I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
by the gazelles or the wild does:
do not stir up or awaken love
until it is ready! (Song of Songs 2:7, 3:5)
Recurring throughout our Zohar study the Shekinah figures as a wild doe. There are many contexts for this figure, ranging from a being of light,
andO low, sleeping ones, closed-eyed, awake! Who among you turns darkness into light, bitter into sweet before arriving here? Who among you awaits each day the light that shines when the King visits the doe and is glorified—declared King of all kings of the world? (Zohar I:4a)
The Doe of the Dawn. A song of David (Psalms 22:1). The doe of the dawn—for when the face of the east lightens and darkness of night dissipates, there is a deputy of the east, who draws a thread of radiance from the south, until the sun emerges, bursting those windows of the sky and illuminating the world. That thread-thin ray parts the dark of night. Then the doe of dawn approaches—black radiance in darkness coming to conjoin the day—and day shines, its radiance encompassing, absorbing that doe. Concerning this doe—as she parts from the day, after being encompassed—David sang a song, as is written: For the leader. On the doe of dawn. And what did he say? My God, my God, why have You abandoned me?—for the doe of dawn had parted from the radiance of day (Zohar II:10a)
to a man's beloved consort,
Let your fountain be blessed,
and rejoice in the wife of your youth,
a lovely deer, a graceful doe.
May her breasts satisfy you at all times;
may you be intoxicated always by her love (Proverbs 5:18-19).
and the community, the k'nesset,
Rabbi Shim'on raised his hands and wept. He said, "Woe to one who is present at that time [of judgment], and happy is one who is present at that time! Woe to one who is present at that time, because when the blessed Holy One comes to visit the Doe, He will observe who is standing by Her—all those present with Her—examining all the actions of each and every one, and no virtuous one will be found, as is written: I looked and there was no help (Isaiah 63:5). (Zohar II:7b)
Rabbi Shim'on said, "There is one doe on earth, and the blessed Holy One does so much for her. When she cries out, the blessed Holy One hearkens to her anguish. And when the world is in need of mercy, for water, she cries aloud and the blessed Holy One listens and then feels compassion for the world, as is written: As a hind longs for streams of water... (Psalms 42:2). (Zohar II:52b)
To sum, these examples in the Kabbalah of the Shekinah as Doe are cosmic, personal, and communal. Her totality through all worlds and universes are further present in the Hebrew letters for doe, ayal, איל:
1: א : Primordial Shekinah of Adam Kadmon
10: י : Supernal Shekinah of Atzilut
30: ל : Spiritual, Astral, and Material Shekinah of Beriyah, Yetzirah, and Asiyah, respectively
There are several other astonishing layers of Her totality which might have ground to add as inspirations and further connections are shared in our swiftly approaching Feast Day of Our Lady!
May love for you, Shekinah, be stirred and carry us beyond beyond.