The Song of Songs (Shir HaShirm) is among the most beloved books of the Hebrew Bible, beloved both for the beauty of its language and for the mystical ideas it has inspired. However, many new readers may be surprised to learn that—while it is often understood as an allegory for the relationship between God (the Bridegroom) and humanity (the Bride)—it has no explicit religious content whatsoever and actually seems to celebrate erotic love. In his new translation, My Love Stands Behind a Wall, Netanel Miles-Yépez, attempts to emphasize the “earthy immediacy” of the original Hebrew, wishing the Song of Songs to stand on its own as “love poetry,” arguing that the mystical poetry and insights about Divine Love it has inspired actually come from an engagement with the raw imagery of human love. Also included are translations of the mystical poetry of Juan de la Cruz, Elazar Azikri, and Shlomo Halevi Alakabetz from the Spanish and Hebrew.
“Netanel Miles-Yépez’ translations soar with the erotic ecstasy of holy desire, reminding us that knowing God isn’t only a matter of emptying out, but also a matter of merging with. His Song sings, and invites you to sing along.”
— Rabbi Rami Shapiro, author of Embracing the Divine Feminine: Song of Songs Annotated and Explained
“Trust a contemplative to translate a deeply mystical text; better yet, a contemplative with literary ability. Netanel Miles-Yépez combines these and other talents to illuminate the eternally fascinating Song of Songs.”
— Sheikh Kabir Helminski, author of The Knowing Heart: A Sufi Path of Transformation, and translator of Rumi
"Reading the first lines of My Love Stands Behind a Wall: A Translation of the Song of Songs and Other Poems by Netanel Miles-Yepez is at once dusk-belonging and dawn-tender. The poems awaken us to an earthy and divine passion that is as real as it is contemporary. There is not a hair of awkwardness to the translations. They are fluid, seamless, and honey-filled. No wonder the other liquid images of love in this collection (Juan de la Cruz, Elazar Azikri, and Shlomo Halevi Alkabetz) came under its influence. Netanel Miles-Yepez' My Love Stands Behind a Wall will set you looking for the listener seeking roses instead of answers. Each flood-splendid verse is a budding thou, a homebound train, a soft world's kiss. A beautiful book."
— Josh Goldberg, artist, poet, and author of A Beggar at the Door: Longer and Shorter Psalms
"These translations burn with mystical intensity and shine with luminous awareness. Highly recommended."
— Mirabai Starr, author of God of Love and translator of Dark Night of the Soul