The Tudor Rose in the Zohar
The Tudor Rose the traditional floral heraldic emblem of England.
The opening of the Zohar reads:
Rabbi Hizkiah opened his discourse with the text: As a rose among thorns, etc. (Song of Songs 2:2). ‘What’, he said, ‘does the rose symbolize? It symbolizes the Community of Israel. As the rose among thorns is tinged with red and white, so the Community of Israel is visited now with justice and now with mercy; as the rose possesses thirteen leaves, so the Community of Israel is vouchsafed thirteen categories of mercy which surround it on every side. For this reason, the term Elohim mentioned here (in the first verse of Genesis) is separated by thirteen words from the next mention of Elohim, symbolizing the thirteen categories of mercy which surround the Community of Israel to protect it. The second mention of Elohim is separated from the third by five words, representing the five strong leaves that surround the rose, symbolic of the five ways of salvation which are the “five gates”. This is alluded to in the verse “I will lift up the cup of salvation” (Ps. 116:13). This is the “cup of benediction”,which has to be raised by five fingers and no more, after the model of the rose, which rests on five strong leaves in the shape of five fingers. Thus the rose is a symbol of the cup of benediction. Immediately after the third mention of Elohim appears the light which, so soon as created, was treasured up and enclosed in that brit (covenant) which entered the rose and fructified it, and this is what is called “ tree bearing fruit wherein is the seed thereof”: and this seed is preserved in the very sign of the covenant. And as the ideal covenant was formed through forty-two copulations, so the engraved ineffable name is formed of the forty-two letters of the work of creation.’
The word for “rose” in Song of Songs is SHUSHAN which can mean “rose” or “lily”. I have translated “rose” above because the Zohar seems to describe the Tudor Rose.
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