Thursday, September 06, 2007

Daf Yomi Ketubot 10b -- Hunger Leads to Dryness

From Ketubot 10b (translation taken from my Rif blog):
ההוא דאתא לקמיה דרבי א"ל בעלתי ולא מצאתי דם אמרה לו בתולה שלימה נבעלתי אלא שנת בצורת הוה
ראה רבי פניהם שחורות צוה עליהם והכניסום למרחץ והאכילום והשקום והכניסום לחופה ובעל ומצא דם
אמר ליה לך זכה במקחך
קרא עליהם צפד עורם על עצמם יבש היה כעץ
There was one who came before Rabbi. He said to him, "I had intercourse and did not find blood." She said to him, "I was a complete virgin when I had intercourse, but it is a year of famine." Rabbi saw their faces were black {from hunger}, and commanded regarding them, and they brought them to a bath, and fed them and gave them to drink, and brought them to a chuppa {bridal chamber}, and he had intercourse and he found blood.
He {=Rabbi} said to him: Go, you have done well in your acquisition.
He called upon them {Eicha 4:8}:
ח חָשַׁךְ מִשְּׁחוֹר תָּאֳרָם, לֹא נִכְּרוּ בַּחוּצוֹת; צָפַד עוֹרָם עַל-עַצְמָם, יָבֵשׁ הָיָה כָעֵץ. {ס} 8 Their visage is blacker than coal; they are not known in the streets; their skin is shrivelled upon their bones; it is withered, it is become like a stick. {S}
Here is an instance where the partial quote of the pasuk (the portion marked in red) does not do the "derasha" justice. The context fills in so much of the rest.

Firstly, it is clear that the context in Eicha is indeed hunger. As the next pasuk reads:
ט טוֹבִים הָיוּ חַלְלֵי-חֶרֶב, מֵחַלְלֵי רָעָב: שֶׁהֵם יָזֻבוּ מְדֻקָּרִים, מִתְּנוּבֹת שָׂדָי. {ס} 9 They that are slain with the sword are better than they that are slain with hunger; for these pine away, stricken through, for want of the fruits of the field. {S}

Furthermore, the uncited part of the verse reads חָשַׁךְ מִשְּׁחוֹר תָּאֳרָם -- "Their visage is blacker than coal." And indeed, this was the tip-off for Rabbi. She said she was hungry, and that it was a year of famine. And "Rabbi saw their faces were black {from hunger}." This would have caused her to be "dry," יָבֵשׁ הָיָה כָעֵץ.

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