Brevities

The modern woman, who is anxious to be well groomed and faultlessly turned out while yet spending a minimum of time before the mirror, who haunts for face creams that do their work not only effectively but quickly, can hardly imagine how many hours her sisters of past days devoted to the task of making themselves beautiful, and what many strange devices they employed to enhance their charms.

If we could turn back the wheel of time and transport ourselves into one of the Palestinian cities at the time when the glory of Solomon’s reign had just begun to fade and the disintegration of the nation started which ended in defeat and the Diaspora, we would encounter in the feminine world of these days a luxury and an elegance which would dazzle even our sophisticated eyes.

The rich patrician Hebrew woman of these days wore a complicated toilette of choice materials. Gleaming silks, finest linen, brocades with gold and silver threads woven into the tissues, were none too costly for her. She usually wore a perfume box hanging from her girdle, a box that contained sweet smelling essences and ointments, and that enveloped her in a fragrant aura.

No wonder that the Prophet Amos thundered his defamations at her and denounced her in a language which would hardly stand modern censorship. And yet, when the end came and the nation was invaded by the enemy, those same luxurious, spoiled women, who seemed only to live for pleasure and elegance, displayed a wonderful heroism and fought like lionesses to protect their children. Then it became apparent that all this extravagance was only an outside thing, something superimposed upon their real nature. Below this alien layer there remained, then, as now, the ancient racial virtues, the truly sterling qualities of the Jewish Woman.

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