The Banquet
A Folk Tale from the Midrash


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To High-Resolution Picture


Date Winter 2003-2004


Description
An intriguing love story from the Midrash telling the tale of a young couple destined to love. The unusual story is below and to illustrate this story, the couple, together with Norman, chose a heart to hold the text in the crown and the artist interpreted the banquet scene at the base.

Knowing this was a surprise anniversary present by the wife to her loving husband, Norman wished to include the Hebrew date of their wedding beneath the Claddach ring holding a heart at the very top.

THE STORY: A couple unable to have children came to see Rabbi Shimon bar Yohai, asking to receive a get and be divorced. The rabbi pondered the request and finally suggested that the couple celebrate their divorce with a feast in the same way that they celebrated their wedding. The couple was surprised at the suggestion, but decided to go ahead with such a feast.They went home and prepared a large banquet, inviting their many relatives and friends. The event was sad considering the situation, and during the feast, the husband stood up and announced that he would like to offer a toast to his wife. He said, "for ten years we have lived very peaceful lives.The only reason for our separation is that we have no children and so we must comply with Jewish law. To show my affection for you, please take any object you wish in the house." That night, as the husband slept, the wife asked their servants to carry him to her father's house. The husband awoke in the morning, saw where he was, and asked how he had gotten there. "You are here because of your own request," his wife answered. "You asked me to choose any object I wished and I chose you as the object in the house most precious to me." The couple remained together. They had their first child the following year.



The artist executed the original Aramaic text from the Midrash around the inside perimeter of the heart.








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