Reading, Watching 04.01
The Cruelest Month
This is a regular feature for paid subscribers, wherein I write a little bit about what I’ve been recently reading, watching, and/or listening to. I hope you enjoy!
Since we just passed the 20th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, I decided to rewatch Errol Morris’s The Known Unknown, his documentary about former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. While it does not quite come up to the level of The Fog of War, Morris’s film about Robert McNamara, that’s probably because of the subject himself: Rumsfeld is obviously very intelligent, but also unbelievably glib and shallow. You can watch the full movie here.
Because of this Tweet, I’ve become fascinated with the Shamir, so I decided to do a little more research:
Solomon's artisans reputedly used the Shamir in the construction of Solomon's Temple. The material to be worked, whether stone, wood or metal, was affected by being "shown to the Shamir." Following this line of logic (anything that can be 'shown' something must have eyes to see), early Rabbinical scholars described the Shamir almost as a living being. Other early sources, however, describe it as a green stone. For storage, the Shamir was meant to have been always wrapped in wool and stored in a container made of lead; any other vessel would burst and disintegrate under the Shamir's gaze. The Shamir was said to have been either lost or had lost its potency (along with the "dripping of the honeycomb") by the time of the destruction of the First Temple at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar in 586 B.C.
Not to go all “Ancient Aliens” on you, but this sounds to me like the Shamir was some sort of laser, possibly running on a radioactive battery that eventually ran out of juice. Or perhaps it was a laser-worm.