah] for all of them were blessed from the flow of the river [bina] and each [sefira] bonded with its fellow. Thus, it is written, "I have gathered my myrrh with my spice [to connect chesed and netzach]; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey [to connect gevura and hod]; I have drunk my wine with my milk [to connect tiferet and malchut]," for they were all irrigated and saturated from the fountain spring of the river.

"Eat, O dear beloved ones, and drink; drink deep, O loving companions" hints to all those lower [worlds of Beriya, Yetzira, and Asiya] and all their branches, which are all blessed and sustained when these are blessed on high. Through what are they blessed and sated? Entirely through the aroma of the sacrifices.

Come and see: When the Congregation of Israel [the Shechina] descended to rest on earth [in the Mishkan], G‑d said this verse ["I came to my garden, my sister, my bride"] for blessings and joy were present throughout the worlds. She was sweetened so that blessings may go forth from her to all [for when the 6 sefirot are blessed, all the lower worlds are also blessed] and the Congregation of Israel and the [Jewish] nation are blessed more than all [for they brought forth these blessings]

BeRahamim LeHayyim: What does the above mean to you, and why is it revealed to you now?

All scripture is holy, but Song of Songs is the Holy of Holies. It is a beautiful letter of love between Israel and Hashem. The above verses are used to show the connection between the second and third Books of the Torah, how we went from the completion of the Mishkan to the sacrificial service. The love letter between the Hashem, the Giver, and Israel, the receiver, prepares us to better understand the details of Sefer HaKohanim (as the Sages referred to Leviticus) about to unfold. May we eat and drink deeply of the lushness of this pure food of Leviticus , food so pure that traditionally these are the first words given over to young children learning in elementary schools.

Bracketed annotations from Metok Midevash and Sulam commentaries
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