How Should We Translate Shir HaShirim?

July 5, 2016 Sharon $0.00 0
(Photo: tzahiV/iStock)
(Photo: tzahiV/iStock)

The Summer Beit Midrash, run by the Center for Modern Torah Leadership and hosted by YI Sharon, is now underway! 

Whenever we encounter Jewish text, either in translation or in the act of translating it for ourselves, we are met with certain challenges.  Does every book of Tanakh have a ‘peshat’ (a literal, simple meaning) that everyone can search for on his or her own?  Is there a difference between reading Tanakh guided by Tradition and reading what the Tradition claims the Tanakh says?  Is there such a thing as a good “Jewish” translation, or should any translation of Tanakh be good enough?

Shir Hashirim, the Song of Songs, has famously been given a purely allegorical translation in the ArtScroll siddur and Chumash, which claims that a literal translation is simply false.  But is there a way for anyone to read the Hebrew original without thinking of a literal translation?  Rabbi Aryeh Klapper, the Dean of the Center for Modern Torah Leadership and Rosh Beit Midrash of its Summer Beit Midrash Program, will lead a discussion of Shir Hashirim, presenting commentaries by Rashi and Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, as well as the choices and decisions that have informed his own translation.  Participants will begin the evening by studying various modern translations of the opening verses of Shir Hashirim.

In order that we can ensure we have sufficient materials available, please RSVP to Ami Blaszkowsky, Young Israel of Sharon Director of Education, at

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Fact Sheet
Tuesday, July 5, 2016, 8:30 pm - 10:00 pm
Young Israel of Sharon
100 Ames St
Sharon, MA 02067

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