Sunday, June 11, 2006

Haftarat Naso: Manoach—a sexist without seichel (common sense)

Manoach’s wife encounters an angel who tells her to avoid strong drink and unclean things (both forbidden to a Nazir), because the son whom she will conceive will be a Nazir from birth. When she tells Manoach, he asks Hashem to send the angel again, and asks the angel how they should raise the child. Why, pray tell? The angel tells him, “Sh’ma b’kolah—listen to her voice.” Okay, I’m quoting from another parsha, but Manoach's wife has already told him that the child is to be raised as a Nazir. Why does he not trust her word?

Then Manoach offers a sacrifice, and the angel ascends in the flame. Manoach freaks, out: “We saw Hashem! We’re gonna die!” His sensible wife responds, “If Hashem hadn’t wanted us to see this, He wouldn’t have let us!”

Personally, I’m not very impressed with Manoach.


Blogger Elie said...

OK, after my last two essays, this time I'll completely agree with you! Contra any midrashic views, Manoah seems to me like a dud and dimwit compared to his wife. For fellow Tolkien enthusiasts: they remind me strongly of Celeborn and Galadriel.

Sun Jun 11, 09:27:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Hmm, it's been too long since I read Tolkien. Oh, well.

Methinks this is one of those cases in which one spouse is "the brains of the operation." :)

Here's the "Work Verification," for the amusement and entertainment of my readers: "fatme." Gee, thanks. Not.

Mon Jun 12, 01:56:00 AM 2006  
Blogger Jason H. Elbaum said...

The irony of the story is that while Manoah's wife has the vision of the angels, and he doesn't believe her, and she's the one carrying the superbaby, and she's sensible and intelligent, and he's obviously a dolt...

...she is never named in the story, and is identified only as "Manoah's wife"! This strikes me as sharp social commentary.

Mon Jun 12, 05:35:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Zman Biur, it looks almost as if they were afraid that, if they actually mentioned her name, she'd steal even more of Manoach's thunder. (Well, no, it was just a symptom of the attitude of times, but . . . )

Tue Jun 13, 12:50:00 AM 2006  

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