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Was Molly the Wife of the Biblical Jealous Husband?

Had Molly ended her soliloquy not with a “yes”
but with a “maybe,” would she still have been as worthy
of our esteem, or would she thereby have become far less
heroic, doubting Thomasina, down-to-earthy?

Would Leopold have loved her less if she had not been sure
that she had–yes, yes!—come whenever he would do so,
and would she with her chains have bound him, sinful cynosure
of liberated spirit praised by J. J. Rousseau?

I ask, post-scriptum, whether Molly was a quoter
of Numbers 5’s verse twenty-two two words, “amen, amen,”
repeated by the jealous husband’s wife who is a sotah,
banned by a priest foreshadowing Ulysses’s literary laymen.

Leopold Bloom is obsessed with jealousy regarding his wife Molly, who he is sure is going to commit adultery with her lover, Blazes Boylan. This obsession Bloom has about his wife’s relationship with Boylan makes her a sotah like the one described in Numbers whose words are blotted out just as James Joyce’s Ulysses used to be censored.  Num. 5:22-23 states:

כב  וּבָאוּ הַמַּיִם הַמְאָרְרִים הָאֵלֶּה, בְּמֵעַיִךְ, לַצְבּוֹת בֶּטֶן, וְלַנְפִּל יָרֵךְ; וְאָמְרָה הָאִשָּׁה, אָמֵן אָמֵן. 22 and this water that causeth the curse shall go into thy bowels, and make thy belly to swell, and thy thigh to fall away’; and the woman shall say: ‘Amen, Amen.’.

כג  וְכָתַב אֶת-הָאָלֹת הָאֵלֶּה, הַכֹּהֵן–בַּסֵּפֶר; וּמָחָה, אֶל-מֵי הַמָּרִים. 23 And the priest shall write these curses in a scroll, and he shall blot them out into the water of bitterness.

These curses must be erased in bitter waters, foreshadowing not only the bitterness of Leopold Bloom but of James Joyce, who, like the sotah, had to swallow his story when it was banned as being impermissibly pornographic.

Rabbi David Wolpe’s response to my hiddush about Molly Bloom, made one week before Bloomsday 2022, was “Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.”

About the Author
Gershon Hepner is a poet who has written over 25,000 poems on subjects ranging from music to literature, politics to Torah. He grew up in England and moved to Los Angeles in 1976. Using his varied interests and experiences, he has authored dozens of papers in medical and academic journals, and authored "Legal Friction: Law, Narrative, and Identity Politics in Biblical Israel." He can be reached at gershonhepner@gmail.com.
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