Why, Why, O My Beloved: A Wife's Rebuke to Her Husband Who Took a Rival Wife
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Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women's Studies & Gender Issues 11.1 (2006) 236-237



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Why, Why, O My Beloved

A Wife's Rebuke to Her Husband Who Took a Rival Wife

Singer and Poet, Region of Shar'ab (twentieth century)
Why, why, O my beloved,
Why do you inflict a rival wife upon me?

If it is on account of my beauty,
I am the Moon and the Pleiades.

If it is on account of my hair,
I have two hundred plaits.

If it is on account of brothers(-in-law),
I have seven learned brothers.

If it is on account of my children,
Your firstborn and secondborn sons are from me.

If it is on account of my temperament,
Every neighbor can testify on my behalf.

If it is on account of my hospitality,
Every guest can testify on my behalf.

If it is on account of my cooking,
The meat of oxen can testify on my behalf.

If it is on account of the food I consume,
I eat (only) a quarter of an ounce.

Why, why, O my beloved,
Did you inflict a second wife from the region of the East upon me?

The woman from the region of the East is worth an ounce,
But I am worth two hundred pounds!

Recorded by N.B. Gamlieli. Translated into English by U. Melammed and T.A. Perry.
Original version published in S. Seri, Daughter of Yemen (Tel-Aviv: E'eleh Betamar, 1994), p. 144.
Reprinted by permission of Benjamin Gamlieli. [End Page 236]

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