Perek Shira - Prayer of the Dove

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    General Information

    Perek Shirah, literally "A Chapter Of Song," is an ancient text that is at least a thousandyears old; some ancient commentaries even attribute its authorship to ing !avid #ttakes the form of a list of eighty$four elements of the natural %orld, including elementsof the sky and of the earth, plants, birds, animals, and insects, attaching a verse from the&ible to each' (he concept behind Perek Shirah is that everything in the natural %orldteaches us a lesson in philosophy or ethics, and the verse gives a clue as to %hat thatlesson is' (he result is the "song" of the natural %orld, the tapestry of lessons for lifethat the natural %orld is telling us'Perek Shirah, a %ork of tremendous historic value, isitself extremely mysterious and cryptic' )o%ever, various commentaries have been%ritten on it over the last five hundred years, %hich give an insight into %hat the verse

    is telling us to learn from the creature'

    (hus, for example,Perek Shirahstates that "(he lion is saying, *+od shall go out as amighty man, he shall arouse eal, he shall cry, even roar; he shall prevail over hisenemies -#saiah ./0123'" (he lion teaches us of the importance of might and po%er' (hisdoes not mean physical strength; true po%er is po%er over oneself' All big cats areaggressive predators and therefore cannot get along even %ith each other; it is only thelion that is able to someho% control its aggression and live in groups' (he lion teachesus of the greatest po%er, that of self$control'

    Nature's Song is the first 4nglish explanation ofPerek Shirah ' #t makes use of rare

    ancient commentaries onPerek Shirah, as %ell as contemporary insights from the fieldsof meteorology, oology and so on' (he result is a &iblical encyclopedia of the natural%orld, synthesiing the ancient %ith the modern, that enables one to perceive ne%depths of insight into the natural %orld that surrounds us'

    )ardcover5 .6/ pages5 7etail Price 8/9'965 Published /::1 by (argum Press5!istributed by oo (orah

    The Circle of Life

    Perek Shirah, literally "A Chapter Of Song," is an ancient text that is at least t%othousand years old; some commentaries even attribute its authorship to ing !avid #ttakes the form of a list of eighty$four elements of the natural %orld, including elementsof the sky and of the earth, plants, birds, animals, and insects, attaching a verse from the(orah to each' (he concept behind Perek Shirah is that everything in the natural %orldteaches us a lesson in philosophy or ethics, and the verse gives a clue as to %hat thatlesson is' (he result is the "song" of the natural %orld, the tapestry of spiritual lessonsfor life that the natural %orld is telling us' Perek Shirah, a %ork of tremendous historic

    value, is itself extremely mysterious and cryptic' )o%ever, various commentaries have

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    been %ritten on it over the last five hundred years, %hich give an insight into %hat theverse is telling us to learn from the creature'

    (hus, for example, as %ell as individual animals being listed, there is also a mention ofthe %ild animals in general' #n this case, their song is not a verse, but rather a a3

    Iife has dignity, and +od ensures that this dignity is not lost in death' (his sameconsideration extends to %ild animals as %ell as to the victims of &etar' +od has created

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    a system to ensure that the bodies of %ild animals do not suffer the disgrace ofremaining on the ground'

    (he song of the %ild animals is the same as that sung over the victims of &etar' #t is anackno%ledgment of +od*s kindness in ensuring that the dignity of life is not lost in

    death; "&lessed is the One =ho is good and besto%s good'"

    7evie% by Pennee IaudersA beautiful book dealing %ith all the aspects of the natural %orld in the (orah

    perspective of ")o% great are Four %orks, )ashem," accompanied %ith poignant black$and$%hite illustrations, Jature*s Song is authoritative, factual, poetic, comprehensive, a

    brilliant %ork of art$and$science' A book to have and to give, to read repeatedly and tocherish'

    A fitting revie% for our Shavuos edition, for this momentous day in history %henCreation itself %as ultimately vindicated through the giving of the (orah to the E4%ishnation' "Fom )aShishi $ say Chaal $ "the Sixth !ay of Sivan" %hen the (Orha %asgiven, amidst lightning and thunder'

    @any years ago, # %as lent a tape about Perek Shirah' (he lecturer expounded at lengthon the fascinating, mystical significance of the text, but # never had an opportunity tolook into Perek Shirah itself' =here %as it? =hat %as it? (his %as, of course, partiallydue to my busy schedule, raising five bouncy boys' Jo% that three of them are busy

    bouncing else%here, #*m capable of perusing such formidable tomes as 7* JossonSlifkin*s handsome, informative, %ell$%ritten and thoroughly researched Jature*s Song'!elighted, # found Perek Shirah in )ebre% %ith 4nglish translation to be featured as thefirst textual entry' #t*s not that one can*t plo% laboriously through the )ebre% and comeup %ith a reasonable understanding by oneself' )o%ever, a busy baalebusta must becareful to budget her time %isely' (he translation together %ith the )ebre% makes iteasier to move for%ard and get into the ideas' (he really serious learners can tackleoriginal sources, as the ambitious author of this lovely volume has so courageouslydone' (hat he deigns to share his hard$earned kno%ledge and his personal insights %iththe (argum$eldheim readership is a chessed of immense proportions'

