He writes: "The verse says in Shir HaShirim: 'How beautiful are your shoe-clad footsteps O daughter [of Avraham Avinu] the nobleman; [how refined is your dress in that] your thigh is hidden and obscured.' חמוקי means 'to make disappear' as in the verse חמק עבר לו... and he gives sources ... The verse חמוקי ירכיך therefore means hidden or disguised, which is far more than just being very well covered."
But do his sources justify this interpretation? Recall, he inserts "how refined is your dress" -- way of dressing -- in that your thigh is covered. And he bases himself on Ibn Ezra and Rashi.
On Shir HaShirim 7:2, Judaica Press translates:
How fair are your feet in sandals, O daughter of nobles! The curves of your thighs are like jewels, the handiwork of a craftsman.This is important because Judaica Press's declared approach is to translate in accordance with Rashi. This means that they believe Rashi would translate the phrase as "the curves of your thighs."
Is there basis for this? Yes. Rashi states:
The curves of your thighs are like jewels A collection of gold jewels is called חֲלִי כֶתֶם, al chali in Arabic. And our Sages interpreted this as referring to the holes of the foundations [of the altar] for the libations, which were created during the Six Days of Creation, round as a thigh.Thus, we see two points. He refers to Chazal in Sukkah 49a who refer to the the holes in the foundations of the altar, which are round as a thigh, basing themselves on this verse. Thus, the attribute of thighs Rashi is highlighting here, and which Chazal highlighted there, was the roundness of the thigh. And furthermore, the comparison of the thigh made was that it was "like jewels," and once again Rashi stresses the hollow aspect of it. Thus, while he brings Rashi on Moed Katan, Rashi's actual peirush on the pasuk is not like that. Perhaps that is the intent of the Rashi is Moed Katan? We will have to see.
like jewels Heb. חֲלָאִים, like the hollow of (חוּלְיַת) a pit.
Rashi on Shir HaShirim 5:6 makes the connection to 7:2, but that connection does not imply that the praise is of the dress which makes sure that the thigh is well hidden. The Judaica Press translation of the pasuk there is:
I opened for my beloved, but my beloved had hidden and was gone; my soul went out when he spoke; I sought him, but found him not; I called him, but he did not answer me.Rashi there states:
but my beloved had hidden and was gone Heb. חָמַק, was hidden and concealed from me, like (below 7:2): “the curves (חֲמוּקֵי) of your thighs,” the hidden places of your thighs, because the thigh is hidden. [Also] (Jer. 31:21): “How long will you hide (תִתְחַמָּקִי) ,” will you hide and cover yourself because of the shame that you betrayed Me?Thus, there is the idea of it being hidden, but the intent in Shir HaShirim 7:2 is sitrei hayarech, "the hidden places of your thighs." (As an aside, perhaps we can link in the idea of beis hasetarim.) And as we saw there, the hidden curves of the thighs were what was being praised, for their similarity to curves jewels. Even though there is a definition of hidden, and a link between 5:6 and 7:2, what is being praised is the thigh itself, not the dress because it functions to obscure the thigh. This is not peshat of Rashi within Shir HaShirim.
What about Ibn Ezra? On 7:2, he writes:
חמוקי ירכיך: יש אומרים שהוא מקום שיסוב הירך וכן יפרש תתחמקין גם חמק עבר.
Thus, he explains that it means the place that encircles the thigh. He indeed links it to Shir HaShirim 5:6, which uses the term חמק עבר, just as Rabbi Falk claims. But the link does not serve to define the local חמק in 7:2 to mean hidden away. Rather, this is an extension of the definition of חמק as יסוב, to turn away or encircle, as an explanation of 5:6.
And indeed, on 5:6, Ibn Ezra does not define it as "hidden away" in the same way Rashi does. Rather, he defines it as הלך, making a connection to 7:2. He writes:
חמק: כמו הלך מן חמוקי ירכיך ויש אומרים כמוהו עד מתי תתחמקין בענין רחוק.
To see how יסוב fits in here, see Metzudat David on 5:6, where he writes כאשר פתחתי לו הדלת אז סבב עצמו ועבר משם. And this is a commentary on חמק עבר.
Based on this, Rabbi Falk is correct that Ibn Ezra links 5:6 and 7:2, but he appears to be entirely incorrect in the meaning of the link. Ibn Ezra is certainly not claiming that it means hidden, as Rabbi Falk claims it does. Thus, it is incorrect to state "See Ibn Ezra on Shir HaShirim (7:2)" as if this proves his point. It does not, and indeed argues against his point.
The final citation he makes is to Rashi on Moed Katan 16a. The Rashi in question may be found on the bottom of the daf. (See here.) But all Rashi says there is חמוקי ירכיך: כמו חמק עבר. Thus, he makes the link between the two pesukim, of 5:6 and 7:2. But does this establish Rabbi Falk's translation of the pasuk? I don't see how it does. After all, even Rashi in Shir HaShirim made the connection, and the point there was that it referred to the curves of the thigh, which were hidden away. Rashi here may be coming to explain the difficult word being cited from the pasuk - just as on Succah 49a he defined it as סתרי הירך, the hidden places of the thighs. Especially since the context in the gemara is a part that should be hidden, as we will see. But that does not mean that the translation of the pasuk is as given by Rabbi Falk.
The derasha made in the gemara, in Moed Katan 16a-b, is as follows:
The derasha can easily be that the thigh is a concealed part, and this is the meaning of חמוק, that is סתר. So too words of Torah are in סתר.גזר רבי שלא ישנו לתלמידים בשוק מאי דרש (שיר השירים ז) חמוקי ירכיך כמו חלאים מה ירך בסתרRabbi decreed that the students should not learn in the marketplace. How did he expound? From Shir Hashirim 7:2 -- "the hidden places of your thighs are like jewels." Just as the thigh is in secret, so too words of Torah are in secret.
אף דברי תורה בסתר
Now, Rabbi Falk would like to make a whole derasha of his own out of the choice of the word סתר rather than מכוסה. But he, seemingly consciously, only cites the first part of the derasha -- מה ירך בסתר, and omits the second part of the derasha, which states אף דברי תורה בסתר. But derashot like these are rhetorical devices. Would Rabbi Falk really expect the derasha to end אף דברי תורה מכוסה?! This is an instruction to where the students should be learning Torah. Besides which, the derasha comes from חמוקי, which means סתר, hidden, rather than מכוסה. So why should it use מכוסה, which is not a word derivable from the pasuk?
This does not, by any means, imply the requirement for a deeper level of concealing than other places which need concealing. (Perhaps one can muster other sources for this idea, but he does not bring it in the book, as far as I have seen.)
Usually, the ones empowered to make derashot from pesukim are the Tannaim, and rarely the Amoraim. But we do not find Rishonim making derashot, and certainly not late Achronim. Yet this appears to be what Rabbi Falk is doing here, in order to establish that there are pesukim, gemaras, and Rishonim which support his tnzius preferences as a matter of required halacha.
And the problem is that your average Beis Yaakov girl is not going to look up these sources and learn them deeply to see if they really say what they supposedly say.