We finished last week the book of Exodus, 1/2 of which is the story of the Jewish Peoples exodus from Egypt and 1/2 of which is the story of the Temple in the desert before it was built in Jerusalem.
Every word of the Written Torah is special and unique and not one word is wasted. The Rabbis of Old were therefore fascinated by the fact that 1/2 the book of Exodus was filled with the reciting of the instructions to build the Desert Temple (the Mishkan) and then the retelling of the actual construction.
In Chapter 38:8, the written Torah tells of the architect of the Construction, Bezalel, receiving the mirrors of the women to make the laver. “And he made the laver of brass and its base of brass, of the mirrors of the serving women that did service at the door of the tent of the meeting.
Rashi, our prime explainer of the Torah says on this verse: The daughters of Israel had in their possession mirrors into which they looked when they adorned themselves; and even these they did not refrain from bringing as a contribution for the Mishkan.
But Moses was displeased with them for they were made for the Evil Inclination. So the Holy One, Blessed be He, said “Accept the Mirrors”.
These mirrors are more beloved by Me (G-d) than everything else for by means of them the women set up many babies in Egypt. When their husbands were fatigued from the rigorous labor, they would go and bring them food and drink and give them to eat; and they would take these mirrors and each one would look at herself, together with her husband in the mirror, and would entice him with words, saying “I AM MORE BEAUTIFUL THAN YOU.” and they would bring their husbands to lust and they cohabited with them and conceived and gave birth there.
As it is said in Song of Solomon 8:5: Who is this coming up from the wilderness, leaning on her beloved? I aroused you under the APPLE TREE; there your mother conceived you and she travailed and brought you forth.
And that is the significance of what is said in verse 38:8 “of the mirrors of the serving women”. And the laver was made of the mirrors, since it served to make peace between a husband and his wife.
Rashi says elsewhere (Talmud Eiruvin 100b) that normally a woman is not allowed to articulate her desire, as that would be a breach of innate purity of the desire itself. Her sin in the Garden of Eden was an overt expression of passion while engaging in martial relations: thus G-d said to Even in pronouncing her punishment: “you shall passionately desire your husband, but he shall rule over you. The implied curse is that the wife is no longer allowed to verbally request marital relations from her husband but must rather intimate her desire for relations non-verbally.
The Hebrew term for this mitzvah is Onah (עונה) which literally means “time” in the sense of frequency. This teaches us that the beginning of rectified consciousness with regard to marital relations is learning to recognize their appropriate time and frequency.
The first consideration in determining the proper timing for marital relations is, of course, whether or not they are halachically permitted. While Jewish Men and Women have the same physical bodies as non-Jews, Sex is regulated by the Jewish religion as to when it is allowed according to the timing of the woman’s Menstrual cycle and whether she has used the mikvah at the end of her cycle.
Today’s Jerusalem Post had an article about whether woman should use the mikveh’s during this coronavirus crisis saying that Halacha strongly forbids sexual relations between husband and wife before the woman has immersed in a mikvah, and so access to mikavot is critical for normal maritial life.
This was wrong, it does not strongly forbid it, it absolutely forbids it under penalty of a heavenly death penalty for both parties. So for these reasons among others, the Jewish people did not practice these mitzvahs while they were slaves in Egypt while they did not have control over their lives or time.
The Jewish women came to the men in the slavery, and not under the restrictions that Jewish people are under since the Torah was given, were able to remind the Men of the “I”. Have some self worth, I am more beautiful than You, because I have not forgotten the I, and its time you remembered it yourself.
Love Yehuda Lave
Since we talked about the importance of time, here is Date to Remember:
A Date to Remember
Moshe and Sadie, both in their seventies, are driving to the beach when they decide to stop at a nice restaurant for a bite to eat. After finishing their meal, they get back into their car and continue on their journey. But 15 minutes after leaving, Sadie suddenly says, “Moshe, you’ve got to turn around and go back to the restaurant. I left my glasses on the table.”
“I don’t believe it,” Moshe shouts angrily at her, “you silly old woman! You’ll forget your head one day.”
Moshe turns the car around and starts driving. All the way there, he’s grumpy and makes many snide comments like, “Your memory is getting really bad,” and “Because of you, we won’t make it to the mountain in time to see the sunset.” The more he rebukes Sadie, the more agitated he becomes and he doesn’t let up for the entire drive back to the restaurant.
To Sadie’s relief, they finally arrive back at the restaurant. As she gets out of the car and hurries inside to retrieve her glasses, Moshe yells to her, “And while you’re in there, Sadie, you might as well get my hat. I left it in the cloakroom.”