Monday, December 04, 2006

Avishag and David





A Hebrew - English Bible According to the Masoretic Text and the JPS 1917 Edition

© 2005 all rights reserved to Mechon Mamre for this HTML version

I Kings, Chapter 1

1. Now King David was old and stricken in years; and they covered him with clothes, but he could get no heat.

2. Wherefore his servants said unto him: 'Let there be sought for my lord the king a young virgin; and let her stand before the king, and be a companion unto him; and let her lie in thy bosom, that my lord the king may get heat.'

3. So they sought for a fair damsel throughout all the borders of Israel, and found Abishag the Shunammite, and brought her to the king.

4. And the damsel was very fair; and she became a companion unto the king, and ministered to him; but the king knew her not.

My name is Avishag, you know me well
From Haftarat Chayyei Sarah, 1 Kings, Chapter 1, in the bible
I was called to lie with Daveed the King, to give him heat
But my own body’s need for heat he could not meet
All day and eve I gave him care so kind
But nighttimes, I really thought I’d go out of my mind

In your own day, is it not almost the same?
Are there not millions of Daveeds and Daveedas, if not by that name?
And myriad Avishags and Avishais without the fame?

Men and women go forth to war, and come home lame
Or blind or deaf, or maybe otherwise rent
Because of service to their country, their bodies are spent

A young man is seriously injured in an awful auto crash
And wakes up in the hospital, his body little more than trash
Barely able to speak, he’ll live in a long-term-care facility for the rest of his life
While back at home live his kids and his dear wife
Who's already raised their children for a decade alone
And will continue to do so until they're grown
Even so, almost every other Sunday, she brings him home
What should she have done, left him and made her escape
To find a man whose body was in working shape?
It wasn’t his fault, but neither was it hers—both true
If you were in her shoes, what would you do?

A young woman’s life has never been the same
Since the day she was attacked by her very own brain
Delusional for the rest of her she’ll probably remain
What good to her is her ticking body clock
When her mind is probably in a permanent state of shock?*

Humpty Dumpty fell off a wall
Like Humpty, a young man had a great fall
And all of the medical women and men
Still don’t know either how well or just when
Or even whether
he can be put back together
He could have become the backbone of a shul
He could have made learning Torah his lifetime's jewel
But he’s not even old enough yet to have graduated from school**

Years ago, I read a book by a quadriplegic
He made it clear that some “plumbing” is “automatic”
Some parts of the body work not by muscle, but by “hydraulics”
Still, how would a wife feel if the only way to get relief inside
Was to go ahead and steal a ride
On her husband’s automatic slide
Knowing that no matter how much she could move or swing
The man below her wouldn’t feel a thing?
Or if, to get a moment’s relief, would a husband feel
That from his own dear wife it was like having to steal
If he took ride in the tunnel of love
Knowing she would feel nothing of the rider above
If beyond a doubt you knew
That there was precious little you could do
To pleasure your spouse, what would you do?

In many places now, some will always have
Others to take care of them
But in how many cases will any of the broken in body and/or mind
Have anyone to care about them
Other than their mothers and fathers,
Who will eventually be gone
And their brothers and sisters,
Who have, or will have, spouses and families of their own?

How would it feel to begin your life
Knowing in advance that you’d never have children
Or a husband or wife?
That even though the fault is not your own
You’d have to spend your entire life alone?
And even if someone loved you enough to volunteer
Would you want such a life for a person so very dear?

Enough of this talk—I’m going to leave the rest
To the Beatles, because I think they said it best:
“All the lonely people
Where do they all come from?
All the lonely people

Where do they all belong?”

May it be Your will, my G-d and G-d of my ancestors, that You quickly send a complete healing from heaven, a healing of the spirit and a healing of the body, to these injured and/or ill:

Moshe Chanan ben Zelda v’Noam
Tzvia Aliza Tziona bat Chanah Blumah
Daveed Yoel Tzvi ben Chaya Mindel

among the ill and/or injured of the Jewish People and the world.

**Update: Daveed Yoel Tzvi ben Chaya Mindel is off my mi-sheberach (prayer for the sick) list!

*November 17, 2011 update:

*I'm happy to report that my dire prediction has proven completely off-base--Tzvia Aliza Tziona recently earned her Associate degree with honors (!), and is now studying for her Bachelor's degree at a well-known and well-respected university college. Mazal tov!



Anonymous Anonymous said...

The situation you describe is a sad one, but each couple faced with it would have to work it out in their own intensely private and individual manner. There won't be one right answer for all couples, any more than there is for other fundamantal marital decisions.

Tue Dec 05, 04:27:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Elie, unfortunately, I'm actually describing several situations here. There's the situation of the ill and/or injured married person, the situation of his or her spouse, and the situation of someone who has the misfortune to become ill and/or be injured before even having known the joys of marriage. I don't see a happy outcome for any of them.

Wed Dec 06, 12:38:00 AM 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shira, the situations you write about here are terribly difficult; even beyond what you've tried to depict.

Having said that, I think you did the Torah, King David, and Avishag no honour. What's more, I truly think that the situation with David HaMelech is very different from the situations with which you associated him and Avishag.

Sun Nov 04, 02:00:00 PM 2007  

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