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yesh omrim

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Mysteries of Sisera’s mother

12 February 2004

The haftorah for last week’s parsha ends with the song of Deborah, celebrating her victory over Sisera. A few verses at the end (Judges 5:28–31) caught my attention. Here they are in the new JPS translation:

Through the window peered Sisera’s mother,
Behind the lattice she whined [gazed?]:
“Why is his chariot so long in coming?
Why so late the clatter of his wheels?
The wisest of her ladies give answer;
She, too, replies to herself:
“They must be dividing the spoil they have found:
A damsel or two for each man,
Spoil of dyed cloths for Sisera,
Spoil of embroidered cloths,
A couple of embroidered cloths
Round every neck as spoil.”

So may all your enemies perish, O Lord!…