Thursday, January 12, 2012

Day 294: Fun Fact Friday - Talmudic Support for My Hypothesis that Mirrors Can Help Us Feel SEXY!

Monday's post (about my somewhat subdued libido as of late) ended up being one of my favorite.  Well - to clarify - even though I felt a little iffy about sharing some more personal details about my relationship with Michael, the post garnered some of my favorite responses from readers.  Thanks to numerous comments and emails, I have four things to report:


1) I feel normal instead of weird or less womanly.
2) Michael and I decided to start watching The Tudors together.  The first episode was.... inspiring. :)
3) I actually bothered to wear a matching (RED!) bra + undies on Tuesday, and it did make me feel prettier.  Thanks Kristi Lea!
4) Finally, I learned a new Fun Fact!  


My dissertation advisor, sent me the following message.  Remember when I questioned whether looking in the mirror might have helped me feel sexier?  Check this out:

Hi Kjerstin,
Interesting post that reminds me of some talmud that I've thought of before in relation to your project. It goes something like this:
The rabbis were talking about why there are mirrors in the tabernacle or holy of holies or some sacred Jewish space and the answer is that mirrors are holy because….  During the time that the Jews were enslaved in Egypt and the men were so exhausted from hard labor that they had no interest in romance/baby making, the women would use mirrors to make themselves beautiful and get their husbands into the mood. Thanks to their ingenuity, the Jewish people continued to reproduce during this trying time. So, this provides talmudic support for your hypothesis that mirrors can make women feel sexy! 
Okay, how fantastic was this Fun Fact?!  First, I love hearing any story in which women save the world.  I think we do it a little bit every day just by being who we are, but it's great to see these heroic (heroine-ic?) roles being recorded in our religious and cultural artifacts.  Second, I like learning about reasons to appreciate mirrors.  In less than 3 months I'll be done shunning mirrors.  This story reminds me that spending time in front of a mirror doesn't have to be accompanied by insecurity and it doesn't have to represent a departure from living in accordance with my values.  Hopefully by the time I return to mirrors I'll have learned enough to bring the good stuff back with them.  Who knows... maybe I'll spin a 180 and attach a humongous mirror to the ceiling above our bed!  (well, okay, probably not that one!).

Thanks again to those of you who commented and/or emailed this week!

P.S. For those of you who find today's "Fun Fact Friday" inspiring, I tracked down a more "official" version from a website offering Weekly Torah Teachings.  I copied some below, and you can read more yourself, here.
You find that when the Israelites suffered hard labor in Egypt that Pharaoh decreed that they should not sleep at home or have sexual relations with their wives. Rabbi Shimon ben Halafta said: What did the Israelite women do? They would go down to draw water from the river, whereupon the Holy One prepared small fish for them inside their pitchers. They would sell some of them, cook some of them and buy with them wine and go out into the work fields to feed their husbands.
After they had eaten, they took their mirrors and looked into them together with their husbands. The wife would say: I am better looking than you. The husband would say: I am better looking! And in this way they aroused their sexual desire and became fruitful and multiplied, as it says And the children of Israel were fruitful and swarmed and multiplied and became exceedingly mighty. (Exodus 1:7)
It was through the merits of these mirrors that the Israelites were able to continue to have children even under the demands of harsh labor.
As soon as the Holy One told Moses to make the tabernacle, all of the men came to contribute. Some brought silver, some brought gold or brass, onyx and other gems to be set. They readily brought everything. Whereupon the women said, “What have we to contribute to the offerings for the tabernacle?” They came and brought the mirrors and presented them to Moses. When Moses saw the mirrors, he was furious with them. He said: “Go and punish whoever brought these mirrors! What possible use could they have here?!”
The Holy One said: “Moses! You look down on these, but it was these mirrors that raised up all of the hosts of children born in Egypt. Take them and make from them the washbasin and its base for the priests...”
-- Midrash Tanhuma, Pekudei #9 



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87 comments:

  1. That's actually really NEAT!! ;) Thanks for sharing that! I'm so glad the Lord brought that to you. I think it will be helpful for you on this journey, and most certainly when the shunning is over! A nice possitive way to look at looking in mirrors!! :P

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  2. However you arrived at your insightful conclusions, Kjerstin, it's nice to hear that you are starting to think about the time when mirrors will again be part of your everyday life.

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  3. Hey there! I can't help noticing that the comment referring to "the Lord" may have been a bit of a conversation-killer. Um - I'm just sayin' . . .

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  4. Ok I have to disagree. This was in the olden days before unachievable expectations were implanted into many women's minds. During that time, women felt sexy because they were simply women. But these days, many women are not "good enough".

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