Saturday, January 13, 2007


How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful!

Your eyes behind your veil are doves.

Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from Mount Gilead.

Your teeth are like a flock of sheep just shorn, coming up from the washing. Each has its twin; not one of them is alone.

Your lips are like a scarlet ribbon; your mouth is lovely.

Your two breasts are like two fawns, like twin fawns of a gazelle that browse among the lilies.

All beautiful you are, my darling; there is no flaw in you.

The Fourth Song of Songs, heard just now on the Re:Sound program Honoring the Body: Taharah. The song is recited by those who participate in the Jewish ritual washing of the dead to honor the individual whose body is being prepared for burial.

The Songs of Solomon have always struck me as a little too bordello-like and over the top -- but to hear them recited in this context -- over the body of the honored dead -- changed everything.

1 comment:

Mikkel said...

Muslims wash their dead too. It's a profession that goes from father to son. I saw an interview with a washer of the dead in Baghdad on Swedish television a few weeks back. He looked tired.

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