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Sunday, March 18, 2007

One more thing on mirrors

This is the third post in a series, so you might want to scroll down a couple of posts. It's up to you.

Today F.D. sat me down and said, "Let's talk about that Rashi you're obsessed with."

For the uninitiated, I had quoted a midrash (story) that Rashi, a revered 12th century commentator on Torah and Talmud (I hope I have that century right) brought down. To say that Rashi was a genius is an understatement, and to say that he was inspired, not even a question.

In his commentary Rashi brings down many midrashim, stories with messages that are as old as the Jewish people, and as I've said, we're talking over 5,000 years old by our calendar. So of course he tells the story of the mirrors and how the Jewish women convinced their men that they should join them in their tents to. . .
uh, to take a nap.

(This is what I mean by speaking in code, people. now isn't it more romantic than spelling every single thing out?)

F.D. went over the Rashi with me and he added something. He said that the women sat with the men under the apple trees and took out their copper washing basins and said, "Look, I'm prettier than you are." They weren't really mirrors they were copper basins. I knew that, actually, I just didn't think it mattered.

But we both thought the language a little odd.

Now how that was a turn on is a little obscure, but apparently it was. Maybe there was more to it. I suggested that as a woman said this she'd be tracing her guy's features, perhaps his forehead, his lips, and complementing them. Maybe she'd say, "I like how your chin juts out so strong, I like how your eyes look at me. I like the stubble on your cheeks."

But maybe she really did just say, "Hey look at us, we're a cute couple."

Fine, F.D. said, Let's have lunch.

Then we went to a birthday party last night and somehow the subject of these copper washing basin mirrors came up again (Maybe it was F.D. who was obsessed with the story).

Our good friend Heshy explained it. The Hebrew letter mem that we had thought meant THAN in this case, I'm more pretty THAN you are, really didn't mean THAN at all. She wasn't comparing herself to him. She said, I get my beauty FROM you. The mem means FROM in this case.

Isn't that fabulously romantic? Of course Heshy, you're right. Thanks. And no, this is not the last word on the subject, I just don't know how to tell you the rest. Another day.

2 comments:

frumhouse said...

Great Rashi! It is romantic.

Familydoc said...

From your post of March 16:

"It is for this reason, too, that women are praised so highly. Proof of their metal."

Metal. Heh, heh. Incredible pun.