“And she laughs at the last day.”

There is a very interesting verse in Proverbs 31 about which I had taken note until it came up in a talk recently.

In describing a woman of valour, there is this line in verse 25 which says:

“Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.”

Other translations say that the woman laughs: at tomorrow; at the coming day; at the future; etc.

In a Jewish translation of this verse, it says:

“Strength and beauty are her raiment, and she laughs at the last day.”

The commentary by Rashi offers that “at the last day” suggests “On the day of her death, she departs with a good name.

And, the line, “and she laughs” connotes that “all her life about the day of her death, that that it should be honoured with a good name.”

This passage has been considered an allegory for praiseworthy women (in general and in particular); the blessings of God; the gift of the Torah; the Sabbath; and the soul.

What would it be like to laugh on the last day of life?

What is this existential satisfaction of a good name that could bring such confidence?

How do the other allegorical meanings help to elucidate for us what is necessary to respond to life’s end on earth with laughter?

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