Our stories ~ Our truths ~ Side by Side / Miriam, the Spies, and our very own Rashomon . . .
Juxtaposition, reframing and ‘the art of many understandings . . . .’
- What do the Spies of this week have in common with Miriam?
- Why are they so close — “side by side”?
- And just what is “the connection”
Note 1: Juxtaposition in art is created/placed with the intention of bringing out a specific quality or creating an effect, particularly when two contrasting or opposing elements are used. Juxtaposition is the placing of elements side by side, leaving it up to the viewer to establish connections and impose meaning. — or is it truly up to us?
and now, here’s Midrash, (no less . . . )
שלח לך אנשים ~ SEND THOU MEN — Why is the section dealing with the spies put in juxtaposition with the section dealing with Miriam’s punishment? To show ‘the grievousness’ of the spies’ sin: because she (Miriam) was punished on account of the slander which she uttered against her brother, and (while) these sinners witnessed it, and yet they did not take a lesson from her (yes, this is from a Midrash: Midrash Tanchuma, Sh’lach 5).
Note 2: Here’s an interesting take on the many views of the same moment?
- Could it be that the different versions of these stories represent equally valid but differing perspectives? The two stories of the twelve spies could be a biblical Rashomon that challenges the idea of a single, objective version of the truth.
- The versions in both the Book of Numbers and the Book of Deuteronomy are necessary because no one version can capture the entirety of “what really happened,” vis a vis the Spies or of the Miriam episode of her slander and her near death.
- That is the essential theme of Akira Kurosawa’s cinematic masterpiece, in which a single story can only be understood after it is presented from many perspectives. — and additionally examined in and from many contexts.