Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Sated & the Hungry

My incredibly creative, incredibly talented student came up with the most fascinating idea in his essay on Perek Bet.

He was writing about the connections between the Tefillat Chana poem that starts off the perek and what actually ends up happening in the remainder of the Perek.

He made the following connection. In the poem, Chana says:

שְׂבֵעִים בַּלֶּחֶם נִשְׂכָּרוּ, וּרְעֵבִים חָדֵלּוּ

This means: "The sated have hired themselves out for bread, and they that were hungry have ceased."

My student came up with the following statement:

"This type of change is hinted at in Chana’s poem when it talks about how not by might will a man prevail, that not by force will Kohanim rule and that the common people who care about how the ritual takes place will rise, and when it says the sated will be hungry and the hungry will become fulfilled. That the Kohanim who are growing fat from all the meat that they are eating will be defied by people who do not care just about food, but about the word of God, and that that will fulfill them."

I immediately thought of Deuteronomy 8:3.

ג  וַיְעַנְּךָ, וַיַּרְעִבֶךָ, וַיַּאֲכִלְךָ אֶת-הַמָּן אֲשֶׁר לֹא-יָדַעְתָּ, וְלֹא יָדְעוּן אֲבֹתֶיךָ:  לְמַעַן הוֹדִיעֲךָ, כִּי לֹא עַל-הַלֶּחֶם לְבַדּוֹ יִחְיֶה הָאָדָם--כִּי עַל-כָּל-מוֹצָא פִי-יְהוָה, יִחְיֶה הָאָדָם.3 And He afflicted thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that He might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every thing that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.

My student's realization here is that when it says "the sated have hired themselves out for bread/ and they that were hungry have ceased" it can have more than one meaning. The Kohanim who are fattening themselves on meat must, at the end of this chapter, beg for a mere loaf of bread, while the hungry have ceased. Which hungry have ceased? The ones who were hungry for the word of God, for as we know, man does not live by bread alone. He lives by the word of God. Once these Kohanim are demoted, those who were hungry for the word of God, such as the man who plaintively requests that he get the chance to offer up the Chelev first, will be sated. They will again be able to follow God's law.


Danar said...


Anonymous said...

not pshat