Monday, August 10, 2015

A Chiastic Trip Home

First of all I must give credit to my favorite Tanach, Bible teacher, Yael Ziegler, whose frequent mentions of the chiastic structure of various Biblical stories and passages is the only reason I am familiar with the term.
Chiastic structure, or chiastic pattern, is a literary technique in narrative motifs and other textual passages. An example of chiastic structure would be two ideas, A and B, together with variants A' and B', being presented as A,B,B',A'. Alternative names include ring structure, because the opening and closing 'A' can be viewed as completing a circle, palistrophe,[1] or symmetric structure. It may be regarded as chiasmus scaled up from clauses to larger units of text.
These often symmetrical patterns are commonly found in ancient literature such as the epic poetry of the Odyssey and theIliad. Various chiastic structures are also seen in the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, where biblical writers used it to illustrate or highlight details of particular importance. (Wikipedia)
Last night I made an effort to leave work early enough to catch the 9:30pm to Shiloh from Pisgat Zeev in Sha'ar Binyamin. The Rami Levy was pretty empty, and I didn't see any neighbors shopping there. Sunday is a pretty quiet night in general.

I got out on time, before the bus and just as I was calling my husband who may have been on it, a woman stopped and said she was going to Ofra, half way home. I got into her car and thought to myself that I could always catch the bus in Ofra if I don't get a ride first. And when she mentioned that she needed to fill the tank on the way at the gas station at the Psagot/Tel Zion/Kochav Yaakov/Migron Junction I calculated that I'd still have time to catch the bus.

When we got to the gas station she began to honk the horn and explained that she couldn't get out of the car to do it herself. Nobody came out to help her. So I volunteered to go into the store and ask. When I got out of the car, I saw "my bus" already at the stop and knew I'd never make it. We would be in Ofra long after the bus. The worker told me that it's self-service only. I reported back, and she was upset because she was in too much pain to do it herself, and I haven't a clue as how to deal with the gas and hose and all. So, I told her I'd find her help and walked over to the only other car nearby explaining the problem. The driver (male) said he'd be right over. He parked his car, took her credit card, filled the tank and returned the card.

We drove to Ofra talking like old friends, and she blessed me with wishes for a safe and fast ride home, and I blessed her with refuah shleimah, a complete recovery.

I immediately got a ride to the Shiloh Junction and a few minutes after I got off, I got a ride to Shiloh. It ended up not being all the way to my neighborhood. I walked up (literally up the hill) with a very heavy backpack full of shopping, but no ride. When I made it up I was exhausted and could hardly move. Luckily I met a neighbor who kept me company walking me to my house. She volunteered to carry my bag, but I didn't want her to know how heavy it was. I had already done the hard part.

This seemed so much like the Chiastic Structure in that my neighbor helped me, just like I had helped that woman.

  • A- I helped the woman
  • B- ride from Ofra to Shiloh Junction 
  • C- at Shiloh Junction I see the bus already leaving for Eli
  • B- ride from Shiloh Junction to Shiloh
  • A- neighbor helped me

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