Sunday, July 06, 2008

Fairytales and Tanakh (Yiftach)

Taran pointed out that the haftorah to Parshat Chukas, which is Judges 11:1-33 is echoed in the Brothers Grimm fairytale "The King of the Golden Mountain:"
    There was once a merchant who had two children, a boy and a girl. They were both small and not old enough to run about. He had also two richly laden ships at sea, and just as he was expecting to make a great deal of money by the merchandise, news came that they had both been lost. So now instead of being a rich man he was quite poor, and had nothing left but one field near the town.

    To turn his thoughts from his misfortune, he went out into this field. And as he was walking up and down, a little black mannikin suddenly appeared before him and asked why he was so sad.

    The merchant said, "I would tell you at once if you could help me."

    "Who knows?" answered the little mannikin. "Perhaps I could help you."

    Then the merchant told him that all his wealth had been lost in a wreck, and that now he had nothing left but this field.

    "Don't worry yourself," said the mannikin. "If you will promise to bring me in twelve years' time the first thing which rubs against your legs when you go home, you shall have as much gold as you want."

    The merchant thought, "What could it be but my dog?" He never thought of his boy, but said yes, and gave the mannikin his bond signed and sealed and went home.

    When he reached the house his little son, delighted to hold on to the benches and totter towards his father, seized him by the leg to steady himself.

    The merchant was horror-stricken, for his vow came into his head, and now he knew what he had promised to give away.
Clearly, we have two fairytale scholars in the house...if not more!

41 comments:

a friend said...

Chana,I know nothing about fairytales.
I'm here to comment about the Shaarei Tzedek dinner last night. What a pleasure it was to watch your entire family interact with all the well-wishers and the members of the community.What a fabulous speaker your father is and how very blessed the Chicago community is to have an expert baal korei among us.It was a special evening . Glad you could join your family to celebrate the dedication dinner.
By the way,you looked stunning! Summer in NY agrees with you.

Anonymous said...

Hey,I was @ the dinner too.
It was lovely and Chana and her family are truly special!

So,Chana,when are you going back to NY?

Uptown guy said...

An interesting comparison.
At the end,though,the father didn't have to part with his son,not really. If I remember correctly,when the twelve years were up, the father grew sad . His son got the story from him and assured him that the black man had no power over him.And he was right. But you are right ,too. What a sacrifice it would've been if the father truly had to give his son up. Think of Akeida here,although not quite...

Chana said...

friend and anonymous,

Thank you!!! Yes, my father is wonderful and I love him very much. And I am back in NY already! 6:00 AM flights are the drill. Remember the days when Sha'arei Tzedek was a storefront? Or Barnaby's? Ha, it's amazing to see what we have now!

uptown guy, am I ever going to meet you? I'm assuming you're a YU guy; I might as well say hi, no?

Uptown guy said...

Chana,
Hello!
You guessed correctly-I'm a YU student.The word here is that you have a lot of male admirers,but don't date yet. Meanwhile, I'm enjoying your blog and know how to contact you. I love your stories! Looking forward to more. Thanks for saying hi.So sweet of you.

Chana said...

uptown guy, you make dangerous assumptions. I suggest we just be friends, in which case, I hope to say hey to you whenever you're free.

Uptown guy said...

Chana,why do you believe that my assumptions are dangerous? I know a YU guy who asked you out and you declined. I respect your right to say no.

Chana said...

uptown guy,

you took that far more harshly than I intended. I did not mean that your assumption that you were compatbile with me was incorrect (I don't even know you!), I meant your assumption (rather assertion, citing the word on the street) that I don't date.

on that note, I suggest friendship for us...

Elster said...

Some comments/conversations are probably more fitting for email.....

uptown guy said...

Chana,thanks for the offer.
However I want a shot at more than that.
You are incredibly smart and beautiful. I also know that you broke a few hearts .
I'll be content to read your blog(for the time being).

Elster,no harm done by posting my comments.

Chana said...

uptown guy,

firstly, I thank you for the compliments- but how would you know that; do you even know who I am? where have you seen me? it's quite possible you are confusing me with someone else.

secondly, aren't you the least bit concerned that while you wait i might already be dancing off in the arms of the king of siam, if you take my meaning?

uptown guy said...

I've seen you at different functions @ YU and know what you look like. You are unforgettable,your face is unforgettable.

OK,I better stop.
And no,I'm not worried.

Chana said...

Care to elaborate on why you're not worried?

uptown guy said...

I'm hoping to be that siam king

Chana said...

uptown guy,

I understand that and I am very flattered, but there is a reason I am offering you my friendship, isn't there?

on that note, I am sure you will make someone very happy one day.

Erachet said...