    One message of Perek Shirah, according to the author and those %hom he

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    Could 7* Fochonon have kno%n that at the end of days, there %ould be such a cryingdearth of the %isdom of the (orah*s mussar? (hat through teachers like 7* Slifkin %etinokos shenishbu %ould come to extract the (ruth even from the behavior of animals?#n fact, this book proves that %e are so far from nature that %e don*t even have a%orking relationship %ith many of the animals mentioned in Perek Shirah' )o% then

    can %e hope to obtain mussar at all if %e haven*t yet ac

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    as his perspective is imbibed and incorporated into the daily conduct of his upliftedreaders'

    Updates and Corrections

    $ =hile nesheris tentatively translated in the book as the griffon vulture, its true identityis described as unclear' urther research, ho%ever, has provided strong arguments that itis indeed the griffon vulture; clickherefor full details' # gave a shiur about themethodology of identifying the animals of the (orah at the recent OL conference onkashrus; you can do%nload it as an audio file at %%%'ootorah'com, in the "IectureSeries" section'

    $ Clarification0 (he identification of the retzifi/onchias the bat %as a total stab in thedark' =eak support %as claimed fromPi Eliyahu%ho identifies it as the tinshames, butthis is in fact no support at all, because he understands tinshamesto be the o%l' (he bat%as only chosen because, in light of there being no evidence %hatsoever as to %hat theretzifireally is, the bat at least matches the explanation given for the verse' #t mighthave been more appropriate to simply transliterate the name'

    $ (he rechamah %as identified as the bee$eater, but there is evidence that it may refer toa bird called the roller' urther information %ill hopefully be forthcoming'

    $ A variety of possibilities %ere suggested regarding the identity of the tanin' #t no%

    appears that %hile the term can include several creatures, the primary references are tocrocodiles and perhaps %hales' (he rishonim that %ho describe it as a "snakelike fish"are actually talking about a crocodile, and not an eel, as suggested in the book' (he%ord "dag" is used to refer to any a

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    The Lightning Bolts

    are saying, "He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; He makes lightning for

    the rain; He brings forth the wind from His storehouses."

    (Psalms 1!#$

    from Perek Shira

    Electric Shock

    %ightning comes about due to an imbalance in the electric charges between the ground andthe thunderhead. &he lightning bold instantly strikes and redresses the imbalance. 'ts asudden and striking way of doing so, but highly effective.

    ) similar imbalance of forces sometimes e*ists between man and the Heavens. +ansometimes becomes lost in the material world, forgetting about the spiritual. &here, too,something must be done.

    &here is nothing more openly perceived as an act of od than a bolt of lightning.&hunderstorms, with their terrifying crashing sounds, startling flashes of light, and driving rain,do not merely instill awe in a person - they instill religious awe. 'ts a way of shocking peopleout of their complacency and reminding them to redress the imbalance between their body andtheir soul.

    &hunder was created only to straighten out the crookedness of ones heart.

    (&almud, Berachos!a$

    http://www.simpletoremember.com/growth/Lightning_Bolts.htm#bot%23bothttp://www.simpletoremember.com/vitals/Talmud_History.htmhttp://www.simpletoremember.com/growth/Lightning_Bolts.htm#bot%23bothttp://www.simpletoremember.com/vitals/Talmud_History.htm
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    %ightning sings electrifyingly of the need to remember the spirituality of the Heavens, and notto fall out of synchroni/ation with that (0irchas Hahir, 2enaf 3enanim$.

    Driving Rain

    )s we shall learn in the song of the rain, rain is the medium that symboli/es the relationshipbetween od and man. &he fertili/ation of the ground by the rains from the heavens representsthe emanation of 4ivine life from od to man.

    4uring a long, hot summer, the land is baked hard by the summer heat. )s a result, it issimply unable to absorb the life-giving rains. &he parallel of this is that the heat of physicaldesire renders man unreceptive to spirituality and distanced in his relationship with od.

    'f you walk in +y statutes, and keep +y commandments, and do them, then ' will give you rain in dueseason... but if you do not listen to +e... ' will make your skies like iron, and your earth like bron/e...

    (%eviticus 56-1$

    &he solution for the land is to plough it. 7ne thereby opens it up, enabling it to receive andabsorb the forthcoming rain. %ikewise, the end of summer is a time for repentance, for man tobreak through the bonds of materialism.

    However, we do not always rise to the occasion. )s such times, od may not give up on us,either. &here are ways to render us receptive to Him.

    &hunderstorms typically occur at the end of long and hot summers. )s products of vastcumulonimbus clouds, they are usually accompanied by vast 8uantities of pelting rain. uchrain will not slide off the baked soil. 't is ideal for driving into the hard clods of earth andbreaking it up.

    0y the same token, thunderstorms shock man into remembering od and urge him to breakout of his materialism and become receptive to ods rain. &he lightning bolts are singing thatod "causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; He makes lightning for the rain;He brings forth the wind from His storehouses." He makes lightning for the rain to be effectiveat penetrating the ground and giving it new life (Tziltzel Kenafim. ee too Seasons of Life, 9hodesh :lul$.

    rom Nature's Songby Nosson Slifkin,pg. 1>,>>> tons of water and apotential energy e8uivalent to ten atomic bombs like the one dropped on Hiroshima.

