Anonymous asked: what's your favorite myth?
I don’t think that’s an answerable question!!! I love too many myths. My favorite drash was always The Beggar King, the way Joel Ben-Izzy tells it: King Solomon enslaves the demon Ashmodai to build the temple, and Ashmodai is happy to answer all his questions and converse with him, and after many years of this they become almost friends. Solomon is boasting of his wisdom one day, and Ashmodai says, there is one thing thoroughly outside your wisdom and power, King Solomon; the power of illusion. Are you serious? King Solomon says. Fuck off. Teach me about illusion then, if it’s so special. Fine, says Ashmodai. But you’ll have to remove your ring.
The ring is the Seal of Solomon and it controls demons. The moment Solomon takes off his ring, Ashmodai grows to a terrible height, steals the ring, flings it over the rooftops of Jerusalem, flings Solomon in the other direction, and the last thing Solomon sees before he goes flying is a storm cloud gathering over his city.
Insert literally about half an hour of shaggy dog story here. Solomon becomes a beggar, a baker, a supplicant, a pilgrim, and finally, finally, falls in love with a fisherwoman and becomes a fisherman. They have beautiful children. One day, Solomon, who has been plain Shlomo the fisherman for ten years now, is out on the sea with his eldest son when he catches a huge, beautiful fish, and slits it open, and there— in the center— is his ring.
He puts it on, and he’s standing in the middle of his courtyard, and his courtiers are staring at him.
“So take off the ring,” one of them prompts him.
“What?” he says.
“You just said you were going to take off the ring, and Ashmodai would teach you the power of illusion,” the courtier says. “Aren’t you going to?”
Solomon pats his face. He is young again. No time has passed. The ring is on his finger. He stares, fish-eyed, at Ashmodai.
Afterwards he was a better king.
Also known as The Inner Light, starring Jean-Luc Picard.