Uptown guy, I hope you know you come off as extremely creepy. And yes, I agree with Elster, some conversations are meant for email.

uptown guy said...

Erachet,thanks for your opinion.
However,I don't share it.

Chana,to be continued...
Have a lovely day!

Chana said...

uptown guy,

you have yet to clarify exactly why you think I am Rapunzel in her tower, singing merrily until the right prince comes along and decides to climb up her strands of silken hair. I don't know where this smug self-assurance arises from, but it is somewhat distasteful- why do you assume I'll be free until you come and claim me?

uptown guy said...

Hi gorgeous!
I'll give you a hint.
I'm from Paris/France,well-read,physically fit and rather charming. I read about your parents and see that you come from a well-educated,polished background. I believe we have at least some things in common.Care to spend a few hours in my company?
You'll have a great time.

Chana said...

Ha! You think me so shallow as to fall for the debonair, dashing, cultured gentleman? Not on your life, were your hair pomaded and you smelled like scent every time I met you. I'm far more curious to hear what you value than your physical description.

uptown guy said...

My values are European. You'll fit right in-not to worry. Why don't you take a chance on me? I'm a crazy romantic. Would love to be your personal tour -guide and take you around Paris. C'mon,live a little, I dare you!

been there said...

Uptown guy,
Chana is as picky as they come when it comes to dating. I've been there. She is one special lady and it will have to take an extremely special man to win her attention. I don't believe you are it. She doesn't appreciate those who flaunt it.Just my two cents in the matter.

uptown guy said...

Hey,Been there,
you are one spurned puppy! Why should I pay attention to your "two cents"? Don't bother to respond back.
I'm waiting to hear from mon cheri.

La vache qui rit said...

>I'm waiting to hear from mon cheri.

Don't you mean "ma chérie", Paris boy?

uptown guy said...

La vache qui rit,

Je m'en fous.
Gaffe!

I'm stillwaiting to hear from ma tresor.

Chana said...

uptown guy,

Alas, Rapunzel's hair has already been shorn. Not to worry, though. I am sure a lovely Frenchwoman will appreciate your "rather charming" demeanor.

To be serious for a moment, though, we can be friends, but only friends. I'd be happy to meet you under such auspices.

midtown girl said...

Hey uptown guy,

Why have your heart broken by a cruel sorceress? I am a raven-haired, scarlet-lipped firecracker with a mind as sharp as the stilettos on my glass slippers. And I make a mean steak. Why don't you wander my way?

Sincerely,

MG

La vache qui rit said...

>Je m'en fous.

What talk for a nice Jewish boy...

Chana said...

midtown girl,

Fantastic idea! But let's term me correctly; I am an enchantress, sweetheart, enchantress- not a sorceress. That's my friend.

la vache qui rit,

Who are you, pray tell?

La vache qui rit said...

>la vache qui rit,

>Who are you, pray tell?

Just an old blog acquaintance stopping by to see what's new.

midtown girl said...

A thousand apologies, oh Magical One.

uptown guy said...

Midtown girl,
hauteur!
Hors concours!(not interested)

La vache qui rit,
Je ne regrette rien!

Ma tresor Chana,
friendship won't do. I desire a pas dedeux !

cinderella said...

uptown guy,

tu es tres, tres stupide! Je regr--non, non, je ne regret pas! :P

uptown guy said...

Cinderella,
Gauche!
I used a line from a certain song.
(Americans are clueless when it comes to famous French songs!)

Dear Chana,
A vaincre sans peril,on triamphe sans gloire. A coeur vaillant rien d'impossible. Les jours se suivent et ne se ressemblent pas.

In short,my lovely lady, to win without risk is a triumph without glory. Nothing is impossible for a willing heart. There is no telling what tomorrow will bring.

cinderella said...

Uptown guy -

Tu non parles Francais! You don't speak French at all! You just saw La Vie En Rose! And I wasn't even referring to your line in my comment. I really wasn't at all sorry for calling you stupid. :D

Cheater!

uptown guy said...

Cindarella,
Gauche!
I took a line from Edit Piaf's famous song,ie-Je ne regrette rien! One doesn't need to watch the movie to know the famous line.
Your logic is flawed. And your so called "repartee" is faux.

Be off,fluff-head!

Anonymous said...

Um...?

cinderella said...

Who're you calling a fluff-head, pea-brain?

uptown guy said...

Hey Cinderella,
you insulted me first,remember?
So,a'ma connaissance-YOU ARE A FLUFF-HEAD au bout de son rouleau!

cinderella said...

When you call me a fluff-head, I assume you are referring to the luxurious fluffiness of my golden tresses.

Why, thank you ever so much!

uptown guy said...

My tresor Chana,
where are you?