What Does “You Can’t Outrun The Moon" Mean?
Me ken nit iberloifen di levoneh.
Many modern-day Jews are unaware that the moon is an important and controversial figure in Jewish lore. Historically, our glamorous satellite has stood as a symbol for everything from G-d’s visible throne, to pure love, to the Jewish people themselves, as well as the very embodiment of Shekhinah, G-d’s feminine side. But above all else, Madame Moon has demonstrated some serious chutzpah!
She asserts herself right from the get-go when, in Act 1, Scene 1 of Genesis, she debuts with a bang in a rather tense scene—one that would prompt my pathologically-non-confrontational husband to assume the fetal position. Here, the moon tries to school G-d on his redundancy in making “two great lights,” and she actually winds up teaching the Holy One a lesson. How’s that for “all that (snap, snap, snap) and a bag of chips?” This early display of fortitude is no doubt why Lilith, our first fierce and fabulous feminist, is considered a dark moon goddess. For those of you unfamiliar with this lady, Lilith is a deliciously scandalous figure in Jewish Folklore. Lean in while, G-d forgive me, I lay down some lashon hara. …
You see, it turns out Eve was not Adam’s first wife. Shocking, I know! Legend has it that Lilith was made from the same earth as Adam, and at the same time. Despite this inherent equality, she was still expected to be subservient to Adam, and, when she refused (you go, girl!), she was banished from Eden and the supposedly-submissive Eve was created in her place. Ironic how the boys got their panties in a twist over Lilith’s backbone but a woman born of Adam’s rib got the couple kicked out of the garden! But I digress. The point is, this fabulous forbear of the Famous Five is just another powerful personification of our mighty moon, and, despite the fact that all these stories may seem irrelevant to our modern lives, they are proof that the Moon has been making waves since the beginning. (Literally.) In fact, the Moon’s staying power is what makes this proverb more relevant now than ever. After all, what’s more enduring and un-out-runnable than the Moon? Oh dear, I can tell what you’re thinking by that smirk on your face. The Moon sounds a lot like your monstrous mother-in-law?
- Both are older than dirt.
- Both seem to be omnipresent.
- Both will surely outlive us all.
- Not even a motorized cheetah could outrun them for long because, as with the tortoise and the hare, their slow yet relentless motion will eventually overcome.
Hah hah, very clever. I can see you’re quite proud of yourself. (Although I do hope you realize there’s a good chance she’s reading over your shoulder as we speak.)
While her father, Joe, leaves her room to see her mother off to work, Becky takes the opportunity to warm the digital thermometer against the bulb of her bedside light. Moments later she hears Joe’s footsteps on the stairs, and, before shoving the toasty thermometer back in her mouth, she quickly licks her palms (a trick to simulate clammy hands that she learned watching Ferris Bueller’s Day Off). Joe perches on the edge of his daughter’s bed with a dubious look on his face. [beep beep beeeep] He removes the thermometer from Becky’s exaggerated pout and glances at the readout. …
Joe: “Becky, this sudden illness is very strange. You were well enough to go to Shelly's party last night. Maybe that is where you caught this dreadful disease? Perhaps we should skip the doctor and go straight to the Emergency Room. G-d forbid we take any chances!”
Becky: “You’re not buying this are you, Dad?”
Joe: “Not for a minute. Why do you want to miss school, Beck? It can’t be a test, I never see you without a book.”
Becky: [tears up] “Dad, I can’t ever go back to school! I just can’t! I’ll die if I go back! I’ll just die!” [crying]
Joe: “Becky, that’s meshuggeneh! You have to go to school! What could have possibly happened in the last 18 hours to turn you into a hermit?!”
Becky: “Everything, Dad! Everything!” [crying] “Can’t we move? I’ll go to a different school! Come on, Dad! Mom can be a lawyer anywhere and you’re just a Dad—sorry! You know what I mean! Please!??!?”
Joe: “Becky, be rational. Talk to me! Whatever it is, we’ll figure it out. There’s a solution to everything.”
Becky: [exhales sharply, resigned] “Fine, I’ll tell you, but there’s no way to fix my life being totally ruined. ... Last night? At Shelly’s? I finally got up the nerve to talk to Thomas; you know, that boy from Math I was telling you about? Well, we’re talking and I don’t remember what I said, but then all of a sudden Barry Gershel, that jerk, dumped a soda down my back and Dinah said she thinks she saw Thomas kind of laugh!!! See?!?! I can never face him or anyone at school ever again!! I just can’t!!!”
Joe: “Oh Becky, honey. I know you won’t believe me but even if Thomas did laugh, which could’ve been just a reflex or out of nerves, I promise you, your life is not ruined! You’re 14, G-d willing you have a long and beautiful life ahead of you, and I promise that in a week’s time nobody will remember what happened at Shelly’s. You have to face this, my love. The longer you hide at home, the scarier it’s going to be to go back to school. (And before you say anything, you have to go back to this school.) I know this seems like the end of the world to you, sweetheart, but I promise, even you will forget all about this in time. Besides, you know what Zeyde always says: You can’t outrun the moon.”
Becky: “I know, Dad. I’m just scared. I’m sorry I lied about being sick. By the way, how did you know?”
Joe: “You’re running a fever of 124.”
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