Saturday, February 26, 2011

Song of Songs 6:10

Who is she that shines through like the dawn, beautiful as the moon, radiant as the sun? -   Song of Songs 6:10
Song of Songs, or “Shir Hashirim” is a love story with a variety of interpretations.  Some say it’s a passionate poem between a man and woman that marks the standards of every unbreakable relationship today. Other spiritual scholars describe this book as a detailed relationship between G-d and Israel or Jesus and his church. For me, however, this book can be brought much closer to home.
Chapter 6 revolves around the concept of beauty. Today, in our generation, it is rare to find beauty as raw and pure as described in this verse.  There’s the external beauty displayed on reality shows and pageants that some consider the ultimate and only form beauty, but Song of Songs dives into every perspective of this physical and spiritual trait.
Who is she that shines through like the dawn…
I truly once believed that every person was created to be beautiful in his/her own way. Today, however, that statement is just a far-fetched idea. Our generation has embarked upon so many undesirable situations and has been persuaded by the negative approaches to them. I’ve watched so many innocent girls lose their beauty and grace merely because of their actions and choices. Sadly, it is rare to walk into a room filled with women and find one who “shines through” in regards to pure beauty in its every existing form. This feat, however, is not impossible.
In history, there are women that were depicted for their external and internal beauty and shined through the flawed people that surrounded them. I remember learning about exceptional women such as Princess Diana of Whales, whose actions benefited those in need and created her incredible, unbreakable reputation even after her tragic death. Her external beauty barely compared to her selfless heart that lived for healing others. It has been a challenge for women to shine through in life the way she did, but there are still other women in both history and modern day that strive and succeed to illuminate every dark situation. Only eleven years ago, my aunt Ruth Shapiro devoted endless hours and effort to ameliorating the world, inspiring a new generation of young leaders to be involved with their communities as well. Women like the royal British princess and my benevolent relative have shone through the moments in life where we lived in darkness, and created the bright “dawn” that reminds us all that life is beautiful and worth living. 
Beautiful as the moon…
Naturally, women have the tendencies to worry about their outer appearances. First impressions today are no longer about personality and internal kindness, but rather external traits that will most likely fluctuate within the upcoming years. Make-up, varying in colors for the consumers’ conveniences, has become the latest “nutrient” for women’s bodies and the mandatory purchase before walking in public. I, along with King Solomon, the author of Song of Songs, don’t view make-up as beautiful, but rather a crutch that only prevents women’s G-d-given beauty from shining through them. Nowhere in this precious biblical love story does it mention the need for concealers and hair mousse. Nowhere in this romantic poem does it require women to cake make-up onto their faces, but rather, accept themselves as beautiful exactly the way they are. Unfortunately, women have relied upon these expensive crutches to the point where any natural beauty has already been permanently hidden. Every woman was created with the potential to grow as “beautiful as the moon,” but many lack the confidence to even hobble, let alone walk, without the faux beauty crutch.
Some women, though, still wear their natural beauty with pride. They are able to walk outside not only without makeup, but with the realization that they do not need it to be beautiful. Those particular women, though shrinking in number, possess an inner purity that reflects their outer beauty. I’ve been quite fortunate enough to meet and grow to love some of these women, whose hearts are priceless and eternal, unlike makeup. These women are naturally as beautiful as the moon, one of G-d’s first creations. While it seems as though women were designed more intricately than astronomy, G-d’s intentions of creating both human beings and the moon were identical: to enhance the world with natural beauty and grace. By accepting exactly who you are without adding unnatural details, you are glorifying G-d’s sole purpose for creating the world. I am inspired everyday by the women with the confidence and the awareness of the truth: they are beautiful just the way they are.
Radiant as the sun… 
While it is common to come across women with accentuating features and external magnificence, it is rare to find a woman with a graceful internal essence. Along with a caring heart and pure modesty, the most influential women I know are the women who are able to smile even in the darkest of times. Today, it is not the large issues that prevent optimism, but rather the petty, worthless inconveniences that can easily be disregarded. It is rare to come across a woman who can light up a room with her positive outlook on life and smile at those who cannot access that kind of internal electricity. Moreover, it is the optimistic women who undergo the most inconveniences in their lives, but know how to put their lives in perspective and count their blessings. I am grateful to know such women personally, and I’m inspired everyday by their optimism. Every woman has the potential to be as “radiant as the sun,” they just need to smile first. The petty, temporary inconveniences in life do not override the infinite blessings that surround us. Every woman has the potential to live with a “positive jooka,” or a radiance that not only illuminates a room, but inspires other people to smile as well. Perhaps if we were exposed to more “positive jookas,” or radiant people, the world would indeed be a brighter place in which to live.
While I can think of a various women who meet every aspect of this verse, the first and most personal woman who instantly comes to mind is my incredible mother, Barbara Goldberg. As mentioned before, beauty has become rare and precious today, and I am so grateful that I am exposed to the innermost purity and radiance every single day. My mother has the ability to illuminate every situation, varying from business meetings, family outings, first impressions, and even my occasional “worst days ever.” My mother has the “positive jooka” that everyone admires, and her optimism inspires me to reconsider my own outlook on life and recount my blessings. With gorgeous features that do not require any makeup to enhance, my mother is naturally stunning, but unlike other stunning women, she has enough confidence to walk outside exactly the way she looks, without changing any aspect of herself. While many people have the natural instinct to gossip or complain at any time of the day, my mother has a naturally pure mind, which not only prevents negativity from leaving her mouth, but also prevents pessimistic thoughts from forming altogether. Her pure mind is truly incapable of devaluating life and only focuses on beautifying it, and her pure heart is an “open door policy,” to tend to those who need the warmth.  While none of G-d’s creations were intended to be perfect, my loyal and faithful mother, Barbara Goldberg, is as close as they get. She meets the standards for standing in “tzelem Elokim,” or in G-d’s image, just as the Creator intended for his creations to stand. Just with her personality alone, my mother has the ability to ameliorate the world, inspiring one heart at a time. With a natural beauty like the moon and radiance as recognizable as the sun, my mother has the potential to make this world an even better and brighter place. Just by waking up every morning and smiling every day, my mother fulfills this biblical verse in Song of Songs. While King Solomon was probably unaware of the remarkable women that could meet the standards of his devotional writing, I am fully aware and constantly inspired by the particularly beautiful woman that lives within the four walls of my home. I know that the historical Princess Diana would have been thrilled to meet a Floridian version of herself, and I know that Ruth Wagner Shapiro was and is proud to have a sister as benevolent and as beautiful as my mother. Today, I represent the benefactors of my mother’s internal and external beauty, and have been honored to call her my mother for the past sixteen years of my life. Happy Birthday, Mom, you are truly beautiful and loved.

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