Devorah

Many have the practice to recite, in the prayer following Shemoneh Esrei, a verse that starts and ends with the same letter as their name, or that contains their name, or both. This is considered a source of merit. In this series, we will briefly analyze these verses.

דּוֹדִי צַח וְאָדוֹם דָּגוּל מֵרְבָבָה

My beloved is white and red, surrounded by myriads. – Shir HaShirim 5:10

Shir HaShirim (Song of Songs) tells the story of the relationship between G-d and Israel in the form of a metaphor; the metaphor is a love story between a young man (representing G-d) and a young woman (representing the Jewish people). Accordingly, Rashi gives two explanations, one for the mashal (the “fable”) and the other for the nimshal (the “moral”). On this verse, he explains the mashal simply – a complexion that mingles red with white is a handsome look for a young man. As far as the nimshal, G-d is in charge of both compassion (represented by white) and strict justice (represented by red).

Verses for women’s names may be found in the book Rigshei Lev by Rabbi Menachem Nissel, based upon Tefillah Yesharah/The Boston Siddur.