    Analyzing a Lightning Bolt

    'n a lightning bolt, a relatively low-powered "leader" first shoots from a thundercloud to the earthin a series of /ig/ag steps. ?hen it is si*ty to ninety feet from the ground, it is met by anupward-seeking discharge of electricity some two to three inches in diameter and surroundedby a five-inch sleeve of superheated air. &he stroke pack 1>,>>> to 5>>,>>> amperes andinstantly cooks the surrounding air to a temperature of !>,>>> degrees ahrenheit or more,causing it to e*pand violently in a roar of thunder. ?hen the return stroke enters the couldanother leader descends and is in turn met by another rising charge. &his repeats from three totwenty-si* times, but the bolts all travel so fast, at about ,>>> miles per second, that we see itas a single flash of lightning.

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    &he +ysteries of now and %ightning

    http://www.zootorah.com/books/songframe.htmlhttp://www.simpletoremember.com/vitals/Creator_Snow_Lightning.htmhttp://www.zootorah.com/books/songframe.htmlhttp://www.simpletoremember.com/vitals/Creator_Snow_Lightning.htm
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    ?onder )pple'nsights into @ature

    Perek Shirais an ancient te*t which lists A< elements of the natural world, attaching a versefrom the &orah to each. Perek Shirais the "song" of the natural world, the tapestry of lessonsfor life that the natural world is telling us.

    3abbi Bochanan said Had the &orah not been given, we would have learned modesty from the cat, Ctheprohibition ofD theft from the ant, Cthe prohibition ofD forbidden relationships from the dove, and the propermethod of conEugal relations from fowl.

    (&almud,Eruvin1>>b$

    (back to top$

    The Song of the Bir

    ":ven the bird finds its home and the free bird her nest where she had her young; 7 to be atBour altars, 7 9ompassionate 7ne, +aster of the hosts of creation, my overeign and my od."(Psalm A

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    &his universal vision appears again in the words of the following 4ivine promise which we chanton each fast day

    "' will bring them to +y sacred mountain, and ' will gladden them in +y house of prayer; theirelevation-offerings and their feast-offerings will find favor on +y )ltar, for +y House will becalled a house of prayer for all the peoples." ('saiah !6#$

    't is written, "%ike a bird wandering from its nest, so is a person wandering from his place"(Proverbs 5#A$. 'n a certain sense, all human beings are "wandering birds" that will one dayreturn to their spiritual home - their "nest" in Gion. 'n the concluding words of the habbos song,"2ah 3ibon," this home is described as, "the Holy of Holies, the place where spirits and soulswill reEoiceK"

    +ay we be blessed with a peaceful habbos.

    Bosef 0en hlomo Hakohen (ee below$

    3elated &eachings and tories

    1. Fewish tradition teaches that the first human being was originally created as an androgynousbeing with two sides I male and female I which were later separated (3ashi on enesis 11#and 551$; moreover, the human being was created at the site where the &emple would be built,as the +idrash states "?ith an abounding love did the Holy 7ne, blessed be He, love the firsthuman being, as He created him in a pure locality, in the place of the &emple" (Pirkei 43abbi:lie/er, chapter 15$. )ll human beings therefore have a special connection to this sacred place.

    5. &he ong of the 0ird has another translation ":ven the bird finds its home and the free birdher nest where she had her young at Bour altars, 7 9ompassionate 7ne..." &his translationimplies that the birds themselves are attracted to the sacred mountain of the &emple. 'n thisspirit, 3abbi lifkin writes in "@atures ong"

    "Lisitors to the 2osel Ha-+aaravi, the ?estern ?all of the &emple +ount, will notice theprofusion of birds that inhabit it. parrows, swifts and doves all build their homes in this holiestof places, and their cries are heard incessantly. 't is e*plained that birds have a si*th sense forsanctity." 3abbi lifkin suggests that this spiritual sensitivity may be a reason why birds arerepresented in disproportionately large numbers in Perek hirah.

    . +any of us have stories to tell of visitors to 'srael I including non-Fews I who felt amysterious inner yearning when they arrived at the 2otel I the ?estern ?all. or e*ample, aFewish friend of mine told me a story about his sister-in-laws visit to Ferusalem. he had comefrom the Mnited tates to visit her brother, who lives in 'srael, and my friend took her to visit the2otel. he does not consider herself to be religious, and she did not have a &orah education. 'naddition, she never e*pressed any spiritual yearnings, and whenever my friend talked about

    spiritual ideas with her, she was not interested. he knew very little about the 2otel, but sinceshe was a tourist in Ferusalem, she went with my friend and her brother to see it. )s shereached the 2otel, she suddenly became overcome with deep emotions, and began to weep.he and those with her were in shock, for such a reaction seemed totally against her "normal"nature. )s ' told my friend, when she arrived at the 2otel, her true nature was revealed.