13 July 2007

What is "Her Beauty"?

After posting on Eshes Hayyil, I saw that not only did Mrs. Rivy Poupko-Kletenik (whom I've heard speak before) have a blog, but also that she posted on Eshes Hayyil. What caught my eye was this line:
Finally, in the penultimate verse of the entire book we find a strong declaration condemning the physical, Grace is deceitful, and beauty is vain; but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.
While I still haven't quite figured out as to why grace is deceitful, her translation of the next part "beauty is vain" follows the commonly-followed translation. However, last summer, I had posted previously on the identification of "vain" really being "fleeting" (utilizing Ethan Dor-Shav's article (who, btw, is now blogging on his own (as can be found in a comment on my Eshes Hayyil posting)). Thus, we get the translation that beauty is not vain, but fleeting. This is entirely sensical - there still is an appreciation to the woman's beauty, but a recognition that it will not last forever (maybe several decades, for instance). It follows therefrom that this poem is not condemning beauty, but, rather, recognizing its temporal boundaries.
Shabbat shalom.

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