My breath always gets cut off when I start seeing the camels along the hillside. Dunes of solidified sand disappearing behind us driving down through the desert. It’s Monday and it’s Dead Sea day. It’s something Miriam and I do it almost every Monday. We do it because we want to decompress from the “city life” and submerge ourselves into this oily ocean of salt covering each others head to toes with the mineral-full mud, but mostly we do it because we want to chat. We love chatting and then in the end we even treat ourselves to ice-cream.
Today we spoke about men and women and the love and completion that is created by their union.
A woman is IKAR, essential to the family. She is the one who will reveal her husband qualities and her own.
The Torah talks about men being like sunlight and women being like the moon, able to reflect the light from the sun to the whole world, guiding it and directing it to the right places. Together the two keep on moving in balance.
“Choch Mata` Nashim Banta Beitam,” said Miriam giggling. “The wisdom of a woman builds their home.”
The concept of “choch mata`,” which means wisdom is, almost always, a male quality, while women, having more “B’naih,” usually use their higher spiritual understanding to spread the seeds of wisdom. So why do we use the concept of “wisdom” here? Why do we not use the female quality here? Because when a woman receives the “choch mata`” wisdom from her husband as a sun ray of direct light, if she is capable of receiving with her “banta'” just like the moon received the sunlight, she will become the life and well-being of the household.
“For real,” I say.
Miriam keeps on giggling…”Makes sense, right,” she replies.
“Sure it does; it’s stunning,” I reply baffled.
“It’s funny because I just made it up,” she says with her subtle French accent.
“You did what? Why?” I ask curiously.
“Because I love to just piece together parts of the Torah,” she said smiling back at me. “I have been studying it for 30 years now and I am finally getting all the subtleness, the inner meanings. It’s very powerful when you relate yourself to it.”
She turns around and looks at the Dead sea in awe. She has a busy life with six children, even more grand-children, a husband she adores and many interests one of which is volunteering in a clinic for Breast Cancer survivors, but yet again she needs “her weekly spa treatment.” She became religious about 30 years ago and her husband followed into her steps only when they had their first child several years late because he wanted to be able to explain to his children to come what it meant to be Jewish to its deepest core.
“We were broke, but we still decided to move to Crown Heights to be closer to the Rebbe,” she said. “We had $900 and one son, we came back to Israel when the Rebbe died with six kids and the possibility to buy a house. Nothing is by chance. Everything has a reason to be.”
“Kazak,” I scream.
“Let’s go play with mud before it gets to late and my son keeps calling me to tell me to come back home. Shall we?,” she replies while her phone rings with a Luney Tunes melody that fits her childlike personality perfectly.
And onward we go. Into the crystalized sea of salt and mineral we submerge our bodies only to see them floating back up few seconds later, feet first.